Throughout the years, almost every car Mom owned had been selected by my Dad or myself. From the 1968 and 1972 Catalina sedans, the 1976 Buick LeSabre and 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon, and a short lived Pontiac Phoenix. There was a Chrysler E-Class, a Jeep Comanche pickup and a Dodge Shadow somewhere in the mix, but in late 1999 my Mom and her daughter in law found their way to a Pontiac dealer and came back with a 2000 Pontiac Bonneville.
The formula had changed. For the first time in her life my Mom had selected the car that she wanted and she did it without drama or stress, and with the help and support of her newest family member. I remember well the look of accomplishment and joy on Mom’s face when she showed me her new car and I was very proud of her and very grateful that my bride had been part of this monumental decision.
The Bonneville had a storied existence for the next five years with my Mom. It was seriously damaged when it was hit from the side in its first six months of existence but thankfully was able to be repaired. The Bonneville made trips to New York City, Warwick Rhode Island, and every week my Mom found the time to drive into Brunswick and have lunch with my wife and/or myself. It was her favorite car of all time and she said she planned on keeping it forever.
When Mom passed away in 2005 my wife became the primary car operator and I somehow believed the car represented the bond between my Mom and my wife. I guess guys can sometimes be sentimental about cars in a way most females might find difficult to understand.
Today I have cleaned out the Bonneville for the last time. It is going to a friend who owns an automotive shop and is in need of a safe loaner car for some customers. He will fix some of the little details that need taking care of in a car over a decade old and will use it in a manner which my Mom would approve.
So Mom’s old license plates are now inside my office, cleaned up, and waiting to be hung on my wall in keeping with paternal family tradition. I also made certain to polish the engine bay and clean out all the stuff that accumulates over a decade of daily driving. Every time I see the Bonneville I think of my Mom and how happy she was to have bought it and to have driven it every day right up until the end. Now the Bonneville will be used as a loaner for people having their own cars repaired and it should provide safe temporary transportation for them for years to come. I think Mom would be pleased.