Cars in My Life
#95 From a Car Crash to a Tesla and Beyond
Cars have changed dramatically since I first learned to drive. Do you remember your first car?
My history with cars really began before I was born. When Mom was 13 years old, her mother died in a car crash.
The 1940s -The First Car
The first car I remember my family having was a green Ford. We had it for several years because of the war. The article Make It Do suggests there was a shortage of rubber, so personal cars were not manufactured for a period of time.
The 1950s - Learning to Drive
My Dad taught me to drive when I was about 16. The car - a maroon Mercury had a stick shift and clutch. Trust me, that was an adventure. Every Sunday, we visited his mom, and there was a stretch of road where he allowed me to practice - sometimes. So, each Sunday, I held my breath as we neared that area - hoping for my chance.
I got my driver’s license and planned to buy a car - a used black and white 54 Ford. But Dan and I got married; we didn’t need two vehicles. He loved cars, and we had more than I can count - convertibles, trucks, company cars, campers, SUVs, and a station wagon.
The 1960s - The Young Family Car
One of our favorite cars was a yellow ‘57 Chevy. It had an automatic transmission, but no seat belts. I have many fond memories of that car! Dan built a platform in the backseat so the kids had a place to play on car trips. He rebuilt the front end after an accident, and we made many trips to the fire station with a red light and siren blaring because he was a volunteer fireman.
The 1980s - Love at First Sight
My favorite car was a red Pontiac Fiero - the first one I bought for myself. It was love at first sight. I zipped all over town and fit into small parking places - pure joy. To this day, I miss my little car.
The 2000s- His Pride and Joy
Our last car was a 2012 Cadillac crossover - with all the amenities. It was Dan’s pride and joy, but it was too big for me - the Fiero was more my size. We had several fun car trips, but he did most of the driving.
A helpful feature was the key fob that opened the door. Dan refused to acknowledge his memory problems, and “no one - but no one - was going to keep him from driving his car.”
Unbeknownst to him, I took the battery out of the fob. When it didn’t open the door, I told him the battery was dead, and we’d order a new one - an order that never arrived. I hated the deceit, but had few options given the situation and his mindset.
2022 - The Tesla
Last month, I went on a car trip with my daughter and son-in-law in his Tesla. What a long way we have come from that Mercury. This car was amazing in many ways.
The instrument panel showed the cars on either side of him, highlighted road hazards and accidents, and charged my smartphone. An app on his phone opened the car door. When he got too close to another car or went too fast, the car let him know - although it didn’t warn him about the speed limit in the small town where the highway patrolman stopped him. And, of course, there was no need to fill the gas tank, but he had to charge it about every 200 miles.
While I know electric cars are good for the environment, I wonder what the downside will be regarding electricity consumption and cost.
Do you have any concerns?
I also wonder what the future will look like - driverless cars, drone cars, no cars - still to be determined? I read that Mercedes is planning for a complete transition to all-electric vehicles by 2030.
The article Smart Cars’ Hidden Feature: A New Business Model offers additional possibilities
Smart, connected, data-driven cars are about to hit the road. They could deliver significant benefits for drivers and society – and potential sources of revenue for carmakers and other industries.
What Does This Have To Do With Aging Well?
Good question! Well, for one, it may let older adults be more independent. I stopped driving after eye surgery - many of those options would allow me to run errands and take small trips - on my own.
The Tech Republic website offers further possibilities.
ON ANOTHER NOTE - two articles I wanted to share:
The Kettle You Never Knew You Wanted Until Now - this was just fun, and we can always use more fun in our lives.
TGIF: I’m Back, Baby! I enjoy the author’s perspective on current issues.
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