Building Character, One Ugly Car at at Time

Subaru

Thankfully, but not surprisingly, DJ has been accepted into several institutes of higher learning.  She is waiting on two more replies and waiting on financial assistance packages.  Her wise father has communicated that he will NOT pay $60,000 for a private school when she could get an equally good education for $20,000.

We’re taking bets.  These are her current options:

UNC, NC State (Go Pack!), Furman, University of South Carolina, and Elon.  Still haven’t heard back from American and George Washington.

I will have to say DJ is a fairly strong writer, but even with her talents, writing ions of essays was a struggle.  I was the proofer, for grammar and spelling.  I didn’t write the dang things and yet I thought if she sent me one more to wade through i was gonna bust a nugget.

Thought I’d share my favorite:

I have a twin. Well, not like a biological twin. This twin does not look like me. This twin does not have the exact same birthday as me either. We were both born, or created, in 1997.  That’s as far as the physical resemblance goes. I have a 1997 green Subaru station wagon. It is the ugliest thing I have ever seen, and yet it has become a part of me and my high school career. My Subaru defines me, sort of.

 The car has been in my family for many years. My grandmother bought it brand new and drove it for many of her middle aged years. It was then passed on to my aunt who drove it from Boston, MA, to Raleigh, NC, on a regular basis. Then, it was my turn. I begged my dad to trade in the car for another one. I offered to help pay for a newer vehicle with the babysitting money I’d been saving since 6th grade.  He refused promising it would “build character.” At first I was beyond embarrassed to be seen anywhere in the trash can on wheels.  But the more I drove it, the more I realized that with the right attitude this car could be the coolest in the St. Mary’s School parking lot. I began to joke around calling the car my “baby,” or my “twin,” or the “soobs.” My friends soon caught on, and in short time I had taken a disaster and created a masterpiece.

 On the first day of eleventh grade, I drove to school and parked next to all of the shiny convertibles, jeeps, and SUVs. Instead of feeling like I messed up the status quo, I thought, “their cars don’t stand a chance.” Everyone that passed by marveled at the “soob,” as if it had been transformed into a corvette.  But it wasn’t the car that had been transformed, it was my attitude.

When I acted like the Subaru was a gem, so did everyone else. It became the car my friends and I drove to our late night runs to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, even when there were other wheels available with better speakers, seat warmers, and sunroofs. Rarely do I admit that my father is right, but having that car did build character. It also built friendships, inside jokes, memories, and of course some great Instagram pictures as we posed goofily on its roof.

 I have learned so much about myself from that little car.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Although she has already started complaining, in just a year or two, it will be my turn to pass down the good ole’ Subaru to my little sister.  I predict she will learn just as much from my baby as I did.   She’ll learn that material items aren’t everything and that your cool comes from within.

 You grow up in many ways.  In my family, one rite of passage is driving my grandmother’s old car.  My aunt got through it as have I. I hope that my two younger sisters get as much enjoyment and grow as much from the experience of driving the “soob” as I have.

 

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