After nineteen years as a minivan driver, my identity has changed. I am a minivan mom no longer. I had hoped my 2004 Chevy Venture would last a couple more years, but that dream was dashed nine days ago when I was rear-ended pretty hard while attempting to make a left turn into my own driveway.
I live on a two-lane street, so I had stopped briefly to let oncoming traffic clear, then just begun my turn when — WHAM! My vehicle ended up jumping the curb and stopping across the sidewalk, nose-first into the slope of my front yard. I wasn’t injured, I assume because I didn’t realize it was about to happen, so none of my muscles were tensed. But things sure flew around inside the van. Remind me never again to drive with my purse unzipped. Its contents ended up all over the place, including in a pool of water where a gallon jug exploded. It took me two or three minutes to find my cell phone.
The driver who hit me was young, still in high school I think. She was using her mom’s minivan, which in turn was also struck from behind by a third vehicle. It was a bad day in the neighborhood for vans. But I found a silver lining in the behavior of all involved. The first thing everyone asked of each other: Are you okay? Do you need any help?
No injuries to anyone. Phew!
I saw some excellent parenting, too, when her parents appeared on the scene. She took full responsibility, stating that she didn’t notice I was stopped until the last second, and then panicked. When she tried to hit the brakes, she accidentally hit the gas again. Her mom and dad praised her for telling the truth, did not yell, did not appear angry, just concerned for the safety of all.
If you’ve followed my blog since the beginning and have a feeling of deja vu, it’s because this is the third time in eight years my family has lost a vehicle in this manner. We don’t even drive that much! But we seem to be on a four-year cycle of getting our cars hit and totaled. It happened in 2012 with my husband driving and again in 2016 with my younger son at the wheel. Maybe we should all stay off the road in 2024.
The spouse and I got our insurance settlement and did emergency car shopping this past week. I can’t remember the last time I drove carpool. Usually it’s me alone going somewhere. So we downsized and moved to a new phase of life, finding a pretty good deal on a used Honda CR-V EX. It will be my first all wheel drive experience. I hope we get snow this winter!
You say goodbye:
And I say hello:
One thought on “The Era of the Minivan Has Passed”
CUTE new car! I’m so glad you’re okay, but yeah, a totaled car every 4 years seems pretty regimented. I remember when I finally got rid of the minivan (not that I didn’t love mine–they are, hands down, the most utilitarian of vehicles for families). It was after about 31 years of station wagons, minivans and large SUVs. With 2 kids still at home, I got a mid-sized Jeep with decent cargo space, but only 5 passengers, a significant downsize. But there was a darling Fiat 500 beckoning for a time when it’s “just me.”
Awesome writing, as always, Ida. Love your posts.