Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

When I met my wife, she had this really cool car, an Acura Integra LS. Flip up headlights, sunroof. The whole nine yards.

I had a beat up Chevy Nova that we actually sold before she even got to ride in it.

For years we only had one car. It was okay. We worked at the same place and did most everything together. Occasionally we would borrow a friend's vehicle if we really needed to go somewhere without the other. When Netter went to work at another library location I had friends drive me home from work when necessary.

After we had the twins we decided we needed a second car, a bigger car, a family car, but I did not want a minivan. No Way. No How. No minivan.

It was the first of a number of changes we would make in our life after the loss of Meghan Joy. We weren't waiting for anything anymore (another post for another day). Much to my surprise, my wife told me she wanted an SUV, and not just any SUV, but a sporty SUV to boot.

I thought that was sexy! (and certainly not a minivan) So the shopping started...

After a few weeks of looking at new and used SUVs of every type and model we determined that we wanted to buy the new Honda Passport. That was almost 15 years ago.

This week we're saying goodbye to our old friend, that treasured vehicle. Netter long ago dubbed this incredibly reliable car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In 1995, I told the dealer I wasn't interested in a lease because we were going to drive that car until the wheels came off, and it fell down around us. We almost made it that far.Final mileage was 234,790.

In February, after determining that the cost of repair for belts and hoses was a good chunk of change towards a newer replacement vehicle we had been considering purchasing, we parked the Passport in front of the house until further review. K was almost 16, she would be driving soon, a repaired Passport might be a good option for her.

We purchased the newer vehicle - a minivan, go figure...

K just finally got her temps a few weeks ago and we have decided to go another route with the Passport. The tags are going to expire on Saturday. It seems silly to continue to pay for registration and insurance for a vehicle that likely won't be used until at least March 2010. It's time to say goodbye.

We posted the car on Craig'sList on Monday. I'm pretty sure it will be sold within the next few days.

When I think about all of the things we have done and the places that car has taken us, I can't help but smile. She was my first, (and only) new vehicle - ever.

The summer of 1995 saw us take the first of two trips to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A trip with great friends, time on the beach, four grand golf courses. It was so, so much fun.

In 1996 we used the Passport to move into our new home, (more of that not waiting stuff) and 5 days later welcomed our baby D into the world. Of course the Passport brought her home from the hospital. Mommy got to bring her baby home with her this time. Monitors be damned.

We used the Passport to haul all the material to finish our basement in 2000 when Netter started doing home daycare. That same year a friend drove the Passport to Pittsburgh to buy the first bed he would share with his wife. We were in their wedding the very next summer.

Of course with my family in Michigan, and my roots in the D(etroit) we also made several trips to Michigan. We made the last of two journeys to Tiger Stadium for the 3rd to last game to be played at that historic venue, in September 1999. We saw the Lions play in 2002, the first year that Ford Field was open. Yes, they lost.

Earlier in 2002 we made our last journey to North Myrtle Beach. Different friends, more great times, lots of seafood (crab for me every day in fact), more beautiful golf courses. Throw in some Bloody Mary's and too many good stories to share in one space and the trip was just as awesome as our first.

Our first trip to Greenville, South Carolina to visit my fave cousin Butch, and all the Brochowski family for Thanksgiving in 2003, (I think) might have been the last of the long trips we would take in our Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car. I remember my Dad telling me the steel belts were showing on my tires and that it was time to replace them, and my cousin Christy's husband Yousef marveling at the 148,000 miles on the odometer at the time.

Of course, not all of our trips were joyous, but the memories will live on. Our trusted friend took us to say goodbye to my Babcia, and to my Uncle Jerry - probably the man I admire most in the whole world. I have the greatest golf story ever from the trip for Uncle Jerry's funeral. I'll spare you the details and just share that teaching Yousef how to say Titleist - was one of the funniest things ever.

Happy or sad, good times or bad, great stories, good friends, great times - the Passport just kept going.

Goodbye old friend.


read2akid said...

OMG. I am misty-eyed over a car I have never even seen. You are a talented writer, Jim.

I remember when my dad traded in the Plymoth Champ I learned to drive in. It was the only car I was ever sorry to see go. Lots of memories from that car, too.

Jim Brochowski said...

Thanks read2akid I appreciate the compliment!

I was sorry to see the Nova go. It had been my grandmother's car, and I just didn't give it the right appreciation and attention that I should have. I was poor, but car repair wasn't that expensive then. Misguided priorities of youth I suppose.

I was glad to have this venue for my little trip down memory lane with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. (Sorry I got you misty.) Now, I just hope her next owner appreciates her as much as I do.

Lori said...

What a wonderful tribute to your old friend. I'm sure the new owner will take good care of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and they will create new memories together. Truly a great post!

Jim Brochowski said...

Thanks Lori,

I have to confess I teared up myself as the new owner took her away Friday. Kinda silly I know.