Sunday, November 25, 2018

Reminiscing: Naming Your Cars

The other day I was taking one of my daughters to dance class and we had to pick up her friend, Bella, to take her to class, too. Right after I turned the corner away from her house, I thought I saw her mother driving towards us. She drives a very distinctive car that I have not seen a lot of around town. I asked her if that was her mom, and she responded with, “No. That’s Uncle Bob’s cousin.” I didn’t think too much of it, but then asked her if her cousin had purchased exactly the same car as her mom. There were so few of the around I just thought it was extraordinarily strange. Her explanation was a bit shocking, but a whole lot of fun.

“No. We named our car ‘Uncle Bob the Big Red Tomato’ and the other cars we see like Uncle Bob must be his cousins or members of his family.”

I actually laughed out loud. This was brilliant. I never thought of looking at other cars like mine and considering them a part of a family. Granted, cars like mine are a dime a dozen, even in the same color. I like to say that I started the trend, even though I had nothing to do with it. The second thought I had was, “How many people still name their cars? Or motorcycles?”

People have been naming boats for more than a thousand years. They’ve been naming planes since the beginning, albeit with names more functional than colorful. The exception to that would be the wartime planes of World War II and later. But what about cars?

When I was growing up, my parents bought a used car for my mom to drive. It was a tan-yellow Buick Apollo. I’m not sure why, but we named that car Myrtle the Turtle. If we were going somewhere, would we be taking Myrtle or the other car? The other car was a Monte Carlo, and was the new car that we had. Ironic to the story, we did get another car like Myrtle. That one was red, but I don’t think we ever gave that one a name. If I remember correctly, I think the same guy bought both cars from us, and they were destroyed when his garage burned down.

My dad had a motorcycle, his first Harley-Davidson, that he bought from a friend. Her name was “Ethel.” She was painted a very unique shade of gray. It was so unique that if we saw something else very near that color, we would call it “Ethel Gray.” Even today, thirty years after we had that motorcycle, if I see a gray that closely resembles that old motorcycle, I think to myself that it’s Ethel Gray.

Ethel had a “twin” motorcycle that my dad didn’t own, but that a close friend of the family owned. Her name was “Bertha” and she was gray, too. She just wasn’t Ethel Gray. Today, my dad has a red motorcycle that he and my mom call “Big Red.”

When I started driving, I had a blue Cutlass Supreme. We tried to give it a name, but nothing ever really stuck. My friend, Matt, had a Ford Granada. Not only was it really an old man’s car, it moved like one, too. It took a long time to wind up the turbines to get up to speed. I think we ended up calling it that, too, “The Turbine.” I can assure you, however, that the Granada was almost indestructible. I’m just saying…

In recent years, I haven’t named any of my cars. I hadn’t really thought of it until Bella mentioned that they had named their car. The closest thing I have to a car name is my GTO, which is simply called “The Goat.” However, that is a very common nickname for those cars and I really didn’t come up with it. It’s also been called “The Blue Beast” but not very often. Occasionally when I’ve had trouble with it, I’ve had other names for it, but they’re not really suitable for print.

Does anyone out there name their cars or motorcycles anymore? Is this a trend that was never really a trend? I think I may have to ponder on a name for my car now. I love my car. I may never get rid of it, so it should have a name. It’s a part of the family. So, if you have a name for your vehicle, let us know. If you used to name them when you were younger, let us know, too. We can’t be the only ones who named our cars.

Craig Bacon has named his computers (again not safe for print) and has named his hot tub. He is seriously thinking of going back to naming his vehicles.