Counting cars.

the trusty passat

Dear Passat,

It’s me, not you. Our nine years together were full of Das Auto joy, but the team had to make a change. No, the crinkles in your seat leather and slight sag in your underbelly didn’t diminish your beauty. It isn’t that our new generic Japanese crossover vehicle is any better than you. It was just time, and we both knew it. Hey, let’s look at the bright side: now you’re in that elite cohort of Jennifer’s Former Cars.

The progenitor of this group, a silver Honda Civic, hailed from Princeton and logged more than 200,000 miles before her steering wheel changed hands. Our entire family learned to drive standard shift in her cabin, and because she had no air conditioning she could often be spotted with the head of a black dog, lapping at the breeze, hanging our her window.

Her successor was the blue Subaru whose purchase brought tears to Betty Larkey’s eyes. Betty wanted her 20-something daughter to be carefree and buy a Miata, not a boring old lady station wagon. A wagon’s cargo hold had room at all times for two tennis racquets, multiple pairs of shoes, at least one change of clothes and a cooler, however, which led to plenty of spontaneous 20-something misbehaving.

Three Swedish sisters followed next in line: two Saabs and a Volvo. The first Saab, packed to capacity with winter gear, cameras and Ella dog, left Memphis in the rear view mirror to chase Bernard in Wyoming. A few years later the Polish mechanic who knew all her Saab secrets declared her service complete and presented a younger, sleeker replacement known in retrospect as a mere also-ran in the Saab story saga.

The Volvo proved just a boring as Bernard said she would be, and her service was accordingly short.

Then came you.

You weathered the seasons of infant carriers, late night trips to Target, family summer vacations, dog park outings, baseball games, carpools, canoe races, and spring gardening transport. Your only shortcoming was your awkward turning radius that led to six popped rear tires after curb collisions. (No, it had nothing to do with my driving. Yes, I know there were actually seven.)

My favorite memory of you will always be the line of Goldfish crumbs you impressed on the rear of my new boss, who humbly took the back seat for a tour of our satellite locations, unaware of the treasures you held under that booster. That was special.

If only your new owner had your story book to accompany your service records. Your oil changes and air conditioning service were nothing in comparison to the peals of laughter, games of I Spy, napping babies, wagging tails, and life adventures your four doors held, decorated with the indelible marks of chocolate milk spills, Bob the Builder stickers and lost M&Ms.

Auf Wiedersehen, Passat. We’ll be looking for you on the road.


A special thanks this week to WordPress for the Freshly Pressed nod and to all of the visitors who’ve taken time to write such kind comments. I still don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’m enjoying finding my way and appreciate the great feedback.


  1. I love this tale. Partly because I too have had a string of cars in my time. The legacy of age is reflected in the cars we have driven. Though I could never write about mine with the affection ( or not) you have for your vehicles.


  2. It never ceases to amaze me how our cars become such an integral part of our life and so hard to part with when their time comes. When I was nine years old, I remember crying the day my parents traded-in my Mom’s 54 Chevrolet Sedan. That car is still a vivid memory.


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