Does someone in your friend group have that one car that everyone hangs out in, shares their stories in and has hundreds of memories built into the seats?
Well, I was that friend, and that “one car” was my car.
Her name was Stella.
Stella is a 1988 Nissan Pathfinder, which may have not been the safest, fastest, most glamorous or sturdy but she was a car that everyone fell in love with.
As a backstory, my family had bought the car used for $800 back when I was a toddler. She then quickly became a family car as it went through my brother, sister, another brother and yet another sister.
So when I received the car to drive when I turned 16, there were stains just engraved into the roof and seats of the car. Small dents covered the exterior with paint chips galore.
We all know that feeling of immediate freedom when you turn 16 and get to drive around for the first time, so the dust and dents didn’t bother me for the first few months; it got me where I needed to be.
But when I started to drive further distances from home, Stella began to violently shake or turn off completely until I restarted it.
She smoked vigorously.
Even after all the drama and unsafe driving around, she was still a favorite.
The A/C didn’t work, it had crank windows and a non-working emergency break. This caused the windows to be down all summer and the brake light on constantly.
Stella also lost the ability to be able to lock the trunk, so I would have to tie down the trunk from the inside of the car.
Many naps were taken in Stella, along with overnight camping stays and drive-in movies. Trips up to the mountains, and over to the ocean, Stella became a huge part of my life along with close friends who also experienced these adventures with me. And a hell of a lot of late-night adventures that my parents still don’t know about.
Stella will not be the only car that I own, nor the only car I have memories with. But she is one of the first. I have a 2011 Ford Edge now, with 70,000 miles in very good condition. I may not have the same memories with the new car but I know there will be memories, times with friends, emotions, heartbreak, but most of all–time.
Her name is Lauren.