Owner Story: Happy to Have My Saturn Back

Two days before my son Wesley's 16th birthday, the events of my life were about to dash a dream. It was October 5th 2002, and there was something that I had always wanted to do for both my sons: present them with a car, wrapped in a big bow, on their respective 16th birthdays. It was the kind of thing you saw happen in movies; I hadn't gotten a car until I was 19, and I didn't want my sons to go without one for that long.

Wesley's birthday was fast approaching and I didn't have a prayer, I thought. I was newly divorced and struggling just to pay the mortgage, which in California was no small feat for a single woman earning only $29,000 a year. I'd been looking for weeks, alternately at cars and my pathetic savings account, wondering how I was going to get him what I wanted for his birthday with no money.

On October 6th, I wandered onto my local Saturn sales lot. I'd had good luck with Saturn before. The first year of production, I'd convinced my then-husband that an American made car was the right thing to do the day after we pushed his old Honda into our garage, dead gone. I walked into the Saturn dealership, which had for years serviced our 1991 beauty and stared at the plaques on the walls. There was a younger version of my son Wes, in his baseball uniform, at least three times. Saturn of Monrovia had not only sold us our first new car as a married couple, but they had given money to my son's baseball league every year without fail.

I wandered around, remembering the days of good service when Saturn first burst on the scene. Then I saw her.

She was white, with little pop-up headlights, a pretty little flare to her trunk lid and a two-door model to boot, something a teenage boy might like. I circled her, she was in good shape and she was only $4,400. The salesmen watched me from inside, in typical Saturn nonchalance to a possible sale outside. Soon I found Renee, a French man selling Saturns, who opened her up for me and we took her for a spin.

The next night - on my son's birthday - I signed on a dotted line, with tears of joy in my eyes. Saturn financed the entire deal, and there I was... with a car for my son.

It wasn't a Porsche, but he drove it happily to school the next day. He blew out the speakers the first week, bumped her nose into a post somewhere, racked up a speeding ticket, a noise violation, and an illegal U-turn all in the first two months. Then he outgrew her by age 17 - his head was hitting the roof - and she became mine as I traded him my Subaru, a snappier sports model, for the Saturn.

A year later, I would leave my Saturn behind when I moved to Illinois as I wanted to drive her when I visited him. You see, with all that Saturn baseball support - and the support of a loving family and great coaching over the years, my son is now a top-rated college pitcher. He's still in California while I've returned to the rolling corn fields of Northwestern Illinois where I can actually afford a mortgage.

But my Saturn was still in California. I fretted over her out there. I had left her with a friend. I was driving a four-wheel pickup truck in Illinois because of the snowy weather here, but yearned for my miserly Saturn as I bled dollars at 14 miles per gallon in the truck.

Finally, in October of 2005, I had nowhere else to store that car out west. The guy who was keeping it for me was driving it without telling me and wracking up tickets left and right. The windshield had cracked and the sales lot that had taken over storing her for me for about six months never even started her up.

Wes got hold of her again when the Subaru was in the shop and told me she was turning into a pile of junk. It took $300 just to bring her back to running right but by then, I'd had enough.

She was coming home.

It took another $800 to ship her to Illinois and another $500 to get her into running shape, but she's here, finally zipping down the road with me, still needing a new windshield, a new radio, and a little repair to the fabric on the inside roof. But that's OK. All in good time. I'm just happy to have my Saturn back!

Source: Diana

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