...and having the patience to teach me how to drive it when I was 18 and short on patience of my own. It was an otherwise forgettable car, but it kicked off my insistence on buying manual transmission cars ever since.

This is the one photo I could find of it, despite my mom owning it from 2002 until 2013. She bought it with around 30,000 miles when I was a senior in high school to add a third car to our base-model ‘92 Cavalier (3-speed auto, AM/FM radio - not even a tape deck) and problematic ‘95 Windstar (which later became my problem in college and stranded me many times). She wanted something “fun” and missed driving her manual VW Rabbit that my dad decided wasn’t big enough sometime around ‘86 and traded it in on a Celebrity. But it still needed to pass for a family car, and hopefully be somewhat reliable (in those days that meant anything that wasn’t American or European, i.e. a Japanese marque). So we found the Altima. Other than the 5-speed manual, it was pretty forgettable - low on power, average handling and ride, surprisingly poor MPG. In it’s favor, it was a SE trim that had niceties like 6-spoke 16" alloys, a tilt-slide sunroof, and a 6-disc in-dash CD changer with RDS. This was one of the last generations of mid-size, mainstream sedans where you could get a manual on trims other than the base. And it was a decent enough transmission. A friend of mine had tried to teach me to drive a manual on a rusty old Mitsubishi pickup before that and I never quite got the hang of it. This one was obviously much smoother, but Mom sitting there and not getting upset when I stalled it time after time in the high-school parking lot is what really got me going. Now I am on MT number 3 of my own and hopefully will have many more in the future (‘93 ES300 5MT, ‘07 Santa Fe 5MT, ‘14 Forester 6MT). Sadly, my dad insisted that she go auto again after replacing the clutch for a third time at just 120,000 miles, but at least we had this when it mattered for me.