In December 2008, the (Mobile, Alabama) Press-Register published a three-day series recounting prominent Mobile-area residents' memories of their first cars.

The newspaper invited readers to send in their own first-car accounts, and almost 50 stories arrived via fax, regular mail, email, and online. Half a dozen top submissions (as judged by the newspaper's staff members) were published as part of the original series, and the remainder were published, one at a time, on the front page of Saturday's Auto section. On Saturday, April 18, 2009, my number came up. (Click on the photo below to see the article.)

Here's the text of the invitation as it appeared on the newspaper's blog site:

Share your 'first car' memories!

In youth, one rite of passage is not pedestrian. A budding motorist never forgets his or her very first car.

Whether it arrived on a 16th birthday or just an ordinary day made memorable by its acquisition, that car represented sweet release: The Emancipation Transportation.

At last, you were the man or woman that you were meant to be. The cars weren't always the nicest, but time has tended to soften their eccentricities. In a three-day series, the Press-Register told some of those first car stories. Now, the newspaper invites readers to share their recollections.

Deadline for entries is Jan. 7. Press-Register editors will pick five submissions as the top entries and authors will receive prizes courtesy of Alabama Motorsports Park, A Dale Earnhardt Jr. Speedway.