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DO THEY GET COLD FEET?: Ducks paddle upstream at Third Dam in Logan Canyon. / Photo by Mike Sweeney

Today's word on journalism

Friday, January 20, 2006

Variations on "truthiness":

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."

-- Mark Twain, author, newspaperman and humorist (1835-1910)

MENTORS WANTED: Media professionals in all fields wanted to serve as email mentors for journalism students. If interested, send email slugged "Mentors" to Ted Pease (

The cars in my life have never been perfect, but I can dream

By Sarah West

December 5, 2005 | I always hated getting gas in the Malibu. I flipped down the license plate, unlocked the gas cap with a key, and kneeled on the hard cement, holding the pump handle the entire time. Mom made the mistake once of not holding the gas pump in. It fell out and gas sprayed everywhere.

Growing up, my family always only had one car that worked, and usually two others that were broken, idly sitting in the over-crowded garage or driveway. Being the youngest of eight kids, car availability was a challenge. We had a station wagon with wood paneling on the side, with two mini seats that folded out of the floor in the very back. I had to sit there with my four older brothers while my three sisters got the cushy padded seat behind Mom and Dad. This same station wagon got the ugliest car award in the yearbook at Woods Cross High when three of my siblings went there.

I remember waiting in anticipation the day my parents finally went out to buy a new car. I peered out the front window in excitement and when I spotted a shiny red and white striped Chevy Beauville van coming up the street I ran outside. If I was older I know at that moment I would've been dreading driving that car.

Everyone who was able to drive it put at least one dent in it, except for Rebecca, the perfect child. But Dave's dent took first place by a landslide. He wasn't supposed to drive after he got his wisdom teeth out because of his medication, but he intimidated Jon into giving him the keys. His dent took up the entire right side, preventing anyone from entering any of the doors on that side. That left the drivers door and the swinging doors in the back as the only ones that worked. I dreaded the days Mom drove car pool. Piling out of the back door, people stared as Mom dropped us off at Mueller Park Junior High.

The first memory I have of riding in a car was also the last time I rode in the Malibu for a very long time. It was Mom's first car, a 1967 Chevy Malibu with tan paint. It broke and needed a new engine, so it was housed in the garage until I was a senior, when my brother Tim decided to put his mechanic skills to the test. He got it running and, in hopes of re-painting it, sanded the right side exposing the grey color underneath. That left me to drive the Malibu, half tan, half grey, dented, and huge with only an AM radio to high school.

The car has been a symbol of independence from my parents over the years. My first friend to get a license was Brett. I quit coming home for curfew at midnight and we'd go on road trips to Park City often. His off-white station wagon, "The Beast," was a temporary triumph over my parent's rules, until I got grounded, which was a lot.

The cars that have been through my wrath have been a Honda Accord, Suzuki Samurai, Ford Aerostar, Chevy Malibu, Volkswagen Fox, Volkswagen Jetta and currently I drive a champagne colored 1996 Buick Regal. That's right, a "grandma car." But I don't care. It gets me to work, school, shopping, and to my boyfriend's house an hour away.

When I am able to buy a car I actually want to drive, I'll be like a little kid in Toys 'R' Us, with so many choices. No more grandma cars, no more dented cars with peeling paint, and no more cars with windshields that freeze...on the inside.


Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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