My Buick
by Cheryl Levine

At seventeen, my life revolved around a 1969 light blue Buick Electra 225.

The Buick offered a heady freedom for this sheltered small town girl. I could climb into the car, turn the key in the ignition and go. Just go. My mother’s only requirements for use of the Buick were that I wait in the long 1970’s gas lines that stretched for blocks to fill the tank, drive my younger sister around when she needed a ride, and go into town to grab a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread at Cumberland Farms.


On Friday nights we would fit four girlfriends in the back seat and four in the front. No seat belts, of course. The AM push-button radio was always set to WRKO 680, as we blasted the music and sang along with Elton John, Carly Simon, and Stevie Wonder. My love of driving began with that Buick, as did the feeling of freedom whenever I climbed behind that wheel, knowing that I could, if I wanted, go anywhere.

At seventeen, on hot summer mornings, we piled beach blankets, towels, cokes and chips into the Buick’s cavernous trunk and took off up Route 128 to Crane’s Beach, with all of the windows rolled down, the hot breeze whipping our hair back. Everyone pitched in $1 for gas and it was always magically enough. We baked in the sun and leaped through the ocean waves, bought hot dogs and fries at the food truck, came home with scorching sunburns, and couldn’t wait to do it again the next week.

PHOTO: 1969 Buick Electra (found at automobile-catalog.com).

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My senior yearbook photo.

Cheryl Levine
lives and writes just outside of Boston.