Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Erma was big, and she was beautiful.

But during the time I knew her, I didn’t appreciate what she had to offer in the least.

To me, she was old.

To me, she was too fat to take anywhere.

To me, she was a complete embarrassment.

I didn’t want to be seen with her. If the saying, “it’s what’s on the inside that counts” holds true, Erma didn’t count much. She wasn’t much to look at, and her personality wasn’t that shiny either.

Her companionship was a necessary evil, and for a good year she went with me everywhere.

Her make and model speaks volumes. Erma was a 1979 Chevy Beauville G20 Van.

I took my driving test on my sixteenth birthday and pathetically failed by one point. Devastated, but not completely defeated, I returned one week later and passed with flying colors. Since I didn’t have the funds to get my own ride, my persistence landed me the use of my mother’s two toned eight passenger Chevy Van.

When I drove it to school, my friends and I would park it blocks away from the eyes of our peers. Who cares if we had to walk three blocks…we were convinced the van could not be seen or our popularity score would plummet from its already low elevation.

Eventually that van became famous. It was first choice when going out with the girls…it could fit a big group and it was destined for adventure at every outing. We gave it the adoring nickname “Erma” and began parking it closer to the school…even in the parking lot when we were feeling bold.

My relationship with Erma taught me a lot.

Let’s face it, she was big, and I often thought people would only laugh and stare. I thought people would judge me differently because I rode with her. But I was so wrong. It was BECAUSE I rode with her that my nights were memorable. Everyone knew who she was…because of her I made friends and unforgettable memories I’ll keep with me forever.

Sometimes what we see as our biggest disadvantage is actually one of our greatest assets.

I eventually got a Nissan Sentra and left Erma behind…but the Nissan Sentra memories weren’t as hilarious. The weekends weren’t as memorable, and the rides weren’t as smile inducing.

I lost a bit of the magic when I lost Erma.

I know many of us see Diabetes as our Erma. She is the elephant in the room that we think everyone is gawking at. But honestly…it is an asset. An asset that is making our memories more vivid.

Ermas give our good times more color.

We have a better view of the world riding in the front seat of Erma. Driving her at first may seem awkward…the giant steering wheel, the AM radio and the high wide front seat seem unnatural…but when you ride in a different stratosphere as the rest of the world, you see a fuller, more simple picture.

This new perspective we have is because of Erma…and if she goes away someday, our life will turn into a Sentra. Not a bad ride, in fact an extremely comfortable, smooth and enjoyable ride…

Yeah, I know…we will all take that Sentra ANY day of the week.

But one day we will look back and see Erma in a different light than we do today. We’ll see she made the good times brighter, and we’ll be even more appreciative of the wider view she affords us.


  1. Amen, sister!

    My bff in high school had this old car- used to be red but was more pink by the time she got it. Bench seats. We would sit 3 in the front if there were only 3 of us so no one was in the back. Lots of memories!

    I can't explain it. And I don't always like it. But I think there is a reason we are living this D life. And the lessons I'm learning are priceless. I just wish it wasn't at Sweetpeas healths expense... But If it wasn't for that, I doubt I'd change it.

    Perfectly said!

  2. Yeah...I would definately trade in Erma for a Sentra in a heartbeat! My two little ones have went through sooooo much in the last 2 1/2 years...yes, we have all grown from this, we have a greater appreciation for the little things in life but what I wouldn't give to have my girls live life free from the demands that D puts on them every. single. day.

    This post was beautiful, Meri. You have such a way with words and I don't dissagree with your sentiment at all...I just wish we could all have our "Sentra" back and still hold onto the lessons, the friends and the "good" memories.

    Like Hallie said...lessons are being learned, it would be nice though if it weren't at the expence of our kids.

    Luv you, Luv the DOC..just hating the D sometimes :(

  3. You have such a beautiful, articulate way of putting things in to perspective! Great post!

  4. You're good! I could see all of you bopping around in the van:)
    Mine was in college (senior year) and named Henrietta. Big, blue-green Ford station wagon.

  5. so beautiful and exactly what i needed to read today! we are just over 3 months into our new Erma life with my 4 yr old. and yes i'd take the Sentra but there are blessings with Erma too. some days i just need the nudge to remember to not be so mopy about it ( who needs memories of a mopy mom? not my kid!) Thanks Meri!

  6. Ah! Every time my highschool friend and I get together... our first cars come up. GREAT memories, no doubt.

    As Hallie said, I know there is a reason we are all here. If only I knew what it was.

    Great job as usual :)

  7. ERMA! ERMA! ERMA! ERMA! I so want to be riding around in ERMA with you! Oh, wait, I am - LOL. You are right. And you articulated it with your usual grace and ease. Love you for it Meri. Thank you.

  8. Thanks for the awesome words.....for putting my feelings into words I couldn't. Love this post!

  9. Wonderful and wise... as always, dear Meri. =)

  10. Love reading your blog for posts like this. :)

  11. OMG! My BFF had a blue mini van --- oh the memories! So awesome!

    Thank you for this post, sweet friend! Such wonderful memories are being made every single day. I am glad you will be part of those memories. I hope one day we can meet in person and ride around talking about ERMA but also all of the other wonderful blessings in our lives.

  12. Erma not only gave me my voice and my passion, but she also gave me you and the rest of the fabulous diabetes on-line community!

  13. Beautiful post, Meri! And so very, very true!

  14. Simply beautiful and amazing post, per usual, Meri! We all have our Ermas (wait... is this online Twitterverse our new futuristic Erma??? Hmmm.) Anyhow, thank you so much for sharing and putting things into perspective once again.

  15. ahhh Erma, she's a great lady...but you're right the Sentra sounds so much better. I'm working on enjoying the ride with Erma, it's just a little rocky right now.

  16. Very creative, Meri! I love it!

    Happy New Year!


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