A HIDDEN MEMORY GEM REDISCOVERED

in #writing3 years ago

The Volvo


I was scanning through old images and ran across one I made of my first and only sports car, a 1972 Volvo 1800e. The instant I saw it, a related memory popped into my reality for the first time in several decades. It was a memory of being in the car, although not about the car. For some reason it has become a memory gem: one of those for-no-reason special memories that remains in your brain. It was trivial in the overall timeline, but something worth remembering and recording.

Of course, the car is worth remembering because it was a hard-to-get model, especially when and how I bought it. The circumstances around the purchase were just memorable as the car.

I was on my way to work in the morning driving on the bypass around Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and passed by a new car dealership that had been under construction for a few months. That morning, the front of the building's show room was obscured by seven long trailers all loaded with new Volvos. Volvo dealers were rare at the time and I don't remember having seen one before this one.

I slowed down to get a better look at the cars - themselves also not common in the US at the time. On the top back of one of the trailers was a small, white sports car that I had never seen in real life; only on the British TV show, The Saint, starring Roger Moore. He drove one just like this one and his was the only one I had ever seen.


I pulled into the parking lot, stopped, and walked over to the truck for a better look. I must have stayed too long because a salesman walked up to me and asked if I was interested in a new Volvo.

I pointed to the car and replied, "I want that one," I said with unusual conviction for someone who had not even thought of buying a replacement for my VW Beetle.

"I can see why you would, but we don't open until Friday," he answered, with equal certainty.

"Can I buy it now since I'm already here?" I asked. "I can give you a deposit now and bring a cashier's check at lunch," I replied as if I did that sort of thing often. I was focused on outcome and not process or other details at the moment.

"Well, we only get one of those because we're a new dealership and we get one of each model. If we sell this one, we can't get another until we sell a hundred of the top of the line sedans," he uselessly informed me.

"So you mean that you'll keep this on the showroom floor until you have sold a hundred of your most expensive cars and then you will sell this one so you can get one more? Why not just go ahead and sell this and get your money now instead of waiting however long it will be before you get your money? Either way you won't get another of these until then anyway, so what do you gain?" I asked. I was on a roll.

He thought about it and a response was not immediate.

"You sell it today or wait a year? That doesn't make sense to me," I continued.

Making the first sale before the first car had been unloaded was a plus, I suppose. "Let me go find the paperwork," he said as he walked off.

I stood there looking at the car and thinking of how much better I was going to look in that fine machine than Roger Moore did.

I finally came back to reality and realized I had not asked the price of the car just before the sinking feeling in my stomach arrived.

The salesman returned, invited me inside, and a seat at his desk. He pushed a form over to me and told me that was the purchase contract and that I could give him the underlined amount as the down payment.

I was so proud of myself that I had not flinched when I saw the price. It was twice as much as the five year old Oldsmobile Cutlass had been when we bought it new. It still ran perfectly and so did the VW. I was beginning to see the possibility of needing a better justification for the purchase than I had on hand, which was none!

Deal done, I went to work and then walked across the street to the Planter's Bank to do the dirty business.

I delivered the check during lunch and they promised to have it ready for me to pick up the next day.

Jules, the wife unit, and I finished dinner and I helped with the cleanup afterwards. We sat on the back porch in the shade while drinking iced tea to escape the late September heat. I thought it might be an appropriate time to mention the purchase, so I gave an accurate account and waited.

"That is a good looking car and I'm glad you saw it before someone else did. Can we go see it?" she asked.

Yes, indeed!


The car was parked beside the showroom and I drove slowly towards it. "Gosh, that looks a lot better than the one on TV," she exclaimed. "I really like it!"

She put an arm around my waist. Solid perfection! Pure gold, she was!

So was the 1800. It was almost two years later before I saw another Volvo like it and it was in passing on the Interstate highway near Miami, Florida; not surprising because the US had been allocated only 500 that year. I loved driving it and even entered road rallies with my friend, John, as navigator. We made first place in the Dirty Hairy rally, in Chapel Hill, and we had fun in all twelve of them had fun in all of them.

My friend Charlie was the only female to drive it because she drove like a man and knew how a car was supposed to feel in a tight curve. That, too was perfection.

Jules agreed that I looked better in the Volvo than Roger Moore.


The Volvo 25 years later. Perfect!

The Memory Gem


Oh, about the memory gem.

I was driving from Rocky Mount to Raleigh around noon to attend a meeting, listening to music and enjoying the ride while in a relaxed, peaceful state of mind. I became vaguely aware of a car passing me on the left on the four lane road. It was barely moving faster than I was and was taking a long time to pass.

As the back of the family sedan drew up even with me, I could see a girl not more than eight feet away from me, on the center of the back seat, turned sideways, her right arm on the top of the seat and her chin resting on her hand. I saw her without thinking about her as anything other than part of the passing car.

My mind noticed that she was looking blankly straight at me as if looking through me. Next, I noticed her massive pile of tightly curled brown hair that was somewhere between an overgrown Afro and a long string mop! It was a glorious pile of hair even during a time when "big hair" was fashionable. Hers was so...THERE...that I first thought she had a Puli dog lying next to her head but realized that was her hair!

It was magnificent! Such hair should be preserved as a national treasure!

I stared at her while my mind was fully enthralled. After what was probably too long to be polite, I saw an honest-to-goodness smile start on her face and as it spread wide and exposed her perfect teeth, I raised my left hand from the steering wheel and gave her a thumb up.

Moving her hand slightly, she raised her fingers from the seat back enough to wave them up and down slowly in turn, giving me a "wiggle wave."

She continued to stare at me until the car disappeared.

At that moment and more than anything, I wanted to know who she was. The encounter was random and magnetically intimate without being sexual. "One of those things" does not describe the effect it had on me and still has on me. Not at all.

When I returned home, I told Jules about it; Jules who had far more curly hair than the average mortal.

"Would mine look good like that?" she asked.

You should have seen her a year later, possessed by her hair!

the photos are by @willymac

finis


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Hi willymac,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

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                 - willymac


I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

Awesome post. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. You have achieved that.

Thank you for reading it and for commenting.

you know that car does look rather groovy! i always found roger moore a little too smooth but the car is a beaut.

I have heard it is really cool to drive. they dont make cars like that anymore. glad you had fun with it

Yes, it does look groovy and I did look better than Roger Moore when I was in it!

It was the best car to drive I have ever been in. At exactly 71 mph, the aerodynamics made it grip the road, the noise and vibration were lowered, and it felt as if I had just gone supersonic. That exhilarating experience alone was worth the cost!

I like the technique of telling your readers. You have a "voice" that makes your readers follow your story until it's finished.

Thank you so much, @anggreklestari. That is one of the nicest compliments I have received on my writing!

@willymac Charming story of this beautiful and elegant Volvo car. It is very well preserved. It is a great jewel for the beautiful family history it keeps. The white color of the Volvo is beautiful. I love the white color looks so fine. Your story is so beautiful. I really liked the part where your wife told you it was a good choice. Thank you for sharing the beautiful story with us. A big greeting.

Thank you, @yeninsfer. My wife, Juliette, was wonderful about it. When she put her arm around my waist, she said, "You did a good thing, my dear." I remember that expression of love and gentleness forever.

I love big greetings! Thank you.

Really charming your wife. To feel that support and those nice words is really incredible. My respects and great greetings with much affection for your wife. You are also a lover of this white car that is very beautiful. Congratulations for forming such a beautiful couple. A big greeting.

Special greetings to you also, Yen

That was a very sweet thing for you to say. Yes, life has been very lucky for me and having a wonderful and supporting wife adds perfection to what was already good.

Yes, my friend, what a blessing it is to live in a home full of love. I wish you much more happiness from the bottom of my heart. You are loved.

To be best friends with someone for 50 years is truly a gift I wish everyone could have and experience.

That was love at first sight for the car!! And thankfully, you were able to get it, I love the aesthetic of the car, it is definitely worth the buy. You still have the car with you?

It was magnificent! Such hair should be preserved as a national treasure!

I can only imagine how magnificent that hair looked! Its amazing how photos brings back great memories which we have probably forgotten.

There are times when we feel a great deal of connection with people, without it being sexual or anything- the connection is just there, even if it is from afar! What a memorable encounter you had.

Finding the car was true serendipity and I never regretted getting it. I had it for 28 years and sold it to a favorite (younger) cousin for the original purchase price. She had it detailed and gave it to her husband as a surprise gift and he built a climate controlled garage for it! Their son used it as his "escape" car to leave the church with his bride when he was married, and he later sent me a photo of their four year old son sitting in the driver's seat. It a part of our ectended family now.

Yes, that was a strange and memorable encounter and I have wondered about her more than anyone in my past, I think. There have been two other "in passing" encounters that have left deep impressions; one worth writing about. Neither were sexual at all; more of a re-encounter with someone you know well but cannot place.

And, on reflection, the hair was a national treasure!. There is a British singer, Ella Eyre, who has hair that comes close. I love it!

Than you for reading and for the nice comment, Audrey. I like the open and honest way you write and added myself to follow you.

Will

Wow! That must have been a really nice surprise to her husband. An escape car? Wow! That sounds thrilling. There is a whole lot of fun and memorable moments attached to that car. I am glad it is still there, within the family, I hope it stays for even longer!

I have had such similar encounters too that I just can't get over, really. Some people that believe in reincarnation may say you have met them in your "previous life" but I really don't believe that. It could be just as you have said!

Ella Eyre? I have to check her out.... Wow! Her hair truly is amazing. And you said it just close to that girl's? Now, I can't imagine how much hair that girl had... It must be magnificent!!

Oh Wow! Thanks for the compliment and the follow, Will! I really appreciate.

I loved the way you wrote your story, it was very exciting, without a doubt a really fascinating story .. It is a beautiful car, and it has been so long and still in perfect condition is wonderful .. Excellent post, A hug @willymac !!

Ahhh..hugs are the best rewards that can be received. Thank you, Nay!

I am pleased that you liked the story. Writing it was almost like being there again and it helped me discover a few things I had not thought of in decades. I did not include it, but when Jules put her arm around my waist, she said, " You did a good thing, my dear."

How perfect is that for an approval?

I love your art! You are very skilled and your work is wonderful! I especially like the Venitian Mask and the Portrait of a little puppy. To be able to draw like that is magic to me.

It is very nice to meet you!

Will

As they say: "Remember is living" ;)
The Venetian mask has been one of the most complicated works I've done. Thank you very much for visiting my blog. I appreciate it very much. Greetings from Venezuela

Not seen those models before! That motor is something to admire.
Over here in the uk, it's usually what the main market sells beit the old 245dl estates to the V70s.

Yes, @drvimto, she is a beautiful machine. Quite beautiful inside and out. Manual shift, leather interior and firm on the road at high speed.

Damn that is one slick machine. Great story too lol. Really captured that mix of exhilaration and your stomach hitting the floor when you buy a new car.

Thanks, Brian. I know I'm not objective about it but I have always thought it was a beautiful design for a small car. The aerodynamics were perfect and at exactly 71 mph, it settled into a perfectly smooth, almost soundless and dreamlike state. The experience of the first one of those made up for the panic I felt when I actually bought it.

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@willymac what a beautiful story he has written, the car volvo yes that is a great jewel the magnificent color that you selected the family always has a good choice and the ones that did it perfectly the valve of 1972 if it is a relic nowadays that's a diamond @neymarth10

Yes, it is a white diamond and has become part of my family for 45 years.

Thank you for reading about and for letting me know. I am happy to share the story with you.

@willymac is very beautiful and has many experiences with young people that I like to hear the stories of the elderly gentlemen who have lived a great age this time I had to read that was yours willymac. It leaves me some teaching because I like to learn from the elderly gentlemen @neymarth10

I am pleased that it was of some value to you, @neymarth10. I have many stories of my past posted on Steemit.

haha! howdy sir willymac! hey I remember seeing those cars over the years but I didn't know they were rare. I bet you had that thing for years huh.

Yep, Tex, I kept it for 27 years before I sold it to a cousin who had it super-detailed and gave it to her husband as a surprise. It now lives in Asheville, NC, still in perfect condition and with 20 more years of family history collected in its memory.

hahaha! oh my gosh willymac that's a great story..and Volvo's are super sell built cars aren't they? they are supposed to be superior in safety, well I don't know about the sports cars but the others. Do they still make some type of sportscar?

I think they discontinued the sports car a decade ago. Mine was very responsive and a dream to drive. At exactly 71 mph, it would settle down and get quiet and vibrations would stop and it felt more stable, like the wind resistance had stopped. It was like a jet after breaking the sound barrier...smooth and in its own world. To me, that feeling of transition was like driving a half million dollar car (not that I ever have).

sir willymac! oh that does sound like a dream come true..so for an older car it was super well built and designed!

It was not "older" when I bought it, so I didn't know that things would get any better than that!

I know what you mean...but I'm glad I didn't wait 40 more years until something better came along. Besides, I'll betcha anything made today will not be of that quality unless it is hand-made

yes sir willymac I know what you mean, everything today is plastic and snapped together. You'd probably have to go to a Rolls Royce today to find a similar quality car!

I agree. The seams in the Volvo were all hand welded and sanded smooth and I could not find them visually or by touch. That was back when "unibody" had a real meaning.

What a great jewel you have @willymac. In my country, I haven't come across this Volvo model on the road. I bet its value must be not replaceable with history and memories. I could imagine your love at first sight where you didn't ask for the price and want to grab it immediately. You have a good writing skill as well. It hooked me to read the story until end. Oh I love that car, it look elegant with the white color.

I have not seen another Volvo 1800e on the road here in many years, either, so they are getting quite scarce. It is indeed an elegant car and finding it was a very happy accident for me. I have never regretted spending the money for it because of the satisfaction and the memories it has given me.

Thank you for the compliment on my writing. That is better than a money reward! I am pleased that you enjoyed the brief visit with me into my past.

Will

The car now is a gem like you said. Have a nice day!!

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Wow @willymac good to see you.
Almost a thousand upvotes, that's something now. Congratulations
Good photos and the vintage cars had their own class no doubt

Thank you, my friend. Yes, vintage cars have their own special appeal. Just remember that I bought it when it was new, so that puts me in the "vintage" category, too!

Haha vintage ? That makes you pretty valuable and expensive too :D

You bought it and spent a good bit of your life with it, wasn't it tough giving up for something like that

Tough, yes, but the seat was very low and I have been developing lower back problems for a long time and that made riding in it uncomfortable. My cousin is positioned so she can adequately care for it and she first rode in it in 1974, so it is part of her life also. It is in caring, family hands and I don't need to worry about it.

I do miss seeing it around here though. Sigh...

I apologize for being too late to reply but I do remember replying to this comment earlier, it might have not gone through.

Am glad its still in safe hands and you can still get to see it and drive it again. Things we love become a part of our life and we do not want to get rid of them ever, this is why I could never sell any of my mobile phones ever.

You can go to your cousin anytime to see it and to drive it too which is a plus and some relief :)

She (Debbie) keeps me informed and shares photos of events when the Volvo ie being used.

I feel the same way about holding on to small things that have memories attached. They are often reminders that our memories are of real events and not just something we have imagined.

Am glad you are still able to see it and know what it is being used as. Ask Debbie to share some photos for us too :)

That's true, memories attached with things or our acts or even if we relate memories with music at times, it stays with us forever. We mostly live on memories so there is no harm in attaching things with our memories in a bid to let those memories live with us forever.

We mostly live on memories

You're a wise man, Hanan. I think you will do well in life.

Looking very far ahead into the unknown, we often find that we have nothing left but memories and very often, music can bring back memories the conscious mind cannot retrieve alone. We all should carry music with us in our memories. (Being OLD, I make a strict separation between music and "noise")

Haha vintage ? That makes you pretty valuable and expensive too :D

Nice sentiment, but "vintage" in people is just a polite word for old and out of style.

That's true, whatever we loves becomes a part of our life and not getting to see around (what we love) hurts
But am glad your car is in good hands and will be taken care of

You are not out of style, you still got it I feel ;)

You are not out of style, you still got it I feel ;)

You are indeed a perceptive man, Hannan! Flattery always works!

There is a saying in the South of the US that sounds like praise, but actually is a statement of failure. When someone says, "Well, bless his heart, he tried", it means he was a horrible failure at it because he just is not capable.

"Did you read his last book?"
"Yes, I did. Bless his heart."
"I know, that's what I thought."

I rather like the custom because it is never said in a hurtful way.

(nothing to do with your comment; just reminded me of the saying.)

I thought style has nothing to do with age, mature people know more about style and it suits them more too.
That's a new saying for me never heard of it but it has a meaning in it. We shouldn't tell someone of their failure straight away it might hurt them.
(its about the saying only not about you as I still stand by my statement that you still got style :) )

Usually when someone fails, they know they have failed and that alone is the most severe punishment for them. In some cases, the person does not really understand that they have failed and that is when "Bless his heart" is best used. It is a very gentle acknowledgement of someone's failure without actually mentioning it. I think that is one of the most endearing things about Southern US culture: the gentle politeness shown to others

This short video describes its use best:

And thank you for your comment about style. I agree, but it can be reflected in many ways, such as in the way one dresses, in their language or manner. I was taught as a child that I was to respect women and I still say "yes, ma'am" to young sales clerks I have never met. Unfortunately, too many of them think I'm just an odd old man. They think they are mature but they do not know that they are the ones who have not learned their own culture yet.

It's a Southern thing. ( Our standard reply to explain why we do some of the things we do.)

I did not realize that someone could have love at first sight for a car just like that. You had the charm to convince the salesman gave in.

At least Jules thought of having the same hair style with that girl in the car... Do you still have the sports car? Or changed it with something else?

It was must one of those rare moments in time when it was there in front of me and caution disappeared just as my brain logic turned off and all I saw was The Car. I never had a single regret, either. I sold it to a cousin after 27 years. She gave it to her husband as a surprise gift and they still have it 20 years later. A lot of family history in that sweet machine!

Yes, Jules was very interesting then and I truly miss the "Days of Big Hair". Having been through the hippie period, it was not as odd as it seems now, but there were sights to behold when Jules got all fixed up. I wrote a bit about that in Jules, Freddie and the Monkey Man (linked above).

I added you to my follow list. You post oddball, interesting things...

So the car is up and running after 47 years? Wow, it must be all worth it then! Plus, that means you the owners are really taking care of your stuff.

Oddballs, yeah? 😂 Those are my saviour for not having time to really sit down and think about what I am supposed to write. I thought I have a lot of things in mind but cannot find the time to focus on them. Steemhunt is easier so there are my hunts. I still hope to get to writing one day, though... Thanks!

Nothing at all wrong with oddball things. They mostly guide my thought process through everything and it's worked out okay so far!

Yes, sometimes oddballs can bring out great ideas.

You had the hot Volvo and I had the one in the back of your second photo. I loved it just as much. It was a '72 as well and I got it for $800 in 1996 from the guy who bought it new. He just about cried when he gave me the keys. I drove it for 10 years back and forth to work about 8 miles a day, and sold it for $600 after that. I did no rallies, but I did take it out on the highway every few months so it would get up to speed. All cars should be as wonderful as Volvos :)

Believe it or not, Jules liked the 1800 so much, we went back the following week and bought a 164; a gold one! We drove it for almost 21 years and it was falling apart so I traded it in for a pickup truck that I needed more than a sedan. The 1800 held its purchase price 27 years later! Good cars and still great memories.

Oh wow. The cars were sure made to last. When I had mine, I noticed many more of the road. It was the big old clunky Volvo and everyone loved theirs. I though $200 for ten years worth of a car was a great deal and I did not need expensive insurance for it :)

We can all remember back when things were more reliable, were worth more, and cost less. I don't even look at cars now and have no desire for one. After driving my (new) 2001 truck I traded the Volvo for in August, 2001, and being so used to being higher off the ground, riding in a regular car would give me a panic attack. Plus, the Chevrolet truck is far more solidly built than a car. I don't plan to sell it until I can no longer drive.

The new Volvos are much more stremlined but are much more expensive relative to their competition in 1972.

Insurance is going up, up, up but it is on all vehicles, so it's a cost of ownership.

I get rid of my last one in 2013. I am on public transit now and very happy this way. Kuala Lumpur is awesome in this regard, but I was in San Diego when I got rid of the car and did just fine. Driving at all these days is stress I don't need and money I don't have :)

Unfortunately, public transportation is scarce around here. There are a lot of trucks that are dual-purpose: replace the car and haul fence posts and wire. Having a vehicle is an expensive thing but there's no alternative. Fortunately, I don't crave a new car when the annual model comes out! Besides, II really like my truck. It drives smoothly on a highway and is far more comfortable than a car. Sure beats walking!

@willymac Thank you for not using bidbots on this post and also using the #nobidbot tag!