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This Oklahoma Life: Metallic Fringe, Used Cars

Now, the neighbors come from near and far
As we pull up in our brand new used car
I wish he’d just hit the gas and let out a cry and tell ’em all they can kiss our asses goodbye

Last night, I asked some of my friends on Facebook to share the first word that came to mind when they saw this picture. Some of the answers were prayer, rainbow, roller coaster, wind, carnival, and state fair.

This is actually a picture of a used car lot in one of the most blighted areas of Oklahoma City, south of 10th Street on Virginia Avenue.

My dad took me to so many used car lots as a kid looking for his next big dream. Every time I saw the colorful fringe blowing in the wind I’d be full of hope and anticipation over our next brand new used car.

Before long, however, the salesman would totally dash those hopes with the price. The cars on the front row (Bonnevilles, LTDs, Monte Carlos and Cutlass Supremes, just to name a few) with their sparkly paint and spoke wheels, usually went for around $3,500. Totally out of our price range. After inquiring about several cars, the salesman would eventually lead us to the back row where we’d peruse a collection of jalopies hidden from the street.

This experience was everything my Facebook friends described: a roller coaster, a carnival, a prison.

The hilarious and moderately tragic song, Used Cars, by Springsteen is an anthem for my siblings, mom, and me. It is representative of so many of our experiences growing up. These days, we laugh ourselves silly thinking about all our used car adventures, even if we weren’t laughing at the time.



South Shartel Avenue, loaded with metallic fringe garland and used car lots

I have this highly eccentric desire to drive an ugly used car. I’ve even thought about opening a side business, Jen’s Jalopies. Totally serious.

They put this stuff on parade floats and mobile home showrooms, too, but I prefer mine on used car lots.
Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  2. jenx67

    hahahha!! that is awesome. i like your how your husband thinks!

  3. Rose Byrd

    Jen, funny you should mention opening a business called “Jen’s Jalopies”.  My husband keeps threatening to get me a customized pink and silver three-wheeled motorcycle with side car, some outfits worn by that Miss Pearl lady on the Grand Ol’ Opry (you know, the one with the flower bedecked straw church hats always still bearing the dangling price tags), some huge plastic pocket books with hundred dollar bills hanging out the clasps, and send me off to teach Sunday School at the town’s church claiming the largest number of doctors, lawyers, and bankers in this wannabee Deep Southern town.  What I need from you is a deal on a jalopy to park in my driveway to p**s off the neighbors!

  4. jenx67

    I love it when the ordinary confuses, amazes, reveals. xoxo!

  5. jenx67

    I’m always looking for the contradictions, don’t you know. When I find them, for some reason, I feel less insecure about everything.

  6. jenx67

    Checked roofs – totally underrated!!

  7. jenx67

    That is awesome. I love that line: “Driving those cars made me the man I am today.”

  8. Le@third

    very festive Jen but also kinda sad I think … the barb wire and the colour is the contradiction I think – best le xox

  9. yogiabb

    No, Jen your neighbors wouldn’t mind at all. My Dad always bought used cars. He specialized in the $99 to $499 price range. Driving those cars made me the man I am today:)

  10. territorymom

    You’re so funny. I’d buy a car from you.  My grandparents had a 98 Olds, it was copper with a copper and black checked roof, so cool.

  11. Andi Fisher

    When I saw the photo on FB I thought they looked like flags – like country flags, but I see now that they are a different kind of flag!

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