Of Youth and Dreams

As we head into the last part of the school year, I am surrounded by those who are ready to head out onto their next journey in life. These guys and gals are full of hopes, dreams, and as far as they are concerned (and they are right) the whole world lies ahead of them, with nothing to stop them.

Looking through their yearbooks, listening to them give their list of "I am going to....", I have to tell you it makes it very easy to look back on my hopes and dreams when I was their age (gulp) - almost 23 years ago. And Mother's day made it even easier....

Come back with me to my youth to hear what I Dreamed of....

Back when I was a Junior and Senior, my dreams were simple in nature. Fun with my friends, a cool and fun car, a little bit of money in my pocket. See, simple. I remember, during the summer between my junior and senior year, codifying one of those dreams - the cool and fun car. I had saved my money from my work at McDonalds, and managed to pull together around $1,200. BIG MONEY my friends, BIG MONEY. So off I went to the car lot.

And there she was. I say she, because she spoke to me as only one female can do to another. She was beautiful, she was "sweet", she was hot...and she was going to be mine! Seriously...MINE.

Sitting gently on the corner of the lot, she quietly called "J...come drive me, come love me, I am only 5 years younger than you....I am yours for the taking" (and for $1,900 but that was of no consequence to me - I could figure that out later).

She wasn't the "cool car" that my friends all were driving compliments of their parents - you know, a mercedes, a converitible K car (Yikes..how was that EVER cool), a camaro, and the like. She was better than that. Her claim to fame was farther reaching - and that little 1971 Sunshine Yellow MG Midget Convertible spoke to me of future fun, open top driving with one of my buds (okay - it could only be one of my buds), of "arriving in the word of totally cool and popular", of leaving my fatty fatty two by four image behind, and of so many other things.

Oh, and she was a pretty sweet drive too - with very little rust, and a manual transmission engine that ran like it was only 8 years old versus the 12-13 that she was! It was Fun....and I was in love.

Of course, like any good teenager, I went home to tell my Daddy. "Daddy - it ROCKS. It is awesome, you have to come see it and test drive it with me". (Aside - I would have test drove it again and again with or without him - I just wanted to DRIVE.IT. In the words of Waynes World "You will be mine. Oh Yes..you will be mine" - Obsessive much?).

And the world fell out from underneath me.

"Joyous (a nickname my Dad was fond of calling me), we don't need to test drive it. It isn't a practical car. We live in a place that gets snow for G_d's sake, you can't have a summer car as the car you rely on. Plus, it is old, british, and not very reliable. Keep Looking".

For those of you who know my Dad, that Keep Looking stops the whole thing dead it its tracks. It is the Period. End of sentence said the Judge and all that.

My heart was broken. BROKEN I tell you. Yes I understood the validity of "practical". But I didn't want practical, I WANTED MY 1971 Sunshine Yellow MG Midget. The stuff my dreams were made of. Luckily my friends understood my devastation and would drive me past the car lot to see my love - until one day she was gone and in someone else's care.

If you read through my senior year Yearbook, you will see several comments relative to "my car". It was common knowledge that all I needed and wanted in life was a 1971 Sunshine Yellow MG Midget, $1,000, and an open road before me. That would be my perfect life. That would be my bliss.

(Imagine me and you..I do..I think about you day and night...it's only right...the only one for me is you..and you for me...so happy together......)

But of course, life goes on - yet dreams die hard.

At 25 (when I had the Princess), I still pined for my MG. As bright as the sunshine. Just me and the open road. Me and my $1,000 bucks - flying down the backroads across this great nation.

At 35 (before the king was even a good idea), we saw one on the side of the road - but it was orange and I hate orange. Plus, we were parents of a 10 year old hockey player - so not only was it not practical, there was no money for impracticalities.

At 38 (just after the king was born) there was one around the corner from our house in Louisville. 1971. Midget. Sunshine Yellow. $2K. Whoa. I felt like I was 17 again. But with two kids, a mortgage, and life happening all around us, no way. Mr. Oz desperately wanted to purchase it, but understood when I told him "No. This was a teenage dream. And a dream that lives beautifully in my memories. To fulfill it would only destroy this dream - reality often stinks and I don't want it to die".

See...I told you dreams die hard. Plus, I kept hearing B Faison's voice in my head "It isn't practical...It isn't practical...It isn't practical....." And he was right. Sigh. Dad's are always right (heads up Princess...I am not kidding about that).

$1,000, a 1971 Sunshine Yellow, MG Midget and an open road. Doesn't it sound glorious and free from responsibility? Sigh...this momma of two, wife, working woman, thinks it sounds just perfect.


Enter my love number Five. (You know Mr. Oz, the Princess, the King, and the 1971 MG Midget).

Number five too called me. Not in a divorce your husband kind of way, but more in a way of "Hey Mrs. Practical - practical sucks - and now that you are 41 - a Mom of two boys who are trying to kill you with their exploits - you need me and all I represent". It was more of an adult way to call me. More on my old woman level.

Cue my love number two. (Okay he really is number one in my heart - Mr. Oz, but he was my second true love - after the Midget!). Did you see it? DID YOU SEE IT?

That MG up the road? Of freakin course. I have MG-Dar - I can sense when my dreams are within five miles of my home.

Then my second true love drove it. And understood my dream.

Of course, then my second true love bargained, negotiated, struck a deal, and.....made (as he always does on so many levels) my dreams come true.

So "Dig if you will a picture"And here is my love #5.

It's not a 1971 (it's a 1976 - 10 years younger than me). It is an MG. It's not a Midget (its a B - so MGB). It's not Sunshine Yellow (its Maroon - which throughout the course of my life has become my favorite color - in fact most of my clothes favor this shade). And yet I am still in love. (Cue Queen - "I'm in love with my car!").

It is a manifestation of my dream - in a way bigger way than I could ever have imagined.

In fact, last night, I had the top down, the open country road in front of me, only $45 bucks in my pocket - and was free.....FREE....FREEEEEEE I TELL YOU, even if I was $955 short of the full dream - on hand (but never if there was an ATM nearby).

Yes it isn't practical. Yes I can't drive it in the winter. Yes, it will need to be stored because we don't have a garage. Yes it is "old school" Yes it needs a little work (like a tune up, some good cleaning, a change in all the fluids and all that other adult crap you have to think of)....BUT....

I became instantly, the woman you look at as you pass in the "cool car". I became the person who everyone said "I love your car" (the cadets have gone crazy for my car, even promising me without prompting that my car was off limits for Senior Prank night this past thursday night)....I became everything I wanted to in that car - even thinner (okay...so that was because I lost all the pig-fat (PF) weight when I was in my early thirties - but he surely made me feeeeeeel thinner).

So dream on my Seniors, my eighth graders and all of the other students who surround me....because when you have a dream come true - well...its sheerly indescribable.


Carol P. said...

Congratulations!!! May you have many happy adventures tooling around with the top down and your hair blowing in the breeze!

And it's probably a great car for a cross-country drive, hint, hint!

DF said...

Cue Don Henley:
...I can see you-Your tan skin shinin in the sun
You got that top pulled down and that radio on baby
And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone...

Nice find. I too wanted an MG when K and I lived in Greenville, SC, just BC (before children). We went an looked at one, Maroon, like yours. I knew the owner because I worked with him. It was a fun car to drive. And the long spring, summer and fall of SC made the car drivable about 10 months of the year.

But also like you, I heard the voice of RLF, booming down from the heavens; "Bend those knees!!!! (whoops, wrong subject). Your trying to have a family for gosh sakes, it is not practical, just not practical. Where are you going to put the car seat, Mr. Engineer?"

And now, I can live vicariously through my baby sis. Will ya take me for a country spin?

JO said...

Absolutely big bro...absolutely! Oh..and I might even let ya drive!

The Girl Next Door said...

O-M-G this is soooooo cool and I am sooooooo jeaous and not b/c I am all of 3 WEEKS older. B.c you are WAAAAy cooler and your hubby is so awesome. U ROCK 4 EVER