Last weekend, my renewal showed up for my AAA membership. I looked at the card and noticed that it said member for 25 years since 1987. I held the card in my hand and was instantly brought back to the year I received my first AAA card. I had graduated high school in 1986 and left Vermont to spend a year abroad in Israel. My final high school years had been tumultuous to say the least. I’d been fighting non-stop with my father and step-mother and felt completely misunderstood. I had decided to leave Vermont and felt pulled to get as far away as possible. My father visited me in Israel and we spoke weekly by phone. Of course there was no email in those days. When I returned to the states, I enrolled at UMASS for the spring term. In the midst of all the misunderstandings and difficulties we were experiencing, my father decided he wanted me to have a AAA membership. He paid the membership dues so I would have the protection and security for roadside assistance if there was a need.
I remember one time needing to call AAA when my beat up old Jetta VW broke down on a freeway in Los Angeles after I’d moved out west to finish up my undergraduate degree at a small liberal arts college. Having that card did provide a sense of protection and reassurance of safety.
My father continued to pay those membership dues for a half a dozen more years until I was married. I think he even maintained my membership a year or so beyond our wedding at which point my husband and I picked up the payment of our joint membership.
Clearly most people don’t get teary eyed when they open their AAA card membership renewal. It surprised me how holding that AAA card in my hand could bring back a flood of emotions as I thought about everything that has taken place in my life in the last 25 years. I don’t even feel old enough to have had a membership in anything for that long. My new AAA card reminded me of the gift my father had given me during a difficult time that’s lasted a quarter of a century. Thanks Dad.