The Charger

My parents married when they were very young, mom was eightteen and dad was twenty-one. They did not wait long to start their family, first came me and then fourteen months later my sister Terry came along. From what I understand they were crazy about each other from the very beginning and what they lacked materially they made up for with love. When I have come across old pictures of mom with us girls the first thing that always strikes me is how young she was. She was tiny and had long red hair and beautiful skin and despite the fact that it was the 60’s she sure did not look anything like June Cleaver. And then there was that little pinch of rebel that you could see twinkling in her eyes. I know for sure June did not have that.

We lived in a duplex in the city of St. Louis until I was five and despite my young age it strikes me funny not only how much I remember but how vividly I remember it. However as I would come to find in my later years, certain things I did not remember and probably for good reason. For a long time we only had one car which dad used to get back and forth to work and unless she needed the car for some reason she was mostly homebound with us girls during the week. Now dad always loved to buy mom gifts and spoil her and he did so as often as he could. Mostly they were small things but when I was going on five years old he got her the mack daddy of all gifts, the one that made her the envy of every muscle head around. A 1966 Dodge Charger. It was white with red pin stripes, red interior with bucket seats and best of all, (at least we girls thought so), a fold down back seat that allowed you to lay in the trunk.

I do not remember much about the car in those early days except that it seemed as though we lived at the dealership because the electrical system never worked correctly. So you can imagine my shock when just a couple of years ago, my sister asked me if I knew that mom would drag race the charger with us girls in the back seat while dad was at work? I of course was quick to tell her she was delusional and she did not have a clue what she was talking about. That’s when she told me she got it straight from the horse’s mouth-yep that’s right, mom had spilled her guts and come clean after all these years. Well, I needed to confront this serious allegation myself, so I asked mom and she very calmly answered, “Sure, but I didn’t do it that often”. I was dumbfounded-who knew my mom was the cute little redheaded drag racing queen! Questions flooded my mind, like was she good at it? Did she make any money? Did she cause any wreaks? Did dad know? You know all the obvious questions you would ask you mom when confronted with this information. I didn’t however, ask her if grandma knew because I knew the answer to that one-no way because mom was still around to tell about it.

We had the old Charger around for a very long time and there were many fond memories made in that car. It was the car mom taught me how to drive in, and while far from being new by that time, I must admit I felt like pretty hot stuff behind the wheel. Much has changed since the days when the Charger was new, but not much about mom has changed. She is still extremely independent, her hair is still red, still has a lead foot and God still has an angel driving with her at all times.

Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.