Despite all of the fond memories of driving all over the place in my Blue Plymouth Acclaim. Believe me, I experienced a lot. Various passengers. Friends and my movie theater buddies going for wizard cruises or long road trips with british band, Radiohead blaring on the stereo or even doing donuts in parking lots on ice in the winter. Eventually there came a time when things began to take a turn. Reality suddenly woke me up.
On my way to class during my last semester at NIU, I ran into a tree. The roads were icy. The street was a winding one. No sand bags were provided to insure better safety. I was not driving fast. I was listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers, or something. But anyway, I slid off the road and into this guys front yard and plowed into a tree. The guy ran out to make sure I was ok. I asked him how the front of my car looked. He said bluntly, “TERRIBLE!”
The front hood was crushed but not unfixable.I was able to drive it to school and then shamefully come home. I called my dad at work and told him what happened. We took it to a body shop and I believe I had to dig into my savings to pay for that repair. Luckily, I was able to carry on more with my boy blue.
This ended up not being a real good year. I had my Associates Degree, I left the movie theater and spent the summer looking for another stable job. My car was getting tired from all of the moving around. One night my buddy Caesar and I went to the movies. When I came back out to the car and sat down to drive, I noticed that my face plate to the CD player was gone and ten of my CDs were stolen. I was angry. Caesar felt bad for me. He thinks he might have left his door unlocked by mistake. I didn’t have power locks or a clicker so it was my responsibility to remind all of my passengers to lock their doors. That night I forgot.
Ironically, I should have removed the face plate before going into the movie theater so I could have prevented that better as well. The signs were looking gloomy. I went to a junk yard and bought a tape deck to replace what was stolen because without that part, I couldn’t do anything. I was able to save Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here CD from the thievery because it was inside the unit still. My stubbornness to do things myself lead me to a crappy installation job on the tape deck.
After a couple of months, it shorted out due to it not being grounded properly. So I was staring at a blank screen and couldn’t play my music anymore. I was getting frustrated. Sure I found a new job eventually. But again my car was broken into, in the middle of the night. The car was in the driveway at my folks house, where I was living. It was a long rainy night. Perfect opportunity for a thief to have their way. Once again, I forgot to lock my car and the broken tape deck was stolen. I guess they did me a favor.
So I replaced it again with just a basic AM/FM radio player. I started listening to more of talk radio and whatever rock station was on. Boy, wasn’t I spoiled with musical control or what? After another six months with less friends around and less adventures going on. I felt lonely, bored and sad with the Acclaim. It wasn’t his fault. He was tired and feeling violated. Perhaps even neglected by me because I showed less signs of wanting to care for him. Still this was the best car I really remember owning. This was at a peak point in my life. 19 years old going on 23.
From the spring of 1996 through the fall of 1999 this was my ride and I have no regrets.
I am sure there are many many tales I could think of with this car but I had to get this out of my system. I have some more car tales to tell so perhaps I will leave the best for last. I will say that my next story is quite an interesting one for sure. But I’ll get to that another time.
Dedicated to the memory of my Blue Plymouth Acclaim:
And In the words of Pink Floyd, Shine On You Crazy Diamond!