Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Marie Costanian's "Auto-Biography" -- this is one you don't want to miss!!

This is a 1984 Caprice Wagon - the best photo I could find
Believe it or not, this 1986 Dodge Caravan is in the Smithsonian Institution! Not, Marie's family, however!

University of Dayton
Cars I have cherished
Quiz 1

Marie Costanian

Cars are not appliances, from my experiences, I have fond memories growing up and spending time in an automobile. My car experiences represent an incubator of who I have become today because of my experiences as a child in a woody wagon, and my first car, a minivan.

I have many memories of two very special near and dear cars to me. The first family vehicle I cherished was my dad’s woody wagon. It was a 1982 light blue Chevy caprice station wagon, and it was a lot of fun to ride in. It was the cool car to ride in; all the neighborhood kids loved riding in the back seat that faces in the opposite direction of the direction of travel, because it always made us sick. The second car was my very first car, a 1986 Dodge caravan!

Whenever we travelled long distances, we always took the woody wagon, case in point, when my family travelled 19 hours to get to a beach in New York for our family vacations. I have a few stories to share with this woody wagon. During family vacations to New York in the wagon, my parents always made a large spot in the wagon, and covered it with sheets so my brother could sleep the majority of the way. It was fun lying in the back of the wagon, listening to my cd player, and being comfortable too! If there was a chance that there wasn’t enough room to share in the back, my brother and I had to split who got the back during the first half and second half. It was fun going really fast in the wagon, passing people on the left and right, and being able to stare at them. My brother and I made signs and would put them to the windows to see people’s reactions, and of course my parents could not see what we were doing so they wouldn’t know why we were laughing. My parents would even take our bikes and put them on the roof, so we could ride our bikes whenever we went to rest stops.

A second fond memory I have of this wagon is whenever we drove on 675 S, and took exit 4, the Dayton Mall exit. At the exit ramp, it was literally a ramp, my dad would speed up at the intersection whenever we had the green light and no one was in front of us, and with the increased speed and the huge bump in the road, the car would lift off of the ground! It was so much fun being in mid air, it always gave my brother and I the butterflies, and we’d talk about it all day with our friends. Their parents weren’t as fun as ours, so they were always jealous of our car rides to the Dayton mall. My dad got a kick out of it too, he loved making my brother and I happy, and he knew how to do it well.

The second car I absolutely loved was my very first car, a 1986 Dodge Caravan, Sally, given to me the day I got my license! It was a beauty, I absolutely loved this car. It was old, and it was a dinger, but it was mine and it was huge. The day after I got my license, I had 8 girls in my car as we drove all through Kettering. At the time, Kettering hospital, Kettering middle school, and the Green was renovating so we borrowed construction barrels, cones, speed signs, and handicap signs to go and show appreciation to our seniors on the field hockey team! It was exhilarating, I drove, they would jump out of the car, grab as many borrowed items as they could, shoved them in the seats and trunk as I positioned the car to make a quick escape. I drove cautiously, and fast to get away! I had the radio blasting, and we were all having a great time! We decorated many seniors houses, 3 that night, and they all got 6 cones, 3 barrels, and 1 speed sign each. We teepeed, streamerd, and we confettitied their yards and rooms. It was the tradition before every Fairmont vs. Oakwood senior appreciation rival game. I loved every second of getting to drive my car, with that many friends, and that much crap we were able to shove in there to decorate our senior’s houses.

I even drove through the Wendy’s drive thru on Stroop backwards, meaning driving in reverse and the passenger having to order! When we pulled up to the window to pick up our order, the person was amazed, and called all the workers to see the sight, that we were backwards. Getting out of the drive thru was no a challenge at all, all I did was wait until no car was coming and pull out in reverse and put the car into drive and drive off.

Another bonus to Sally was that she could be heard from a mile away. Her engine was loud, and she was known to purr when she was accelerated! However, the all time kicker is that she had a horn that went “AAAA-WOOOOOO-GA”, and oh boy did I use it often. She was even in our schools paper! She was featured as a dinger, and pictures of the duct tape on the torn driver seat were taken too. My car was an all time hit at Fairmont high school, and definitely with my friends.

Sally was the best car since slice bread. She got me and all my friends everywhere I needed to be, and then some. I love this car, it’s a shame we sold it off, but I will never forget my high school memories in my car. I went everywhere and I could take everyone with me too. I felt free and in charge, confident I could go anywhere safely in Sally. I was free; free to drive the roads like adults, free to go get fast food if I didn’t want my parent’s food, free to go to friends houses that were across Kettering, and free to go to movies late at night. When I have kids that will be able to drive, I will also let them enjoy driving an old minivan so they can experience what I did when I was younger. If it wasn’t for Sally, then I don’t think high school would have been as fun as it was. I don’t think I would have liked it as much.

Automobiles are more than appliances; I think I was shaped by some of my experiences I had in my car. I know how to have fun and be careful by observing laws. I enjoyed being able to have many friends in my van, because of the things we would laugh and talk about. It was my personal space, and people enjoyed being in it. If I still had my van, I probably would still drive it, even though it only got 15 miles per gallon. I have many memories in my van, and I don’t think I would be the same if it were another vehicle that was smaller. Since it was a non-traditional car (old, and a dinger) I could do whatever I wanted with it. I loved that car, I love all the memories I had in that car, and I treasure all the moments I got to spend with my friends in the car. Not many people can say they could legally fit 8 people in a car, and not all of them can say they did the crazy things I did in my car. Parents who gave their children new cars did not allow their children to drive everywhere and do crazy stunts like borrowing traffic cones because they did not want any bumps, scratches, interior blemishes, or any fast food in the car. I didn’t vacuum every day, but it wasn’t messy or has trash in it either. It was my car, it was my job to clean it, and it was there for my convenience. My convenience was to have as much fun as I could; therefore it deserved to be treated with care. My dad taught me how to care of Sally, and my responsibilities were to always check and change the oil, clean the interior, and ensure the tires were properly inflated. My dad did any mechanical repairs if needed, which was never! I loved this car, and I still cherish it to this day. It always brings back great memories of my past. I believe this car incubated a little bit of who I am today. Every time people heard my car, they knew it was me coming, and then when they me, they would beg me to blow the horn.

Off the record:
I was able to do all this because my parents trusted me. They trusted my responsibility and saw my character through my incredible grades in school. They knew I was a safe driver because of how I was as a person; I respected them, and listened to them all the time. I told my parent’s everything I was doing. I hope this doesn’t make them sound like horrible parents because they weren’t; they were and still are incredible. Although I did do the senior appreciation decorating, I was disciplined by my parents for borrowing all the traffic items, and on top of that I had to start paying for my own gas. My parents did know that I had 8 girls in the van, and they were fine by that because of how well I did when I drove with them for my temps, and for driver’s school. It wasn’t until senior year where I had to start paying for insurance and that was a responsibility my parents wanted me to have to be able to understand that my education was important because it would get me a good job that would allow me to pay for bills in the future.

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