Our 1998 Camry sounds like a go cart and the air conditioner does not perform at full efficiency. It smells like sweaty socks. The inside fake wood interior is faded and peeling. It has a cassette player and a U-haul hitch on the back.
The middle console is broken, and you have to physically put the key in the door and unlock it. The boys say it was one of the oldest cars in the high school parking lot. A vanilla shake once spilled in the front passenger floor.
Since it’s 24 years old, it doesn’t have bluetooth, automatic lights or driver assistance.
What it does have is memories. When we bought it in 2002, it was our “good car” and replaced a 1992 red convertible Miata. (I know… 😒 ).
It only makes sense that we would honor this car by getting fancied up, having a nice dinner and celebrating with a photo shoot.
Both boys were brought home from the hospital in this car, which they ended up sharing 17 years later. It took us from Dayton, OH to Washington D.C. in 2002.
In 2003, we added a U-haul hitch and drove it from our nation’s capitol to Wichita, KS, with a three-month old, 15-month old and three adults in the car.
For many years, the trunk was full of soccer balls and equipment.
In 2012, we taught the boys how to change a tire on the Camry.
In 2017, Kid #1 turned 15 and was able to drive it to high school alone.
In 2018, Kid #2 joined Kid #1 and drove to high school together.
Even in -17 degree weather, it’s come through for us and taken the boys safely to school. But if you were driving more than an hour away from our house, you weren’t allowed to take it.
After the boys got a hold of it, I decided I would only drive in it if absolutely necessary.
In 2020, every weekend during #COVIDchaos, we would load everyone (including Ali) in the car and go to various local state parks.
We will miss this old car.