By Deirdre McGruder

My first was a dark red Nissan Stanza I named Jose. Jose Stanza. My granddad found it at a place that fixes and resells crashed cars, and he co-signed for it. My first debt.  :o)

Jose was the perfect car for me, because I didn’t know zilch about car maintenance, yet he continued to run. Oil change? What? When am I supposed to do that? Tune-up? What’s that? I don’t think in the years I had Jose he ever got a tune-up.

Jose was a great car until his motor mounts broke and the engine started swishing around. Then the day my mom and I drove to trade him in for a new Ford Escort, it was like he knew. He tried to kill us. Smoke billowed from the hood. I fought to control the wheel. My mom and I had to stop every few miles to add water to the radiator until we limped into the Ford dealership. The looks on the faces of the car salesmen were priceless. We wiped our sweaty brows, straightened our outfits, applied bright lipstick and smiled pretty as we handed over the keys.