Ode to Sylvia

Two months ago, my seventeen-year-old decided to break down on me. Our relationship had been on the rocks for awhile, and it just seemed like the time had come to end our love/hate relationship with each other.

Two days ago, I sold her for $750 to a man I’d never met before.

Today, he picked her up with a trailer and drove off with her in tow, never to be seen again.

I don’t even have a photo with her. Just two bent license plates and a trunk load of memories.

Sylvia is the car that has been in the family for seventeen years. My mom bought her brand new, a year after my baby brother had been born. The same baby brother that is about to graduate from high school in two short months. It is surreal how fast time flies.

My mom was a stay-at-home parent during the early years, meaning I spent more time in Sylvia than I did in any of my dad’s cars. Sylvia took us to the grocery store and post office, back and forth to school, and on Saturday trips to my grandparents. Sylvia transported several rambunctious third graders to numerous field trips, including a one room school-house and a cheese factory. She somehow survived those trips, despite the rough behavior she was put through.

When I turned fifteen, it was time to learn how to drive. My mom had another new car, and my parents had kept Sylvia around with every intention that she would be my car during the high school years. She was nine years old, and starting to show her age a little bit, the car equivalents to renegade gray hairs and gradual crows feet. I didn’t care-she was going to help me learn how to drive.

The first time I drove Sylvia, it was in an old abandoned parking lot where a non-super Wal Mart had once stood. I remember freaking out and pushing on the brakes because ten miles an hour was way too fast.

I took Sylvia out on my road test, and passed.  My first solo trip alone in the car was to the grocery store. I think I was grabbing eggs. Or bread. That first breath of freedom was being able to choose the radio station with the windows rolled down.

She transported me to and from high school for two years. She survived getting stuck in the snow on countless occasions, and helped me avoid a head on collision in my first (and hopefully my last) accident. I got my first speeding ticket with Sylvia…and my second one (and hopefully my last).

She helped me move into my college dorm, and transported me to my weekend job at the ancient ruins known as Blockbuster. She helped me get to countless interviews over the years. She transported me to my other gigs as a stagehand, at a bridal shop, an internship at the museum, and ultimately, the internship that led me to my first full time job after graduation.

She took my dear friend back to her home town one weekend, where she ultimately found her wedding gown.

She helped get a certain boy to a certain wedding, which helped restart and restore a certain friendship.

She was there the first time we said “I love you,” one year to the day after he and I had first broken up.

I had always hoped she would help me get through college. She lasted not just through college, but right until I got my first full-time job. Her age had really begun to show: rust, parts falling off and needing replacement, leaking-you name it. It was almost as if she held out just long enough to see me get that first “big kid” job, knowing that once I got that, I would be able to move on.

Saying good-bye to Sylvia is, in a way, saying good-bye to a part of my childhood. I’ve known her longer than my boyfriend, my college friends, and any pet that I’ve been fortunate to have. She saw me grow up, and become who I am today. She was there for many major milestones-academically, professionally, and emotionally.

She wasn’t just a car. She was a reminder, a symbol, a soundboard, a place of comfort, a necessity, and on my worst days-a friend.

Two bent license plates and a trunk load of memories.

Thanks for 177,000 miles, old girl.



The Shoe


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