Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mom's Car

Mom wanted her own car. She had use of Daddy's car whenever it was available but she decided she wanted her own. The thing was that she was a homemaker and did not have an outside job. She wanted it to be all hers as in she made the money and paid for it.

Not having a job outside the home meant no money. She could not get a job because she would not have regular availability of the car. What to do? Daddy told her he would get her a car and she adamantly refused.

My inventive mother decided to collect refundable bottles and cans to see if she could raise the money on her own. She collected all the bottles that her children were too lazy to return to the store. She regularly visited our houses to pick them up. She also scouted along the streets of the city and picked up bottles and cans that people had littered the area with.

She would take them to the grocery store and cash them in. The money she received was placed in a bank account she had opened specifically as her auto account. It added up surprisingly fast. So as she still collected the bottles she began shopping for a car.

It took a while but she finally found one that fit her criteria. It was compact but had a roomy trunk. It was a used car but ran well. That was Daddy's only contribution to the whole thing. He checked out the car to make sure it was in good condition for her.

It was not a car I would have chosen. It looked like an old lady's car but it was what she wanted. The paint was an ugly color. I do not even remember what it looked like but I do remember it was ugly. But Mom was happy with it.

She had enough money from her pop bottles to pay cash for the car. She had enough left over for insurance and license plates AND a full tank of gas. She kept collecting bottles for a long time to pay for anything she needed for the car and maybe a little extra something personal for herself.

Mom and I were involved with a small company in which we taught people to paint on fabrics and metals. The hope was that the people would enjoy it so much they would purchase the paint and other supplies from us. We did moderately well.

I used the money I made to buy things for my family. Mom reinvested in product. She had paints to be used with brushes, thinner, remover, brushes, and spray paints. She bought things by the case and got really good deals.

The company that we were affiliated with went out of business. Oh well. But Mom had all these paints lying around.

As I said her car was an ugly color. Mom decided that since she had all this spray paint she would paint her car. She got the necessary items like masking tape to help cover windows and chrome and got the car ready to paint. Then she chose her color.

She had several cases of phosphorescent blue so she chose that. Being the capable and artistic person she was she did a good job with her painting. The car looked great.

My parents did not have a garage. No one in that neighborhood did. They all parked on the street in front of their houses. My parents' bedroom also happened to be in the front of the house.

The first night Mom parked her car in front of the house after her paint job they noticed a strange glow out front when they went to bed. It was an eerie bluish light. Aliens? UFO? Nope. Mom's fluorescent blue car. Daddy got a good chuckle out of that.

Being in the big city has definite drawbacks. One is the amount of crime. Often the people committing the crimes tried to elude police by hiding in residential areas where it was easier to conceal themselves from the authorities. If the crime was serious enough the police would call out the helicopter to help them search.

The helicopter has a strong searchlight that they play over the area. Often they can see things that are not visible from the ground. It also illuminates areas that the ground police might not be able to see well. It is a good tool and being in the big city we saw that helicopter quite often.

One night Mom and Daddy were asleep when the helicopter began to make so much noise that it woke them up. Daddy got up to see what was going on. After all you do not want criminals loose in your neighborhood. Almost immediately he told Mom to get dressed and come out front which she did..

Outside were several squad cars and the helicopter hovering very low above the street.  They had been chasing someone when the helicopter spotted this glowing blue object and reported it. Squad cars were immediately summoned to the area. There sat Mom's car.

After a discussion about why on earth the car was glowing in the dark and why on earth anyone would paint it to do that everyone had a big laugh. The police and their helicopter went on their ways. Mom and Daddy went back to bed.

Mom had that car for several years. Because it was a used car when she got it problems eventually were troublesome. She kept it in repair as long as she could but she finally had to let go of it. She had other cars after that but never any that she loved as much.


  1. What a wonderfully independent your mother was in the days before womens' "liberation." I so enjoyed reading how she saved the money from bottle refunds to buy her 1st car. As kids we also cashed them in but never had enough to get a car, even if we could drive! And the story of the paint job and police was priceless.it would have been such fun to see a photo of her car.

    1. I am sure there never was a picture taken of the car. Unfortunately we were not a picture taking family. That is why there are so few pictures of my mother and no good ones. Mom spent a lot of time collecting bottles for that car. She is where I got my stubborn streak.

  2. wow, I admire your mom for being able to find way to buy her own car, and I do understand why she did not love as much the other cars that followed, the first from our hard work is always special.

    1. It is one of a million reasons that I admire my mother. She was a special person.