Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

So long, Siege :(

Over the last few years, age started beating poor Siege really hard. Every year she’d get sick and the hospital bill would often be around $1,500. It was clear that we needed to replace her, but we don’t like change. And with Joey still in school, we didn’t feel it was prudent to do it. And then, it was just a question of time; we didn’t want to spend the time it took to find her a replacement.

But last weekend she started showing symptoms again, and the diagnosis was really bad. So many things were wrong with her, and this time it would take $1,700 to get her back on her feet.

We probably knew the end was near because over the last few days, every once in a while I’d ask Joey what we would do with Siege when the time came. Joey liked to joke I’ll just take her out to a field… [gestures of pointing with a rifle] It’s been a great run, darling. This will hurt me more than it will hurt you… Turn around!

Siege used to be named “Rhoda”, back when she was very young and beautiful. But at some point, Texas decided that she needed new plates, and so Joey’s darling became “Siege”. When we moved to Utah, she got new plates that we were never able to memorize (they lacked the panache), and so she stayed Siege all the way until yesterday, when Joey finally had to take her to that field.

I wanted to honor our oldest member in the family with some last photos. Tapped her lovingly and told her that we loved her, and when Joey was right about to really take off, he reminded me:

“We started dating in this car.”

It’s true. Rhoda (at the time) was our third musketeer on all those splendid nights Joey courted me back in Dallas taking me to multiple destinations on the same date. I think she had already become Siege when we got married, and she took us to our wedding site, and back home. And she took me to the hospital to deliver our baby. Joaquin never rode in Siege, but by some crazy coincidence I was able to snap a shot of our baby saying goodbye to her.

Kiki and Siege

Bye sweetie. I’ll miss you…

Shinny car leaving our streetThe empty space in our garage. Siege leaves an oil-covered piece of cardboard behind.

You leave a hole in our little hearts, and this update from Joey makes me hope that you are in a better place…

“We sent [her] off to a farm. She’ll be fine. Plenty of open space to stretch her wheels.”


  1. On , Joe wrote:

    The hospital bills were $1,500, if we were lucky. This one was going to be about $2,500. This was the first car that I paid for — roughly $16,000 back in 1995. What a great car. She still looked good on the outside. Nice tribute Pillita.

  2. On , Pete Stultz wrote:

    Lotta water under the bridge,,,still looks good on the outside. Joey, you did good. EVERY car I have had has damage to every quarter panel near the end.

    You know I am kinda like that old car, just one major breakdown and I’ll be sent to the junk yard and I don’t still look good on the outside.

  3. On , Pete Stultz wrote:

    Where is the picture of the new car?

  4. On , Maria wrote:

    Oh, Pete. That’s sad… Don’t speak like that.

    We’ll post photos of the newbie soon. First need to install the car seat before Joey decides to take full possession of the car forgetting all about the improved safety for Joaquin. I saw it in the twinkle in his eye last night while checking out the new bad-ass stereo.

  5. On , Jennifer wrote:

    You had me thinking it was like a CAT or something until I clicked the “continue” button. I was all, “aaawww… poor thing!”.

    Still, a car can be just as important in one’s life. I dread the day that mine gets like yours, seeing as it is paid for and in general a good reliable car.

    What are you replacing it with?

  6. On , Maria wrote:

    Got you! HA! HA!
    We got a Nissan Rogue. Nice car, but totally different than my Honda. It will be a while before I start feeling as comfortable driving it.

  7. On , Jennifer wrote:

    oooooOOOooh. A mommy SUV :) Heheh

    I’ve seen them around; they look like a revised Murano (been wondering if that’s what it is?). Nissan is a good brand (I’ve got a 99 Maxima). Haven’t really had any issues with it beyond basic maintenance, nothing too pricey over the long-term.

    BTW, I’m loving your expanded goodies on Etsy, re: the earrings and the ring (I want to know how to do that ring!).


  8. On , Maria wrote:

    Yes :|
    It’s not as big as the average SUV out there. And it feels like driving a car. I was surprised when I saw that it is not any longer than my Honda Civic (a coupe!). It’s just taller, and newer, and it has an ipod connection.

    You’re right. The Rogue is supposed to be a smaller version of the Murano. I love Nissans. When I was in business school I bought a used Nissan Sentra. What a great car! Both Joey and I loved it. And then, Siege was also a Nissan… She was a great car; we just let her get too old. So going Nissan was a pretty easy decision.

    I’m glad you like the new jewelry section. Etsy stats don’t show me a lot of interest, so I wonder what women think of my new stuff. The ring seems to be liked, he he.