Later this week, Gigi will be moving onto the world of retired cars. It was a hard and long decision for me to part with my beloved girl, who has served me well for almost six years. I’m not going to talk about her replacement here, rather this post will just focus on Gigi (short for Golden Girl).
How did Gigi come to be? In the late spring of 2012, I saw my son Ben, wheel a motorcycle into my then mother-in-law’s garage (who was living next door at the time). When confronted about the decision to purchase this vehicle, he responded “Mom, I’m 21 and I work awfully hard.” I countered with, “I’m 52 and work awfully hard as well!”. I had just gone on a ride with my friend Sue, in her top-down Jeep and loved the feeling of the air blowing through my hair. A month later, a former parent of a student in my class took me on a ride in her Mini Cooper Convertible and I was hooked. I spent the next few months scouring cars.com, looking for a Mini Convertible. And in December 2012, I found her. A Gold, 2005 Mini Cooper Convertible, with 50,000 miles at the Village Saab dealer in Acton. I remember the Saturday, going over to the dealer to test drive her. It was love at first sight, and while I wasn’t planning on parting with my Pacifica, it was an extravagance to have a second “fun” car. I wasn’t planning on using it during the winter months, except for a few brief spins around the neighborhood. As the spring came around, I started using her more and more, and just loved being in her. I felt happy and free while driving her.
Gigi was what I later called “an appropriate midlife crisis.” Owning her was a sign of my independence. She and I took a trip to Gloucester after life as I knew it was over. On the way home, we narrowly missed being slammed with a piece of plywood that blew off a pick-up truck. Using the skills learned from my driver’s ed teacher, Mr. Raeke and help from an angel, we hit the piece square on. Gigi never wavered and had just a few minor dings to show from this harrowing experience. Over the next year, we moved two
times. Gigi and Kyla were my steady constants during this time of upheaval. She sustained an injury to her front bumper from a run-in with a stump while backing out of the driveway at “The Cott
age” (and a surcharge that is still with me for that incident). Before long, we were all settled into our new home in Maynard. Besides a new home, and a new martial status, I had a new job in Weston, which was much farther than the two mile commute that I enjoyed in Concord. And in October, the Pacifica died. Gigi went from being my “mid-life crisis fun car” to my full-time car. And if you lived around here in the Winter of 2015, you might recall that it was an epic winter. Gigi got new snow tires, and she was like a little bulldog in all of that snow. The only issue was that the snowbanks were kind of high to see around, but unless you were driving a monstrous truck, this was the case for any car. She handled like a champ through all of these snowy winters.
Not only did she handle like a champ in snow, Gigi and I were caught in not one, but two flash floods (and sat another warning out). The first one occurred in October 2016 on the way home from a concert in Carlisle. Going under the railroad bridge on Route 62 in Concord, water came over the hood of the car. It was so frightening, but Gigi kept on going. I trusted her and she never let me down. We got caught in another one in the summer of 2017 on Route 62/117 in Stow. Another frightening experience but again, she was great. We pulled over for a while and watched the lightning crash around us as white caps formed on the road. When I got home, I pulled her into the garage and thanked her once again for getting me home safely.
Gigi loved her garage. It kept her safe from the snow in the winter and cool in the heat of the summer. Her garage became a gathering place, where I hosted my graduation party as well as other small gatherings. A friend christened it “Gigi’s Place” which was really was a great name for this space.
While a small car, Gigi tried hard to be a big car. Christmas trees were tied on her top
and I am sure that folks did a double take as they saw this Gold Cooper Convertible adorned with a tree on top. Need to buy a ton of plants for the yard? Not a problem. I would put down the top, and load the plants up in the back seat. The bagger at Roche Brothers would always be skeptical when rolling the carriage of groceries over to the car. But she always came through and we made things work as best that we could.
The convertible aspect was fun, but not always as practical as one might think. During pollen season, it was never a good idea for me to have the top down. If it was too hot, it also wasn’t the best way to have the top down either. But on days when the temperature wasn’t broiling or the pollen wasn’t flying, it was heaven. I will miss having my air fly all around as I tried to keep things from flying out. We had some great top-down rides. I remember the day before the Boston Marathon, I had done an easy two mile walk at Great Meadows and we motored back top-down to the house. The blue sky was brilliant and I remember feeling so happy during that dirve. Even Gus, has traveled (in his cabby) in the back of Gigi.
So, why now say good-bye to my Golden Girl? Gigi will be 14 years old shortly and she is beginning to show signs of not being so peppy. I found a great repair shop in Hudson that repairs Mini’s and I know she has several major repairs in the near future. Having my mother in the car has not been easy with the two doors and a walker (or wheelchair, which necessitated my renting a car for those trips). I wanted Gigi to not have to be towed away and to retire with dignity and be able to find the next car with the things that I wanted, like when I found Gigi. And last week, it was time. I will be sad to not have her in my life but I am so grateful to have had a a car and a companion that served me well for so many year. I will miss her a lot, but will never forget all that she stood for in my life. Keep on Motoring, my Golden Girl!