In 1987, I was 13 years old, and my family’s main method of transportation was a 1976 AMC Gremlin. It was red with blue doors and covered in rust, and as if these aesthetics weren’t enough to draw stares, it had a muffler that growled and coughed, assaulting the ears and noses of unlucky onlookers. We lived in a ruined steel town in the Ohio Valley, where the lines between rich and poor were shakily drawn. Those that had money didn’t really have a lot; they just had more than others. Even so, my equally self-conscious older sister and I strained to hide what our family lacked, and were miraculously succeeding until the Gremlin came into our lives. Once it did, anytime our family of six pulled up to the curb, piling out one by one as if from a clown car, we had an audience. People stared. They whispered. They snickered. Along with our exhaust fumes, the noxious smell of ridicule accompanied us everywhere.