Miata Memories - by Fran Green


“Arrive home at EXACTLY 5:30” was the mandate from my husband, Bob, on October 29, 1990.   As I pulled into our driveway the garage door opened.  There sat a beautiful blue 1991 Mazda Miata with a big red bow tied on it.  Our son, Jay, Bob and my mother-in-law, Elsie, were belting out “Happy Birthday.”  

“What a great idea,” I thought.  “He arranged with the Mazda dealer to let him borrow it for the night to take me out to dinner for my 47th birthday!”  

It took all three singers to convince me that it was mine.   

The next day I drove it to the Science Museum of Virginia where I worked.  I could not stop looking at it.  All day I peeped out a window overlooking the parking lot to make sure it was still there. I told everyone I was going to keep it forever.  

In 1991 our son Jay’s baseball team won the Virginia State Little League Championship.  The team was flown to Florida to compete in the Southeast Regional Tournament. Bob decided to take the Miata on its first long road trip.  Bob is six foot three inches tall; getting in and out of it was not easy.  Adding two tall, skinny preteen boys was even harder, but Jay and his friend Ethan found riding in it to be much more fun than losing their first game.

After retirement we spent seven years living on the Outer Banks but continued visiting our Richmond friends.  Of course I went back and forth in the Miata.  During one visit I was driving my friend Kathy home.  When I saw a “No Left Turn” sign I decided to ignore it. Only when I bumped over a curb and ended up in an empty parking lot did I realize that the road was at a 45-degree angle. We got to her house although I knew something major was wrong, and Kathy’s glasses had flown off her face and disappeared.  The right front wheel was badly damaged.  Bob had to drive four hours from the beach to rescue me the next day.  Two years later, as I was lowering the convertible top, I noticed a glint of something metal.  Under the hinge on the driver’s side I discovered the missing eyeglasses, intact.

I refused to give up my 23-tear-old Miata when we moved to Colorado.  I was confident it was healthy enough to come along.  Our strategy, since Bob was not sure it would make it that far, was for me to leave one hour earlier than he and Barley.  By lunchtime he had caught up with me; by dinnertime he had caught up with me again.  We did this for three days until we arrived safely at our new home in Fort Collins.  

After the move the odometer rolled over to 200,000 miles.  The Miata was invited to spend winters in a neighbor’s garage in exchange for my looking after their house while they were away.  When I retrieved car in April I noticed a fluid leak.  It turned out to be brake fluid,  leading to an expensive repair.  A week later I noticed more leaks.  Mechanics found three more leaks plus seepage plus torn parts.  Repairs could range from $2,000 to as much as $12,000 for a total restoration.  

Time to lay my Miata to rest. 


The 1991 model blue Mazda Miata was born in 1990.  It was a surprise gift to Fran Green from her husband, Bob, for her 47th Birthday on October 29, 1991.  

It died at the age of 27 with 204,000 miles, having traveled as far south as Florida and as far north as Vermont.  In 2013 after living in Richmond, Virginia, and Corolla, North Carolina, it relocated to Fort Collins, Colorado.  

During its lifetime it survived a paint job, three convertible tops, and a few minor scrapes and bruises.  In its old age, it could be said that it “shakes, rattles, but it still rolls.”   On May 31, 2017, it rolled into Dellenbach Motors.  Death was caused by a series of leaks, worn out parts, and the need for intensive medical care.  Its life was sacrificed, along with a 2006 green Subaru Forester, for a 2017 blue Forester.  A 2015 Subaru Forester survives it.  Fran and Bob Green and Barley also survive.  No service is planned at this time.  May it rest in peace.

It is destined for an afterlife with a Dellenbach employee who had previously owned a red 1991 relative.  

The Greens have welcomed a copper-red 2010 Miata into their family.  





It's Never What We Expect It to Be - by Nisanda Albaugh

If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that life is never what you expect it to be.  For instance, I never thought I’d live to be 81. All the members of my original family died young, so by the time I reached 60 I had made peace with the fact that my life on earth could possibly be coming to a close. Now I find myself 20 years later looking back and doing a “life review” and wondering, “now what?”  

In high school I wasn’t allowed to follow my passion and take mechanical drawing and shop, so I took the required cooking and sewing classes. As the principal’s daughter I was told it was up to me to set an example and follow the program, so I did.  I continued doing the “right thing,” going to college and getting a BA and a teaching credential, only to find that I really didn’t like teaching in the traditional school system.

After raising two children and ending a 24-year marriage, I was at a loss about how to find my place in the world. I had been taking classes toward my master’s degree and needed a job, but I soon learned that the Education Department didn’t allow students to continue their education and also work.  So…

I dropped out of college, wrote my very first resume and was soon asked to start a program for 29 adults who needed educating. They were being released from the soon-to-be-closed Stockton Institution for the Mentally Insane, the first public mental health institution in California, and my job was to create a school-room situation for them. It meant hiring a staff, writing learning programs and teaching students with mild to severe handicaps, none of which I’d done before. It was deemed a huge success by the students, parents and community, and I remember it with fondness as fun and a great learning situation for us all. 

When I knew I was done with this part of my life, I sold our beautiful new solar home on the river, got rid of most of what I owned, packed the back of my pick-up with the things that were really important to me, and got on the road for parts unknown. Since then I have pretty much followed my heart and done what I wanted to do. I’ve traveled across the country alone, camped in the middle of nowhere, lived in a commune, worked as a wedding consultant in Massachusetts in facilities built in the 1600s and spent eight years with an organization building senior co-housing in California.  

My past is rushing toward me now as my ex-husband makes plans to come visit us. He can’t climb stairs; since my house is the only one in the family that is stairless, guess where he will be staying. There are things that we didn’t heal during our marriage and many we’ve both worked on since then. This is a great opportunity for healing.  I wonder if it will be what we expect it to be? 

Nisanda Albaugh

Nisanda Albaugh


Moving makes you wiser - by Judy Werner

Moving makes you wiser.  Now that the last box has been emptied, we have a few minutes to reflect on the moving experience and all it entails for the aging population.
An enormous amount of emotions have been encountered by both of us. 

Oh, the good-byes were painful.   I planned on going back to the independent living facility after a month or two.  However, it has only beena few days and I decided to make a quick phone call to tell a dear friend how much I already missed her and her husband. 

Within few moments, she let me know how much things have deteriorated since our move.  The dreaded rent increase letter has been received with rates increasing 3.5% monthly.  Also,  the hot water has been sporadic in working dependably.  They have had to heat their water or wait for their much desired showers.  So their feelings of frustration and unimportance have heightened. 

As far as our new apartment, it has been a source of joy and frustration.  I can't figure out who designs these places or what they were thinking at the time.  The ceilings are 9 ft. high.  I surmise to make them more soundproof.  However, this means the cabinets are hung very high.  They don't seem to believe in shelves in lower cabinets or under cabinet lights over the sink either.  The shower headisso high, it could easily water the jolly green giant.   Yet, there are times when we honestly feel like it is
a wonderful gift with new appliances, granite countertops, and even a nifty, electric fireplace which creates heat and/or sets a mood.

I see the relief on my husband's face now that we can save some portion of our retirement income instead of tremendously straining our funds.  I wonder if this is how teenagers feelas they leave the safety and comfort of their family's home to venture out on their own.  I will never regret our decision to go into Independent living,  we've learned so much about an age group we knew little about.  I think we also learned so much about each other.