My third son, Aiden, drives a 1997 Volvo. He bought it from Gary Verbeek at the school’s mechanic shop when he was in grade 11. It cost him a whole $700, and he was so proud of it.

At the time he didn’t have his license yet but that didn’t matter to him. He was the proud owner of a “new to him” vehicle, and Steve and I felt secure knowing Gary had checked it over. We knew the car only had one owner, Mr. Bert Huizing, who had taken excellent care of the car, doing all the regular maintenance. We gave Aiden the green light to purchase it and made arrangements to deliver it here where it would wait patiently in the driveway for Aiden to pass his N test.

Now, I’m not much of a car person so when he told me it was a 1997 Volvo, it didn’t mean that much to me. I knew for 700 bucks it was no race car, but I was unprepared for what arrived in our driveway.

The Big Decade

The 1990s were a big decade for me.

Most of my major life changes happened in the 90s. I graduated from high school. I met my husband. I graduated from university. I got married and moved away from home to the west coast. I started my teaching career. I had my first child.

The 90s were life changing. The 90s were full of fun and adventure and excitement. But the 90s were not that long ago, right?

The older I get, the more I understand the phrase “It feels like it was just yesterday…”

Meeting Bert

When Aiden took me outside to proudly show off his new car, I experienced a moment of shock.

I’m not sure what I expected, but I didn’t expect something that came out of the 90s to look so…old. Don’t get me wrong, this car was in great shape; clean, no dents, well-looked after, but there was no denying it…it was old.

To me the 90s were the prime of life, the vigor of youth, the peak of vitality. This car didn’t look prime, vigorous, or like it could make it to the peak of anything. It looked useful, it looked sturdy, it looked reliable.

In my mind I was drawing some undesirable parallels between me and that car.


Look! A Cassette Player!

After I got over the shock of how something from 1997 could look so ancient, I was able to celebrate my son’s new car, which we appropriately named Bert after its original owner. I mean, what mom wouldn’t celebrate their 17-year-old son driving a boxy tank of a car that can’t accelerate quickly or maintain irresponsible, high speeds? There wasn’t even a working radio that could distract him while he was driving.

His only option was a cassette player. Sadly, we had no cassettes until, lo and behold, Bert held a surprise. Under one of the seats, we found a zippered case full of Dutch choir tapes!


Fully Tricked Out

Bert may be on the older side but he’s still one studdly car. Leather interior, seat warmers, mini windshield wipers on the headlights, sunroof…Bert was tricked out in his day! And though he rattles and squeaks, and guzzles a bit too much gas, I have much love for Bert. He gets Aiden safely to and from school or work and when icy roads sent Aiden into a deep ditch, Bert’s tank-like frame kept my son from any harm.

Turns out I’m a big fan of useful, sturdy, and reliable.

As the school looks back on their 70 years, they’ve been stopping along the way to look at different decades. It’s fun to look back even if it does mean a reality check for me once in a while. The 90s will always be one of my favs, which may make me old in the eyes of my kids.

The other day at dinner, Levi was describing a lady he had met. “She was an older lady,” he said, “Probably a bit younger than you, mom.”


But I’ll take it. I grew up in the 90s. At this stage of the game, I might be more useful, sturdy, and reliable than I am youthful, prime, and vigorous, but that’s okay.

Me and Bert are studdly in our own way.