Memorial services were conducted Friday at Bob’s Garage for a 1984 Chevy Celebrity that died June 11 in Boston, Elizabeth Twp. The car, formerly owned by former N.Y. resident Catherine Dugan of North Carolina was given to her daughter, Mary, five years ago with a life expectancy of about a year.
To her parents chagrin, they assisted with several hundreds of dollars in repairs over the years, listening to long-distance complaints and tearful groans about its ever present need for new parts and constant breakdowns, resulting in Mr. and Mrs. Dugan really, really, wishing they had sold the car to someone from Oshkosh who had a relative that was a certified GM mechanic.
Born in 1984, in Long Island, N.Y., the former owners, responsible people who had oil changes at regular intervals and performed other preventive maintenance, kindly gave the car to aforementioned daughter knowing it would never see the light of a mechanics garage until something went wrong.
The owner has suggested memorial contributions to the Get a Real Car Fund, or a favorite charity.
I’ll miss that car. I used to have all kinds of adventures with it. One of the most memorable was when I was having tests done at the hospital to find out why my stomach was always sick. (The car, no doubt.)
I had just gotten it back from a stint in the garage and was leaving the hospital when the transmission went. A woman clearly not in her right mind, I called my mechanic.
“I’m stopping payment on that check I just gave you! What did you do to my car?!! How could it break down, I just got it back yesterday! You did something to it!”
More than a little reluctant to find his garage a pile of ashes the next day, he agreed to replace the transmission for a fraction of what it would normally cost.
I met lots of new people because of that car. I had numerous telephone numbers of tow truck companies, car rental agencies and taxi-cab companies stored in my head.
Breaking down on the Long Island Expressway on the way to a Mets game one time, I amazed my friend with the calm demeanor I had cultivated that comes with the experience of constant breakdowns.
To tow truck company — “Hi, it’s Mary with the Chevy.”
“Hey, Mary, where are you?”
“I’m at exit 52 heading west.”
“Isn’t that where we picked you up last time?”
“No, you were close, that was exit 62.”
To car rental agency — “Hi, it’s Mary with the Chevy.”
“Hi, Mare, what’s happening, what kind of car you want today?”
To mechanic — “Hi, Mike, its me.”
“Oh, hi, Mary. Bringing her in today?”
This last time, I made a firm decision I would not fix it if it was over 100 bucks.
I called my Dad for his advice.
“Get rid of it,” he said.
They had a 1997 Toyota and they just retired recently.
“Can you give me your car?”
What’s wrong with parents these days? They’re not working anymore. What do they need a car for?
This love/hate relationship with my car would finally come to an end. But, now I have a whole new set of adventures to look forward to with my next lemon. I can hardly wait.