A car that’s not just for kids
By Kate Silver
Before they had children, Wayne and Rita Pionke loved cruising in their Chevrolet Corvette. Today, nearly four decades later, the kids are grown and the couple is rediscovering that love, this time in their 2013 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback. They say it keeps them young at heart.
Rita thinks back to the days of the Corvette and smiles. She still laughs at the memory of the driving gloves Wayne wore when he got behind the wheel. She recalls the instant camaraderie that came with Corvette ownership, and how Wayne would wave at every Corvette driver he passed. When he first did this, Rita didn’t recognize the man Wayne was waving at, so she asked who he was. “That’s just what Corvette drivers do,” Wayne shrugged. To Wayne, the Corvette was more than a car. It was a statement, a sense of culture, a feeling of community.
Times changed and the couple began raising a family. They sold the Corvette, but they never forgot that emotional connection. Now that their kids have left the nest, Wayne and Rita (69 and 65, respectively) are falling in love all over again with the help of a Chevrolet—this time a Sonic. It’s the first new car they’ve bought in 18 years.
“It makes me feel young,” says Rita, who talks excitedly about its Inferno Orange Metallic hue. “I wanted as bold and bright a color as you can imagine. I am a fanatic about the color of my cars.”
Recently, Rita and Wayne drove the Sonic from their home in Roselle, Illinois to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to see their daughter pick up her graduate degree. Rita ticks off why she thinks the Sonic is perfect for road trips: It’s roomy and can haul whatever they need; it gets great gas mileage; and she and Wayne love jamming to the Chevrolet MyLink Radio*, with its intuitive 7-inch diagonal color touch-screen. Plus, Rita says she’s amazed at how silent the car is: “We laugh about how quiet it is, because our cars always used to let us know they were there.”
Although Wayne no longer wears his driving gloves, he still gets a thrill from being behind the wheel. “He has a lead foot,” admits Rita.
Rita is now the one who waves at other drivers—particularly ones in brightly colored Sonics. “Yes, I do it,” she proclaims, “and I smile a lot when I’m doing it.”
She also smiles when she sees Wayne pull into their driveway, just like in the old days. After 44 years of marriage, the Sonic has rekindled their love of the road, and proven to this couple that youthfulness is a state of mind.
Kate Silver blogs at Kate Silver’s Very Important Blog and Parents.com, and writes regularly for Spirit Magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Midwest Living.
*MyLink functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.