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The Life of a Car

Susan Eastwood


People get attached to their cars; happy memories are made there. It's hard to let go. Here is the story of our little Audi A3, and its happy ending!


Our silver 2007 Audi A3 joined our family out of need, but through a lucky coincidence. Our daughter, Emma, needed a car to take to her summer job working on political campaigns. She kept suggesting $500.00 clunkers she saw advertised but we didn’t want her driving a risky vehicle. Fortuitously, a friend wanted to sell their extra car in order to pay for a solar ground mount system. It was a win-win, for us, for them, and for the environment!


Emma loved that zippy little car! Over the years, she took it to college with her in Vermont, which allowed her to intern with a Federal judge in Burlington, encouraging her interest in the law. Our son used the car to get around when he worked gigs in regional theater – summers in Maine and a winter in Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare in New Jersey. That little car got around. They used it for innumerable moves, trips, visits, and for independence on family vacations! So many memories were made, they will often tell me the story of the attempted trip into the Vermont mountains in a snowstorm, or how they managed to pack their whole dorm room in. I can only imagine the stories they don’t tell me!


I would find mementos of their adventures: CDs  of bands I’ve never heard of, tickets to amusement parks, crumpled receipts, and wrappers. Memories were made in that car. I can only imagine! The Audi helped my children to spread their wings and become the people they are.


We used it in between, it was a fun car to drive, probably a little too much fun for a new driver, I realized, but we all survived. Emma would have loved to take it to Portland in 2019, the year she clerked for a federal judge after law school. But it had begun to need frequent and expensive repairs, so we sent her with our ancient Volvo, more dependable and virtually indestructible.


As it turned out, the pandemic hit mid-year, the court closed, and she ended up working from our home for half her clerkship, and drove the Audi after all.


Emma now lives and works in California and Aidan is based in New York City. Tony and I were staying home and on Zoom, like most of us. So, the little car sat on the side of the driveway more and more, looking sad. We took it out around town, and began to use it for trips to the Transfer Station. It rattled and choked. The last time it was in for a tune up, we were told it needed $2500.00 in work. It was time to decide, and that was just too much for us to keep an unneeded car with 123,000 miles on it.


We avoided the issue all winter, but finally we made the call to the Sierra Club car donation. It was a quick and simple process and within a week, a cheerful fellow came to tow it off.

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We were happy to donate the car for a good cause, to help Sierra Club to continue its vital work to protect our clean air and water. And it will save us money on the insurance and registration! Another win-win!


I surprised myself by how nostalgic and sad I felt seeing our Audi lifted onto the tow truck, but I will cherish the memories made in that little car!

If you would like to donate a car to Sierra Club, I can vouch for it being an easy and positive experience. They gave us the proper donation form to make it easy to take the car off the tax roll and insurance. Learn more about the donation program.

Susan Eastwood is Chapter Chair of Sierra Club Connecticut.

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