Why does my ford aspire shifter free float? on 1994 Ford Aspire

I have a 1994 ford aspire 5 speed manual. Last winter I stopped at a stop sign. When I put the car into 1st gear it wouldn't move forward. I then put it into neutral and tried to put into first again. To my dismay, Nothing. I then tried it in second. Nothing. Finally I got it to go in 3rd gear and reverse but that was all. My shifter floats around freely and won't even stay in second now. What is wrong and how can I resolve this issue. I love this car and miss driving it.

Asked by for the 1994 Ford Aspire
last winter?? thats a long time to drive without 1st or 2nd gear. by now, you most likely have done clutch damage and needs to be replaced. there are shifter cables and one of them may have failed. you need someone to check it for you. it was an inexpensive repair at the time but now will be a lot more. try in the future to adress issues when they happen as the more time passes, the more damage will be done.

Thanks for the possible fix. I actually haven't driven the vehicle at all since this happened. I had the good horse sense to garage it. Would shifter cable failure cause me to not be able to go into 3rd and 5th as well?
sure, the mounting bracket that contains the cables may be the issue. take a look and make sure all the bolts are there.