Well we did it – we sold the Jetta. Dan took the day off on Monday and was so incredibly productive, it made me feel a bit shameful for how little I do on the weekdays of my maternity leave (I mean, I feel like I’ve had a productive day when I do laundry AND empty the dishwasher AND take a shower…he sold a CAR among other things…)
A very nice girl who is starting medical school at U of C took her for a test drive and bought her on the spot. A few hours later, she came into the house to finalize the details. She has a dog. She is nervous about not knowing anyone here. She hopes that med school will be what she is looking for – life and career-wise.
“Did she have a name?” she asked. “No, we just called her the Jetta.”
“I’m thinking of naming her Daisy.”
“It’s such a good car. We’re going to miss it so much!”
“She’ll have a good home,” she assured us. “These things can have a good second life, you know?”
I know she’s right, but still.
I test drove the Jetta in the year of her birth – 2003. I loved her tight turns and the quick Turbo engine-it was like driving a car-sized golf cart. But mostly I loved the purple lights on the inside (22 year olds make such sound decisions, right?!). After I graduated from UVA, I drove her to Boston where we lived together for a year. Poor Jetta. She endured a crazy winter and had her tires slashed (my own experience that first year out of college wasn’t much better).
On my way back to Minnesota when Boston was finally over, I stopped at Madison to visit my brother Charlie and had a hoot – a harbinger of good times.
Jetta set up camp at 2765 Maplewood Circle East (where I grew up) while I traveled for a a couple of years – and then my ex-boyfriend and I drove it out to San Francisco.
But mostly, I associate the Jetta with Dan – our long distance courtship, days living in San Francisco, getting married in Red Lodge,MT, moving to Calgary and subsequent Canadian Rocky Mountain adventures.
When Dan used to visit from Vancouver, I really wanted him to fall in love with California and we’d drive up and down the coast looking for camp spots and adventures – to Mendocino County, Big Sur and everywhere in between. In fact, we got engaged on a secret blustery beach in Big Sur before we had even lived in the same city. Probably both the most foolish (I mean, we hardly knew each other!) and wisest (the heart knows, people) decision I’ve ever made.
I drove up to Vancouver to surprise him a day early when he finally got a job in Berkeley. We packed the whole damn thing with his stuff and then got turned around at the border – so we made a quick decision to re-route to Vancouver Island. We ended up getting rejected at the border again, but in that week in between we attended the best/worst improv show in Port Alberni (at a historic Mill – talk about random!), camping on the kindest stranger’s lawn in Tofino where every campsite was full (who also invited us to their shop opening party and a local music performance) and flying kites with a good friend in Victoria. The border crap was devastating – but we rallied.
When Dan finally made it to Cali, there was the long drive through dead heat and nothing Nevada and Yellowstone Park to our wedding. Down through Wyoming and Utah on the way home. And then there was the long drive up to Canada when we moved. We stopped at Crater Lake. Along the Dechutes River in Oregon – then Sand Point Idaho, Panorama BC and then finally Calgary. Somehow we lucked into great deals at cabins with woodburning fireplaces and the most ridiculous B&B I’ve ever seen in my life (our ‘room’ – which was the entire ground floor- had a home movie theatre in it).
That began Jetta’s life as our mountain vehicle. It has been all over – to Banff, to Jasper, to Yoho, to Panorama, to Lake Louise, Fernie, Mt Robson.
It’s hard to explain our affection and connection to this little car – but I know you know what I’m talking about. We have loaded her with camping gear, skiing gear, all of our earthly possessions for moves, furry sparkly Burning Man costumes and Christmas trees. She’s been with me for 116,000+ miles and 12 years. Twelve years!
But the thing that hit me the most, as I posed with James in front of her for one last shot (me in utter disbelief that James will never remember our sweet Jetta) – was that we brought our son home from the birth centre in this car. I remember strapping our tiny boy-impossibly small he seemed-into the car seat, bundled in this bear bag to keep him warm in the February night. It was three in the morning and I was both exhausted and exhilarated; I had just delivered a child who was now living and breathing in this world after all. I was too weak to carry the car seat; the midwifery student tied my shoes while Dan started the car to warm it up. Then he carried James to the car while I leaned on the student and she helped me hobble to the passenger seat – pushed forward nearly to the dash to accommodate our tiny babe in the back. The drive was short – maybe five minutes – but probably the most important of all. We arrived as we had been – the two of us- and returned as parents…as the three of us. The Jetta carried us both ways. She was always there for us. We had the best damn luck wherever we went together. I sure am going to miss her.