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Who do we believe, Ralph Nader's "Unsafe at Any Speed" or Dean Martin's song "Sweet Memories"? Nader was writing about the Corvair and Martin's song could have been. We never understood Nader's vendetta against Chevrolet's rear engined, air cooled Corvair, but we could easily apply the "Sweet Memories" song to a particular Corvair. Elva's first love!
She needed a car for school, work and family. Not just any car but something special! The car was to be more than just transportation, more than just an expression of independence, it was to represent fun, hope and a bridge to a good future. Her Corvair would do all that.
We were dating with thoughts beginning to develop of a future together. I had bought and sold many cars through the years and had access to wholesale networks, we found the right car in Muleshoe!...the town where Elva lived. I bought the car from a "car-jockey" friend for $400.
The car was a 1962 Corvair, in perfect condition, the deluxe two-door model, solid white with red bucket seats, spoke wheel covers and a four speed transmission. Elva identified with it immediately. At age 18, this was to be her first car, her first love!
Elva's dad bought the car from me for the $400. She would pay him back from her salary as a part time beautician and the car would be hers for work, school, family and for our dating. It was a cute...fun car.
One day while changing the oil in the Corvair, I accidentally left a can of oil sitting on the roof, then drove off and the can fell putting a small dent in the fender. She did not appreciate my carelessness but by a very close vote, I was allowed to stay in her life. The Corvair had a part of her heart...her first love!
As our wedding plans finalized and the day approached, Elva had a small countdown calendar made of yellow post-it notes. It started at 60, then 59, etc., indicating how many days remained until the wedding. This calendar was on the dash of her "first love" carrying the message of her "true love".
We were married and went on our honeymoon in her Corvair. Just the three of us! Friends had covered it with "Just Married" signs which we wanted to remember with pictures. So on our first morning as man and wife we took several photos of the car. We learned later that the camera had no film! Without pictures, the car and its wedding announcements were preserved only in our minds.
I paid her dad the remaining money she owed so I actually married Elva and the car! We enjoyed the car for several months, but came to a problem when the license plates expired. I had never received a title and therefore could not purchase the tags. We went back to the Muleshoe wholesaler and found that he had been unable to secure a title and would refund our full $400 purchase price. We had driven and enjoyed the car for almost a year at no cost.
The car was gone but not the memories. Elva has had many cars since then, some nice luxury type cars, some with special memories like when the children were at home...lots of special cars...but only one first love!
Named Writer of the Year in 2005, Ted Weaver is also an accomplished public speaker, educator and auctioneer. Mr. Weaver held positions as the Manager of the Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Pro-Tem in Sweetwater, Texas. Contact Ted Weaver at TedWeaver@juno.com or by phone at 719-964-5268.