chrysler newport

Scooping the Loop
by Nancy A. Nichols

In my hometown of Waukegan, Illinois we scooped the loop every Saturday night—a kind of hypnotic dance where we drove in endless circles around town stopping only to go to the bathroom at Taco Bell.

Back then I drove an old Chrysler Newport sedan. It was two-toned gold and brown with a tan interior. It was beige in both color and affect.

On my first solo drive, I got in and pulled the door shut. It made a kind of clunking sound. I put the car in reverse. It made a popping sound like the joints of an old man.

I backed out of the driveway and onto the road and gave the gas pedal a little push. I felt the car accelerate up a small hill and felt a rush of freedom and power.

I shuddered a little and turned left at the light. Like generations of women before me, I was headed into town in search of a soda and a good book.

PHOTO: 1970 Chrysler Newport

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am the daughter of a used car salesman and a former journalist with The Harvard Business Review. I am at work on a book about women and cars and trying to understand the pervasive power of the automobile on all facets of American life—but particularly its effects on women’s lives. When I saw this writing prompt, I couldn’t resist.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nancy A. Nichols is the founder of The Great Ideas Studio and the author of Lake Effect: Two Sister’s and a Town’s Toxic Legacy. She is currently at work on a book about women and cars.