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The Wagon

When my kids were young, 5 and 7 years old, I decided to sell my Dodge “mom” mini van and get a cool old school station wagon.

It took a few months of looking at cars in the area but I found a 1972 Chevy Concours wagon in San Francisco. The owner before me had modified the front end to look like a 1970 Super Sport model. It had the SS and 396 emblems on it. It actually had a 350 engine, not a 396 but it was included with a tranny in the deal. Unfortunately, I was never able to get it put in the car.

The wagon was a dream car for me! I had a 1972 Chevy Malibu in high school that was my first car. Now I had a bigger version of that car for my family. It was chevy blue with the SS hood scoop. It was beautiful and so cool. It was a real head turner and conversation starter wherever I drove it.

I bought it when I was still working at Safeway and all the young baggers loved it too. I drove it on all the school field trips when Cameron and Jillian were in elementary school. All the kids loved the rear bench seat that faced backward toward the cars behind us. They would wave and giggle. I had to have the kids take turns as that seat was the most popular one.

The car was great for sports equipment when I coached Pee Wee baseball, soccer and softball. We also loaded it up with camping gear several times. It normally contained the minimum equipment of blankets, buckets, chairs, and assorted toys as permanent items.

I have driven my beloved wagon all the way up to Seattle for a spring break vacation one year and to San Diego for another time. The wagon has been to Hot August Nights in Reno, Nevada and In Peggy Sue’s Car show and cruise in Santa Rosa, California.

It was a supercar for grocery shopping at Costco when I was raising hungry kids and hauling materials for home projects. I’ve loaded bricks, cement bags, and soil in the back. I’ve used it for trips to the dump too.

When I drive past the high school most of the time, some young person will rev their car and try to race me. That always makes me giggle. I love that car because it’s so cool and makes me cool too. Both of my kids drove the wagon when they were practicing for their driver's license. I figured if they were comfortable driving that beast around especially in parking lots, they would be able to drive anything. They also loved the attention and “cred” they got from being associated with the cool muscle car.

I’ve loaned the wagon out to friends and event rented it to my friend Daniel from Sweden. He had it for a month one summer and took my baby to Yosemite!! I did get a call from a friend when he was driving it around. They saw him, it wasn’t my husband and they were concerned it might have been stolen. People around Sonoma County knew me and my wagon!

My kids made me promise when they were in High school that I would never sell it. Well, that has been over 4 years ago since they finished school. My life has changed a bunch. The paint on the wagon has faded and it had gotten a lot of rust. It developed a water leak and I couldn’t find where it was coming from. At this point, I had to garage it during the winter. Luckily I was able to borrow(rent) a truck for the winter so I had something to dry to drive. I liked the truck and eventually bought a used GMC Sonoma for myself. I still drove the wagon on sunny warm days and it would always make folks happy! I would get “thumbs up” and lots of stories. People had such great memories of riding in wagons growing up.

Having 2 cars became more expensive than I wanted. I did some reflecting on this and came to terms with the fact that I would never have the money to restore the wagon to the condition that it deserved. As part of my downsizing in preparation to leave Sonoma Country to travel, I decided it was time to find a new home for my cherished wagon.

I had paid $6500 for the wagon in 2002 and drove her all over California and parts of Nevada for almost 18 years! I put ads on the usual sites, craigslist, and Facebook marketplace. I got a lot of interest but no real potential buyers for a few months. I knew it may take while-like fishing. I had to keep my hook in the water to find that one person that would love and appreciate “her” as I had. When that day came, it happened rather fast. I got a message from a man that lived over 2 hours away. He really wanted to buy it without even looking at “her”. He called me and told me he was on his way with a friend to pick the wagon up.

This was a Thursday night after work and I had a softball game until 9:30 pm. He said he’s waiting at my house until I got home. And when we drove home, they were waiting in the driveway. They looked at the wagon under the street lights, checked under the hood, and took “her” for a test drive. They offered me $7700!! They were buying “her”! We went into my house to do the deal. Like I said, this happened fast. When I knew they were coming up, I looked for the DMV documents-Pink Slip and discovered that I didn’t have it and the car was still registered in my ex-husband's name. They had asked if he would be there to sign the bill of sale and I said yes. Luckily Larry was here so I was just going to have him sign my ex’s name. Before they drove up, they asked for a picture of his driver's license and fortunately, he texted one to me. That was very nice of him. Larry signed the DMV doc and counted up $7700 in 20 dollar bills.

It was a great deal for both of us! The man that bought the wagon was a father of 5 ranging from 5 to 13 years old. He wanted a family muscle car. He had set away $10,000 and was driving the wagon directly to a body shop to start the restoration. I had mixed emotions as “my” wagon drove down the court for the last time. I was sad that “she” was leaving but happy that “she” would be restored and give many years of happiness to a new family.

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