Lake Norman & Mooresville

Taking Pearl out for a little drive

Most people who name their cars would giggle and give me a guilty smile. Others - those who don't name their cars - would look at me like I was nuts.

My sister and brother-in-law, JoAnn and Dave Villanueva, who live in the Wynfield Forest neighborhood of Huntersville, bought a new car last month. The first question everyone in the family asked was, "What did you name it?"

My 87-year-old father asked, "What did you name her?" All cars are female to him.

My sister and brother-in-law named their new car Pearl. They chose the name for two reasons: The color of the car is called Cypress Pearl, and they bought the car on Dec. 7, the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

It gave us shivers, because the last new car they bought was on Sept. 11, 2001. They named that vehicle Astro9/11 and still drive it.

It is definitely a family thing to name cars.

When we were growing up, our dad named our station wagon Tallulah Belle. Now Dad drives a car he calls Betsy. Our daughter named her Volvo Blueberry. Our niece calls her Ford Explorer Big Blue.

We named our Honda Accord. We thought about Wanda the Honda, but we went with Schwanda the Honda because she is a five-speed. When we shift, we go from first to second to third gear saying, "Come on, Shhhh, waaan, daaaa! Come on, girl!" Our Jeep's name is Sparkles because it's silver, but for some reason we think our Jeep is a "he."

I decided to ask people around town. A young man and woman were loading groceries into a car with a license plate that said SCOOOBI. I asked if that was the car's name.

The young man, Sean, piped up with, "Yes, people call us and say they saw Scooobi" driving down the street. Kendra and Sean live in the Windward Point neighborhood in Mooresville. He added, referring to his girlfriend, Kendra, "She's a Scooby Doo nut!"

Anna Boug, 16, of Mooresville named her car Harold. When I asked why she chose that name, she said, "I don't know. He just looked like a Harold."

I had a doctor's appointment, so I asked the nurse who took my blood pressure whether she named her car.

"Yes," said nurse Teresa Peron of Huntersville. Her red Honda Accord is named Rosie. She named her new car because her mother-in-law had named her cars. Her mother-in-law previously drove a car named Norma Jean, which was Marilyn Monroe's real name, but now travels around in a new Mercedes she named Sadie. Sadie the Mercedes.

The doctor I saw that day shook her head no, she didn't name her car. The receptionist at the doctor's office, Patti Black, a Charlotte resident, laughed heartily and said, "No, I don't have to call it names." She drives a Saab convertible and "it keeps going, is dependable."

Another receptionist, Tannette Flythe of Charlotte, drives a blue Jeep Liberty she named Betsy.

I couldn't find many men who named their cars or trucks, until I ran into the hardware store.

Carl Price, who works there, told me, yes, indeed, he named his car. Price, who lives in Mooresville off Perth Road, said he used to drive a Jeep that he called Big Red but that now he drives a gray 2002 Chevrolet Suburban and gestured to it outside the store window. "That there I named The Old Gray Goose."

Fumbling with my camera as I took his photo, I asked him whether he thought of his car as a male or female.

Carl - ever the helpful hardware man - hesitated and then diplomatically replied, "Well it's a goose not a gander."