300,000 miles from Childhood to Adulthood: The Volvo Eulogy

Post from Last March with some edits. It has nothing to do with design, and everything to do with my heart strings, so I wanted to share:

 

My family and I just celebrated our Volvo making it over 300,000 miles. 300,000 miles also measures my life from age 3 to age 26. 23 years. I grew up in the Volvo for all that time, and it has fatefully come to an end. I still can’t believe this is real. This car has been in my life literally since I was able to remember.

My parents bought the Volvo off of a one year lease when I was three years old and it’s been a genuine part of my life and identity since.  I remember screaming the Lion King soundtrack with my mom and both of our voices going hoarse when I was 4. I remember Sophie being in the carseat as a baby and resting my head on it to fall asleep on our way to Florida. I remember fighting with my sisters in the back seat and as punishment our parents made us put our hands on the glass so we wouldn’t fight each other. It was the worst if you had to sit in the middle because you had to put your hands on the ceiling, opening the opportunity for tickle torture. I remember our parents getting all of us our own CD players and headphones as to avoid any arguments in the car, which never worked. I remember sitting in the way back of the car with the seats that face backwards, sticking my tongue out at other people, waving at them to see if they would wave back. I remember falling asleep on the way home from my grandparents house in Philadelphia on Christmas eve every year.I remember going on trips in the summer with all of the neighborhood kids, piling in and singing Enrique Iglesias. I remember getting picked up from school and everyone knowing my mom had arrived based on the loud shrill of the breaks squeaking. I remember Sam's goalie gear smelling up the trunk during field hockey season. I remember getting older and being driven around by my sisters, paying them in taco bell for rides to a friends house, and scraping quarters together to pay for gas. I remember my sister Sam driving me and my friend Tyler to school, and singing the Rent soundtrack the whole way there. I remember learning how to drive that car in the Notre Dame parking lot. The very first time I got to drive a car, it was in the Volvo, and in the very first two minutes of taking it on the road I got honked at. I remember driving around for hours with all of the windows down and feeling a huge sense of freedom the day I got my license. I remember going to buy a new pair of pants to work at The Palace during high school and the car battery dying on the way to the mall, leaving my stranded on Rt. 22. Every time I hear "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" by The Police it reminds me of that day. I remember not being worried about my car at Temple because my car fit right in, in North Philadelphia. One time my friend Matt and I drove to Bethlehem from Philadelphia and back just to pick up a cat, we blared Brand New the whole way. I remember my Dad and Mr. Walsh stayed with the car in the freezing cold on the side of 78 and waited for the police to come when I broke down on my way to Philadelphia to go apartment hunting in my sophomore year of college. I remember religiously driving to figure drawing sessions  at Lafayette College with my best friend every Thursday night in high school and going to Tic Toc afterwards, when I could drink coffee at 10pm and still fall asleep an hour later, and you were still allowed to smoke cigarettes inside the diner. I started going back to those same figure drawing sessions this past year in that same car, and it transported me through the various stages in my life, connecting it to my drawing skills then, compared to now.

Everyone would always tell me how much they loved my car and how very "Me" it was.

I drove around in a car with three hubcaps for the better part of ten years. This car was missing the trim from the side, and it didn’t have air conditioning for the longest time. The wiper blades didn’t have a slow setting so even when it drizzled I either had to manually control them or they went at turbo speed. The wiper blades went on and off when they wanted and I carried around a spice jar full of fuses to replace broken ones when needed. The center console was broken and became a makeshift cup holder, and the gas gauge was broken for the last six months so I really just guessed when I needed gas. My dad and I once even fixed a loose tail light bulb with a tongue depressor. It stalled at red lights and I had to press the gas and the break at the same time and rev the engine to keep the car on - this got especially awkward when stopped near a school bus.

All of it’s imperfections made it perfect.

This car is woven into the fabric of my family. Whether you were driven to or from soccer, field hockey, volleyball, Girl Scouts, band practice, parties, the movies, or school you played a part in the life and legend of this car. So many times we piled friends or family into this car.

My dad and my Uncle Mikey had a bet when we were little that this car wouldn’t last until Sam turned 16. Sam will be 30 this year. That is a testament to how well my dad took care of this car, and I am truly grateful for that because it allowed for all of these memories to happen.

It’s been a good car to me especially, and it’s had a wonderful long life. It was more than just a car to me, it is a vital part of who I am. It’s still over too soon and I’ll miss it every day. Getting rid of this car is like getting rid of a part of my childhood and I’m having a bit of an identity crisis over it. My heart is really broken and I know I’ll never have such strong emotional ties to a car for the rest of my life.

When It was time to gather everything out of the car there was no stopping the wave of emotions that came over me and I could barely keep it together. I went through all spaces of the car, taking in each space, going over all of these memories, collecting relics that have been forgotten- four tickets to a Philadelphia Charge Woman's soccer game from 2003, a Volvo first aid kit from 1991,  a laminated four leaf clover that I didn't even know existed, various prayer cards from relatives and friends who watched over me for years, a note from a doctor's appointment in 2004.  As my dad unscrewed the license plate off the back of the car and handed it to me I lost my breath and collected the last relic.

Throughout my life I have collected a series of keys to places and things that represent places I'd like to remember, get back to, and mean something dear to my heart. Needless to say I put the Volvo's key on my new car's keychain, and it will remain with me for the rest of my life.

300,000 miles filled with so many milestones from childhood to adulthood. As I looked at the mileage for my new car, and saw the lonely single digit 5 staring back at me, I was flooded with emotions and painfully aware of the reality that the Volvo is a part of the past, yet I am hopeful for the next 299,995 miles.

Post from Last Month with some edits. It has nothing to do with design, and everything to do with my heart strings, so I wanted to share:

 

My family and I just celebrated our Volvo making it over 300,000 miles. 300,000 miles also measures my life from age 3 to age 26. 23 years. I grew up in the Volvo for all that time, and it has fatefully come to an end. I still can’t believe this is real. This car has been in my life literally since I was able to remember.

My parents bought the Volvo off of a one year lease when I was three years old and it’s been a genuine part of my life and identity since.  I remember screaming the Lion King soundtrack with my mom and both of our voices going hoarse when I was 4. I remember Sophie being in the carseat as a baby and resting my head on it to fall asleep on our way to Florida. I remember fighting with my sisters in the back seat and as punishment our parents made us put our hands on the glass so we wouldn’t fight each other. It was the worst if you had to sit in the middle because you had to put your hands on the ceiling, opening the opportunity for tickle torture. I remember our parents getting all of us our own CD players and headphones as to avoid any arguments in the car, which never worked. I remember sitting in the way back of the car with the seats that face backwards, sticking my tongue out at other people, waving at them to see if they would wave back. I remember falling asleep on the way home from my grandparents house in Philadelphia on Christmas eve every year.I remember going on trips in the summer with all of the neighborhood kids, piling in and singing Enrique Iglesias. I remember getting picked up from school and everyone knowing my mom had arrived based on the loud shrill of the breaks squeaking. I remember Sam's goalie gear smelling up the trunk during field hockey season. I remember getting older and being driven around by my sisters, paying them in taco bell for rides to a friends house, and scraping quarters together to pay for gas. I remember my sister Sam driving me and my friend Tyler to school, and singing the Rent soundtrack the whole way there. I remember learning how to drive that car in the Notre Dame parking lot. The very first time I got to drive a car, it was in the Volvo, and in the very first two minutes of taking it on the road I got honked at. I remember driving around for hours with all of the windows down and feeling a huge sense of freedom the day I got my license. I remember going to buy a new pair of pants to work at The Palace during high school and the car battery dying on the way to the mall, leaving my stranded on Rt. 22. Every time I hear "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" by The Police it reminds me of that day. I remember not being worried about my car at Temple because my car fit right in, in North Philadelphia. One time my friend Matt and I drove to Bethlehem from Philadelphia and back just to pick up a cat, we blared Brand New the whole way. I remember my Dad and Mr. Walsh stayed with the car in the freezing cold on the side of 78 and waited for the police to come when I broke down on my way to Philadelphia to go apartment hunting in my sophomore year of college. I remember religiously driving to figure drawing sessions  at Lafayette College with my best friend every Thursday night in high school and going to Tic Toc afterwards, when I could drink coffee at 10pm and still fall asleep an hour later, and you were still allowed to smoke cigarettes inside the diner. I started going back to those same figure drawing sessions this past year in that same car, and it transported me through the various stages in my life, connecting it to my drawing skills then, compared to now.

Everyone would always tell me how much they loved my car and how very "Me" it was.

I drove around in a car with three hubcaps for the better part of ten years. This car was missing the trim from the side, and it didn’t have air conditioning for the longest time. The wiper blades didn’t have a slow setting so even when it drizzled I either had to manually control them or they went at turbo speed. The wiper blades went on and off when they wanted and I carried around a spice jar full of fuses to replace broken ones when needed. The center console was broken and became a makeshift cup holder, and the gas gauge was broken for the last six months so I really just guessed when I needed gas. My dad and I once even fixed a loose tail light bulb with a tongue depressor. It stalled at red lights and I had to press the gas and the break at the same time and rev the engine to keep the car on - this got especially awkward when stopped near a school bus.

All of it’s imperfections made it perfect.

This car is woven into the fabric of my family. Whether you were driven to or from soccer, field hockey, volleyball, Girl Scouts, band practice, parties, the movies, or school you played a part in the life and legend of this car. So many times we piled friends or family into this car.

My dad and my Uncle Mikey had a bet when we were little that this car wouldn’t last until Sam turned 16. Sam will be 30 this year. That is a testament to how well my dad took care of this car, and I am truly grateful for that because it allowed for all of these memories to happen.

It’s been a good car to me especially, and it’s had a wonderful long life. It was more than just a car to me, it is a vital part of who I am. It’s still over too soon and I’ll miss it every day. Getting rid of this car is like getting rid of a part of my childhood and I’m having a bit of an identity crisis over it. My heart is really broken and I know I’ll never have such strong emotional ties to a car for the rest of my life.

When It was time to gather everything out of the car there was no stopping the wave of emotions that came over me and I could barely keep it together. I went through all spaces of the car, taking in each space, going over all of these memories, collecting relics that have been forgotten- four tickets to a Philadelphia Charge Woman's soccer game from 2003, a Volvo first aid kit from 1991,  a laminated four leaf clover that I didn't even know existed, various prayer cards from relatives and friends who watched over me for years, a note from a doctor's appointment in 2004.  As my dad unscrewed the license plate off the back of the car and handed it to me I lost my breath and collected the last relic.

Throughout my life I have collected a series of keys to places and things that represent places I'd like to remember, get back to, and mean something dear to my heart. Needless to say I put the Volvo's key on my new car's keychain, and it will remain with me for the rest of my life.

300,000 miles filled with so many milestones from childhood to adulthood. As I looked at the mileage for my new car, and saw the lonely single digit 5 staring back at me, I was flooded with emotions and painfully aware of the reality that the Volvo is a part of the past, yet I am hopeful for the next 299,995 miles.

 

 

SusiesVolvo