Friday, June 22, 2012
The Eclair went to a memorial service without me yesterday, at the Jersey Shore, and I'm afraid the ninety-nine-degree heat and the air-conditioning and the Garden State Parkway may have conspired to put too much of a strain on her system. After meeting up with my friends to get the keys, I noticed, on the drive back to Rockaway, that she was laboring. I hope she is not a goner.
Actually, I was a little surprised that my friends didn't decline my offer to lend them the car, after I started to itemize her eccentricities. (The shoulder belts are only cosmetic—don't attract attention from the police; don't open the left rear window, as it will never close again; pay no attention to the fact that the right rear bumper is hanging off—she was in a three-car accident while legally parked.)
Lately I have been remembering another Honda Civic, of the same vintage as the Eclair, a hatchback that was owned by a former copy editor named Lu Burke, who had retired to Connecticut. It was red—Chianti red (she always insisted on the manufacturer's description)—and when Lu died, about a year and a half ago, I found myself wondering what would become of her car. She only ever drove it to the grocery store and the Honda dealer, and then to the gas station, to have it topped off.
Lu Burke left a will, in which she did not bequeath me the 1990 Chianti-red Honda Civic. I didn't visit her often enough, which really is too bad, because she turned out to be a millionaire: she left her entire estate to the Southbury Public Library. I drove up there last month to check out the lucky library, and wrote a story about Lu Burke, the millionaire copy editor (you can find it here, on the New Yorker Web site). I refrained from mentioning the car. But I am dying to find out what happened to it.