Part 2: The Anglia is Dead-Long Live the Impala

Imagine being 19 years old and having to drive this?

Imagine being 19 years old and having to drive this?

Chevy Impala (1964 four-door sedan): Cost: another freebee from Dad and not nearly as lustrous as the one pictured above. Notice the odd proportions. Kind of resembles a manatee.


Still, my friends never complained about the Impala’s comfy bench seats and capacity to chauffeur eight people at one time to Jones Beach during the summer. But come fall, I began commuting from my parent’s house on Long Island to CUNY Queens.

At CUNY I set my sights on a writing degree. I took my first poetry workshop with Steven Stepanchev (who would be nominated for Queens poet laureate in 1997). I listened to W.S. Merwin give a live reading. I perfected my Middle English accent studying Chaucer. My universe was expanding.

But then the parking tickets started racking up.

Try parking that monstrosity on a New York City street. In a single week I received three tickets — and still didn’t make my eight a.m. class on time. With tuition, books, gas, and the Parking Violations Bureau on my back, my record store salary would only stretch. so. far.

Then my mother delivered the coup de grace. To continue living at home, I had to pay her “room and board.”

Say what?

Crying uncle, I withdrew from school in the middle of the second semester and became a full time employee at the record store. Right about the time the Impala developed a serious oil leak, they made me manager.

My job was to ensure that the all-student night staff feather-dusted the shrink-wrapped record albums and kept their stealing down to a minimum.

What I was reading: Nausea (Sartre), lots of Sylvia Plath.

(Stay tuned for Part 3 : Hippy Wedding Chariot…)

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