Monday, October 12, 2009

Bye bye little car...

I drove my 1991 Toyota Corolla for a full nineteen years.

And it looked it.

The doors were rusted much so that it made for some very breezy driving in the winter. If the weather got too cold, the driver's side lock froze in place and there were some days I had to crawl in from the passenger side to get into the car. And then there were times when the driver's side door would just open all by itself. I remember the first time this happened, I thought someone had broken into the car and tried to steal something...but what? A broken am/fm radio? A broken cassette deck? It was an interesting dilemma every day... lock the door and risk not being able to get in again or not lock the door and risk the open door phenomenon. I kept it unlocked. A car that bad looking is not going to be a target for anything. And it wasn't.

That little car just kept going and going...even though the rear bumper was just barely hanging on.....but that car never let me down. I felt bad for getting a new one but I needed something I could trust out in rural Kansas in the winter and you know, it was time.

That car went through two major hailstorms. I never did anything about the more recent one (it was a bad hailstorm, I had to get a new roof on the house because of it) but the first hailstorm in its first year of living with me was memorable. I was at a wood shop class on a Saturday at a high school with some co-workers when there was a sudden storm...the sky became a very weird color, there was silence, and then there was the deafening sound of ice chunks falling from the sky onto metal. I know it's called a hailstorm but when you think of hail, don't you think of it as being sphere shaped? This hail wasn't. We watched most of the cars get totaled because the ice broke windows and sunroofs and poured water into the car interiors which later made the cars stinky and permanently moldy. There was a track team on the field when all of this happened and I can't imagine what they looked like when they finally got out of the hailstorm (!!!!).

The most interesting of my fender bender accidents was when I was hit by oncoming traffic coming from behind while I was making a left turn. Apparently the old, intimidating and tall woman had missed her right turn so she backed up into the intersection and hit me in the process of me making my left turn. Then I got yelled at because I was not prepared. "Girl, I've taken plenty of over-55 driving classes and you were not prepared!" Well, who looks in their rearview mirror before making a left turn? Anyway, when I called her insurance company the next morning (an insurance company that apparently just handles the AARP generation) the phone was answered with a "What'd they do? How much do you want?" When I described what had happened and the combative old woman who hit me, the agent said-"Oh, that one was in this morning. I think she was a former schoolteacher." Then she went on to add that what happened to me was nothing. She had just gotten a call from some elderly woman who crashed her car through her garage door because she thought there was a cat in the back seat......but nothing was actually there. I have to say, from my experience with that accident, I check my rearview mirror for potential craziness even more frequently now.

Violet has this horrible game that if she's outside and I come up the driveway in my car, she runs down the driveway to meet me and then jumps on the hood. It is the worst game ever but compelled to do it, she is. Once she's on the car she jumps into the driver's side window, gets on my lap and then I let her "drive" up the driveway.

I wondered if she was going to do the same thing with the new car. She didn't on the first drive up but on the second.....yes, yes she did. Kind of makes me wonder if she jumps on every car that comes up my driveway.

Anyway, here's my new car...a RAV4. And I love it. It's so modern that I don't even need a key...I just carry a radio transmitter and the car unlocks with a button, starts with a really is something.

And what became of my old but loved little car? I could have traded it in for two hundred whole bucks at the dealer but when Sarah said something about it to Rex's babysitter, the babysitter then told her daughter about it and since I really didn't want my car to be torn apart and sold for scrap, the car was sold over the phone to someone in desperate need of a car. In dire need of a car. So that little car made four people very happy that day. I know that my car can still keep doing what it likes to do. Paula has a car of her own and doesn't have to share a car with her mother anymore. Rex's babysitter, Paula's mother now has access to a car whenever she needs it. And Sarah no longer has to drive the babysitter home.

A happy ending for everyone. Even Violet.


Mental P Mama said...

I call this a complete win-win!

Maureen said...

My brother was born in the backseat of our Buick on the way to the hospital, that car got left in Germany when we moved back to the States and my mother wept when she made my father drive by it for the last time. And then, while he was in Korea in the 60's, she, hating his enormous Olds, went out and bought a little silver Mustang convertible with red leather interior and was the coolest Mom in town.

Leenie said...

Tough to let an old friend go. Glad it is going to a good home. We traded our old mini van for a Subaru outback to a young couple. We got car payments and they got the van. Both very happy.

abb said...

happy driving!

Maria said...

Mental-No, it was a complete win-win-win-win. :-)

Maureen-Oh I got the WRONG car. Your mom's Mustang sounds soooooo stylish!!!! And what a car story!

Leenie-It IS tough. I'm hoping that little car goes another 100,000 miles.

Tombstone-Definitely. I swear that car says, "Good morning" when I get in it to drive to work in the morning.That car has a very pleasant personality. :-)

Rural Rambler said...

Maria your new RAV is cool and so is the story that goes with it! I want a Violet cat that takes the ride down the drive with me!!

Maria said...

Aw, thanks Miss Rural. I had a friend visit a couple years ago who had heard about Violet's leaping talent and when this friend was in my car and we were driving up my driveway, Violet did not disappoint. Alyssa said it was one of the highlights of her trip to Kansas City. Ha ha ha.

Ellyn O. said...

So your little red car found a happy home? Your new one is beautiful, but I prefer red, or as with my new camera, green. My $300 1950 something Dodge had a heater that only turned on in summer, but I never figured that one out. One night it died, and when I called the repairman and told him that my battery had died, he said, "No, lady, your CAR is dead!" End of story.

Country Girl said...

I love happy endings.

I dislike old lady schoolteachers who still think they are in charge.

Q said...

Your new car is so cool!
So happy your old friend has a happy drive to park in too.
All is so good!

Stelle Courney said...

After 19 years of service, I think it was the right the right time to retire your car. With all its damages, the repairs it may need to restore it to good condition might cost you much, enough for you to purchase another car. Also, I’m glad that you sold the car to someone who needs it. That’s one way to avoid wasting resources and helping out others as well.