I have fond memories of Mike’s little Toyota. “Jacinta” was a stick shift auto painted Blessed Mother blue, with a pristine interior and nary a bumper sticker. Mike had navigated Jacinta through crazy Bronx streets to pick me up for our first date, and almost three years later, to drive me to the maternity ward of New York’s Einstein Hospital, where Grace was born. After Mike, Grace, and I left the city for Pennsylvania, Jacinta became the family car, transporting the three of us to church, the grocery store, and grandparents’ homes. I would also drive Jacinta to weekly La Leche League meetings, first with Grace in the back seat, then with Grace and Ben in the back seat, and then with Grace, Ben, and Clare in the back seat. At this point, the old conundrum of moving fox, geese, and grain across the river seemed easy compared with the challenge of transporting kids plus parents plus a load of groceries in a compact car.
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