Traverse City Record-Eagle


I can’t drive THAT to high school!

By Sherry Kula TuckerWhat does every teenage boy want more than anything in the world? You guessed it – their own set of wheels!

My son got his license almost a year ago and buying a car is pretty much all I have heard about for the past eleven months.

I have been to every car lot in the area several times.

I’ve seen every car for sale within a hundred mile radius of Traverse City on Craigslist or in online classified ads.

If there has been an older vehicle with a FOR SALE sign on it along any road that we have traveled in the past year, chances are I have seen it or at least heard about it.

My son is obsessed with finding the best car. It has worked as a great bargaining tool for me this school year.

“Mom, I found the perfect truck! Do you think I can get it?”

“I’m not considering anything until I see your History grade go up.”

This has worked pretty well until recently. As is everything in life, things changed and putting off buying a car for my son finally reached a point where it made sense to seriously consider making the purchase.

His grades are okay, he has applied for some jobs, and my schedule has changed to where another vehicle would be very helpful. As soon as I told him I was ready to buy, he was on it! I wish he acted that quickly to doing homework or household chores.

He found several pick-up trucks, small SUVs and older sedans that would probably work for him. Each one had more than 100,000 miles, a few dents or scratches and crank windows. Nic didn’t care; he was excited and ready to buy. I kept dragging my feet, worried that I would let him spend all his money on a car only to have it die on him.

Then he got the call – grandpa had a vehicle for him! It was the perfect price, less than 100,000 miles and in great condition. Grandpa bought it about a year ago and fixed it up as a hobby, I guess.

What I saw next was priceless. His face went from a huge grin to a look or horror!

The perfect car is a minivan!

As much as a teenage boy wants his own set of wheels, the last thing he ever wants to be seen in is a minivan!

For a few weeks Nic went back and forth on what he wanted to do. He would say he is getting it, but then a few hours later he would change his mind. I told him the decision had to be his but several people gave him their opinion on what to do.

Uncle Steve told him to get it! Nic values his opinion and decided he wanted it. Then Uncle Steve told him he would buy him a car seat for the back and maybe a “baby on board” sticker for the window. Nic changed his mind and decided NOT to get it.

He learned a good lesson. When you say you will take ANYTHING and that you just want your own car, beware! You might just get the ONLY thing you really didn’t want!

We don’t have the van yet, but it looks like we will be getting it. I’m sure driving a minivan to high school will give him many funny stories to share with his kids someday!

  • Sjkula

    Great subject…anyone with teenagers will not run out of have a knack for putting it into words.

  • Gordon Huey

    Suddenly a fan of Uncle Steve.

  • Dapiering

    A minivan ‘could’ be kind of cool if you think about it…tint the windows…plenty of room for a big sub-woofer….friends…

  • Dan

    Ha! I can relate. Great job Sherry. He can always “fix up” the minivan. In my day a van was a status symbol. Just darken the windows and add a couple of suggestive bumper stickers.

  • waterbuffalo

    My daughters first car was a hand me down worn-out 73 chevy station wagon. She loved the room and could take her friends in style.

  • Sherry Kula Tucker

    No Dan!  No “suggestive” bumper stickers!  Thankfully my kid isn’t THAT kid that fits the image of “the guy with the VAN.”   If he ever goes on a date he will be taking MY car that is for sure!  Right now he is thinking it would be cool to have the room for snowboards and friends.  Ugh.. this is going to be interesting!  

  • Dmakula

    Seems like I remember Uncle Steve driving a Trans Am in high school.

  • Sherry Kula Tucker

    Yes, it seems Uncle Steve must have been the favorite child because I remember driving a Chevette.

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