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So, you are graduating?

Lead Summary
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

Spring is just around the corner. We likely believe that more in Atlanta, Ga. than you do in Highland County at the moment, but trust me, it is.

With spring, comes graduations. Whether from high school or college, young graduates view this as a liberating time, a time to spend a little money.

In my day, everyone wanted a better car. I don’t understand young people today, who are often not car crazy. So, you may want a fancier computer than the one you have been limping by with, so that you can play the latest computer game (not my thing, the last time I remember playing a computer game was “pong” in a purpose-built console in a Holiday Inn lobby, about 1977.)

This column, however, is a cautionary tale.

All that glitters is not gold, and that “thing” that you have been dreaming for will soon lose its luster. Take a tour of a local junkyard. Everything there is something that someone at sometime thought they could not do without.

In computers, I have lost track of all the ones I have bought, starting in 1979 – and I don’t even play video games.

I am 70, soon to be 71. As a personal, real-life story, just let me tell you about the automobiles I have owned since 2004, a time when you who are about to graduate were between 1 and 5 years old.

But first allow me to introduce you to “No Longer Bound” – a center that helps addiction-laden men ( No Longer Bound accepts donations of old vehicles to help support their ministry.

Around Thanksgiving 2004, I bought a brand-new 2005 Honda CR-V. In 2005, I drove it through the 48 contiguous states in seven days. I swore I would never get rid of it just because of that memory. It was in my “fleet” until January 2019, when my son-in-law was driving it down the interstate and the crankshaft broke in two.

Destination: No Longer Bound.

In 2005, I bought a well-used 1988 GMC S-10 pickup to haul materials as I remodeled our basement. I put a cheap paint job on it, new bumpers, spray-in bed liner, etc. It got so, finally, that the primitive computer controlling the engine gave out, and it had to go.

This was about 2015. Destination: No Longer Bound.

In 2007, I bought a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle I was going to restore. After a paint job, engine rebuild (which I did myself), rewiring and so forth, along about 2015, Laura said “That rusty money pit has got to go.”

Destination: No Longer Bound.

In 2008, I bought a 2002 Yamaha V-Star 650 motorcycle from a friend. After my last hospitalization in 2017, my reflexes weren’t so good any longer.

Destination: No Longer Bound.

In 2011, I bought a new 2012 Focus Titanium, fully loaded, from Bill Marine Ford in Wilmington. I drove the wheels off that car. In the spring of 2019, when it was nearly fully depreciated, the electric power steering gave out. Replacement costs were close to the value of the car by then.

Destination: No Longer Bound.

The point is this. At one time, each of these vehicles possessed a charm that said, “You need me.”

In the blink of an eye, each one was no longer so attractive. And these are just the vehicles I bought since I was 54 years old. I could fill a book with the automotive acquisitions since I graduated from college.

Today, I drive a 2019 Honda HR-V. But just a couple of weeks ago, I bought a 1964 Corvair 4-speed convertible. Can’t resist that twinkle while telling you to watch out for it!

Just be careful how you spend your money. These enticing baubles lose their glow quickly.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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