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Sunday, July 8, 2012

It lasted until last Saturday



My daughter Beth may be horrified by this math, but she’s driven a vehicle upwards of thirty years.  She’s owned Grumbelly, the VW bus, a little red Dodge Colt, a red pickup, a red Dodge Neon, and a Subaru wagon.  If you discount Grumbelly and the pickup, both of which she had for a couple of years, but for very different reasons, she’s pretty easy on cars.  Especially as none of these came to her new.  Excepting possibly the truck, which had to go.  When you are young and have a lot of friends, and own a truck, you too frequently are pressed into moving your friends from one housing situation to another.  

Grumbelly and the Subaru were not red.  All the cars had standard transmissions in common.    The little red Dodge Colt she learned on was a stick.  Mine.  She backed it right into a tree first time out.  In fact, I turned all driving lessons over to my brother.  When I finally got into a car with her, she was a good driver.  She gives me all the credit.

I believe the little red Neon gave way to the Subaru right around the new millennium.  Beth bought the restaurant/wine bar about then, and the Neon not only was past any legal limit of miles, its trunk was mighty inconvenient for loading and unloading cases of wine.

First came a growing restaurant and catering business, then love, then marriage, and then Beth and Bill with the baby carriage.  Dad’s Toyota looked really nice in the drive way, but Mom’s Subaru was the day-in, day-out go to.  Hauling restaurant supplies.  Taking kids to and from school every day.  Family vacations.  It was the epitome of the family car.  Crayon on the seats.  Drink stains on the floor.  Stickers on every square inch of the back seat windows.  Not “Baby on Board.”  We’re talking smiley faces, Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Square Bob.  All those gooberie little circles and squares that are distributed to children.  I confess to passing along a few myself, and am amazed at the forbearance of the parents.  I could not have tolerated that mess all over my back seat windows.

Beth failed her Subaru recently.  At its regular check up, her trusty mechanic said she was around 190,000 miles;  time for a new, preventative maintenance, timing belt.  OK, next oil change, said the busy mom, restaurant owner and caterer.  And on a lovely Saturday morning, loaded with a wedding reception in the next county, the Subaru died of terminal timing belt failure.  Fortunately the rest of her crew was following her, redistributed the contents, and pulled off the wedding reception without missing a beat, while her trusty mechanic sent a tow truck and took Subaru to the garage.

What to do?  A new standard transmission Subaru was out of the pricing question, and owners of older standard transmission Subaru’s don’t turn them in often.  Then she found one and sent me a link to the  picture at the dealer.  What did I think? 

 I advised her to go for it; there was just one sticker in the window. 

She told me Caroline was disappointed; she had wondered how long some of her favorite stickers would last.  “Until last Saturday, Caroline.”



17 comments:

  1. That looks like the perfect car, but it's so hard to know what's under the hood with used cars. I hope she took the car to a mechanic to check it out before buying it.

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  2. Definitely looks like a family car..and lots of window space for stickers.

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  3. I approve of personalizing vehicles with entertaining stickers and clings. It livens up the roads.

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  4. It is funny that you get the credit for teaching her how to drive.

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  5. An ode to Beth's cars... reads like a short story, a very well written short story. The new car looks spanky fresh and clean. Beth might miss the 'Roo for a few moments but once she gets the feel of her new car she'll be 'Roo-who?

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  6. Joanne I love this post especially the little poem in the middle

    'First came a growing restaurant and catering business,
    Then love,
    Then marriage, and ....
    Then Beth and Bill ....
    With the baby carriage.'

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  7. Joanne, You do have a way with words. Cars without crud under the seats have never had a child inside. Your comment on my blog today made me laugh out loud. Thank you!

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  8. Coming from the automotive business, if you find a car you love, stick with it. I drove Saab's for years until they priced themselves out of my handbag. Saab's were the only standard transmission I could afford and I insisted that my son would be able to drive a stick.

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  9. I learned to drive on a stick shift car and drove one for a couple of years. Every time I saw a stop sign or a light on top of a hill, my heart started beating a little faster and I would start to sweat if someone was too close behind me. Even though I have been driving automatic for 40 years now I still get pangs of hillitice on any incline.

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  10. I always miss my old car ... until a few days after getting the replacement, when I'm enjoying the feeling of reliability again :)

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  11. Caroline was very thrilled that I took the four little penguin stickers off the old car and put them where just she could see them in the new car. Bill had always been complaining about how the other stickers were a visibility hazard (you just had to use the Force to look through the cracks).

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  12. My daughter's first car was a Nissan. She had three minor accidents and said if she had one more, the car was being got rid of. Well, accident number four happened and the car was sold. She hasn't had a single accident in the twenty years since.

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  13. Too bad she didn't get the timing belt in time, what a loss, did she keep the car and part it out, she could get quite a bit for the parts for others needing them. Unusual that she drives the standard transmission in this day and age, many can even drive them any longer. I miss my old cars and when I say old I mean the 60s cars I drove not too long ago.

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  14. we cried when they towed my first sons car from the driveway---i love the car you pictured!

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  15. Nice new family car. We had to upgrade this year too but I still kinda miss the old one.

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  16. Out with the old.
    A little Boo-hoo-hoo.
    The old one's been sold.
    Now it's in the the new.

    Loved the story of your daughter's car history!

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  17. Those entertaining stickers on the bumper are about the only way we have to identify our car from all the other gray, 4-door sedans. My grandkids have quick eyes--"Gramma, the Irish flag sticker is over here!"

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