If cars could have leprosy my daughter’s car, lovingly known as “Chip,” has had it for the past ten or twelve years. Chip is a 1996 Chevy Corsica. Poor Chip had one of those unfortunate paint jobs where the primer didn’t do what it was supposed to do, and the paint sloughed off over time. (By the way, shame on GM for not taking care of its customers on this issue.)
I drove Chip for a couple of years and then my daughter took over when she turned sixteen. Our deal was that if she was to own a car, she had to figure out how to pay for the realities of ownership…license, insurance, gas, tires, and maintenance. I didn’t want her to think life was a free ride, so to speak. She took on the car with part-time jobs. I want to believe she learned a lot from her time with Chip.
Despite Chip’s bad looks, he was a gallant metal steed and drove her through the best of times and the worst of times, to steal a line from a rather famous book. Snow storms that she had no business driving in, soccer game wins and losses, high school shenanigans like Padiddle strip-poker (where the first person to shout “padiddle” when he or she sees a car with only one headlight is exempt from taking off an article of clothing), college– and the resulting trips to and from home, co-op jobs, internships, loves and break-ups, and eventually full time employment and home ownership, all occurred with Chip ever at the ready.
Recently Chip has been in decline. My daughter began noticing brown fluid on the garage floor and wondered how much time Chip had left. His engine was willing, but she never knew if he would expire on the road and potentially cause an accident.
Last weekend she decided Chip’s era had ended. Here is the email we received:
I just wanted to share some exciting news… I bought a new car! My Corsica was amazingly good to me, and I will cherish the 12 years of memories it provided, but it was time to move on. Thanks again Mom for the generous gift when I turned 16! I will be donating it to the Make a Wish foundation of Des Moines (Wheels for Wishes).
I researched for a couple of months for a small SUV with a good mix of utility and economy (and doesn’t look like a minivan). I didn’t want frills or anything too fancy and felt the 2012 Subaru Forester was the best fit for me (not to mention a beast in the snow)!
I will be very excited to have a car that has paint(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), air conditioning, a gas cover, seats without the foam coming out, knobs on the console that don’t fall off, and doors that shut without broken parts getting in the way : ) I also won’t miss the scared looks of those who see me in it and decide I’m a drug dealer.
I have to admit that as much as I want my daughter to be safe in her travels there is more than a bit of sadness that Chip will soon be a distant memory. True, he will continue to be of service in an entirely different way via the Make a Wish foundation, but how does one say goodbye to a machine that took my daughter from teen to womanhood?
Just as with people or books, one can never judge the heart or content by outward appearances. Yes, Chip was one ugmo car in the end, but he never quit on her. How rare is that in this world of newer, faster, bigger, and entirely expendable? Pretty rare.
Thank you, Chip, for keeping her safe as she navigated dark nights, snow drifts, slow deer, boyfriends, and all other assorted potholes encountered on the road to adulthood. I will miss you.