Maria Stuart

Maria Stuart
Location
Howell, Michigan, USA
Birthday
February 17
Bio
Maria Stuart is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer. She lives in Michigan with her husband, their teenage son, and Ted, the hyper labradoodle who keeps her from sitting at the computer too long. You can check out her website at mariastuart.com or TheLivingstonPost.com. Follow @mariastuart on Twitter.

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Salon.com
MAY 20, 2009 8:00AM

Driving naked women

Rate: 8 Flag

I was living in my parents’ basement, waitressing, attending college part-time, flat broke and in need of transportation. My parents, desperate to get me on the road out of their basement, offered to take the room and board I had paid them over the summer to buy me a car. My dad talked to a guy who knew a guy who worked at an auto dealership with a “great deal” of a car for sale.

We bought the car for $150, sight unseen.

I had to work on the day the car was ready, so my sister and a friend picked it up for me.

I was excited. Life with wheels was certainly preferable to one without, and I could think of little else as I served sandwiches and poured coffee.

My mother called me at the restaurant: “Your car’s here,” she said. “Your sister said it drove real nice, but I want you to know that if you don’t want to keep it, you don’t have to.”

Not want to keep it! Was my mother mad? This was my very own car, my ticket to ride, my $150 freedom buggy.

“Is there something wrong with it?” I asked.

“Just wait until you get home,” she said. “You need to see it for yourself.”

When I got home, there it was waiting for me: a 1967 Mercury Brougham, Detroit's vision of power and luxury from the previous decade, a hulking mass of gleaming purple metal that seemed to fill the driveway. I saw it from clear down the street — it was hard to miss, after all — and I looked past its color and saw a chariot awaiting its princess to take her rightful place behind the wheel.

But, wait...there was something painted on the door. Words? A picture, perhaps?

I squinted to make out what was on the door; the closer I got, the more awful the truth became. There, on the passenger door, was a naked blonde woman balancing a ball on her knees while reclining on a seal. Well, she wasn’t completely naked: there were three white stars covering particular areas of her anatomy, and she was wearing red-white-and-blue striped boots. She looked like a performer in a naked circus.

1967MercBroughampic1

My mother looked on nervously from the safety of the porch. “Remember what I said,” she called out as I ran around the car, gasping. “You don't have to keep it!”

There, on the driver’s door, was a similarly star-spangled, naked woman, only this one was a brunette; she, too, was balancing a ball while reclining on a seal.

The awful truth smacked me upside the head: My chariot of fire, my ticket to ride, was actually a pimp mobile.

Anyone who knows me well knows that deep down inside I am an eternal optimist. Beneath my sometimes crusty exterior beats the heart of someone certain things will always, always work out for the best.

And so it was that I got behind the wheel of my purple pimp mobile. The eight-cylinder engine roared into service and I drove it through my East Detroit neighborhood, onto the main drags and then the freeway for a cruise.

I ignored the hoots from other motorists. I kept my eyes straight ahead when drivers honked their horns at me. I didn’t acknowledge the “hey, baby, follow me” invitations shouted my way. I held my head high, focused my eyes on the road and drove mile after mile, deciding what to do. Keep it? Send it back?

The longer I drove the car, the better it felt. It had the 8-cylinder heart of a lion, I thought, and the price was right.

I kept it.

The next day, I headed straight for the neighborhood hardware store to get some paint mixed to cover the naked women. The color was a shade of purple no one in the hardware store ever saw before. Matching it took a lot of trial and error. The man behind the counter tried to keep a straight face as he eyed the car and held paint chips to the door.

When he finally got a color sort of close to the original, I started painting as he watched. He couldn’t take it any longer. “Hey, ya gotta get a load of this,” the man called inside to his co-workers and the hardware store regulars. They came outside, gathered around my car and admired my naked women as I brushed on the paint to cover them.

“Such a shame,” one of the men said.

The car, as it turns out, had been a consolation prize at a golf outing. I drove that beast for nearly two years before selling it to someone who gave me a $50 deposit and drove away — presumably to the bank to get the rest of the money for it. The buyer and car were never seen again.

I have fond memories of that car. But that’s all that’s left. I never took a photo of the purple monster and the naked women; how I wish I had.

Author tags:

women, naked, east detroit, lincoln, cars

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That's funny. I think if I had been your parents I would have gotten rid of the sign and photo first. They must have had a good sense of humor! You were gutsy to drive the car!
Good for you, not letting some tawdry pic prevent you from driving.

Great story!
Great deal. That's cheaper than a long-ear red mule.
Maybe you can be frugal? Buy Lady Godiva chocolates.
She was a noblewomen who rode half-clothed into towns.
Lady Godiva was protesting the $198.99 - outhouse tag-price.
She demanded fairness. A husband Lerfric, the Earl of Mercia,
wandered through the public market streets. Gads, poor Tom.

Tom peeped. Poor Tom.
Tom got a punishment?
Tom peep at naked folk.

Tom was stricken blind.
Tom no peep anymore.
Tom ate sweet pea soup.

Buy a mule. goo heehaw.
sorry. I love yellow corn.
smooch in the corn field.

corn has ears potato eye.
Ya will get seen IF Ya kiss.
It is farmer market today.
Props for driving it in public! And I love your description: "It had the 8-cylinder heart of a lion, I thought, and the price was right." You were so right - you believed it, and you made it so.
I think there should be a search tab in OS with the heading "Stranger than Fiction/It Happened to Me".
Great story! Rated.
I am so glad to see this one getting a second chance. It was fun to live and write!
Your father's sense of humor must have been a gift from God. I only know of one other person who has anything close to a sense of humor to that. But my Uncle Ben pasted quite a while ago.