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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

My Last New Car

After I graduated high school in 1968 I lived in a horrible apartment and traveled grimy public transportation to and from several horrible jobs, at a stinking potato chip factory, at a frightening hospital... (and more on those jobs in another post); until 1970 when I was able to convince my parents to let me live in their home again so that I could save enough money to buy a car, and maybe get the money together to live in an apartment that was in a safe neighborhood. I moved in with my parents and I found a fairly good paying job at Control Data in Minneapolis, Minnesota, working first as a technician working under a microscope to wind ultrafine wires onto computer heads, then as an equipment operator dipping little baskets of oily computer fittings and parts into a timed “bath” in an ultrasonic Freon degreasing tank (more on that in another post.)

My father offered to assemble a motorcycle for me to help me keep expenses down. I bought a 2-stroke black Benelli Motorcycle by mail order, and my parents put me on their vehicle insurance policy. The motorcycle maxed out just short of 60 mph, which was inadequate for the freeway, but before it malfunctioned and almost killed me, I was able to ride it to work on the freeway across the Mississippi River, in spring, summer, and fall, long enough to save enough money for a new car. Some days when I simply could not bear to ride my motorcycle, in the cold morning fog above the Mississippi River, my father would give me his car and take my motorcycle into his work. He said trucks run him off the freeway a couple of times, and I had noticed truckers did not seem to be able to see the motorcycle. Just before winter I sold that dangerous motorcycle and I bought a purple Plymouth Road Runner with cash. I was twenty years old and thrilled!

In the years since my first car I bought several trucks for feminismo, for the safer visibility of riding higher off the road, and for utilitarian purposes (hauling arts and crafts materials.) I experienced what is probably my final new car thrill when I bought a 2002 desert gold Ford Focus. I did not pay cash, but I paid it off very quickly. Now my ride is my late mother's 2003 Hyundai Elantra. She bought it new, put about thirty thousand miles on it, then left it to me. It is not the car I would choose, but it is presentable enough and very dependable. I suppose this is my last car in life.

Caption: Annmarie Throckmorton in the parking lot of Phogenix after work,

with my new 2002 Ford Focus that I had picked up at lunchtime.

Caption: 1970 Purple Plymouth Road Runner—Source Classic Cars

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