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Farewell, Baby Zuki

July 4, 2014

Today was an end of an era. I got rid of my sweet little car that I have driven for the last 13 years. Yep, you read that right… I drove my car for THIRTEEN YEARS! My little Suzuki Esteem.

 

My last picture with my little 2001 Suzuki Esteem!  July 4, 2014

My last picture with my little 2001 Suzuki Esteem! July 4, 2014

In the summer of 2002 I had an internship on campus between my sophomore and junior year of college. At this point I was 21 and had avoided getting my driver’s license. What can I say, I’m weird. I spent that May briefly in Ohio and most of it in Europe, and I flew back South on the first Sunday in June. My father (intelligently) informed me that he was not driving me back and forth from his house to campus all summer and that it was time to drive.  So we went that week and he bought me a car.

A 2001 and previously owned by a rental car company, she had about 11,000 miles on her and Dad negotiated the price from $14,000 to about $8,000, cash. One of my friends kept commenting on how small of a car she was, even for a sedan, and thus the name Baby Zuki was given. Baby because she was small, Zuki short for Suzuki.

Baby Zuki and I have been on quite the journey together. 13 years, almost 150,000 miles. Countless road trips all over the southeast. She has made the drive from the south to Ohio more times than I can count. There was one hydroplaning incident during a summer storm in 2003, but by some miracle nothing was hit. Another in a snowstorm in the mountains on I-40 in 2011. No accidents. Two speeding tickets. At least 11 moves (gotta love the in and out of residence halls). Two driving tests, the second which I passed. Too many nights serving as the DD vehicle for my friends in college and grad school. There were even set rules for a DD pickup from Baby Zuki… including not humping the car, puking in the car, or bringing unknown people into the car. Actually, I am pretty sure that at one point one of my friends was driven back to campus with her held out the window.

My college roomie Ashley sitting on my car posing for a photojournalism class assignment. Summer 2003. She was a much more new and shiny car then!

My college roomie Ashley sitting on my car posing for a photojournalism class assignment. Summer 2003. She was a much more new and shiny car then!

There was the time I fit not only three people in the car, but also a boxed 7 foot Christmas tree. The time that we road tripped to the mountains for a long weekend in January and the key broke off in the car door because it was so cold. Then the next year where it was buried in snow and seven men had to lift it out of a snow bank. She has been loaded down with ridiculous amounts of camping equipment and served as a refuge in many a camping thunderstorm. It has hauled a ridiculous number of bridal and bridesmaid dresses. It has also been the setting for some truly, truly, awful singing.

When I cleaned out the car the other day I found: 3 pairs of sunglasses, 5 separate car phone car chargers, 24 road maps, 1 walkie talkie, three pens from the student org I was president of in college, and the missing remote to the Sirus radio set I lost six years ago.

Because every car needs 24 road maps

Because every car needs 24 road maps

But things were starting to wear on Baby Zuki. The side window didn’t go up or down any more. It was just old and time for something new. So after weeks of research and hours at car dealerships, Baby Zuki got traded in as part of the deal for my brand-new Corolla on this lovely 4th of July! Farewell, Baby Zuki and thanks for all the years! You were a good little car!

My 2001 Suzuki Esteem about to be traded in. She was a good little car!

My 2001 Suzuki Esteem about to be traded in. She was a good little car!

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