Changing vehicles stirs up memories

Our Plymouth Grand Voyager had over 200,000 miles on it when we took it to the salvage yard because its aging ailments were starting to border on dangerous, and we didn’t feel it wise to stick any more money into it.

We purchased the van new when our son Isaac was a few weeks old so over the last 20 years, the van has played an important part of our busy lives. It’s sad to send a faithful vehicle on to be recycled.

In the last year, we’ve praised and coaxed the van along, often praying our way to destinations because of the noises and shuddering. It is just a useful machine. It isn’t alive. It has no personality. It doesn’t love us back. Yet somehow we give vehicles human attributes. I’ve seen insurance commercials echoing this same philosophy. (You know the commercial with the girl talking about her car Brad who lived through two boyfriends and three jobs, or something like that?)

So as I followed my husband to the salvage yard, I started to feel a bit nostalgic and sad about deserting our poor, loyal van. Three babies grew up in that van. We took family trips to Colorado, Montana, Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Dakota in that van. The van transported me to and from my first writing conference at Wheaton College, transported all three sons to Badger Boy camps, campus visits, and countless sporting events. It hauled boys’ belongings to college dorms and apartments and co-op apartments, stuffed to the brim. People learned to drive using this van. We’ve traveled to northern Wisconsin and Michigan to visit family in that van and visited lots of state parks with fishing poles, bags of swimwear, and picnic baskets packed in the back.

Yes, it is bittersweet. We replaced our burgundy van with a used, silver Dodge Grand Caravan. It feels different as we start out making new memories. Its first family trip was to Iowa for a wedding. Soon though, we’ll all be attached to it just as we have with all the vehicles in the family.

I hope it will be as good as the Plymouth and Mazda and . . . Somehow we move on and occasionally reminisce about past vehicles. The boys still recall the good old days with the Mazda I bought new the year our second son was born. . . Ah, the Mazda. It was a good, dependable car that traveled many highway miles . . . . (It’s pictured with the boys in high school outfitted for their respective spring sports. Note the odometer—349,027! We like to see how far we can drive them. The Mazda has had the most miles.)

Do you get attached to vehicles? Share a memory with us!

6 thoughts on “Changing vehicles stirs up memories

  1. I felt the same way with our Honda van. We had it 12 years to the day and had somewhere around 150,000 miles. But we’d already put in a new transmission twice and were starting to feel another one coming on, and with all three kids grown, we decided it was time to downsize. But oh, the memories! Funny how those inanimate objects in our lives take on such personality.

    1. I know! It must be a kind of transferring of love of all the people we have shared memories with in those vehicles. I guess I always feel a little sad when one chapter ends, even when I’m excited about the new chapter. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Mary!

  2. We watch the TV show “This is Us” and they recently did an entire episode told through the vehicle’s viewpoint that the family had for years. So I guess it’s not silly to miss the “old” one that held so many memories. Me on the other hand, I have always been glad to get rid of the “old” one and move on…we sure have never gotten the miles out of something that you guys did 🙂

    1. I didn’t know there was such a show. Funny. 🙂 Yes, we tend to drive them until they can’t go much more. Pat spends a lot of time fixing them near the end which sometimes can get frustrating! There is a relief of sorts to have vehicles with fewer miles. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  3. I agree. We had a large old plymouth. We sold it when we bought a truck to pull our 35 ft. RV with, but I loved and missed that old car. As big as it was it was very easy to park. I haven’t found that to be true in any of the cars we had bought since.

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