My interest in cars started young. I’m sure it’s inherited. My dad always loved cars and drove a bright blue Fiat, and then an orange Chevy Nova. Always in the forefront, he was. So at 16, when I was an exchange student in Germany, I was attracted to the Mercedes-Benz the father of one of the German students drove us around in to sightsee. I thought it was the coolest car in the world and so I made it a life goal to own one. I promised myself that I would own one before I was 40 and my incentive was that it would be a sign of my success.
Time passed. As a young mother of three children, I drove a few different wood-sided station wagons─a yellow, and two different brown ones. And in 1995, at the age of 34, I graduated to the latest in a Plymouth Grand Voyager two-tone minivan, green with silver trim. All the cool people had one.
As forty approached, I revisited the promise I had made to myself and Mercedes-Benz. I pondered if any of it meant anything to me at that point in my life. And it didn’t. I made a statement and continued to drive my minivan. It made me happy. I could cart my kids and their friends everywhere, I could stow any purchases I wanted in the cavernous back, and our family of five could be joined by my parents for Sunday rides with plenty of room for everyone. And nights out with friends, we could transport three couples. You know, the more the merrier. Most importantly, the minivan served us quite well through many family road trips, camping, and vacations.
We were happy with our track record of making cars last and getting the most out of them. When I was 43, though, we decided to disregard the “uncool” minivan image propagated by the SUV industry (we knew we were cool and we were comfortable with our decision that a minivan would do the job we needed it to do) and we purchased a 2004 Chrysler Town and Country in bright silver metallic for me. We decided to get into the SUV craze anyway and also purchased for hubby a 2004 Grand Cherokee Jeep in slate. I was very happy with my luxury minivan and drove hubby's Jeep here and there when the van was in the shop. I liked the Jeep, but didn’t think too much about it.
Long story short, when the three kids began to drive, we slowly but surely added to our fleet, and eventually broke down and bought a 2008 Chrysler Grand Cherokee Jeep Rocky Mountain Laredo 4x4 in red rock crystal pearl (hint: I loved the color)…for hubby. Or so that was the plan.
Hubby enticed me to drive the new Jeep for a few weeks before he broke it in. Mistake on his part. He never got it back! Now mind you he had never been enthusiastic about the differences between the new 2008 and his 2004 Jeep, so I don’t think he ever really wanted it back. Worked for me! And happy hubby still drives both the 2004 luxury minivan and the older Jeep. He gets two cars and is always sure to give them equal attention.
And so as I’m driving the 2008 Jeep a few years now, I think here and there about how that car is my home away from home. I have a lengthy commute each day and I really do live in my Jeep. There’s everything I need in there. Briefcase, laptop, smartphone, Bluetooth, gym bag, numerous pairs of sneakers, hiking boots, yoga and exercise mats, weights, a bin with all my “green” shopping bags, travel pillows, a blanket, slippers, driving shoes, a basket with everything I could ever need...the list goes on. Sounds full and messy, but those who get in my car for work lunches always remark how clean and neat the car is. Is it new, they say?
So, yes, we take pride in our cars. They say something about us. Although it wasn’t a conscious choice to drive the Jeep I’m in now, I really love it. I’ve recognized that it says a lot about this stage in my life, representing fun, rugged adventure, road trips, and most of all, independence. Makes me feel all shiny and new. Maybe i am. Jeep.
Until next time, yours in fun…Therese