On the Demise of a Mechanical Companion

writing by candlelight

Okay, so I’m a hopeless sentimental. I also adhere to strident Scottish thriftiness and ingenuity. So I don’t easily let go of the old to be replaced with the latest and the greatest new gadget or machine. You already know of my reverence for history and old things. Here’s a little family anecdote as illustration: My oldest son and his partner, Sarah, spent Christmas with me in my little apartment. When I went to light some candles for ambiance, I found that the wick of one of them had stuck into the melted wax the last time it was burned, so I asked my daughter if she would get a knife and dig the wick out of the wax. Sarah, though, ever the pragmatist, said, “Just throw it away!” I replied with reverence that 200 years ago, people relied on their candles as the only source of light after the sun went down. Candles were valuable! And Sarah countered that they are not valuable any more. So I threw that candle away in acquiescence to her.

candles with dripping wax

Up until a few years ago I was driving a 1992 jade green Honda Accord. This car, who I named Harmony Jade, was a classic, being 20 years old by then. She was all paid for, and she belonged to me alone. Sure, there were a few problems, like the driver’s side window that would no longer open, and the dash lights were finicky. But this car was reliable. She got me to work every day, and she was waiting to take me home again every night. She was made before car alarms were standard issue, and you still used a key to open the locks. Because this model car was desireable prey for car thieves, I used a club on the steering wheel. I promised myself that I would drive this car until she fell apart from old age.


One Friday night in November, Harmony Jade’s engine cut out and would not re-start as I was driving home from a late shift at work. I had to park her a couple of miles from home and wait for Monday to get her to the shop. When I got to her again she had been vandalized. The thieves cut the steering wheel to get the club off. Apparently they were furious when they found that they could not steal her because she wouldn’t start. They stole the battery and cut every hose under the hood. My Harmony Jade had been murdered! Yes, I cried at this outrage to my reliable and trusty car. While insurance did reimburse me for my car’s monetary value, this summed up to one tenth of the price of my new used car. And of course my insurance rate is higher now too. I now drive a 2006 garnet colored Honda Civic with a sun roof, and I am just as fond of her now as I was of Harmony Jade, even if she is standard transmission and not five speed. And the car payments every month are not fun–that money could have been going towards a European doll tour!

2006 garnet honda civic

As you can see with my car choices, I like to shop for quality, even if they are (as they say now) “pre-owned.” In 2006 I finally needed to buy my own computer, since I was no longer in the position to share one with a husband or to use my brother’s. So I shopped for quality and bought a Dell laptop. And I have been happy with it. It’s good quality and–barring theft–it should last for years, right? After all, I have some electric kitchen appliances from the 1940’s and 50’s that still work. Wrong again! Over the past few months, my trusty Dell (who I did NOT name) has become slower and slower in operating with more and more glitches. A major transgression is that I can no longer download photos from my camera. This really puts a kink in my efforts to create beautiful and personalized blog posts! And so now you know the number one reason why my blog site has been silent this past Autumn and Winter.

1940s hand mixer

According to my son, one can expect a laptop to last about four years. Mine is coming up on nine years, so maybe I need to loosen up on my Scottish thriftiness and put the Dell out to pasture, or wherever one puts old computers. After all, tax return time is coming up to finance a new one. But wait! It’s not completely broken! Maybe I could make it last longer!

laptop image

So it goes . . . But you see, being frugal with “necessities” is why I have been able to acquire a few antique china dolls, which I adore!, on my rather small budget. A computer may be a necessity in the 21st century, but I just do not adore my laptop (sorry, old girl) like I adore my china dolls, or even my trusty steed (aka car). So that means blog posts may be few and far between until I talk myself into this new necessity. Until then, I am grateful for your continuing views. ~Jennie

Antique photo 19th century girl with china doll