It took me a bit to get used to handling a cane, especially since I usually wore heels, but when I was driving my Datsun, I was operating the vehicle. Driving up the mountain from Ramona to Julian in Southern California was pure pleasure.
Initially my little trip was great going to MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas. My old car, a Galaxy 500, was like a boat to drive and maneuver. One day, I collided with three cars trying to park. My journalism teacher Johnny Heard let me call my dad from his office. He choked a laugh with a cough when I said, “Dad, I hit a couple of cars.”
Something really strange happened somewhere around 2009. I was coming out of Raven Orchard in Julian and my horn started to blare non-stop. I was already approaching Lake Cuyamaca, so I went into the restaurant.
People ran out and the cook asked what the problem was. “I can’t get him to stop honking,” I yelled over the unpleasant noise. In the 30 plus years that I had the car, the horn never worked. It had an air horn behind the passenger seat that it had as a backrest.
Returning to the orchard with the horn still high, I had to go through the village. I waved like I was in a parade and lifted Billy Boxer’s leg. Finally my Irish friend Patrick Brady cut the cord and silenced the beep.
This is where it got really weird. When I came out of the mountain for the second time, I took the scenic route, when the incredible scenery came into view, the car horn started to honk again! I stopped and got out to watch my car at full volume.
Upon returning to the orchard, my friend Googled that there was a backup speaker that would kick in if the main speaker failed. It’s amazing that they both went crazy on the same day. I’ve always wondered if the person in Japan who built my car died that day. The second horn was the car saluting its creator.
One of the best memories I shared with my dad was when he left the Marriott in Mission Valley. He was stunned when he saw the beautiful restored version of that precious two-seater. He laughed and said he needed it back now.
Glossy rust paint to match the original, a new engine and all the bells and whistles – an amazing stereo, new seats, carpet, interior and dash all updated. A Bose stereo was installed and placed in the rear of the coupe rather than behind the seats. The car could be filled with music now, and it often was.
At 17 years old, when I was driving this car, my long, blonde Texas hair caught the eye. At 47, people just wanted to get a closer look at my vehicle. It was truly lovingly restored and well worth the 10k that was spent.
And then I got in trouble with the IRS. They got hold of my Z and sold it at auction. I read that the starting offer would be $ 4500. The car was 35 years old at the time and we were the original owner. I felt like a part of my family that left when I lost this relic.