Wagons were big in my family. I can’t tell you how many fun trips were taken in some form of a station wagon, always with a rear-facing seat. The wagon was also the car we could eat in, so A&W drive-ins were acceptable.
The wagon, pictured above, wasn’t the first car that was in my name, but it was the car I learned to drive in and drive to all of my after school activities that my father just couldn’t keep up with. I would be the second living thing to add a dent to its side, two days after I earned my pink slip in Michigan after attempting a turn I certainly wasn’t ready for. The first was a deer that decided to run into it.
Because I was tiny — not even a solid 100 pounds and just over five feet tall by the time I was licensed — and the Caprice was so huge, I would have to be parked or stopped to roll down the passenger-side window. The method was to lay across the seat, and awkwardly try to roll down the window without needing to unbuckle. It sometimes worked.
She also had a cassette player, and by the time I got my license in 2004, CDs were the rage. You better bet I had the cassette adapter so I could use my Sony Walkman, and eventually an iPod, to play all of my favorite tunes.
The boat was a hit with my friends. She was great for tailgating, bringing your friends places, and hauling all of our band equipment to jazz band festival. We happened to top out the speedometer on that trip and passed a Corvette.
She was a great car, even with my dad’s training regiment of having me slalom cones forward and in reverse while practicing various parking maneuvers, because this wagon isn’t your tiny Jetta wagon. No, she was like D-car sized.
Her legacy ended the weekend before Christmas, as I was running errands for our Christmas party happening later in the afternoon. A Chrysler Cirrus was in a Jeep’s blindspot, and as the Jeep passed, I pulled out, and that was the end of the Caprice. However, we had another Caprice, same year, but red in color with the automatic windows, that would gain some of her parts before we parted.
I think of her often. RIP Big Blue.