Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

My First Car

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Well, the first car I bought myself.  It was a 1998 Dodge Neon and today I reminisce about the good times we had.  Sorry, it’s a little (a lot) lengthy.  I’m feeling nostalgic.

It all started May 23, 2001.  Well, actually a few days before.  I saw Neon on eBay and decided I wanted it.  Who cared if I couldn’t drive a stick shift?  Or that the car was hours away at a dealership in New Jersey?

I did some random bidding.  I wasn’t really concerned.  Then I was at work and knew the auction was ending and I was suddenly inspired.  I called my mom and started yelling orders at her.

“Bid!  Bid!”

My poor mom had never even been on eBay before and she was all, “Augh!”

But the car was mine!

May 23, 2001 is when I drove to pick up a friend in Maryland so he could go with me to Jersey and drive the car back.

Then came that whole “Oh yeah, I need to learn to drive a stick shift.”

June 1, 2001

I’m not an idiot– really, I’m not. I’m just stressed out about learning to drive a stick shift. It is a stand-off between me and my dodge neon. I love my car– but, it has this misguided notion that I should be able to drive it.

June 9, 2001

I actually had the urge to hug my car today– I take that as a good sign.

January 8, 2002

My car hit 100,000 miles.
I knew the time was close and all of the sudden, traffic hit about 55 in both lanes, so I grumbled, glancing down at my dash. There it sat perfectly:


^There were a lot less mile on the car when I bought it.  By this time I’d driven all over the place, including several trips to Delaware, which is small, but wonderful.

January 24, 2005

I own my car!
I just went to the bank and paid the rest of my car loan!!!

September 25, 2007

My car drew her last breath today on the exit ramp.

Her last act of kindness was not stranding me ON the Interstate

A tow truck was called, I waited anxiously for word, it finally came.

The engine.

Ol’ girl was only 9 years old, I’d had her for 6 and a half of those…she was a good one.

It’s amazing how attached we can become to our cars.

Sure, our early weeks were tenuous, with all the jerky starts and stalls…I even contemplated trading in for an automatic.

But we stuck it out together and it was a good ride.

(pun intended)

 Saturday September 29, 2007

 I miss my pointless spoiler

Sure, my Neon had a lot of little “quirks” such as a trunk that leaked when it rained, an odometer that would sometimes unexpectedly drop to zero while I was driving, a gear-shifter that didn’t want to cooperate, especially when it was cold, and a left turn signal that only worked when my car was feeling generous.  But it was those irritating little things that gave my first car character.


Wow…is it sad that I wrote so often about my car?  But it was my first car, my first step toward independence.  I bought it the same way I make most big decisions in my life – impulsively.  Which is weird, because I’m such a cautious person otherwise.

I’m glad it all worked out.


Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

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