Update on Jolie — The Transcendental 2CV

A lot has happened since we last featured a very moving story back in May 2022 about Michael Lynam, his wife Ann and their 2CV Charleston that they affectionately call Jolie. They live in Indianapolis, IN and in June 2018 took a month-long trip to France where they rented an apartment in Paris and one day drove around the city in a 2CV. It was a lovely and memorable experience for both of them.

Just six months later Ann was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. To help keep Ann remembering the wonderful time they had in Paris, Mike decided to search for a 2CV in which he could take Ann for trips about Indianapolis.

Ann ready for an adventure in Jolie.

With help from Greg Long, Mike bought a Burgundy and Black Charleston, adding a custom French “2CV JOLIE” license plate mounted in the front, and a “SAYOUI” Indiana plate in the rear. He also fitted a sound system to play some French music to help Ann recall the ride in the 2CV in Paris and the fun and great experiences of their month in Paris.

Definition of Joie de Vivre: A day with family, friends
and Jolie!
Even a trip to the beauty salon becomes a fun event as
Ann’s stylist joins them for a quick ride after cutting Ann’s hair.

Unfortunately, Ann’s Alzheimer’s has progressed significantly, as have her Parkinsons symptoms of tremors and loss of mobility. But she still loves to ride in Jolie and listen to the French music Mike has recorded. She is still able to sing along with Edith Piaf and all the classics in the playlist. Her connection with music is remarkable, just like her connection with Jolie.

Ann, Michael and Jolie.

Also remarkable is the connection Mike has experienced with the community of Citroën lovers through Citroënvie. Nearing the end of the summer driving season in September, 2022 Mike started experiencing an electrical problem with Jolie, and brought it up during one of the Citroënvie Zoom meetings. He received several suggestions and recommendations which helped narrow down the problem; and although he was able to complete that summer’s drives, he wasn’t able to fix the problem himself and couldn’t find anyone in Indianapolis that he trusted to work on Jolie. (Mike says that he barely could find a mechanic that even knew what a Citroën was.) So, he turned to the service listing on Citroënvie’s website and followed up on several of the recommendations from other members. That led him to Dale Martin of Rallye Import Automotive in Midland, Michigan.  He shipped Jolie off to Dale on November 14th, and got her back home on December 5th, the overcharging issue fixed and ready for winter storage.

Mike and Ann’s 2023 driving season started off though with a new problem. On their first foray in April, Mike experienced a sound like throwing gravel into the gearbox when shifting from first to second gear.

Unfortunately, Dale’s shop in Midland was booked up and he couldn’t promise a quick turnaround—which was imperative for Mike because he couldn’t afford to lose time with Ann’s dementia worsening. Dale tried to help him find a local shop, but that didn’t pan out, so once again Mike turned to the Citroënvie website and that led him to Jean-Francoise (aka JF) Martin (no relation to Dale) at MARRS Automotive in Santa Clarita, California. JF made a sympathetic promise that, whatever the problem was, if he could get Jolie out to him, he would fix it and get her back to Indianapolis as fast as possible.

Mike was able to arrange transport, and Jolie was picked up on May 4th for her journey to California. Seeing Jolie loaded into the truck was heartbreaking for Ann. For her, Jolie was not just the connection to her memories of France, but a living member of their family, and she couldn’t understand why she was leaving.

You can imagine Mike’s gratitude, and Ann’s joy, when Jolie returned better than new on June 2nd. JF was not only able to fix the shifting problem but also gave her a complete bumper-to-bumper service including necessary rear brake work, clutch adjustment, replacing a torn drive shaft boot, tune-up, alignment and toe-in adjustment, chassis lubrication, oil and gearbox fluid change, etc. She definitely came home in her best shape ever!

For the rest of 2023, Ann was very connected to Jolie and loved every minute riding in her. It was Ann’s favorite thing to do, and the attachment was so strong that Ann would go into the garage to say “bonjour” to Jolie in the morning and “bonne nuit” at night. For Ann, Jolie was a living, breathing member of the family.

Then came the winter, and Jolie was tucked away once again under her cover in their garage.

This year’s driving season started mid-April, and Mike has noticed quite a change in Ann’s attachment to Jolie. He says that she loves riding in her, listening to music and waving to onlookers just like before; but she no longer ties Jolie to France like she did. And, like so many of her friends that have faded from her memory, Jolie is not as real to Ann as in the past. Jolie is still a tangible presence, but the emotional attachment is not as strong now. That’s not surprising, and the good news is that Jolie still provides Ann with so much joy when they are out riding around — it is transformational!

Mike expects the rest of this summer to be spectacular, and for Jolie to be the source of a lot of happiness for both Ann and him… and for everyone they pass by.

Mike also commented;

“I know that Citroën owners, especially 2CV owners, have a special attachment to their cars. But I never expected how important this little French car could be, how significant it would become or how much it would enrich Ann’s life and mine. Merci Jolie! And thanks, to all the Citroënvie members for joining Ann, Jolie and me on this journey.”

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