She Drove to the Moon: An Ode to My Car

The odometer of my car. It reads 285,013 miles.
My beloved 1997 Toyota Camry.

This post is an ode to my very beloved, very faithful, very long running car. After 25 years of longevity, Eleanor, my 1997 Toyota Camry, stopped running for good. She drove the distance to the moon — 240,000 miles — and was steadily on her way back, until at 285,013 miles, she could go no longer.

I couple of Thursdays ago, I enjoyed watching the odometer roll over to 285,000 miles. I felt so proud of her. This is the car of my entire adulthood. She began her life as the car of Eleanor Roederer, a relative, and when that Eleanor could no longer drive, she sold the car to me at a low price. I was 21 years old at the time. And when Eleanor Roederer died, I lovingly nicknamed my car after her. Just like her namesake, this car lived a long, long life.

This was my car when I lived in five different states —
California, and

This car drove me to each of those moves too, and so in a sense, this car introduced me to just about everyone I know. This car has gone on road trips. In her last years, I especially enjoyed driving her around various places in Michigan, simply to go exploring. This is, after all, a gorgeous state. This car also took me around the state to all the annual Strolls for Epilepsy, sponsored by my workplace at the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan. This car drove to innumerable errands. She was very familiar with all my favorite grocery stores, especially Trader Joe’s. In her longevity, she received many oil changes, in recent years at Uncle Ed’s Oil Shoppe (I highly recommend them). She was repaired a number of times at Ron’s Garage (I highly recommend them), and she currently resides there until she will be donated to Michigan Radio in a matter of days.

On Tuesday this week, I went to clean the car out, and I sat inside her for the last time and cried. I thanked her with so much gratitude. A 25 year old car that you’ve had in five states over your whole adulthood throughout so many life stages? That is a special gift. I thought through lots of wonderful memories. Besides the house I grew up in and the house I live in now, I have spent more time in this structure than any other. She was a very good girl, and I love her.

So there it is. I will have a new car (I don’t have it yet) and that will be fun and meaningful with exciting, new features. (A backup camera!) There will be no cassette player. That glory belongs only to Eleanor. I hope the next car will be just as faithful.

But for today, I will say that this car was truly glorious in every way. What a gift. Godspeed!

Renee Roederer

2 thoughts on “She Drove to the Moon: An Ode to My Car

  1. What a sweet story! Eleanor was a trusted companion. (Do you need a ride Sunday morning? I would be happy to pick you up.)


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