Skip to main content

From "Power in the Shadows"

Who Knew First Car

It was May 1980. My parents had been separated for quite some time. Very little money was coming in. My brother had left home, living elsewhere. My little sister was just age four and I had received my driver’s license just two months prior. I was in my senior year of high school and was to graduate in about a month. My mother told me it was time for me to get a car. I had only one hundred dollars to spare. Mom told me that she had a hundred dollars to donate to me getting my first car. I’d pay her back, I promised. She paid the car insurance that I was an add on to as well. So, I paid my mother’s three hundred  dollar a month mortgage every month till I went into the Marines many months later.  

Then threw in what ever money I had ever saved before I left for Marine Corps Bootcamp.
We were pinching pennies, as my mother worked two jobs, I was finishing school, my sister was in day care when both of us were at work and school simultaneously. She really needed me to buy a used car and how.

So, one day I heard a classmate, Dave was selling a car. I spoke with him about it in between classes 
when I saw him. He said, “It’s a 1971 Dodge Coronet. Got Police Sway bars in it. I’m the third owner.” I never asked the mileage on the car.  I told him I had one hundred dollars that I knew I could spend. I then asked Dave, “How much?” He replied, “Well, let me show you the car first.”  I agreed and made arrangements for my mother and I to meet Dave and take a look at the car and ‘talk turkey’.
My mother was thrilled that the car may be affordable to us. We got there and looked at the car. She ran smooth for sure. It had a V-8, was a 318 cubic inch. He said, “Since I know you. How about two hundred dollars?”  I looked at my Mom. She said, “Sure. Okay.” So, we bought the car.

That car had issues here and there but for four years it did us justice. I’d come home from the Marines and when I wasn’t using it, my Mom would. Especially, when her 1974 Ford Gran Torino wouldn’t turn over. I called my car, ‘Nellie’. I can’t remember why.  I just know one day I was driving in a snowstorm, I had just finished my time in the Marines, it was December. I was determined to get to the new mall in Paramus and buy all I could for my little sister and my Mom. I’d gotten some bonus money for Christmas from my boss. It was found money I never expected it.

So here I was sliding on the road and praying, “God I know this is crazy, but really need to buy great stuff for my little sister, so my Mom doesn’t have to.  Please help me. Com’on Nellie. Com’on baby I know you can do this.” I’d repeat this pseudo prayer over and over again. Saying, “Oh God. Help me.” With every scary slip on the roadway to the mall. After that the name Nellie stuck on the car. My now husband I was dating, he loved the car. He would polish the car and ask to take it for a spin.  

Finally, one day as we were to get married, my husband said, “You know we need to get you a new car.”  I felt as if I were betraying another human being.  I hoped deep down that the universe of the car world would forgive me. In some way I had become so attached, sort of like a young child is to their first binkie or favorite stuffed animal.

Soon, we had to hand over my 1971 Dodge Coronet to our mechanic for someone else to use. Norman had bought us a new car and I was the one honored with driving it. Many years later in November 2005, Norman and I then married over twenty-one years attended my twenty-fifth high school graduation party. It was November 2005. We had just arrived back from China with our second child, and didn’t want to be out too late away from our two little children.

We arrived early to the function, and as we did there was a man sitting in the lobby of the hotel and convention center where my class reunion was about to take place. The man, who looked nearly the same as he had all those years ago, was Dave.  The same Dave that I had bought my first car from. “Dave!”  I exclaimed. “Norm, this is the guy that sold me the 1971 Dodge Coronet way back.” Dave looked stunned.  Actually, he looked almost scared. “Oh Jody…” Dave thought he owed me an apology.  He didn’t Norm smiled brightly and said, “What a great car! God I loved that thing.” I commented, “Dave that car lasted me and my mom four years. I really had a tough time parting with it too. Nellie was grand.” Dave went from fear to disbelief, “I thought I sold you a piece of junk really. You know I knew the miles were rolled back on that car.”  I replied, “I thought they were.  But it worked.  It was a great car Dave.” The three of us chatted more, laughed and reminisced of a few incidents in high school before the reunion got started.---Jody-Lynn Reicher


Popular posts from this blog

2023 Holiday Letter from the Reicher's

Well, I didn't think I'd be doing a Holiday Letter this year, but here goes... The Spirit of Norm is in the air. As the wind whips with minus a true snowstorm.  In hopes the Farmers Almanac was correct, I pray to the snow gods. Rain ensued the month of December thus far. We have nearly tripled the amount of rainfall usual for December in New Jersey. And I've witnessed its treachery. Storms such as these hit us hardest in July. Then remained fairly intense through til about early October.  Our daughters are doing well, Thank God.  Their Dad would be proud of them. Our oldest Sarah, now a Junior at UCLA pursuing her degree in Chemical Engineering. She's digging the whole California scene. Which I thought it was for her. She's had some good traveling on her off times from school. For her March 2023 week off, she drove her and a few friends out to Lake Tahoe and went downhill skiing for a first in nearly 5 years. She had to rent the ski equipment.  Funny enough when

Sledging the Hammer

  "You could have a steam trainIf you'd just lay down your tracks..."---Peter Gabriel's 'Sledgehammer' lyrics. This is not the tune that lay in my mind this morning as I reminisced about yesterday's volunteers to help on trail crew.    However, as I looked up the proper definition of sledging that song popped up. I say sledging, which is my own take on swinging a hammer that we call a "Double Jack". The Single Jack is six pounds. I know that because our regular crew of five including me and one staff supervisor are handling Harriman State Park Trails, and have to carry about four of those, two shaping hammers, along with a hoist, belay bag with heavy equipment, first aid kit, double Jack, three 18lb rock bars, a lopper, three buckets, three eye to eyes, two burlap straps, two green wrapping straps, two pick Mattox, a roe hoe or two, a bar for either the two ton or one ton hoist, the feathers with pegs for splitting rocks that we drill... s

It Follows Me...

One may wonder what would inspire someone to work hard labor voluntarily. For me it’s the love of many things. It’s the passion that won’t be broken. Because there are so many aspects to such service for me, that it may seem beyond comprehension. I’d compare it to my youthful desire to enter the military as a young child. Then for a multitude of reasons only to follow through thirteen years later at age eighteen entering the Marines. There were things that followed me throughout my life. Sometimes they were questions of how I ever gave up my over decade’s life dream to become a New Jersey State Trooper. My childhood desire to never wed—to never have any serious relationships with another human being. I desired only service in military and law enforcement nearly my whole childhood. Too the extent that even one of my Marine Corps superiors expressed to me last July, “I never thought you’d ever get married. It just wasn’t who you were. You were always a loner.” I replied, “Yeah. I know.