Yes, she was a real car. My dad bought her in the 60’s as a used car. But she was a hardtop, not a convertible. She was the car he drove to work every day in Belmond. We called it the “Pink and White Pumpkin”, my sisters and I, referring to the pumpkin in Cinderella which the fairy godmother changes into a coach. But it would only later become the car of my dreams.
You see, she was killed in the Belmond Tornado of 1966. Her windows were all broken out and her frame was twisted. So the pictures of her, though they look exactly like my memories of her, minus the rust spots, are not actual pictures of the car in question. Our next door neighbor, Stan the Truck Man, was a mechanic always on the lookout for salvage parts. He took her apart piece by piece while she sat in our driveway. We continued to sit in her and play in her until all that was left was the bare frame. My friend Werner told me for the first time about the facts of life and where babies really came from in the back seat while she was being gradually dismantled. Of course, I was nine at the time and didn’t really believe him. How could that grossness actually be true?
But she still lives, that old dream car… She is the reason that I objectify my imagination as a ship with pink sails. My daydreams, my creative fantasies, and those long, lingering plays in the theater of my imagination as I am drifting off to sleep all start in the three-masted sailing ship with pink sails. And that dream image was born from the Pink and White Pumpkin. I have sailed in her to many an exotic place… even other planets. And when I die, she will take me home again.