Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the life of this black 1998 Toyota Camry that I owned for 14 years of its 21-year life.
My dad got it from my uncle- supplemented with the money I made working at the summer camp Sarah Silverman grew up at in New Hampshire right after I graduated from college. I needed a car to get to the teaching job I would start that fall- 2005. My dad and I drove it to Southern California where it lived happily ever after.
Well almost happily ever after… I had to replace the whole front half of the car after I rear-ended somebody on the 101 12 years ago. Um and I got that pretty dent by running into a building…
I learned how to work a car in my dad’s Jeep Cherokee in Portland- but I learned how to drive in LA in this car. I learned how to pass semi-trucks (maybe while screaming out loud…) and how to work my way around multiple lanes of traffic and eventually… how to parallel park… although I still go to great lengths to avoid doing so…
It leaked miserably and unrelentingly when it rained. In the days after the rain, it steamed up and smelled like broccoli. The passenger door wouldn’t open from the outside. I had to wedge something into the release switch thingy to get the gas cap to open. The air conditioning was busted a long time ago. It had a slight moth infestation. The driver-side mirror had been knocked off by a semi (and then the trucking company denied it happened and I couldn’t afford to have it fixed). The cd player only worked if you kept pushing the cd back into it over and over again and it finally gave in. I was told to replace the struts about 10 years ago and never did. Oh but it got me from A to B for fourteen years and no car payments.
On Valentine’s Day, the engine shut off while I was attempting the 60 minute commute to Eagle Rock and, miraculously, I had enough momentum to get to the side of the road. The mechanic said it needed a new engine and didn’t recommend that I put the money into it.
Kars 4 Kids will be putting it out of its misery officially.
In lieu of flowers, please get yourself a nice car wash and possibly, a sparkly license plate frame.
Happy trails, my little car. Rest in pieces.
P.S. Here’s an article about Camrys from the 90’s written 4 years ago that you might enjoy: https://www.theonion.com/toyota-recalls-1993-camry-due-to-fact-that-owners-reall-1819577805