To many teenagers, owning a car is a quintessential part of the American dream. A car is freedom, fun, and speed rolled into one machine. Ideally, these tickets to freedom come in sleek, shiny, perfectly polished bodies, with hundreds of horses under the hood. My freedom came in a slightly different package. My package lacked both airbags and anti-lock brakes, and was several years my senior, but nevertheless brought me more happiness than any newer car could have.
The car that would eventually become known as “Cosmo” was born in 1988. It was a powder blue Corolla, with a matching blue cloth interior—a decorative choice only the ‘80s could bless. My aunt, then in her mid twenties, bought the car with little knowledge it would eventually belong to her still unborn niece. She drove it for several years, before selling it my grandfather. My grandfather then sold it to my uncle, who at the time was a college student. He drove it for a decade or so, and once married, sold it back to my grandfather, who continued to drive it for another nine years. Upon getting my license, I searched for a car that was within my price range, as my parents had made it clear that if I wanted a car of my own, I would have to finance the endeavor myself. Unfortunately, I found no cars that I could insure, afford, and buy gas for. My dream was deferred for a year. The past summer however, on a college visit, my mom and I stopped at my grandparents’ house, and I noticed that, as my grandfather is somewhat of a car enthusiast, they had accumulated four cars.