My First Car: 1990 Chevrolet Celebrity Wagon


My first car was a 1990 Chevy Celebrity Wagon, with a dark blue interior. It was bought 3 years prior by my Grandfather who passed away, but my parents kept the car and about a month after I got my license my father bestowed it upon me. When I first got my license, my father wouldn’t let me drive any of the family vehicles until I had my own insurance, and to get my own insurance or if I wanted a car, I had to have a job. Luckily, I did, as a cashier at a local supermarket. I think my insurance was subsidized my parents, I don’t remember getting a bill, but at any rate, my wagon aka shaggin’ wagon (thanks Austin Powers) was a lovely device to transport me and all of my friends back and forth to school and rehearsals. Yes, I was a band geek, and still am. Not that the oboe, takes up much room, but 6-7 people an oboe, trombone, color guard flag, tuba, saxophone, and trumpets add up. Gas was cheap, like .69 cents and even better there were gas wars between two gas stations in my town so you had choices. My father wasn’t happy that I hauled my friends and their instruments and books around and wanted me to charge gas money. I told him I did, and moved on. (Do you count a piece of pizza or a Dunkin’s iced coffee gas money? I did.) Although I had some very memorable experiences in my first car, I also learned some valuable lessons about driving.

First scary incident in my Shaggin’ wagon:

I turned off the driveway in the “forest” of my best friend, Autumn’s driveway, and I hit a tree. The tree was 4” in diameter and made a little crack on the corner of the bumper, but the best part was calling my mother on my light blue Nokia phone and telling her “I hit a tree.” That phrase didn’t go over well, since my parents shot up the road in a matter of three minutes. All was well, but I learned a valuable lesson on how to phrase incidents to your mother.

Second scary incident in my shiny Celebrity:

I had a night rehearsal a couple of towns over and ended up on some roads I was completely unfamiliar with, it was dark, and the road curved sharply without indication. I ended up in the center (because I didn’t turn) and my undercarriage got a mouthful of dirt and sand. Luckily my boyfriend at the time met me at a nearby gas station to assess the damage. He brought it to his dad’s garage and put a bolt in the center, and again, as was well. To avoid confrontation, I had Autumn’s boyfriend (an auto mechanic) explain the fix to my dad. As I was told by my older brother Dean, “follow the white line on the side of the road.” Great advice, not sure why I didn’t think of it before..

Third scary incident:

On my way to an oboe lesson, probably the first or second full winter driving the wagon I slid on a patch of ice and did a complete 180. Why didn’t my dad tell me that wagon’s get a little wonky because they are so light in the rear. Lesson learned: drive with a concrete block during winter. I later got stuck on a hill in Ithaca, NY second year of college, but there was so much snow that a concrete block didn’t matter.

Just like getting the car prompted an argument from my dad, turning it in for my 2000 Chevy Cavalier caused duress. I wanted to listed to the last song in my car loudly, it was Cold Play “Yellow” but since my dad was in the car, he bitterly complained about the volume, and the “damn music kids listen to..” Thanks for the memory dad.