Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blast From the Past- ‘Essie the Scort’

Anytime I get frustrated with my car (often), like when she decides to take 10 minutes to start in the morning when it’s cold, or when an interior light magically stops working, I think back to the days of my first car and it all seems okay. When I was 16, I bought a black Ford Escort with $500 cash that I called ‘Essie the Scort’ or John (after John Travolta, whose picture was taped to the dash…by choice). It was my first car so I absolutely loved it. I loved the freedom, I loved the independence and now, I love looking back at my experience with Essie aka John.
First of all, my Escort was a stick shift, which was fine considering I learned to drive on one and every car I have owned since then has been a stick, but I have to admit, the first few months driving a stick are really hard, especially in an old car. I remember running through countless yellow lights because I didn’t want to stop, or rolling through practically every stop sign so I didn’t have to use that dreaded clutch. The worst was when I actually did get stuck at a red light, on a hill. I remember sweating buckets and praying no one would pull up behind me so I wouldn’t roll back and nail them once the light turned green.
Secondly, as time went by, my 1987 Ford seemed to shed some of its features that were necessities in a vehicle. For instance, one day the radio just stopped working. No worries, I had a solution for this. I loaded my boom box up with those massive D batteries and stuck it in the back seat. Now I had a CD player, a radio and a tape deck. I would just have to reach back and change the music or ask my friend who needed a ride that day to be the backseat DJ. Then my automatic seat belts stop working. Remember those things? When you opened the door, the seat belt would slide from the front of the door to the back to secure you in? Well mine just stayed in the unsecured position and made it a tad uncomfortable to drive. Next up to fail? The actual driver’s side door. It just didn’t want to open, so I had to crawl over the center console and into my passenger seat to get out of the car. Lovely! Speaking of center console, the best was when both of my window cranks fell off and needed to be stored in the center console until either myself of my passenger got hot and needed to roll down the window. “Hey, can you pass me a window crank so I can get some air up in here? Thanks!”
My favorite part about good ol’ Essie the Scort was the day I decided to get rid of her. My dad suggested that I bring it down to the junk yard to see if I could sell her for parts. Maybe the parts that were kept in the center console! I drove her down to the sad looking junk yard, the death ground for old cars, not wanting to say goodbye but also excited because I had a sweet Plymouth Laser waiting for me at home and spoke to the man in charge. He looked her over, spoke with my dad a bit, then turned to me and said, “I’ll give you $40 bucks….” I looked and my dad, then at my sad, little Escort and replied, “You’ve got yourself a deal!”

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