The first car I ever owned was a 1982 Honda Accord in a rusty brown color that I appropriately named, "Rusty." This was in 1995 so Rusty wasn't exactly the sparkling, awe inspiring car that many of my high school mates where given. In fact, I bought Rusty directly from Johan (who just so happens to be my father). My dad let me drive it around after I got my driver's license in an effort to ease my poor mother's chauffeuring duty. I got my first job and began saving my money. It took me less than 6 months to save up the $900 it took to purchase Rusty from my father outright. I still remember going to the bank for that cashier's check and the sense of pride I felt knowing that my old-rust-bucket was now fully mine!
Being Johan's child, there really was never a debate over what kind of car I would start out with. Hondas, Toyotas, Lexuses and Acuras were all over the place growing up so that's all I knew. I did eventually dabble in other makes but I won't lie, I ended up right back where I started--I now drive a much newer Acura MDX.
I learned a lot about car maintenance with old Rusty. I had a blow out on my way to school one day, so I had to put into practical use what it took to actually change a tire. I had to check my oil the right way and make sure I brought it to the shop for regular checks. It taught me about caring for things in general and working for Rusty, however old and unglamorous it was, taught me to value what I had in a way I saw a lot of peers fail to do. It's a hard lesson to learn and I'm grateful Rusty helped me learn it early on.
I upgraded and customized my car and rocked out to Sheryl Crow for about two years (I told you it was 1995) in that car until one day, Rusty probably saved my life or least saved me from serious injury. On my way to the airport, driving straight south on Oklahoma City's Meridian Avenue, a huge semi-truck made a sudden right-hand turn from his left-hand turn lane placing in himself directly in my 40-mph path. I had little time to react and slowed and turned only a little before my small car t-boned that giant vehicle. I don't remember the first few minutes after it happened. I knew my neck burned from where my seatbelt had caught me and yanked me back safely into my seat. I recall the smoke billowing out of my car's newly crumpled hood and how it frightened me enough to jump out of the car as fast as I could, having seen way too many action movies. Lastly, I remember stumbling toward the truck driver who was panicked and apologetic.
Rusty passed on that day as the car's age and damage made it unrepairable. I was able to buy another vehicle with insurance money and a little more savings but nothing lived up to Rusty's sturdy reliability until I became a Honda owner once again in college. I have been ever since. Knowing these cars are trustworthy in terms of value for money and in terms of the safety of my family means a lot to me. I became a Honda, Toyota, Acura, Lexus owner because of who my father is but I stayed one because their value is something I've witnessed all on my own.