Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Skylark

I have a soft spot in my heart for birds. The birds know this, so they stop by pretty regularly for the old bread and stale Cheerios I often throw out on the grass in the backyard.

I'm not sure my husband is so thrilled about the way I toss food around, but I love watching the robins and sparrows and the occasional blue jays and cardinals as they enjoy their snacks. The birds and I have a deal: I feed them, and they sing for me. That's fair, right? There are few sounds I enjoy more than birdsong, especially early in the morning.

Dana and the Skylark, circa 1994
I believe this picture was taken the day I bought the car.
But this post is about one bird in particular: the skylark. Or, rather, it's not. Because as much as I enjoy birds--and the skylark, although I've never seen one, seems like a nice one--this post is about another favorite skylark: my 1990 Buick Skylark, to be exact.

The Skylark was my first car. I bought it when I was in graduate school in 1994. Up until that point, I'd either walked everywhere or bummed rides from friends, so owning this car meant I finally had some real freedom. I drove everywhere, even to places I could have walked to, and I appointed myself the Official Driver for all Graduate School Students in English. (Okay, I didn't do that. But I did drive everyone to Hardee's once.)

I loved that car. It was a blue, four-door sedan with only the tiniest bit of rust, and I drove it until it just about fell apart. The day I traded it in for my second car, a 1995 Buick Century (yes, I see a pattern here!) was a sad, sad day. I have pictures of that moment as well, but let's concentrate on happy things, shall we?

All these years later, I still think about that car. I guess the memory of any first in life is important--even if it is just a vehicle.


What was your first car? Did it have any special meaning for you?

59 comments:

  1. my first car, that i loved was a corvair--i know ralph nader wouldn't have liked it--it was the cutest thing--metallic baby blue with black bucket seats---great memory post--really enjoyed it and i too love birds

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    1. Who cares what Ralph Nader would say, right? ;)

      Thanks! :)

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  2. Well, here I was all set to say something about Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ode to a Skylark." So, my first car was a 1973 Ford Maverick, white with a brown vinyl roof. My parents gave it to me and said, "Happy Birthday. Congratulations on your graduation. Best Wishes on your upcoming wedding. Merry Christmas." An all-purpose gift!

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    1. Great poem!

      What a great gift! I love how all-purpose it was. :)

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  3. Mine was a second-hand (or maybe even 5th or 6th hand) Hillman Minx - so heavy on the steer that it felt like driving a tank!

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    1. I bet you felt powerful in it! My sister had a heavy car like that. She said she always felt like she was driving a boat, but the heaviness of it made her feel pretty safe.

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  4. Hi, thanks for the comment on my blog and the follow! I'm following you back!

    My first car was a powder blue mustang which burned oil and had electrical problems. I loved it anyway!

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    1. Thanks for the follow!

      At the end of its useful life, my Skylark started stalling out randomly--like in the middle of busy intersections. I didn't love it any less!

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  5. The car I loved best wasn't actually the first car I drove, but a lovely VOLVO 340 we had when the kids were tiny. It was built like a tank, solid, felt safe for the kids and was bright red. I really loved that car and never liked its successor (a boring old silver Toyota). We now have a red car again and I am almost liking it as much as the old 340, but I don't think anything will replace it in my heart - unless I find another old, red, beaten up 340!

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    1. There's just something special about that first car!

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  6. I think our first cars are always the most special cars; I do remember Skylarks; they were a cool model! My first car was a 1976 Dodge Colt, I was all of 18 at the time, three years of car payments seemed like such a long time! We too drove that car to the ground so to speak; had over 90,000 miles when we traded it in. Oh the memories!

    I too enjoy watching birds; neat you feed them!!!

    betty

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    1. I, too, felt like the car payments would go on forever!

      I love watching the birds as I wash dishes. Somehow it makes the job seem less tedious. :)

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  7. Nice twist between the bird and the car. Somehow, I can't get attached to the latter, but bridsong is special. Blog on!

    http://francene-birdstitcher.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, Francene. Enjoy the rest of the challenge!

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    2. Francene, I tried to check out your blog but got a message that said it doesn't exist...

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  8. I don't drive but my family and I still talk about the station wagon we had when I was a kid. We all loved that car so I totally understand your nostalgia! ;)

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    1. My parents owned a blue Buick LeSabre when I was young. They had it for about ten years. I remember slamming my finger in the passenger door once--but I still liked the car! LOL

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  9. Hey Dana, thanks for stopping by my blog. Fun post. I used to be bird-a-phobic, hated the flapping wings, until I met a sweet cockatiel name Cuckoo. He made me fall in love and get over my skittishness. My first car was a Pinto. The kind that would blow up if you were rear-ending. i guess that makes me a daredevil for driving it.

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    1. My brother had a Pinto. I'd heard about their "explosion" problems. Scary.

      Thanks for your comment!

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  10. My first car was a little yellow Renault 5. My Dad realised it was in a bad state and had been in a accident. He replaced it for me a month later with a Ford Escort.

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    1. My high school boyfriend drove an Escort. He had it for a while, and once it broke down when we were driving home from college. Fun times... ;)

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  11. I've never had a special car, but my husband always talks about his first car. I think you're right, that maybe it's not about the car itself, but that it was your first car. Fun post!

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  12. My first car was a truck...and my mom had that exact same car you did....we just donated it to the American Cancer Society two years ago.

    Now my car is a bicycle.

    Happy A-Z April!

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    1. Wow! Was it a 1990? That's awesome. :)

      Good for you for riding a bike! My sister's husband was riding one to work for a while--it saved on gas, was good exercise, and freed up the van for my sister and the kids.

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  13. I had an 80 Olds Cutlass supreme. That thing was the best! My grandmother had a turqois Buick Skylark. I don't know what year it was, but I remember it was a convertable. I used to like riding in that thing.

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    1. Mine wasn't a convertible, which would have been great, but I loved it anyway. :)

      First cars are always the best!

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  14. My first car (I didn't learn to drive till I was 30!) was a burgundy Pacer. My dad called it a fish bowl on wheels. Got it used. Can't even remember the year, but I drove it till it fell apart, too. I loved that car. Sat in it and cried before I drove it down to the junkyard--crawling all the way because a wheel had kind of fallen sideways...again. Paddy Pacer never let me down. She was a trooper! ;)

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    1. Aw, I definitely understand. I was so upset when I had to leave my poor Buick at the dealer in trade for the new one. :)

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  15. I love the sounds of different birds too! I even have a story that might fit into your post. :) We lived on a ranch for a little while and of course there are all kinds of birds and bird calls. One day, soon after I bought my latest car (still have it) I started hearing the oddest bird chirping outside our door. I was so intriqued by this bird that I would race to the door (several times a day) and look out the window to see if I could see it. This went on for about a week. I'd ask my family if they'd seen it. No one did. One day I finally heard it while outside. It was my car! It sounded like a bird chirping and it was just a sound to let you know it was alarmed. Mystery solved, but the whole time I thought it was some exotic bird. :)

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    1. LOL What a great story! Thanks for sharing. It fits perfectly with my post. :)

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  16. Bird lover here. Right now, the brown thrasher has returned to its summer breeding grounds, and is singing daily :-)

    My first car that I bought all by myself? A 1968 Cutlass convertible. It had been painted canary yellow by the previous owner (with a paintbrush--I think). I was 1979 and I was a whopping 19 years old. Oh my, lol, where have the years gone? That car just up and died one day. The old cars really didn't have the longevity of today's cars.

    In 1998, my husband bought me a 1992 Lebaron convertible. Bright red. It spends winters parked in a garage to keep the salt on the winter roads from eating it away to nothing. I have driven real winter clunkers to be able to keep that car away from winter roads.

    It is 20 years old this year. I hope it is my old putzing around in car...you know the one where people see the antique bright red convertible, top down, gray haired lady driving it...and then they roll their eyes and wonder why I don't act my age ;-)

    Great post. Those old cars and the symbolism they carried in our lives...nice. :-)

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    1. Birdsong is lovely! One of the reasons I get up so early each day is to be able to enjoy the birds before the traffic gets too heavy.

      Twenty years old! That's amazing. I traded in my Buick Century a few years ago when it was about fifteen years old. It wasn't in such great shape anymore, though. It had been rear-ended the year before, and then something technical that I could never begin to explain started happening to the motor. It was time to let it go.

      I'll keep my fingers crossed that your LeBaron will be your putzing around in car someday. Love the image!

      Thanks for your comments and for the follow. :)

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  17. My first car was a 1952 Chevy. It was old. LOL And I did love that car. It was a standard transmission, so I learned how to operate a clutch and a brake and steer with one hand as I signaled a turn with the other hand. This was before turn signals. Boy, does that bring back memories.

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    1. Thanks for commenting! I've never been able to learn how to drive a car with a manual transmission. I had a boyfriend back in high school who tried to teach me, but I was hopeless. I haven't tried since. What you did sounds amazing! I could never manage it. :)

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  18. Hi Dana, thanks for visiting my blog!

    I don't have a memory of a first car but I do vividly remember a beautiful Samsung flip-phone which I adored before I mistakenly dropped it down the toilet bowl at work whilst trying to SMS my fiancee! That was a terrible moment!

    This is me, Duncan D. Horne, visiting you from the A-Z challenge, wishing you all the best throughout April and beyond.

    Duncan In Kuantan

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    1. Hi, Duncan. I love your theme for the challenge!

      Ack! I totally understand about the phone. What a nightmare!

      Thanks for visiting!

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  19. Ah yes...the first car is always such a delightful memory...and how sweet it was a skylark! Mine was an Omega and it wasn't the end of the line for cars...! With five kids and me and my husband we were where CarMaxx got it's idea!
    Hugs~

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    1. LOL

      It's so weird that I've personally owned only two cars in my entire life: the Skylark and the Century. I had the Century until just a couple of years ago, when my husband and I traded it in for a Town and Country.(Yes, I drive a mini-van now!)

      Have a great Sunday!

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  20. Very nice post, Dana. Thank you for visiting my blog.

    Yes, the first is always special. My first car was a Korean made - Hyndai. It's actually very expensive to own a car in Singapore but I needed one for the sales job that I was doing at that time and it was a 10 year old, second hand car, that I could afford. I remember that I didn't want to bring any passenger in the car until I was confident in driving it!

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    1. Thank you!

      You've reminded me of driver's ed class and how I was always so nervous because another student was in the car with me while I drove. It was bad enough that the teacher was watching me! I didn't feel very confident either when I first started driving, and having another person besides the teacher in the car to see all my mistakes just made things worse. :)

      Thanks for commenting--and for the follow!

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  21. My first car is a Chevy Cavalier. I still own it and love it a lot. She gets me where I need to go and is a lovely red. It was cool to hear about your first car and feeding the birds (I love birdsongs too). Thanks for posting.

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  22. first car post =)
    mine was a 1990 toyota celica, blue
    sa-weet!

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  23. Honestly, I've never been emotionally attached to a car. I think maybe I'm missing out. But there is a pair of cardinals who sit on my side mirrors every morning, so that makes me happy!

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    1. Seeing cardinals every morning: what a wonderful way to start the day! :)

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  24. I drove a white volkswagen beetle in high school. Took $4 to fill it up and only needed to stop at the gas station once a month! Those were the days. After my first baby was born we bought a volvo 240 and I was in love with that car until the day we traded it in. BIg mistake. I still miss it.

    Happy Post. Thanks

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Patti. :)

      It's horrible how much it now costs to fill up the tank. I spent nearly $73 the last time I was at the gas station. Ugh.

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  25. My first car was a 1974 black Volkswagen bug. Oh, the stories I could tell~

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    1. My brother had a Beetle. He drove me to my high school graduation in it. I loved it!

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  26. My first car was a Chevy Cavalier. I loved that car. It got totaled and I cried a little.

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    1. There's just something about that first car...

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  27. I had a maroon Skylark that I got my last year in college. Loved it until a teenage girl turned in front of me when she wasn't supposed to and I crashed into her, totaling both cars. Now I drive a *gasp* mini van. Thanks motherhood. Can't wait until I can go back to a fun 2 door sedan in like, oh 25 years when I won't care about cool anymore.

    My first car was a white Chevy Cavalier (funny, Emily above me had the same.) It got totaled out too. Once again, the accident NOT my fault. Only had that one for a few months.

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    1. Too funny! I drive a mini van now, too. We're so cool. LOL

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  28. My first car was blue too. It was a Ford Laser hatchback and a manual which I struggled to get the hang of driving. Lots of memories attached to that car!

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    1. I never could learn how to drive a car with manual transmission... Thanks for your comment! :)

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