There are many things which characterize my childhood. Lots were good, some were bad. However, there are a few treasured memories that take me back to the best part of my childhood. Where I felt safe from the world, and anything was possible.
It always starts with a car. The same car. I remember my Dad driving it home, and thinking it was the most beautiful car in the whole world. I must of been six or seven at the time.
It was red.
To my young mind that was the colour of all racing cars. Of speed. Of laughter and fun. The lines were sleek and curved gently. In my mind this was the car of romance. A car which represented happily ever after.
It was the first car that I saw which had a rear wing. This car was so fast it needed a wing! It didn’t matter that I knew nothing about cars. I still don’t know much to be honest. I will always remember this car.
No, it wasn’t a Ferrari, or Lamborghini. To my young mind, those cars couldn’t compare.
My childhood happiness can be summed up in a Red Mazda MX6. To be more specific, a fire red MX6 with black leather interior with matching stitching. The biggest highlight of the car was the Ten CD Disk changer. That is right. The car could change and skip through TEN CDs.
It was magnificent.
It never occurred to me back then how impractical this car was, which my Dad bought home in a joyous demonstration of indulgence. Three young kids (ages approximately 3, 6, and 10) all to fit into this sports car every day to school. Not to mention that when I entered junior primary, two other kids joined in the squashing and squishing around bags and books.
None of that mattered. There was a space for me behind my Dad’s seat where only I could squeeze in. A safe hidey hole with my Dad sitting protection in front to stave off any terror or problem. Carelessly lighting a Camel Filter and looking all cool in his golfer sunglasses and unintentional mullet. I will confess many car rides I was shouted at for putting my Dad’s hair into a pony tail as ‘boys did not tie their hair up’.
The smell of Camel Filter cigarettes still transports me back to those mornings. Back to the MX6. Back to the best parts of my childhood. The small space only I could curl up in behind my Dad. Curled up with a book, safe in my own little fantasy world with my Dad right there to protect me.
I would consume novel after novel in that little space reserved just for me in the red MX6. Often playing would be either Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell or Wet Wet Wet (I don’t even remember the album name). I still hear those songs and think of my little hidey hole. Mostly Meatloaf. He would do anything for love, but wouldn’t do that and rock and roll dreams would come true.
That glorious red MX6 with black leather interior and ten CD disk changer which only ever seemed to play two CDs (and occasionally the K-TV cd). The smell of a Camel Filter being lit, while turning the pages of a new novel. Greedily taking in all the lives and worlds of heroes and heroines all while my Dad was sitting a safe distance away to protect me should I get scared. To drive fast enough away from any terror or monster or any villain who might escape the pages.
Drive fast enough until the last page where everything was happy.
I believed in those fairy tale endings and romances sitting in that car. I believed that bad stuff was always defeated by the hero, and that if all else fails, my Dad would be the hero I needed.
All because my Dad drove that car.
That red Mazda MX6.