Amanda Vitale | East Bay High senior | 1990 Buick hearse
By TAYLOR BERGERON, East Bay High
The Burton mobile
Amanda Vitale calls her hearse “Emily,” an homage to the character of the same name in the movie Corpse Bride. Her first hearse was named “Sally” after the character in The Nightmare Before Christmas. “I am in love with Tim Burton,” she said. “I own all his movies.” Her hearse also contains dolls of characters from the The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Sally’s dead end
She got her first hearse her freshman year after she had just turned 15. On Jan. 12, she was involved in an accident and Sally (Hearse I), a 1997 Cadillac hearse that cost her $4,500, was totaled. “It was so sad,” Vitale said. “I love Emily but Sally was my first hearse. I waited three years to drive her.” Exactly one week after Sally’s death, Vitale bought Emily, a 1990 Buick hearse, for $1,400 from a funeral home.
The freaky factor
Emily (Hearse II) fulfills its original purpose — drum roll, anyone? — carrying around a coffin. With a life-sized doll named George, whom Vitale calls a vampire. “George is nice to certain people,” she said, laughing. “I say hello and goodbye to him every day when entering and exiting my car.” Emily has survived two funeral homes, and the freakiest reality is that many dead people have actually been driven in the back.
Rest in peace?
“The major problem I have had with my hearse is people,” Vitale said. “On Sally at school, a student tagged my car and wrote ‘rest in peace, bruh.’ I found it to be very disrespectful and I was very angry.” Over the years she has encountered others calling her creepy or freaky, among other names. “My car is my baby,” she said. “I am very protective of her. People like touching my car? Well if they do, I’ll be slashing some tires.” She’s so possessive of her car that when her mother once drove her car and her skull valve covers were stolen, she made her parents buy her a new set.
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