Do you have an emotional—and possibly irrational—attachment to your car? I do. Every single car I’ve every owned, I’ve loved. I can remember my first love—I mean, car—a 1985 Mitsubishi Galant. My dad let me drive it after my older sister left for college and I got my license in 1989. It was a sensible, silver 4-door sedan that wasn’t too fast or sexy for a 17-year-old novice driver. I loved it.
The first car I ever purchased was a different story entirely. It was fire-engine-red Eagle Talon with a black roof and spoiler. It wasn’t very practical for a young journalist driving all over New Jersey with the trunk full of TV reporting gear. I schlepped a video camera, extra batteries, tripod, and about a million pens and pads (no computer yet). But I loved that car. I paid it off, cracked it up, then became more practical.
On to my Honda CRV, which was a fairly new vehicle in the SUV world in 1998. It logged more than 120 miles a day as my husband and I split the commute between New Jersey and northeast Pennsylvania. The CRV was great for getting over the Pocono Mountains, but weak on gas mileage. It drove me from that job as a medical reporter for the NBC affiliate in Wilkes Barre, PA to a morning anchor gig in Indianapolis, IN. It then got me to Minneapolis for an evening anchor job with WXIN-FOX 29. That CRV brought my babies home from the hospital. My next car filled a void after I got divorced. I leased my long lusted after Jeep Wrangler. Lipstick red with a black rag top. Yes I have an emotional attachment to all my cars, each has played an important role defining my life stage.
Now I drive a minivan. It is my second home, but it’s not just mine. Each of my three children has an assigned seat, and if you look there, you can see their personalities. (You’ll also see plenty of snack wrappers, toys, and the occasional video game.) They, too, are attached to their part of the car because we spend so much time in it. They store their favorite water bottle, favorite car game (Mad Libs) or favorite CD (yes, we still have CDs). And they get upset when the lease is up and it’s time for a new second home.
This week, it’s time. I’ll once again head to Park Jeep to turn in my “mobile” second home and get a new one. As the kids and I often do, we’ll say goodbye to this van, remember some of the songs we belted out, trips we took, and fights that occurred. We’ll clean out the secret hiding places, find lost toys, lip glosses, and loose change. Then we’ll try to predict what color minivan we’ll choose next. It’s a good exercise in being grateful and moving forward.
This week I wish you safe travels, reliable wheels, and a strong internal GPS to make the right turns. I’d love to hear your car memories and the crazy stuff you find under the seats! Get in touch any time.