There I was, circa 1984, a seventeen year old signed up for a honors English class excited for the new year as a senior, and most importantly, that I’d have my own set of wheels. It was going to be a blast.
I grew up in the Carolina region “out the gate”. I was born in Charlotte, NC, lived there for two years, moved to Winston-Salem and then Columbia, South Carolina before my Dad got a job transfer to Florida in 1979.
Back then, there was such a thing as a “blue law”. The only stores open on a Sunday in SC were grocery stores, and then, only at noon, after church. You couldn’t buy alcohol and you couldn’t shop anywhere else but a convenience store or grocery store. The first thing that kids said to me when they heard I was moving to Florida was, “wow, you are going to be able to shop on a Sunday”. Back then, I could’ve cared less about shopping much. I was into riding my bike, and hanging out with friends, going to the beach and babysitting when I could.
I worked pretty early on, and back then I wouldn’t say I was eager to sign up, but my family instilled pretty quickly that money didn’t grow on trees and no need to think I was going to win the lotto and weasel out of working.
My first car was a Datsun B210. My Dad had bought it in SC as a commuter car and after moving to FL, he’d been given a company car by his employer. My mom took on the Buick LaSabre and they saved the Datsun for when I turned 16.
It was a fun car, a four speed manual transmission with no a/c (and let’s remember I lived in Florida) and not fancy. It had two doors and a nice stereo and that was about it. I used to drive around Jacksonville wondering what I’d do with my life and what I’d be driving when I got older. I remember too, a part to living in a nice area was that it came with perks, and adolescent challenges. Some school friends were members of the country club and some were lucky to travel to other countries to shop. In English class, I sat on the front row facing the chalkboard. The girl on my left drove a used Cadillac, and the girl on my right had a used Mercedes Benz. They were both friends, but I remember thinking, “why is it that I’m in a Datsun with no a/c?”. My poor Dad, it must’ve been hard to raise me back then. I was always grateful, but probably asked a too many questions.
Then there was this awesome day when I decided to go for a run on the beach. It was a cool windy day off Solano road. The beach was dead. I wasn’t much of a runner then, and not to the extent I did in the 90’s (which amounted to 30 miles a week). I would ride my bike to public access and either run or walk on the beach and started pretty early on using a headset, then ride my bike back home. I had read that you needed to be at thirty minutes of running before even fooling with speed, so that was my focus. It was hard. Prior to getting a tad older, the only running I did was at basketball practice or in PE. I got the Presidential award in PE, and did whatever the requirement was then to get that. My best friend, Tracy Wind, was a better athlete than me, and no way was I sitting next to her without having the same credentials (silly, but an adolescent camaraderie of sorts that only kept us both pressing on, with an occasional “one-up” that only motivated the each other to train harder).
“So Why the BMW?”, I was asked by my family back in 2000. My family supports American made cars mostly, and my only rationale was that it was made in Greer, SC. I had made the goal completion of a car & place in PV. I did it jamming while running on the beach, listening to Don Henley’s rendition of “Boys of Summer”. Since no one was around, I was singing to my headset “out on the road today, I saw a deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” None of it was a “cool breeze”, I worked 2 jobs for seven years, but I enjoyed both. Not sure how many more cars I’ll own by them, but the last two have been a ball. If I had a regret, I’d probably have changed the goal to a lamborghini and a place in PV, but who knows how long that would’ve taken.
Anyone that knows me knows I laugh everyday and work hard. I’ve held jobs in sales, management, babysitting and also worked as a legal secretary to two criminal defense attorney’s in college before becoming a flight attendant and part-time model. May this story inspire you to work at something fun, laugh while doing it, & remember to #workhardlaughharder. I know I will be:-)