Saturday, November 23, 2013

Our Favorite Family Car

A true tale about a beloved family possession

Actually this story is about a van. The van my husband and I bought Christmas Eve 1987. I think that was the year, but I may be off by a year or two.

My two boys, two and a half years apart, were rambunctious guys, especially in the car. And we were a family that spent a lot of time in the car. Our families lived about four hours away, so weekend trips were a regular part of our routine.

We drove to Florida to visit the older generation. We went on camping trips during the summer.

Trips got more difficult, at least for hub and me, as the boys got older. Outings became duels, verbal and otherwise.

I remember car trips when I was a little girl. We went to my grandparents’ almost every Sunday for dinner. The trip lasted about an hour. My sister and I always fought – never with fists, but vocally. “She touched me.” “She’s on my side of the car.” “She’s making faces at me.”

Hub and I decided to do something about the squabbling. It was either be proactive or limit our trips. The constant arguing was probably more annoying to the adults than the boys, but trips were growing painful.

Car companies often have year-end sales, clearing out inventories. We decided to take advantage of the sales and buy a vehicle that would, if not stop totally, minimize troublesome trips.

We bought a van.

A Ford Aerostar.

Blue with bucket seats in the front and two benches in the back.

One bench for each boy.

Car trips improved considerably.

We bought a pop up trailer, hitched it to the van and went camping.

We drove to Florida, stopping at Disney World for a few days before driving on to south Florida and visiting grandparents, aunts and uncles.

My son took the van to college. Christmas break he drove to Florida.

One Saturday, about fifteen years after the van entered our life, my husband drove it to Philadelphia. It broke down on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on his way home. He called AAA. The van was towed to a repair shop, inspected, and the verdict declared.

Beyond redemption, it was time to say goodbye.

The van moved on to car heaven, a.k.a. the junkyard.

And the boys went their separate ways. 


  1. We had a nine passenger station wagon. Pretty much the same scenario. When the kids were in high school, they used to call it the grocery getter, and when my son took it to college, it was named the people mover!!!

  2. That van gave you a good, long run.

  3. Poignant and almost like losing a pet. David recently gave up his "little jobitty car" (a red sports car with a shift he could no longer manage). He really misses it.

  4. Our old Volvo. Was a great family car; then when my daughter started driving in high school I handed it over to her, feeling she'd be very safe. She was indeed safe; but boy oh boy, did she beat up that car!

  5. When I was a kid, we didn't need to use seat belts, so my parents put an old mattress in the back of our station wagon, with the back seats down. We rolled around back there (three kids) while the parents drove and visited in the front seats. It was heaven! I sure miss that style of long-distance travel.

    Sorry to learn of your loss, after a long and adventure filled life. :-)