An Open Letter to my First Car 🚗

On July 4, 2010, I found you online. After hours of research, my parents agreed to go check you out the next day.

With my parents alongside me, we went to the dealership and test drove you. And a new adventure began.

Six years ago on July 5, I purchased you, my first car. A 2001 Silver Toyota Rav4.

(Can you tell I like exclamation marks on social media?)

In 2010, you were only nine years old and had approximately 75,000 miles. With one month until my 17th birthday--where in New Jersey you can then take the test to drive without an adult in the front passenger seat--my parents wanted me to get used to driving you before I drove you on my own.

That did not work out so well.

With you running when we arrived at the dealership, we figured they were getting the air ready as it was a very, very hot summer day. We thought nothing of it.

Until we took you home, you sat overnight, and we went to drive you the next day. With every shift in gears automatically, you threw us forward. And we knew there was a problem... but I already loved you. We went back to the dealership, where you ended up staying two months until you were all better. I was able to get so many repairs for free as the dealership knew this did not look good.

And while the months flew by, the memories I was supposed to experience with you had to be given to other cars. I became a licensed driver without needing an adult passenger in the front seat on my birthday. You were still in the shop.

Before I vlogged important milestones in my life, apparently I made multiple statuses that went unliked. I was too excited to care, however. I finally was able to drive alone. Still, one thing was missing. You.

In September, you finally were all fixed. We brought you home and I knew I would be able to drive with you to school each morning.
Again, the exclamation points. See how excited you made me?

I was so ready to drive you since I had spent my seventeen years saving for. (Well, I probably did not start until I was ten. But seven years was still a lot of shopping trips that I missed out on to ensure I would be able to buy you)

Junior year was amazing. Being one of the eldest in my class allowed me to be one of the first to drive. I was able to run to get snacks after school before musical practice started. I had people calling certain days ahead of time that they would be able to be the one person to leave property for a half hour with me.

Senior year was even better. Being eighteen, and again one of the first, allowed me to have as many passengers as there were seatbelts. I was no longer limited to one person on my after-school runs. Rita's Water Ice, the candy and ice cream store, pizza stops, Chinese stores, and more were all visited throughout the year as I waited for practice to begin.

Throughout these two years, there were days I was blue. And you, my friend, were there as I laid my head down on the steering wheel and huffed in frustration or cried over stupid high school drama. There were days that were amazing, where seniors skipped school and went to the beach for a day and you transported us there.

Even though you still had a cassette player, I used that to our advantage by buying a cassette hook-up to microphone jacks. I then was able to play my iPhone music on our trips and not rely just on CDs. I jammed out with you to and from destinations, rocking out to Taylor Swift, the musicals I loved, radio top hits, and more.

Then came the letters, the acceptances, and the excitement. Knowing I was headed to college approximately an hour from home, I need you to come with me and to transport me back and fourth.

In February, I was accepted to the Disney College Program. I planned to take you down as a means of transportation. Everything was all set.

47 days before we planned to leave for Florida, you almost did not make it and almost took me with you. Driving home from school on the highway on weekend and about two miles from home, there was a loud pop! It took everything for me to get control of you. Pulling over to the side of the highway and catching my breath, I frantically called my parents. Not knowing if I should call 9-1-1, I told my mom what had happened.

And white smoke started to rise from the front of you. Even though white does not mean fire, it does mean something is wrong. So I called 9-1-1 as instructed by my mom while she hopped in her car to come to me. 

I sat on my passenger side seat just in case I needed to get away from you quickly. A police cruiser pulled up, happening to see me, a young 19-year-old girl stopped on the side, and told me to just stay in you so if another car came and accidentally hit you, I would not be in the open. 

Then, he left. And I was again alone with you. Soon the fire department and an ambulance showed up, followed quickly by my parents. Calming me down, and finding nothing dangerous of you idling, the squads left. My mom called for a tow truck.

Turns out you had blown a hole straight through a main car component.

The car mechanic said that we were lucky to no have rolled and flipped.

Once all fixed, we prepped for the trip to Florida. 

At my going away party, I had fingerprints of those who attended added as balloons to carry you and I to Florida. 

Before I left, I decorated you childishly in multiple colors and dozens of Mickeys.

And the day of, we drove to Virginia with my Mom, boarded you on the auto train, and arrived in Florida with check-in a few days away.

You, my friend, continued to be there for me. 

I added Walt Disney World and Cast Member stickers to you, the only ones I had ever added as I had a fear of commitment to car stickers.

From driving home after the college program, to the trips to the beach. From driving me to college classes, to being a place to sleep for this commuter to go between classes. From receiving a bid to a sorority and driving home in awe, to receiving my big and transporting the presents she graced me with home. From nights spent transporting me safely to local college clubs once I turned 21, to being a place for me to fulfill my munchies afterward. From the moments of joy with my first true boyfriend, to providing a quiet, sanctuary to cry when it ended.
You, my first car, had been there through almost everything.

And although I was not driving you at the end, you kept those who were safe.

Seeing you broken and battered broke my heart. You deserved better after your fifteen years than to be sitting in a totaled car lot, waiting to be taken away and further destroyed.

Thinking about it makes me horribly saddened. You deserved a swan song. Instead, you had me come and lay on your hood, and cry. Instead, you had a blog post written about you. 

Hopefully, however, this blog post provides our story and our memories to live on.

I can never forget you, nor the memories spent with you. 

Everyone always has their first car and the memories that match, and you were and will always be mine.

Thank you.

Hugs, kisses, and thank you--my visitor--for reading!


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