A love letter to my car

It is a sad day. We are selling our beloved VW Golf, Liesel the Diesel. My husband details the car here. Perhaps you would like to make a bid?

But there are some things he is not telling you, dear buyer.

For starters, this is a magical car. It is like the Weasley’s vehicle in the Harry Potter series: magically enchanted to be bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside. This compact car has carried most of the furniture in our house, including a dining room buffet and a couch. On one trip, it held a new table, two adults and a toddler in his carseat. It has ferried suitcases, strollers and travel beds. Yet the car is so compact, it can still squeeze into impossibly small parallel parking spots on DC streets. And with Liesel’s absolutely divine turning radius, it can make a quick illegal u-turn in DC traffic and squeeze into that parking space in a jiffy. (Not that we would know.)

But Liesel is not just a workhorse. This car has personality. She is peppy, charming, attractive. Nice, but not too nice. Sporty. Cool. Liesel has incredible fuel economy, better than some hybrids (and less pretentious). And with a little tinkering, you could even make her run on french fry oil.

The diesel engine purrs. What a sweet sound it is, especially when your toddler is shouting for daddy and you are counting the seconds until his return.

I love this little car, and it has been an important part of our love story. I  got to know the man who would later become my husband when I asked him for a ride to church. I was car-less; he was not. He lived in my neighborhood. I thought he was cute.  I am not a car person, but when he pulled up in front of my house with this peppy puttering diesel with the bicycle roof rack, I thought “very cool car.” My crush intensified. A year and a half later, when that young man decided to propose to me, he took me in that little car down a very bumpy dirt road,  the kind of road one would usually choose to traverse in a Jeep. Liesel, God bless her, made a valiant effort but did not quite make it, and our engagement story became a weekend adventure with a tow truck, a rescue from friends and a beautiful proposal the following day on a different hiking trail. It was perfect in its imperfection.

This car drove back and forth, back and forth, between our two homes during our engagement. It took me to our new home. I learned to drive stick-shift in this car, circling the Carter Barron parking lot with all of the teenagers and immigrants who were also in the midst of driving lessons. Liesel drove us to visit friends, meet new nephews and attend my grandparents’ funerals. It is the car that brought both of my sons home from the hospital. It kept our family delightfully cramped, as we reached from the driver’s seat to pop a pacifier in a crying baby’s mouth in the back. 

Can you love an automobile? I love this car. But it is time for her to go to a new home. We can now stretch our legs in a new vehicle that makes double-stroller toting and grocery shopping a dream. We’re grateful for the new wheels. But Ezra and I will shed real tears when Liesel putters away to her new home. She’s got Fahrvergnügen. We love her. We hope her next owners love her too.

Gottspeed, Liesel. Thanks for the memories. 


1 Comment

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One response to “A love letter to my car

  1. Leanna Walters

    I love this tribute, DC baby. We do get attached to our cars. My husband and I had a silver VW Beetle convertible we bought in 1979 and brought our first-born home from the hospital in it with the top down. It was a great car—did well in snow, good gas mileage, cute as a bug (oh, sorry, it was a bug). But we kept it way too long as an emergency backup car. We finally sold it in 2010—to a couple with triplets! (The mom was going to drive it to work.) This summer the man called to ask if we had an extra key because they’d misplaced theirs. So my husband got to see the girls as young adolescents. They all claim to love the car. I’m glad it’s not in our driveway anymore and that it went to a loving home.

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