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Think Out Loud

Holding On And Letting Go

Pete Springer/OPB

Will Aitchison has a car. Not just any car. It’s a 1956 Lincoln Continental that gets about five miles to the gallon. It belonged to his mother, who died when he was a teenager — and it has an unlikely connection to world history as well. The car was originally custom built for the dictator Juan Peron of Argentina, with reinforced steel and bullet resistant glass, top of the line in every way, and painted robin egg blue to please Peron’s wife, Evita. (If you look closely you can see the personalized Oregon “Evita” license plate that Aitchison got for the car as a nod to this history.) 

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But no matter what the car’s unlikely historical connection, it’s impractical, massively expensive to keep up, and as Aitchison puts it, can’t be truly appreciated, since he doesn’t have the time to put into its upkeep or drive it as he’d like. The problem is, when he does drive the car he feels a palpable and singular connection to his mother that he can’t logically explain. So he has held onto the car, even though part of him would love to get rid of it.

Do you have possessions that you find meaningful, yet burdensome in some way? How do you decide what to hold on to and what to let go of? Have you recently parted with something you’d been holding on to for a while? What was the process like for you?


  • Will Aitchison: Attorney
  • Jessica Chanay: Deputy director of Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon
  • Miriam Feder: Writer
  • Laura Greene: Music teacher

Editor’s note: Some of the guests for the show are in our Public Insight Network. You can find out more, and sign up to share your own experience and stories, at the PIN website.

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OPB | Broadcast: Dec. 13, 2012