Curbside Outtake: 1981 Honda Civic 1500DX – Still Looking Young After Forty Years, Just Like Lori

Seeing this very youthful-looking Civic transported me back forty years, to the parking lot of KSCI-TV. One of our employees, Lori, had just bought a new Civic like this, and several of us went out to check it out when we saw her proudly pull in the parking lot. Sweet! Congratulations. Good choice. It’s going to serve you well.

And it turns out that this Civic isn’t the only one who has aged lightly since 1981.


I somehow found myself the General Manager of KSCI-TV in LA at the tender age of 28. But then almost everyone that worked there was under the age of 35 or so; a warren of youthful baby-boomers, all trying to make something of our lives. The station had been created to beam lectures and related programs by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the TM Program, but that wasn’t paying the bills and it was about to go under, so my job was to turn it around, and very quickly, at that! No easy task, but converting the station into a televised tower of Babel, with programming in 17 languages, things did take a turn, and quite quickly at that.

The first thing I did once the money started flowing in instead of out, was to raise salaries to something approaching market rates. Not quite LA big station rates; more like Omaha or such. The result was that the parking lot full of beaters started transforming itself, as new cars replaced the old ones. I vividly remember going out to check Lori’s new Civic like it was yesterday. I approve!

Lori started out as an administrative assistant, in sales and/or programming, but quickly took on an increasing portfolio of responsibilities. That’s her with what looks like a printout from Traffic form our brand new Combine Traffic system, running on a small dedicated IBM (non PC) computer. That was a major (and expensive) upgrade, from doing it manually!

Lori was one of my favorite co-workers, and not just for the most obvious reason. She was bright, energetic, detail-oriented, had a great sense of humor, and was always eager to pitch in no matter what the need. We were all learning how to run a proper tv operation, and Lori was a gem. I always wondered what became of her. So I Googled her just now, for the first time ever.

And wow, just like the Civic, she doesn’t look forty years older either. She’s represented by a modeling/talent agency, hence finding her so quickly and with such fine pictures. Lori was only a few years out of high school (class of ’79) when she came to work at KSCI, so that explains a wee bit of her current youthfulness. Remember when one could get a decent entry level job out of high school and turn it into a proper career?

Apparently Lori is re-inventing herself after 40 years of working in network tv and radio sales.

I kid you not when I tell you I had no idea where this post was going when I started it; it actually had a different opening paragraph, but then I suddenly remembered Lori’s new Civic, and I just followed its natural course.

Back to Lori’s Civic: she loved it, not surprisingly. It was the perfect car for a young single working woman at the time in LA. She lived out in Pasadena somewhere, so it was a long and brutal commute to the far west side of LA. This was the ideal car for her; well built, cute, reliable, and fun to drive. Quite a lot like Lori.

Now if I could only remember what she drove before she bought the Civic…my memory just can’t quite conjure it up. Almost certainly some tired, older American car from the early-mid ’70s, as it was almost inevitably so. Car by car, the parking lot became a sea of Japanese cars that replaced elderly Novas, Darts, Falcons and the like.

Lori’s Civic had a stick shift. Much more in keeping with her personality.

Enough for my trip down memory lane, at least for today. It was a perfect sunny fall day when we encountered this Civic, and I was very happy to be alive in Eugene just then, pandemic or not. I can’t imagine still living in LA.

Memories are great, but living in the moment is even greater. Especially when it’s in Curbsidelandia.