Thursday, February 12, 2009

Volkswagen Passat 2001

This is a story about my friend Laura H.'s LEAST favorite car (she couldn't think of a favorite car). Here's how she describes it:

"The year was 2000, and I finally felt like it was time to get a 'grownup, fancy, high class' car. You know...electric windows, CD player, heated seats. I decided on the Passat.

My favorite color is green and I always wanted a green car. The dealership was having trouble finding a car in green, so I thought to put it off a couple of months until they got one in.

I talked to my husband & thought it was settled. I was wrong.

I was over a friend's house with a group of friends, and my husband calls me up, all excited, that he bought a car for me and it was BLUE! I didn't want a blue car, I wanted a green car, and it took me months to finally forgive him.

[*side note from Eva: I was with Laura that day and yes, I can attest that she was FURIOUS. That set us all off and we started talking about the things that husbands do that get us really mad. But I digress. Ok, now back to Laura's story]:

At least twice a year, the 'Check Engine' light would go on and it would cost at least $500 to fix whatever was broken at the time. One time, the handle to the glove compartment fell off; that cost $300 to fix because they couldn't just replace the handle... or the door. They had to replace the whole entire compartment.

Something new came up: whenever it rained, sometimes I would find a nice big puddle on the driver's floor. I had the whole windshield replaced, TWICE, but that didn't solve the problem. I finally figured out that as long as I parked FACING the garage (and not facing AWAY from the garage) there would be no puddles.

I finally decided it was time for a new car. I got myself a hybrid Toyota Prius (color is green). So far, I'm very happy with it; the only thing I miss from the Passat are the heated seats. I'll only trade this car if Toyota comes out with a model with heated seats."

Submitted by Laura H. as told to Eva Abreu

Friday, September 5, 2008

Vanessa's Datsun B210

Here's a story from Vanessa... Got a favorite car story? Email to me and I'll post it!

Clipart by Lee Hansen,

"My first car was a 1975 Datsun B210. This is the car that later evolved into the Nissan Sentra.

When I graduated high school in 1982 my grandfather wanted to buy me a new '82 Sentra for my graduation present. But my dad and grandmother vetoed the idea.

So, I worked and saved what I could. (I was supporting my mother and sister at this time.) When I told my grandfather that I was planning to buy a '71 toyota we made an agreement.

No, it wasn't about toyota versus datsun; it was about the fact that the car I had in my sights was just short of the scrap heap. He told me to "do a little better" and that he'd help out only if I "never let dad and grandma know".

Meanwhile as I continued to save, my uncle found this cute little datsun and negotiated a great price. (Grandpa only ended up kicking in my first year's insurance costs.)

The funny part was that when my uncle took me to get the car, it turned out to be a stick shift. And I had only driven (tried to drive) a manual transmission once.

My uncle and the seller made a deal: if I could get it home, I'd keep it. If not, he would refund my money and take it back.

That day, what should have been a 10 minute trip took me almost an hour but I got "Bay Bay" home.

I kept that car for 5 years and over 100,000 miles - including halfway across the country and back - twice!

To this day she's still my favorite of all the cars I've had since.

My uncle bought her from me, when she was closing in on 300,000 miles and I finally gave in and bought a new car.

A 1983 Nissan Sentra."


Friday, August 29, 2008

My Car

I'm looking for stories about your favorite car.

We are such an automobile-centric society and rely so heavily on this mass of steel on four wheels. But for many car owners, it's more than just a hunk of junk... it's their baby, their alter-ego, their time-travel vehicle, their Batmobile, their L-O-V-E machine.

There are untold stories and memories locked away in countless of cars across the country. So now is your chance to tell your story.

Photo credit: Arthur Martins Franco Bisneto

For me, a car is just a means to get from point A to point B.

But I do have fond memories of my very first car, a 1977 Plymouth Fury III, that was handed down to me from my dad during my senior year in high school. I thought I was just SO cool driving this big ol' yellow four door tank; yes, it was somewhat uncool in the fact that it used to belong to my father... but the coolness factor was that I could fit in about 12 kids across the big black vinyl bench seats if we all squeezed in and sat on each other's lap. Yeah, Eva was cool ; )

Lots more stories to tell, but in the meantime, what's the story behind your fav car?

Add your story in Comments or you can Contact Me so I can interview you, and I'll post your story here and include it in my upcoming book too.

In the meantime, happy travelin'!

Helping you Sort Things Out, one step at a time!


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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Your Memories of 9/11

I'm now accepting stories about your momentos or items that you have kept, which bring back memories of 9/11.

The first book of the series, Our Stories, Our Stuff: The Special Meaning Behind the Things We Keep, will be a Tribute to 9/11.

Scheduled for release at the end of 2008, this Limited Edition paperback will include stories about 9/11 from everyday people who have special memories linked to a special item. The people and stories will also be highlighted during my lectures, in my blog and also in my podcasts starting in September.

Please send in your story via email to: and included your full name, address and phone number for verification (info will be kept confidential and will not be published). You can also include your URL if you'd like. Deadline for submissions: Monday, July 21, 2008.

Also looking for people to be interviewed to share their stories; please send an email to: to be contacted.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Thanks!

Eva Abreu, Author
Our Stories, Our Stuff
1308 Centennial Ave, Suite 407
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Tel. 1-877-708-0884 (toll-free U.S.)

Fat Cat: can i haz chezburga...sub sandwich?

When you order a cheeseburger and side of fries, you expect to get...well, a cheeseburger and a side of french fries, right?

A friend ordered this all-American well-known meal at a local pizza place in New Jersey, and what he got instead, was what we call a submarine sandwich here in NJ, with the fries INSIDE the sandwich, plus all the trimmings.

Not what he expected.

This a photo of the sandwich after he decided to taste it since he couldn't return it:

What's the story behind the sandwich? Seems like this pizza place just introduced a new line of Fat Subs. This one is called the Fat Cat, with 2 cheeseburgers, French Fries, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Ketchup and Mayo on a submarine roll. They also have on the menu a Fat Sam, Fat Darryl, Fat B****ard, and Fat B**ch which is made with Cheese Steaks, Chicken Fingers, Mozzarella Sticks, French Fries, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Mayo and Ketchup all crammed on a submarine roll (can you tell this place is near Rutgers University?)

I asked the owner if he came up with the ideas for these sub sandwiches and he said he saw it at another restaurant. Gotta give him credit for trying to come up with something new and different, rather than just plain ol' pizza.

Do you have a story to add about something new and different in your life?
...or, something old and sentimental that you've kept forever? Send in your stories to

Thanks for sharing!

P.S. If you've read this far, and can identify the name and town of this pizza place, the first person to email me with the correct information will receive $5 (almost enough to pay for one Fat Cat sub).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

my crown

Here's a school memory submitted by Kelly...

I still have my cheesy cardboard crown from when I was voted Homecoming Queen. You'll probably say who wouldn't save their crown if they were voted homecoming queen, but it really stood for more to me.

I graduated from a high school in a small town here in NJ. There were under 100 kids in my graduating class. With the exception of 4 years, I went to this school district and grew up with my classmates. I was NOT popular. I was picked on mercilessly (or at least what I felt was mercilessly) in elementary school because I had scoliosis and walked funny and I had big feet. I moved away, and then back again for high school and was petrified that the teasing would just begin again. It didn't, I just kind of blended in and that was that. I went to the Homecoming dance my junior year with my boyfriend, and it was fine, but when I was a senior I told my new boyfriend from a different HS (now my husband) that I didn't want to go. I said, "The only way we are going is if I get nominated Queen." He said, "Oh-I guess we're not going." LOL. Even he knew how it was and he didn't go to school with me. I was not the girl to get nominated for this. At this point, I wasn't an outcast, but I was definately not the captain of the cheerleading squad or the really pretty girl in the 90210 clique who both were always nominated for these things and won for the past 3 years. Well, imagine my surprise when they announced the nominees over the loudspeaker and my name was one of them. I could not believe it. I called my boyfriend and told him it looked like we would have to go to homecoming. He said, "Get the hell out of here!" He didn't believe it either. My friends were excited, but I was waiting for the punchline.

I went to the dance and waited anxiously for the announcement. Our school announced the winners at the dance, not the football game. Good thing, because I played the clarinet in the marching band so I would have had to be playing at half-time. See why I didn't think I'd be nominated? Who nominates the clarinet player in the marching band who is on the National Honor Society????

They finally got everybody organized and made the announcement and TA-DA, they announced that I had won. I was the Homecoming Queen. I went up to the stage to collect my crown, and for a quick second glanced toward the ceiling looking for the bucket of pig's blood (think the movie Carrie). I still remember walking through the crowd and hearing a classmate-Ricky was his first name (I remember his last but won't give it away)-say, "I want a re-count!" THAT I expected. But it didn't matter. It's so silly now, but it felt like "One small step for me; one giant leap for had been shell dwellers and girls who never felt good enough."

The pain of getting picked on when I was little had long since subsided by the time I was awarded my crown, but it was always in my mind that I could be a target at any minute. When they announced my name, that feeling disappeared. The majority of people there didn't feel like Ricky did, so yeah-I still have that crown.

Signed, Kelly

Great story Kelly, thanks for sharing!


My Roller Skates

Here's a story submitted by L. of New Jersey...


My Roller Skates

My skates are my most prized possession. I have been skating since I was a teenager, many years ago. My friends and I would skate all summer- most evenings we would bring a radio outside and skate up and down our block in Queens, NY and lots of kids would join us. We would skate at Flushing Meadow Park, the site of the World’s Fair, and at United Skates of America on weekends. Sometimes we would even walk home after skating - about 40 blocks! If we didn’t skate, our week was incomplete. Now my friends from the rink feel the same way.

I have a friend at the rink who is 73 years old and you would never know it. He is a great skater, teaches people how to skate, and always helps fellow skaters of all ages. He also has a great sense of humor. He glides along effortlessly. I have a hard time keeping up with him! He inspires me. Skating really is age-defying. It’s also a great exercise as you get older because it is low impact and easier on the knees.

I started roller skating again about seven years ago at a rink in Wayne, New Jersey. Unfortunately, the rink has since closed which happens all too often. The first time I skated again I felt like I was going to have a heart attack! Then I quickly got my energy back and was soon skating two to three times per week. It was great to be back on wheels again. I made great friends at the rink and realized that skating is healing and gives us strength and joy. Skating brings together people of all generations – we have a strong bond – we love to skate! My skating friends are like family. We teach each other new dance steps and encourage each other. We help each other when we fall.

Roller skating helps your concentration and focus because you must be alert and aware of the skaters around you while you skate. You also get to enjoy the beauty of parks when you skate outdoors. I find that skating allows you to live in the present, in the moment. I feel so energized after I skate. I also lost fifteen pounds skating.

My boots are coming off of the skates so it’s time for new skates but I am grateful for my skates and will keep them forever!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Poems in my yearbook

Here's a story submitted by a member:

Well, one of the most cherished things I have from high school are a few poems written in my yearbook from a guy who I was madly in love with. I found out years later he loved me too. This was after we lost touch for a bit then I came to find out he had died. I visited his parents after the fact and they gave me a picture of him which I still keep in my wallet to this day.

I've never stopped loving Richie and visit him often at his grave, but have his picture and words on paper to remind me of him every day.

Signed, D.


Thank you for sharing your story, D.!


Thursday, May 29, 2008

First Love

Dear Eva,

There is a story is about my first love. When I was in my first year of High School in Colombia (Instituto Pedagogico Nacional) there was a boy named Alberto Parra. He had a nickname that starts with the letter P (I am not giving any more details on his identity). He wasn't my boyfriend, but, we could sense that there was something between us. There was a period of time when our teacher sat him next to me in the front row. That was a memorable experience for me.

At times we wrote little notes to each other in during classes. When it was time for us to go home he would come with me to the main gate and in two or three occasions he walked me home. Once he held my hand to cross the street.

Because we were so young and we both were shy we could not move forward with a more serious relationship and besides we were kind of nervous about how our parents could react to it. But either way, the way he approached me, and talked to me led me feel special in spite of my deafness and I was the nerd of the class.

I don't remember exactly what happened, but the thing is that at the end of the school year, Alberto was transferred to a different school and I never heard from him again.

Unfortunately I don't have anything tangible that triggers this memory. It is all in my mind. I wish I saved something from him. But the memory of him is so vivid as if it happened recently. I remember his blonde hair and his cute face. The feeling of his hand holding mine when we crossed the street is still here. I can still feel my heart beating fast when I think of that moment. Honestly this feeling is pretty strong.

I am happy in my marriage. I love my husband to death, but when it comes to your first love, this is something that will stay in your heart forever. I often think of him and wonder where and how he is doing. I have tried to find him on the internet (My husband knows, by the way) without success.

I wish he is happy, doing good and in good health.

Signed, D., NJ (USA)

Thank you D. for sharing your story!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bruce Springsteen Concert T-Shirt

Here's a story about something that I gave away, but have mixed feelings of doing so. I owned a black Bruce Springsteen Concert T-Shirt from the late 70's, when he played at Meadowlands Arena (Secaucus NJ), and decided a few years ago that didn't want to keep it any more, but I didn't just want to donate it (too many great memories going to see his concerts), so I decided to sell it on Ebay. It sold for something like $12 dollars and I was happy to ship it off to it's new owner (it was my first Ebay transaction).

Now, I just read that Springsteen just performed a benefit concert at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank in May 2008, performing all the songs from the Darkness on the Edge of Town and Born To Run albums.

Wouldn't that have been so cool to be able to attend that historic concert in Red Bank, for one, and also to have been able to pull out my concert t-shirt from almost 30 years ago and wear it to the concert had I been able to go?

I guess that's why it's so hard for some of us to let go of our stuff; to one person, it might just be "only a t-shirt". To me, it's a flood of memories from high school, the great memories of going to a Bruce Springsteen concert with friends back in the late 70's, the images and feelings brought back so vividly after almost 30 years, and then reading about the recent benefit concert and imaging the possibilities of what it would've been like to be there, wearing the same shirt, and having another chance to re-live the excitement again.

Here's to the Glory Days....


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

the violin

Thank you for sending in your stories to include in my upcoming book: Our Stories, Our Stuff: The Special Meaning Behind the Things We Keep.

Here's a story shared by a member on the network group that I moderate on Ryze:


"... I am having a hard time getting rid of...

...A violin that my father got me for my 10th birthday. (over 30 years ago). I was in a school at the time that gave free music lessons. My father had to borrow money to get the violin because he knew I wanted one and the school only gave lessons to those who had their own instruments. I only took lessons for 3 weeks before I transferred to a school that didnt offer music lessons and we couldnt afford lessons on our own. Even when we could afford lessons eventually I never went back to taking lessons because as I got older I got interested in other things. But the fact that my dad went out of his way (and incurred debt at a time we couldnt really afford it) to buy me this special gift still means the world to me today. I guess I kept it thinking someday my children would want to take lessons or someday I would have time for lessons myself again. So far that hasnt happened, but maybe my grandchildren could use it someday? Either way, I just cannot part with it and I don't think I ever will!"

Submitted by Angie Cyr


Thanks for sharing your story Angie!

If you have a story about an item in your life that you're holding on to, feel free to email me: and we'll post it here.

Eva Abreu

Monday, February 18, 2008

the stereo console

We had a great discussion on Sunday, Feb. 17th at The Ranconteur in Metuchen NJ, sharing "Our Stories, Our Stuff". One of the topics that we spoke about was the process of releasing and how it made it a little bit easier when we could find a "home" for the items that we were ready to release.

Even though we were talking about inanimate objects, somehow, we realized that we have connected with things on another level that defies logic; things which have been part of our lives at some point and have a special meaning for us. And which others around us have absolutely no clue and cannot understand why we have this sort of attachment to our "stuff".

I shared the story about how I found a listing for a stereo console on Freecycle about 2 years ago, which I was very interested in. Some background info: I grew up playing albums and listening to the radio on a stereo console, made in Germany, which was built like a beautiful piece of furniture, with a lid that lifted up on the top to display the turntable and radio dials. It had the old style tube amp, which gives that rich bass sound that you just can't match anymore. I have great memories of it. In fact, I think that's how I developed the interest in becoming a disc jockey when I was in college. To my dismay, my dad ended up throwing away our beloved stereo several years ago. I wanted an old fashioned stereo console of my own to enjoy and have my kids enjoy too, like I did when I was growing up.

When I saw the Freecycle listing, I sent an email to the person offering and they replied back saying that it was mine if I wanted it. It belonged to a couple who was retiring to Florida and didn't have the space or the desire to move it. They purchased it in the 1970's and their kids grew up listening to and playing the stereo too. For the couple, they were thrilled that their stereo was going to a new home, to a new family who would enjoy it and take care of it. I could tell that the husband was genuinely happy that another generation would grow up enjoying the music played on their stereo. When we got it home and in place and plugged in, the sound that came from that stereo was even better than what I imagined it would sound like.

I've since received some older LP albums from another Freecycle member, and my children and I have enjoyed listening to those old records, complete with all the pops and clicks, and that big "bomp" sound that you hear (and feel) when the needle of the turntable arm is first lowered and lands on the album.

What's your story? What do you own in your life that has a story or special meaning behind it? Email your original story and pics to and I'll post it here (keeping it family-friendly please) and will consider it for inclusion in my upcoming book, Our Stories, Our Stuff.

Thanks for joining us and sharing.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Welcome to Our Stories, Our Stuff!

Do you have a story to share about a special item that you are keeping and can't bring yourself to throw away?

I'm looking for your stories to include in my upcoming book, "Our Stories, Our Stuff: The Special Meaning Behind the Things We Keep"

There are sentimental reasons why we hold on to certain items. It may not make any sense to others, but to us, there's a certain emotional connection that we have with our stuff, which is difficult to explain.

What may be clutter to one person, is someone else's priceless treasure.

As a professional organizer who works with clients to help them de-clutter and organize, I can relate, not only because I see the struggles that my clients go through everyday, but also because I'm not born organized and I probably have a hoarding gene (if there is such a thing!) that makes me want to hold on to certain things in my life. So... I fully understand and can relate.

Feel free to share your story. Email your stories and photos (keeping it family-friendly please) to: . Please include your contact info for verification (your name, email address, mailing address, phone number) which we'll keep confidential. I'll post your stories here on this blog, with the chance of including it in my upcoming book too.

Looking forward to receiving your story!

Eva Abreu