Farewell to a Family Friend
koppie — Thu, 08/04/2011 - 10:49
We've said goodbye to a family friend: the Belkins' 1994 Honda Accord. To give you an idea of how important this car is:
- This was the first new car the Belkins bought when they came to America, only three years after immigrating.
- It sold for $21,000. Sam added an after-market car alarm, custom seat covers, dashboard cover, and a car phone. Yes, a car phone, with integrated microphone.
- It never had a CD player, but we had a tape cassette adapter that we used with a discman, an mp3 player, and most recently with a smartphone that played streaming internet radio.
- This was the car we drove while we became a doctor and a lawyer. It has our schools' stickers in the window.
- This was the car we used to take Nathan home from the hospital.
- For 17 years it had a single owner: the Belkin family.
- If you've heard my friends tell the story of the time I drove over a snowy mountain while blasting "Surfin' Bird," this was the car. Two inches of fresh snow, no chains, and the car never even skidded.
- Everywhere we went, it got us there safely.
- It has 150,000 miles and will probably go for another 150,000
We're getting rid of it now because the required repairs are finally worth more than the car itself. But after such a long, storied history, we couldn't possibly take it to a chop shop. So we're donating it to the Delancey Street Foundation. They're an organization that helps "substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless and others who have hit bottom." DSF gives them a place to live, helps them get their GED and a college degree, and teaches them vocational skills, including car repair. They will repair all the flaws on the Honda, large and small, and restore it to pristine condition. I made them promise to send us a photo when they're done. Not only will the car get a second life, but it's going to make a difference in someone's life at the same time.
As we literally closed the file on this car, Yelena found some remarkable treasures from 17 years of family ownership. Here are a few highlights:
Letters from the salesman at the dealership. Three letters, sent in the mail. I think he used a typewriter.
An invitation to join Honda's new ownership program on the web. "The internet is the most important information delivery device ever invented." I doubt this was printed in 1994 when the car was new; that would put it before Windows 95. But it's definitely older than Internet Explorer. Back when Times New Roman still looked pretty nifty.