Tuesday, April 3, 2012

No One Parks Blanche Under the Porch...

It was hot out.  We had every window down in that black Camaro, t-tops off, radio blasting Billie Jean.  I was barely tall enough for my blonde pig-tails to drift out the side of the car as we whipped around the corners.  The red leather seats were sticking to my legs just past my shorts and matched perfectly the polish on my toes.  It was a Saturday with Grandma and all was right with the world.

"I have a convertible you know."

Now, even at seven I was able to discern between truth and story-telling in my family.  It was a skill you needed to survive family holidays, Sunday dinners, or even simple phone calls from a relative.  So my response came as no surprise.

"Yeah, right. I've seen your garage. You have an Olds and this car Grandma. And you can't hide another one anywhere because you can only fit one car in your garage. So there."

"You are wrong girlie.  I have one. You'll see."

"Prove it then. I want to see it when we get to your house."

She thought for a minute. Clearly on how to extend her story to make it more believable I supposed. I twirled my hair around my fingers, tilting back into the summer sunshine.
"I store it under the front porch.  There is a secret door to get it out. I never drive it because it is old and I don't want to ruin it." 

So my seven year-old brain mulled this over. Her porch was elevated.  It did have space under it we couldn't get to.  And it did jut fairly far off the front of the house. Hmmmmmmm...

"What color is it?"

"Well, it is, um, green.  The car is green!"

"Sure. And I want to see it when we get to your house."

After several more minutes of bantering and giggling on my part telling her there was no way she had this supposed convertible, we pulled into the driveway.  Both of our jaws hit the red carpeted floor.  There, parked outside of the one-car garage was a little forest green MG convertible with the top down.  She slowed the Camaro to a stop and we just stared, wordlessly, the only sound was our breathing. 


What had happened was a friend of my grandpa's stopped by.  They hadn't seen him in years-at least 10.  He had just restored the MG and was out driving around on a perfect summer weekend in Ohio.  She truly had no idea this one would be there when we arrived.  That drive around the block of their Firestone Park house was one of the best of my young life.  We joked about her hidden garage right up until the last day I saw her before she passed away.  And we always giggled to tears over it.

Fast forward twenty-six years. I swore I would drive my Subaru Forester, Rosie, to her grave.  But while at the Nissan dealership I spotted a lovely Murano Cabriolet.  Blanche wormed her way into my heart.  By the time I had done the test drive I was smitten. Head-over-heels in love.  She is a rosy-coppery brown.  Her seats are buttery leather.  And as far as convertibles go, she fits our family with room to spare, has a trunk that will carry our luggage to the beach, promises to drive me through the Ohio winters with her all-wheel-drive, and sits up high as my Rosie did.  Blanche is my perfect car. 

We brought her home on St. Patrick's Day-and for Ohio, it was a week of record warmth.  Normally, it wouldn't be until May that you could drop her top.  Yet I spent a week with her rag top back and the wind blowing through our hair.  Someday I'll share the story with my son, of my Grandma's green convertible.  For now though, he is crushing on the very real one parked in our garage.  And she is here to stay.

Meet Blanche, our sassy new addition!