Mike Lynam and his wife Ann have a very special bond with their 2CV they call Jolie. It became a part of their lives in Indianapolis just 2 years ago in a very special way;
In 2018 Mike and Ann took a trip to Paris, France. They rented an apartment there for a month and did the touristy thing by booking a ride with 4 roues sous 1 parapluie (4 seats under an umbrella) who offer sightseeing tours of the city in a 2CV.
They were introduced to Robert, their driver and guide who made, as part of their tour a stop where they parked on the banks of the Seine, (as the tour company liked to show off their 2CVs to the tourist-packed riverboat excursions that travelled up and down the river).
One of the river cruise lines was promoting a new dinner cruise by offering tour guides a glass of Dom Perignon Champagne, and the cruise line employee approached Robert to offer him a glass. But when Robert opened the trunk and broke out Champagne glasses, it became a 2CV celebration on the banks of the Seine.
That resulted in Mike, Ann and Robert having a very happy time as they clinked glasses and watched people fawn over the car.
Continuing on the tour they saw Paris by night, passing by the Moulin Rouge and having the time of their life. That was June, 2018.
Upon returning home, with fond memories of their trip and with plans to go back in 2019, in January 2019 Ann was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, which made it even more urgent in Mike’s mind to get Ann back to Paris. Of course Covid and the ensuing travel restrictions made that impossible, so Mike had an idea; bring a bit of Paris to Indianapolis.
Since the highlight of their Paris trip was that ride in a 2CV, he set out on a quest to buy one to help Ann remember their times in Paris. Through some online observations of french cars being sold in the US, Mike managed to connect with Greg Long in Seattle, who has a long history of purveying 2CVs in North America.
Explaining the situation and desire for a Deux Chevaux, Greg offered Mike a lovely 1972/90 (read our article about aging a 2CV) Burgundy & Black Charleston, that he had. A perfect buy that Mike had delivered.
With the car at home, Mike added a custom French “2CV JOLIE” license plate mounted in the front, and a “SAYOUI” Indiana plate in the rear.
He fitted a sound system to play some French music and began taking Ann on trips in the car about town. That was two years ago. The ride in the 2CV in Paris and the fun and great experiences of that month in Paris have remained strong memories for Ann, even when so much is no longer remembered by her.
That trip in May-June 2018 was probably the last thanks to Covid causing them to postpone a subsequent trip back to Paris three times and the progression of the disease since then.
Bouncing around Indianapolis with French music blaring still manages to give Ann a recollection of the feeling of Paris even though she knows Mike and her aren’t there. And the joy from the smiles and waves from people they pass are such wonderful gifts that still bring a smile to Ann’s face.
Update: Michael wrote us on Sept 29, 2022 to give an update on Ann. He said;
“This summer has not gone as expected. Two days after we joined with the guys driving across the country, my wife Ann and I were riding in Jolie when Ann said she felt really dizzy and slumped over in her seat. We were just finishing our ride and were about a mile from home, so I quickly got her home and called 911. She had vertigo-like symptoms, but was fine after 5 hours in the ER for rehydration. That night we had burgers and went to bed. The next morning, Ann could not sit up in bed because she had vertigo so bad—really scary since she never had anything like that.
Back to the local ER for 3 more hours and several tests, which led to her being transferred to the main hospital ER for an MRI. She spent 26 hours on a gurney (22 in the ER hallway) before she was able to get a room.
After 7 days in the hospital and more tests than I can count I was able to bring her home; although she could not walk or stand without assistance.
Finally, after about 2 weeks, a neurologist that specializes in balance issues was able to diagnose that she had had a viral infection (possibly Covid related) that destroyed the nerve that runs from her left inner ear to her brain—so the signals the brain gets from that ear about balance are scrambled. Its permanent, and her brain thinks her left ear is somewhere between her shoulder and elbow. The only solution is vestibular therapy — to train the brain to ignore the ear input and rely on input from her eyes to help her keep her balance. It normally takes about 6 weeks to retrain the brain…unfortunately, it’s an ongoing challenge with Alzheimer’s patients. So we have spent the summer trying to learn how to walk, do stairs, etc.
She shuffles, and is doing pretty well physically, but we have to redo the exercises every day because she forgets. The worst thing about her time in the hospital is that it greatly accelerated her Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t know that this is our house, or where to go when its bedtime, or where the kitchen is, etc. Her short-term memory is less than 1 minute; and she doesn’t recognize many of our friends. But, she knows Jolie, and riding in her is the most enjoyable thing for Ann to do. Like I said, Jolie is truly a member of our family.”