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Couple miss Jeep they once treasured
Spotsylvania County couple are certain they've spotted the beloved Jeep from their youth, 23 years after they bought it.

 Melanie and Jim Bibens would like to find this 1988 Jeep Comanche they owned 23 years ago and gave away in 1995. Now they've seen it on the roads and want to have it again.
Reza A. Marvashti /The Free Lance Star
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Date published: 6/21/2011

By CATHY DYSON

Some people want to recapture their lost youth; others try to reconnect with long-ago lovers.

Jim and Melanie Bibens keep their eyes peeled for an old truck.

Not just any jalopy, but a red 1988 Jeep Comanche pickup--yes, Jeep made trucks in those days.

Jim bought it when he lived in Rhode Island, drove it across country--twice--and put more than 160,000 miles on it before he and Melanie gave it to a family member who needed a ride and later sold the truck. They assumed the Jeep was out of their lives for good, until a few months ago, when they spotted the familiar truck on Spotsylvania County roads.

But before we shift into that gear, let's hear more about the prized Jeep Jim and Melanie picked out 23 years ago. The vehicle with no air conditioning had a two-door cab with a bench seat in between and a five-speed on the floor.

"It was my first new truck," said Jim, who wanted something sturdy after he blew out the motor in a Camaro--twice.

Jim and Melanie both were in the Navy then, stationed in Rhode Island.

Their reliable ride took them across the country when Jim got sent to California. Then, it brought them to Spotsylvania County, when they were dirt poor and starting a family in their home off Smith Station Road.

"We had a lot of time together in that truck; it was our pride and joy," Melanie said. "I've been pregnant in that truck, we've had fights in that truck--and done other things we won't mention."

The couple, who are in their 40s, kept the Jeep until 2001, when a family member needed a ride. They signed it over for a dollar.

They were disappointed when the relative sold their beloved Jeep to get money for another vehicle. But, they figured they couldn't do anything about it--and moved on.

Then, a few months ago, a strange thing happened.

Jim was on patrol when he saw a flash from the past. He's a lieutenant with the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office, where Melanie works in the detective division.


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