Welcome to my personal tribute to a man whom I grew up with and was a very good friend of mine. His name is Steven and before he was married he lived across the road from me with his parents and brother. Our friendship grew when I got my first casual position at the same place he worked and I would grab a lift there and back with him. Sometimes after work we would drive to the 24 hr servo and grab a midnight snack with some other workmates. Steve was always friendly with anyone he met and made friends fast; it was hard not to like him. He would also offer a lift home to anyone who needed it so long as there was a seat left in the car (and sometimes when there wasn't) but he always saved a seat for me. He hadn't bought his Holden at this stage and would borrow either car available from one of his parents. It was in his parent's cars that he taught me how to drive.
He drove round the back of the shopping centre of which we worked, it was late at night so the carpark was empty, and he stopped the car. Wondering what it was he was doing he got out and told me to swap seats. Excited I jumped in an patiently awaited his tutalage. His mum's car was a manual, exactly what I wanted to learn, and he first instructed me in using the clutch and changing gears while still parked. I couldn't keep the grin from my face and he had a smile on too. When he thought I was ready he told me to put the car in first gear and keep my foot on the clutch while I turned the ignition. So far so good. Next was to put my hand on the handbrake and foot near the accelerator. Check. I could tell he was a bit nervous, who wouldn't be, but I was loving it and he was enjoying it too. Ease my foot of the clutch, ease the handbrake down and put pressure on the accelerator. Too much at once I think, the car gave a couple attempts at moving jerking us forward a couple of metres before stalling. It was too much for us we couldn't control ourselves. I pulled the handbrake back and Steve fell out of the car from laughing holding his sides. I had tears rolling down my face and we couldn't stop for a full 5 mins. That was the end of my lesson for the night, when we had both calmed down to non stop giggling we swapped seats again and he drove us home. Thats my most memorable memory of him. I still smile thinking about it.
He bought his Holden while still working nights. It wasn't what everyone expected he would buy but I think it was love at first sight despite warnings from family and friends. He was always tinkering with it, either fixing it or further "improving" it. After Steven passed away his car was left to his widow. She came to me and offered to sell it to me saying she was in need of money could'nt keep the car any longer but didn't want to see it sent to a wreckers and pulled apart. Well, I didn't want that to happen either and I took her up on it. She told me the engine wasn't complete and that it needed to be towed. That was fine but I had no idea the rest of the car needed work on it too. Apparently Steve was in the middle of putting it back together before he died, but I truly can't see how he would have lasted so long without a car (pictures here). Nevertheless I was determined to do him and his car justice and see it restored. Years passed and the car moved back and forward again between Steve's widow and me. I'm now in possession of the car and have decided to work on it every Sunday.
He married his highschool sweetheart and had twins, a boy and a girl, not long after. He had a full time job, having long since left nightshift for his future and family. Life was looking good for him when it dealt him and everyone who knew him a very cruel blow taking him away from us. Rest in peace Steven.