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!