Wednesday, June 04, 2008

the full circle of Pearl.

I was in my late twenties. We had only one car and a boy not yet three. Our return to California - a State not exactly known for being very public transit friendly - necessitated the search for a second vehicle. One day shortly after our return, in the little country town we had moved to, I saw her for the first time.

She was a faded gray, all big rounded squares, seats like faded vintage couches - a For Sale sign taped to her back window that told me she was born in 1963. I was in love. I called the young guy who was selling her. He was learning to fly small airplanes, needed the extra cash for more lessons on how to fly away. Two days later and for pennies she was mine. I strapped the toddler seat in the middle of that big back seat and learned to drive a manual column shift - 3 speed on the tree. She was smooth and bouncy all at once. I named her Pearl.

About a year later, the inevitable dividing of goods that comes with the dissolution of a marriage. I was the one with the better job, the steady income, the one who could make payments on the reliable and unbelievably boring 'other' car. So my Pearl went to him. And I will admit that when the nasty old diesel Rabbit that he had traded my girl for imploded, well, I felt like it was Pearl's way of sticking her tongue out at him. How or who could have given that big gray beauty away?

But the years rolled on, things smoothed out. I got over so many things. Though I never have forgotten that car. The way I felt behind her wheel.

Then, several weeks ago my girl B and I were headed to a photo assignment up in that little country town where I used to live. We took B's little red beauty, the weather was so nice. An hour later, as we slowed and came closer to the center of town, there she was. I shouted, a quickly whipped u-turn from B, and I was out and standing in front of what looked to be my long lost car. It took me a full five minutes of staring, studying, rounding around to realize that this was not my old Pearl. A few years newer perhaps, the deep gray paint so much shinier, the seats a different fabric, in better shape but she had one very important thing in common with my old girl. That same For Sale sign taped to the inside of the window. I edged closer, afraid to look at the number and nearly started laughing. A little indulgent for this working girl but close enough to an amount I could swing. So with great encouragement from B, a few negotiations, and two more days, Pearl (the Second) is mine.

Turns out this Pearl was born in 1966 - one year before I. She has the same manual column shift but one more gear than her predecessor. The man who originally ordered her had her deposited in Italy where he flew to tour around in her for several weeks. Then shipped her back to Northern California. She has lived here ever since.

She found her way back to me.

My funny old girl.

My beautiful Pearl.


Blogger Nessie Noodle said...


12:49 PM  
Anonymous steph said...

oh! she's so beautiful! I LOVE her! I want to come up for a spin!

7:50 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I love this story. and pearl is gorgeous. you are a lucky girl.

3:12 AM  
Blogger LeS said...

Thank you lovelies :)
How you Miss Ness?
Steph - get your buns up here QUICK! Lisa - thank you, I am a lucky girl indeed.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous she saw things said...

Pearl is BEAUTIFUL!!!!! enjoy her with all of your might!

8:44 AM  
Blogger Jamie Watson said...

Oh my gosh, that is one of the best stories I've ever read in blogland. That Pearl, she is just a beauty.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Orange Pattern said...

Is this really for real? Because it's so damn cool. I'm jealous.

5:32 AM  
Blogger LeS said...

thanks guys...who wants a ride first?

10:55 AM  
Blogger kristin said...

i love this story SO very much. and that shot of your arm in the mirror is freaking brilliant! like a WOW that is just so damn good, brilliant.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Frances said...

This car could always get a fresh paint job which AllProFleetPainting offers and you don't need to worry about quality since these guys always use the best paint there is in town.

10:00 PM  

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