Oh the memories that were created in owning my very first vehicle. It was a 1974 Chevy Luv pickup truck. Old and faded black with a stick shift. It was pre-owned by my mother’s boyfriend who was a cop and whom I didn’t have the greatest relationship with because of his hard assed cop attitude. The Chevy Luv was handed down to me on the condition that I pay for the insurance, gas and all repairs. To me that was a great exchange for the freedom of owning my own vehicle and to be able to travel at leisure without asking for a ride. Before that it was just me and my 10-speed bike that got me around.
One issue that came to mind when I got the title is that I had no idea of how to drive it. I’d been taught on a standard, less offensive vehicle where all you had to do is press the gas to go and break to stop. This vehicle had a 5 speed stick shift and a clutch. I was clueless and to be honest quite nervous. As a complete surprise to me that hard assed cop I mentioned volunteered to give me driving lessons. That also made me nervous because I wasn’t sure when the next time he would jump down my throat for something I did wrong. Having no other choice in the matter I graciously with a fake smile accepted his offer for instructions.
Actually the lessons turned out to be less offensive than what I had imagined them to be. He took me out on a vacant country road and gave me the reigns, so to speak. After several attempts, and numerous times stalling because of that stupid clutch/gas ratio I got the hang of it pretty quick. Before long I was racing all over town in that little black wonder. Of course I avoided the stoplights placed on hills when ever possible.
I was a volunteer firefighter at the time and the little Chevy Luv proved more than adequate because it allowed me to carry my turn-outs in the bed of the truck. Easy in and easy out access. Insurance was pretty cheap and at that time gas was as well so the compromise didn’t take so much of a toll on my pocket book. However, that quickly changed and my little Chevy Luv started taking ill and was in desperate need for a third member. What was a third member? Well to this day I really can’t explain it but it was told to me that it had something to do with that round thing under the vehicle that some refer to as “A pumpkin”. The only thing I knew is that the third member had something to do with the inside of that pumpkin thing. Ok keep in mind, I’m a girl. I was seventeen and yes I knew how to put gas in it and I even knew how to do my own oil change. But change an actual part in the truck? You gotta be kidding me.
It’s now a blessing that though I was a girl, and I was a teenager, I was also stubborn. When I wanted to get things done I possessed this overwhelming will to not let the impossible stop me. Hence the trip to the auto wreckers. I knew that there would be no way in Haitis that I could pay for a mechanic to do the job, volunteer firefighting just didn’t pay that much. So I explained my dilemma to one of the guys at the counter. Low and behold he knew exactly what I was talking about though I didn’t know myself and he had the actual part I was looking for.
I purchased the part and spent a great amount of my time trying to decipher it. I had taken a little bit of auto shop in high school so I was familiar with some of the tools needed; though I have to admit the real reason I took auto shop was not to work on cars.
I also decided that I was not going to perform this task at home or where there wouldn’t be anybody to ask questions of if I got stuck under the vehicle. At home I grabbed a tool box, a jack, some sodas and headed out. By some freak accident my mom and I were able to half drive, half push the truck to the city park. Yeah the city park. You see a lot of my friends and acquaintances hung out there and most of them were guys. Can you smell a plan in action? Seriously though, I was planning on doing the work myself and that is how I originally started out. I even had a set of overalls to complete the look.
After actually jacking the truck up myself I slid underneath with tools in hand. I managed to take a part that pumpkin thingy under the truck. That’s when the hard part came up. Look at all those gears. What in the world? By that time I had gathered quite the audience. One by one they came to help. Look at her, the grease monkey. Yeah, that is what I looked like but a girl in need is a girl in deed. I had 5 or 6 guys offering there services. Of course the stubborn in me at first said, “No, it’s ok, I got it.” but after hours of struggling with a persistent non-moving bolt I reluctantly gave in. As much attention that my little stunt got I’m surprised that the daily news wasn’t there with cameras rolling.
After like 5 hours of slaving and watching, the truck was back in service. Amazed that it only cost me $20 and yeah I got a date out of it. My little pick up was healed.
I drove that thing for years and with as many miles that it had accumulated I was actually able to drive it, with my previous date I got at the park from California to Florida only needing to replace the points on the way. Actually in Florida, I drove it for a few more years until one day it refused to run no longer so I put it to rest. Rest in peace little Chevy Luv.