The Purple Princess Car is Home!

16 Dec
Lara in Purple Car

She got the Purple Princess car for her second birthday. Here she is at 2 and 2 days.

After a 17 or so year stay in a home where it was loved by many children, my daughter’s purple car has returned home for Hanukkah 2015. I retrieved it in early December from its foster home.

I purchased the purple princess Little Tikes car for my daughter’s second birthday. Not the red sedan that most people purchase, this car was special. It made us think about the car in the movie, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” It had character and appeal.

When she was little, my daughter’s car stayed in our basement, which was finished, but had no furnishings, except for a multitude of toys.   Our neighbor’s had twin daughters who were five years older than my daughter. They would come over every day after school, sometimes with their older sister, and play with my daughter. They loved to push her around in the purple princess car. She would get dressed up in elaborate outfits including a toy tiara. And they would entertain her for hours.

The purple car was so important to her. She just loved it. But in time she outgrew it and could no longer fit behind the wheel. Then our son, who was 4 ½ years younger, outgrew the car as well.

Elephant slide

My daughter plays on her beloved elephant slide. An empty basement except for toys.

I had a basement filled with Little Tikes toys: a kitchen, a workshop, easel, car, airplane, rocking horse, shopping cart, dishes, an elephant slide (another favorite!), teeter/totter, picnic table, table and chairs, toy chests, bookshelves. We even had a Little Tikes Log cabin in the basement, which the boys loved to ‘build’ on with the Little Tikes tools. There was just so much!

A friend of mine sold Little Tikes items so I had an easy way to get these items at a reasonable price. But it was enough! I decided I had to find homes for some of these toys. A cousin took a few items, but she did not want nor had room for all of it. And her son had no desire for the little girl toys. I had to find a loving home for all these beloved toys.

One day I was speaking to one of the kindergarten teachers at the school where I taught. She had been my children’s teacher, and was now a grandmother. She wanted some toys for her grandchildren to enjoy at her home.   Did I have a deal for her! Take my toys. I have tons, I told her. We set a date for her to come and see my stash!

I was excited. I had found a good home for the toys in my basement. Chose what you want, I told her. She came over and took many of the toys, including the purple princess car. I was so happy that the toys would be loved. I took the money she paid me and donated it to charity, a double mitzvah. The toys had a home, and others had food.

I thought it was wonderful till my daughter came home from school. She was in middle school. When I told them what I had done with the Little Tykes toys, she immediately said, “Not my car!” Yes it was gone as well. She wanted me to get it back.

But I really did not think she needed it. Eventually her tears and pouting got to me. She really wanted the car back even though she could not use it. Ridiculous, I know. I called. “I think I need the car back,” I told my friend. She could not give it back. Her granddaughter loved that car and used it whenever she came over. So I said keep it. But when your grandchildren are done with it, I would like to have it back. She made that promise. She would return the car to me in the future.

I told my daughter that eventually we would have the purple princess car back. She was still angry, but that was the only solution. Over the years, whenever she got really mad at me, she would bring it up. “How could you give away my car! You didn’t even ask!”

The purple car loomed over us as a point of contention.   Even the twins, their older sister, and their mother could not believe I had given away the purple princess car. For 17 years I lived with this blight on my existence.

Until December 5, 2015, at Barnes and Noble when I saw the teacher. I had not seen her for a number of years. We hugged. And she said. I have the purple car. My grandchildren are grown, and I know that your daughter is getting married. Would you like the car back?”

Would I like the car back!!! OF COURSE! I will be in touch I said.

Luckily we are Facebook friends. I sent her a private message with my phone number. She called. Less than a week later, on December 11, I went on what I called a secret Hanukkah mission, to get the car back.


The Purple Princess Car on the day I picked it up to come home.

Friday morning on the fifth day of Hanukkah, I visited with my old friend…and the car. We caught up on family and just chatted for over an hour. It was a great visit. Then we carried the purple princess car out of her house, and I loaded it into the trunk of my car.

When I got home, I emailed my daughter that we needed to speak. I had a Hanukkah surprise.

Later that day when we were able to speak, we videoed chatted. “I am going to send you an email. DO NOT open it till we are talking,” I commanded.

She listened. When she opened the email my daughter was so happy. There was a photo of the purple princess car and her kindergarten teacher. I took a photo of them together so she could see that it was really her car.

She said “Finally! Is it home? ” I sent her a photo of the car in our garage. Lara’s Hanukkah is complete.

I posted a note about the return of the car on my Facebook page.   One of my daughter’s high school teachers commented that even she knew about the purple car, as my daughter had written about it in English class. I know that car was in my daughter’s soul.

I am so thankful that the ‘foster’ family took such good care of the purple princess car. I am so thankful the promise to return it to us was fulfilled.

My daughter shared the photo on her Facebook page and wrote:

“My car is home! And it’s perfect timing too because I was just saying to my fiancée that I really need a small one-person car.”

I hate to be the one to disappoint her, but my husband says she will no longer fit into the purple princess car. But we are glad that we made her Hanukkah complete.



PS: The car is currently almost 28 years old!  It has held up remarkably well with love and attention!

6 Responses to “The Purple Princess Car is Home!”

  1. Amy December 16, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

    Great story! I can’t believe how well that toy car has stood up over all these years and all those children. Like many mothers, mine threw out some of my stuff without asking—baseball cards, rocks, bottle caps, etc. (I was a collector of almost anything.) I eventually started hiding things from her and to this day have all my Beatle cards and books, photo albums, coin collections, and assorted other relatively worthless stuff.

    • zicharon December 16, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

      I have just one toy from my childhood, a 2 1/2 foot tall doll. We still have it in the Catskills. I should probably write about her. She has a fascinating history!

  2. Sherry October 30, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

    Hi. Chanukah!! Little Tikes car, light purple car, house, airplane, hospital!! I love dolls, bears, car!! Exciting!! Thank you.

  3. Nancy Fezler November 8, 2018 at 8:28 am #

    Great story! I stumbled on you blog while searching for a little tikes blue elephant slide. My 5 daughters spent hours playing on theirs along with many other LT indestructible items! I gave them all to a nice family who I’m sure enjoyed them as we did. Now I’m searching for the blue elephant for my grandchildren! They truly provide endless fun and great memories for decades!! Thank you for sharing.!
    Please write if you ever hear of an available blue elephant. Happy Holidays!

    • zicharon November 8, 2018 at 9:43 am #

      I will. My children loved that slide. I did get the purple car back. But I also gave away a spaceship
      I wish I still had.

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