A eulogy for an ’03 Jetta

Taken during a road trip to Ithaca last summer.

Taken during a road trip to Ithaca last summer.


This afternoon, after nearly seven years driving an 03 Volkswagen Jetta, I bought a new car.

That Jetta was my first real car. I got it in 2006 when I was probably 21 years old. Until that point, I’d always shared a vehicle with my twin brother. So when I got that car, I decided to make it my own.

It’s bumper is lined with Phish and Dead stickers. A faded roof-rack fills out its frame. The driver’s side mirror was knocked off years ago and its white replacement doesn’t match the silver paint. There are dents, dings and scratches all over. The Flowmaster muffler I accidentally installed four years ago rumbles and roars, announcing my arrival wherever I go. It’s a loud and bumpy ride. But for 7 years, that car was who I am.

My twenties have been tumultuous, to say the least. Since I bought that car I’ve been in and out of love with three different women. I’ve lived in seven different houses in three different cities. I’ve had five different jobs and earned two college degrees. I’ve lost a grandfather but gained a brother-in-law and a niece. I’ve grown older and my hair grayer. I’ve had triumphs and failures.

I’ve been to Bonnaroo, Phish, moe.down, Mountain Jam, and hundreds of concerts throughout New York State, all in that car. I’ve tailgated at Bills games, blues concerts and campgrounds, all in that car. I’ve traveled to Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto, New York, Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, Erie, Roanoke and Wilmington, all in that car. I’ve had relationships blossom and relationships crumble, all in that car. I’ve eaten, drank, slept, bled, laughed, cried, fought, and even made love in that car.

I’ve gotten stuck on dirt roads, locked out at inopportune times and left stranded by flat tires and dead batteries in that car. I’ve hauled kayaks, skis, bikes, Christmas trees, furniture and (fairly often) a bunch of drunk friends with that car.

There are few things in my life that have endured as long as that Jetta. I’ve never kept a job, apartment or girlfriend for even half as long as that car. It’s carried me along life’s bumpy road, and now it’s time to say farewell.

So goodbye, Jetta, and may you bring as much joy and as many fond memories to your next owner as you did to me.

Please, if you have fond memories of the ‘ol Flowmaster, share in the comments.