The process of purging that goes with getting ready for a move is fraught with delays. A dress worn to a daughter's wedding sends me to a comfortable chair reminiscing about little girls. A chipped mug from my grandmother's hometown of Voss sends me back to the hills of Norway. And a red and white Nash Metropolitan convertible, that shows up in a TV commercial that plays in the background while I discard unworn clothes, sends me on a search of old picture albums.
Because I used to have that car. And there must be a picture of it somewhere.
It's almost impossible to describe what fun it was to drive a car that looks like a clown car. Or a grown up replica of the peddle car that you drove as a kid.
You couldn't take it out without people talking to you at stop lights or walking up to you as you parked. If you went into a grocery store, you'd come out and find people standing around it. Sometimes even sitting in it. If there's such a thing as a car magnet, this was it. Perhaps not in California, but certainly in Ford country like St. Louis.
For some reason most people thought it was an amphibious car, ready to be driven right down the Mississippi river, our neighboring waterway. We never really understood this, although sometimes we played along-- driving through a car wash and letting water drip from the undercarriage and fenders as we went about our business.
There are things we get rid of in life and don't quite know why. The Nash is on my list of things. So is an antique world globe that my ex-husband gave me for a wedding present. And an antique light fixture with glass shades that hung from elongated brass noses in the dining room of our first house. And white boots that I wore as a Marshallette, high stepping with the high school band in homecoming parades.
The boots sat for years in the back of my parents' closet along with my sister's and my prom dresses and cheerleading and dance costumes. We rarely thought of them. Until one day when we both had little girls who liked to play dress up. And found out they were gone. Packed into the tall Goodwill bags that used to be handed out and dropped into a big box receptacle for no longer needed things.
Mom probably had asked if we still wanted them. And in a time before kids, when the memories were close enough that they didn't mean anything, we said no.
I suppose it was like that with the Nash. At the time, there didn't seem a good reason to keep it. Something to do with the arrival of kids. And the lack of seat belts. Or cost of repairs. The same reasons I traded in a turquoise Honda 50 and a blue MGB for a maroon Oldsmobile Cutlass.
Change comes into our lives. And so we purge our closets and our homes. And sometimes in that purge, we get rid of things we'll miss in exchange for things we'll never think of again, but need at the time.
The Nash is likely replaceable. A quick search of the internet shows that there are ones for sale. That they show up regularly in car shows. And apparently in TV commercials.
But the time for me to have it is gone.
Huckleberry Finn had his raft. I had my Nash. And somewhere along the river of my life, I let it go, dropping marching boots and antique light fixtures in its wake.
Getting to where I needed to be.