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Betsy and 2 True Stories

Updated on December 6, 2012

What my first car meant to me.

Here's a picture of me checking the oil of my first car. It was probably a "staged" picture as I'm sure that I never looked like that when working on my car. Dad's old toolbox is sitting there so, really, he must have been the one fixing the car.

Many have fond memories of their first automobile. As you read this account you will realize why my first car meant so much to me and how she came to have the name "Betsy."

A few things having Betsy meant for me were: freedom, peace of mind and the ability to travel. It meant freedom to escape from a noisy family to sit on a quiet lake shore. It meant I could help an elderly friend on the other side of town when she needed it. But most of all, it meant that I could travel to other places whenever I wanted to (if I had the money, of course).

First Car

Did you have a first car that meant a lot to you?

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summer shade
summer shade

Our Move To The City

Summertime fun and then hoofing it.

When I was in my senior years at school we made a big move into the city.

Our family arrived in the summertime and we had fun swimming in the river and lying in the shade on the hot, sun-burning days. Then fall weather wasn't too hard to take, with the colorful leaves and cooler weather. Hardship, as I saw it then, came in the form of a new school, new classmates and finding the quickest and safest route to and from school.

Life didn't get better for me for a while. The school I attended was a very long distance from where we lived (about 5 miles). There were no buses to hop onto and as Dad needed the only car we had, to drive to work, I was left to hoof it to school on my own two feet. A few of my classmates had cars, not elegant mind you, but cars nevertheless.

Then Winter Came In Screaming - It looked a lot like this

Pixabay Photo
Pixabay Photo

Winter arrived! Now that, let me tell you, was something! This northern city was known for it's cold weather! A lot of snow! Cold windy days! I wasn't used to this! What I wouldn't have given for a car of my own!

Many times while I was walking to school, bent over .. leaning into the freezing wind, a car with a couple of my classmates would whiz by me .. sending icy snow whirling around me. These kids had grown up together, gone to their first grade together, and were great friends. I was the odd man out, so to speak. Oh, how I wished I had a car! I'd have stopped for THEM if I had a car, if my car wasn't full.

I felt that first year in a new school was the longest year of my life.

Graduation Came and Went - I started earning money.

Granduation
Granduation

Graduation came and went.

In those days, there was employment available to anyone who wanted to work. Just out of school, trained as a secretary, with a recommendation from the school, I started earning "real" money. I lived at home so, although I contributed toward my keep, the money I earned was pretty much mine to do with what I pleased. Dad taught us that we should save something out of every pay. Most of my friends went mad buying clothes with their first pay but I wanted transportation, so the first few months I tucked away most of my earnings in anticipation of that .. my first car.

I remember my first purchase, something nice for mum. My very next purchase was a small, robin-egg-blue, Austin Mini. It was a second-hand car but dad, who helped me pick it out, said that it seemed like a good buy.

My, how I loved that car! It was a while before I could drive it far because, "Gas costs money, you know!" I spent a lot of time, days in fact, shining it up, checking the oil, fiddling with the spark plugs and just sitting in it and dreaming about the trips I would take when I had more money.

The name that stuck. - Forever more.

My Betsy
My Betsy

I didn't crop this picture because it is a story in itself. This is at the back of our home and in the background you may notice all of the cars. At the time this picture was taken there were about three families living in the house there, a lot of kids and a lot of cars. One of the adults drove a school bus. (I wish he'd been around when I was going to school!) You might notice too, the bicycle handles in front of my car. I have two younger brothers and they must have left them there when called in to dinner .... or when making a quick escape.

Even though one of my brothers doesn't have anything good to say about my little Austin, I will always remember that car with fondness. I wish that I still had her, my Betsy.

Betsy's First Trip

I had taken many short trips with my new-to-me little car. The day had come and now I was finally going on a trip, to Vancouver, B.C. A friend and I decided to go for a long weekend and although there was snow on the roads, the weather was fine with no storms predicted. As we were climbing out of the valley up a long steep hill, my car kept going slower and slower. That is when she got her name, "Come on Betsy, come on," I urged her.

Story continued below ..

What color?

Can you tell that Betsy is robin-egg-blue?

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Betsy's exciting trip to Vancouver - Cont'd. - A True Story

Snowy Scene
Snowy Scene

This image is owned by Ashley Dace and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license

My first big trip to Vancouver provided a lot of excitement for me. I had never been on a long trip with Betsy so I didn't know what to expect, but the sky was clear when we left Kamloops and we didn't expect any problems.

In those days there was not the modern, super-freeway, "Coquihalla," to travel, we had to go via the Fraser Canyon Highway.The canyon road was known for its rock/snow slides, mud and accidents. Being young and inexperienced we did not worry about the possibility of any of these conditions as we set out.

When we were about 25 miles from home we were surprised that there didn't seem to be many cars coming from the opposite direction, toward us. The road was getting a bit mucky but I had driven in worse. Then the sky darkened and snow started falling very heavily and building up quickly. I noted that we were traveling behind quite a few big trucks. They must have been heavily loaded as the ruts they were making in the snow were getting deeper and deeper as we drove along.

At first, when the snow wasn't very deep, we had to follow in the tracks of the trucks ahead of us or we feared that we would get stuck in the snow.

A big problem soon became evident .. the trucks had a wider axle base than my little Betsy so I could only follow in one of their tire tracks, the other side of the car was up on the middle hump. I tried straddling the tracks but kept on slip-sliding into one or the other. I was really worried that this was going to damage Betsy's under-carriage, rip the oil pan or the tailpipe off. I was hoping that a grader would come along soon but I could tell that no grader had plowed the road as yet, and we hadn't even passed one going in the opposite direction.

I/we were really getting worried until we noticed a lite-up building not too far away. There, bless them, someone had put up a little restaurant out in the middle of nowhere. What a welcome sight was that, "OPEN" sign.

Apparently, Betsy wasn't the only car that was having trouble as there were two other cars parked in front of the restaurant. As the trucks went ploughing on through the ever deepening snow, we skidded our way into the shoveled-out driveway of this little haven.

The Little Haven - and hot chocolate

Our
Our

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attrision 3.0 Author - ltisdacurtz

The restaurant proved to be a warm, inviting (I say again) little place, the red checkered tableclothes were like out of a movie set. The proprietor was a rotund, jolly man who kept up a lively banter with one of the other travelers. We each ordered a hot chocolate and a freshly baked cookie. Never has a hot chocolate tasted as good. (Years later I returned to relive the "hot-cocolate-moment" but alas, the restaurant was no longer there.)

The weather started to improve - the snow stopped, but we had to wait for about three hours for the highway department to clear the road. We carried on and eventually reached Vancouver. We had a great time with our friends. The highway was back to its normal, muddy self on our return trip but no snow, thank goodness.

Betsy had survived her first long trip and passed with flying colors.

Make your car look like new. - No need for elbow grease.

To name or not to name that is the question. - What's your answer

I realize that I get a bit attached to my cars and tend to talk to them, pat them and pamper them as though they can hear me and are alive. I encourage them, praise them and sometimes plead with them, depending on the circumstances.

I am wondering if you do the same or ... am I weird.

Am I weird or do you name your car and also talk to your car?

Just published ..

Another adventure

with

Betsy

A harrowing experience for my Betsy .. and me! - This story involves one of these monster trucks and hauler.

Euclid Truck and Belly Dump Hauler
Euclid Truck and Belly Dump Hauler

Betsy proved to be a good little car for me with few mechanical problems. Her one difficulty was: she had trouble holding on to her brake fluid. This wasn't a very serious problem ... I just carried a bit of brake fluid with me, checked under the hood often and added the fluid when needed.

One day mum asked me to travel a distance of about 30 miles to bring a friend of hers to a special meeting and off I went with my little chug, chug, Betsy. Well, it is pretty flat country around Kamloops but this trip took me up a long hill and over a few shorter hills on a winding road.

Arriving at Lorna's (not her real name), I checked the brake fluid while waiting a short time for her to come out of the house. It was fine. I noted subconciously that the trip hadn't seemed to have reduced the level of the fluid very much. When we arrived back in Kamloops, at her meeting place, I checked the fluid again and added a bit for the return trip.

About 3 hours later Lorna got into my Betsy for a ride back to her home. It was a lovely day for a drive. Summer as only Kamloops produces. Warm, but not too hot.

It seemed everyone was out driving and I wondered, "Where is everyone going? Maybe they are going to see the big construction site that is the talk of the town." Huge earth movers were leveling an area on top of the "Big Hill" (over one mile long) on Highway #1, to make way for more motels and a new shopping center.

The drive to Lorna's was uneventful and we talked, listened to the radio and I remember singing "Blue Suede Shoes" along with a newly discovered singer, Elvis Presley. Ahh, life was good!

After saying goodbye to Lorna I hurried on my way back, to reach home before dinner time. Everything was fine until I reached the top of the Big Hill. I applied my brakes to allow a driver to pull in front of me from a side road. Betsy didn't respond right away but then braked the slight amount needed.

I must tell you, this is a steep, steep, hill and brakes are certainly a necessity. I had traveled this road many times and never had any trouble with my brakes. This time though, as I pushed on the pedal to brake .. nothing happened. I repeat, NOTHING HAPPENED! I quickly assessed the situation. The road ahead seemed clear. But, "Oh! No!" There was a huge Euclid Rock Truck and Belly Dump Hauler with heavy tires taller than my Betsy, just beginning to cross the road - about one block in front of me. The driver was using due caution and was going very slow. I laid on my horn hoping to draw his attention to my emergency. I just knew that he wasn't going to be out of my way by the time I got there! I was really scared! Betsy was going faster and faster, plumeting down the road toward the big truck. I could see that we would clear the truck but I felt for sure that we'd plow into the trailer!

Now, a strange thing happened, it was quite a surreal experience, like watching a movie scene in slow motion. I was no longer afraid. I didn't even hear the horn I was blasting! Everything was silent and calm as could be.

Well, obviously, we missed hitting him as I am here to write about it. I estimate that we had about 2 inches to spare. I glided to a stop at the bottom of the hill and sat there for a long time.

Needless to say, I got Betsy repaired so that would never happen again.

Just like this one!!! - Yikes!

My Austin Mini - Named Betsy

Could one of these mini cars on display be my Betsy?

1. The "miep miep" car

2. The race car

3. The nail car

4. The de-seamed classic

5. Mr. Bean's car (yes, really!)

First Car - Do you remember it?

I think that most people remember their first car, either fondly or otherwise.

Do you remember your first car? Please tell me what it was in the comments.

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Easy as one, two, three

Let's get started.

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Was your first car a Ford - Mustang, Vauxall, Porche, Lamborguinii, red Chevy truck or a little beauty like mine. I'll be pleased if you'll leave me a comment.

Austin Mini, Betsy's Guestbook

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    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      You might think me strange, but my parents offered to buy me a car for graduation or give me cash. Since I never had a car of my very own can you guess which I picked? I've had great cars but they are not mine alone, but "ours". Maybe one day I'll buy a car just so I can say I did. Then I'll give her a really great name. What do you think? Sound good to you?

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      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      My first car was an Oldsmobile Cutlass. It was such a great car that I have continued to purchase Cutlass's throughout my life. My current cutlass is 16 yrs old and I love it, almost as much as my very first car which also defined "freedom" for me :)

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @JohannDog: Yes, I wish that I had it now. I'd sell it! :)

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      Johann The Dog 5 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      That's a great first car. You would be very 'in' now, BOL! Woofs, Johann

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @delia-delia: I learned how to drive in a 1960 Chevy. What a beautiful car that was. (I managed not to scratch it even though the first day out learning I ploughed into our fence. Dad was really good about it. :) Thank you for your blessing.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      Our first car was a 1955 Chevy, the second was another awesome 1955 Chevy all fixed up. My hubby worked for GM so we had many different cars. I don't get attached to my cars anymore...hubby keeps them pristine.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @raelcalu: Betty to some, Betsy to others .. it's all good. :)

    • raelcalu profile image

      raelcalu 5 years ago

      We just bought a car, a Hyundai, for my girl...my mom asked me what name would I give, the first thing that comes out of my mouth was BETSY. my mother didn't like it so I change it to BETTY.

      She's red so I name her like that.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @JoshK47: A fitting name, Josh!

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      JoshK47 5 years ago

      What an absolutely wonderful lens - makes me want to go out and give my car (Kimiko - she's a Toyota, so I figured a Japanese name for a Japanese car) a hug! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @Diana Wenzel: I'm sure your Cecilia and my Betsy, if they could compare notes, would have a lot to talk about! Thank you for the visit and blessing!

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @ForestBear LM: Thank you for visiting. I appreciate it!

    • piarejuden profile image

      piarejuden 5 years ago

      Touching lens Laraine Rose.. I am a newbie and I have so much to learn! Thanks for your creativity and beautiful ideas.. :)

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Before I chose Cecilia, I had to drive a couple of ugly clunkers passed down in the family. They were always an awful color and big as a boat. I always dreamed of something sportier and smaller than a tank. So exciting to finally have the money to purchase a "real" car. Enjoyed the story of your Betsy. Thank you!

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      ForestBear LM 5 years ago

      I very much enjoyed the read. Thank you for sharing Betsy's story

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @piarejuden: Thank you for visiting me here, your sweet comment and squidlike. I'll be visiting you soon.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @aesta1: You bet! Most of us either loved or hated our first car. What an exciting time of our lives though!

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @KimGiancaterino: Well, that was the first year I was there and the ones who did that didn't know me very well. Later on .. I had a few rides but we did live in the opposite direction from where most of them lived so I walked most of the time. All if forgiven.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @miaponzo: I can just imagine you talking to, Fiat. FI...AT when you got angry! :D

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      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I bought my first car, a small one so I can parallel park it easily for my driving test. The family made fun of it, a Toyota Tercel, but I passed my test so I will always remember it.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      My first car was a Volkswagen bug. I loved that car and drove it on many long trips. I feel bad that your classmates passed you on the road in the snow. That wasn't very nice of them.

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      miaponzo 5 years ago

      Fiat :) Blessed!

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      Vicki Green 5 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      My first car was a 1963 Pontiac Tempest in sort of an aqua color. It had a little 4 cylinder engine that had a tendency to shake and shudder when it was cold, but I loved it all the same. Your story about your first car brings back so many great memories of mine.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @Brandi Bush: Thank you kindly, mam! :)

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      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      You are a great storyteller! :)

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @lesliesinclair: I like the look of the Volvo. They are usually give you good service. A bit costly now though. Have you had a look at the 2012. It is a beauty!

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      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      The first one I truly picked out on my own is a Volvo

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @SayGuddaycom: Thank you for your visit. I really appreciate your comments. I'll be back to visit you again soon.

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      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      I love to hear about people's first car because I think it is something that we can all relate to on a very personal level. Good story.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @TonyPayne: Thanks for the visit, Toni. I had a laugh at your comment. I'm sure glad the Singer's name wasn't "Smokey". lol

      Thank you for blessing this lens too.

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      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Loved the story, and I have one more to tell about my 2nd car, which I bought about 1980. It was a 1961 Singer Vogue (Singer were incorporated into the Chrysler group). I called her "Pearl", because of the chart song at the time by Elkie Brooks, "Pearl's A Singer". I love reading stories like this that come from the heart, blessed.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @anonymous: Thank you, dear friend for tweeting about this lens .. I appreciate it very much.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @anonymous: So nice of you to feature this lens on your top 10 list. I appreciate it.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Do fall in love with Betsy, this lens and.. Especially YOU.. dear pretty lady :) Tweete to all my fans. Have wonderful times.. always.. my dear friend :D

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I super enjoyed the story, LaraineRose. Well done. :) Liked!

      Oh, by the way, thanks so much for blessing my "Top 10 Most Admired Actors of The Philippine Showbiz in This New Generation" lens. As a token of appreciation, I have featured this lens on my "Top 10 Nice Things To Know About Sarah Geronimo".

      Thanks again and hope you'll like it. :)

      Amieljaven

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @cdcraftee: Nice to hear that someone else called their vehicle Betsy and I can appreciate that a truck would have a much longer name, being bigger an all. I had a VW many years later and we called her 'Veedubdub.' I wonder how many others have named their vehicles and are they always female?

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      Christine Larsen 5 years ago from South Australia

      Although my first was a VW, many years later we had a trusty farm truck - also called Betsy - in fact her full name was - Bouncing Betsy Bedford - and she carted home innumerable Clearing Sale buys and machinery and lots of animals.

      I loved her almost...but not quite...as much as my Veedub.

      Thanks for 'resuscing' the memories,

      Christine

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @pawpaw911: One of my older brothers bought a new 58 Ford Meteor and our whole family went to New York in it. There were nine of us. Some of us were small but it was crowded . We had a great time though.

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      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Mine was a 63 Ford.

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      Laraine Sims 6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @JoyfulReviewer: Thank you for visiting and commenting. My Austin 'usually got me where I needed to go to. lol

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      JoyfulReviewer 6 years ago

      My first couple of cars were used Fords. Let's just say they got me where I wanted to go.

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      Laraine Sims 6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @goo2eyes lm: The Fiat was very similar to the Austin. A fun car.

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      goo2eyes lm 6 years ago

      fiat was a cutie.

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      Laraine Sims 6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @anonymous: I'm not sure I know of many whose first car was brand spanking new. As now, the rate of pay ratio to car cost was extreme and especially for the young. We bought what we could afford and were happy that we had achieved that. Your van probably lasted far longer than the cars they make today would have lasted. It was a nice looking van.

      Thank you for you comment and visiting this lens. I really appreciate it.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Love the story of Betsy, I loved my first van too, though it wasn't a luxury car; it carried us for almost ten years.

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      Laraine Sims 6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @WillBorden: Thank you Will. Your comments are alway welcome.

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      Laraine Sims 6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @Ann Hinds: I read your car lens with much interest too. Thank you for the blessing.

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      Laraine Sims 6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @papermotor: Very good! I hope that you will do OR have done a lens on you model cars. I'm going to come to see. Right now!

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      WillBorden 6 years ago

      Hi Laraine,

      Love this lens about, Betsy, your first car- looking back can be great fun! My first car was a 1967 Ford Mustang!!!! Wish it was still around! Another fine lens, Laraine- cute & endearing!

      Will

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      Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

      I enjoyed this lens. If you have not had a "first" car that is special, it is hard to understand the devotion. Gas was so much cheaper then and with my three friends we could scrape up a dollar and make it all the way to the beach and back. This is making me homesick. Angel blessed.

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      papermotor 6 years ago

      My first car is still with me and i love it. Not because it's so nice, big or strong, in preferably the reason is it's with me in good and bad times... I love cars, but I can collect them on my shelf only as scale models. Thanks for this lens!

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      Laraine Sims 6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @julieannbrady: You never know .. maybe it is still putting around or maybe it has been made into a bar by someone. I've seen a few of those around. Thank you for having a look at some of my new lenses. I appreciate it.

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      Laraine Sims 6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @MsBrightside LM: I dropped by and looked at your new car. I think I've come up with the right name.

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      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      Ah, enchanting ... nice to meet Betsy ... you know, I don't think I ever named my cars ... but that's a good idea ... I think I can reflect back in time and come up with suitable names. Hmmm ... my first car? Gosh! I drove mom's Ford Falcon with the shift on the steering wheel -- got my drivers license parallel parking that! Challenging. I think my first real car was a Pontiac Firebird, limefire green with a white landau top. I wonder where it is today?

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      MsBrightside LM 6 years ago

      My first car was an Olds! Now I've made a lens about my newest one... and we're asking people to help us name it. Drop by if you have time.