A surprise with a story | New


For 30 years, a high school class ring has waited where it got lost, hidden under the seat of a 1979 Volkswagen Beetle convertible. Its discovery led to a reconnection that even the best fiction writer would have. hard to concoct. But everything is true. On Sunday, Stanya Gorraiz materialized the surprise she had been planning for three years. But here’s how this story started.

Forty years ago, Stanya’s father, Stan Pawlowski, bought a white 1979 Volkswagen Beetle convertible which he spotted on the side of an Arizona freeway. He bought the car for his three teenage daughters. The bug was passed on to her youngest daughter, Stanya, and later sold to an owner in Florida when she went to college.

Three years ago, Stanya, a 14-year-old Telluride resident, received a call from her old high school near Phoenix, Arizona. Someone had found his class ring from 1991 and was trying to return it to the original owner. Stanya contacted ring seeker Doug Fitchett, who sent the ring from Seattle, Washington, to Telluride.

“It’s so cool for someone to take the time to find a classy ring and try to reunite it with its owner, the story could end there,” she said. “And the fact that Fitchett’s wife is a jeweler, that she had a missing stone and replaced it for free before she sent it back to me… it just reminds you of human decency.”

When Stanya asked Fitchett where he found the ring, he told him he was restoring an “old car and found it in a crevice under one of the seats.” She asked him what kind of car it was and Fitchett replied, “It was a white VW convertible from 1979.” The car he was restoring and planning to sell was the same Stanya’s father bought 40 years ago.

Fitchett, whose first car at 16 was a VW Beetle, said he “was just happy to be a part of history.”

Stanya expressed her desire to buy the car from her husband, James, and her father. Both advised him not to buy the vehicle. At the time, Stanya’s eldest daughter, Pippa, was 12; in three years she would be 15 and need a car. Stanya decided to secretly buy the VW Bug. For three years she sent monthly payments to Fitchett, and two months ago the car was paid for in full.

“It was difficult to keep it a secret. I couldn’t talk about it with my husband, with my parents, with my kids… I just had to cross the finish line, ”said Stanya.

Pawlowski was not surprised.

“Thought it would be nice to get the car back, but the weather in Telluride isn’t ideal for a bug, but like most girls, she doesn’t listen to her dad, and she went to buy it anyway. “, Pawlowski mentioned.

When Stanya told James that she bought the car and paid for it in full, he cried.

“We knew each other when I first drove the car,” Stanya said. “It meant something to him too.”

James had installed the current stereo system in the car, which still works. Additionally, according to Pawlowski, the couple had their first date in the VW Bug.

When the time came to pick up the car in Seattle, Stanya had to make up a story to keep the surprise a secret.

“I told them my dad was meeting up with a friend from dental school for his birthday party and he didn’t want to travel alone, so we were going to take him,” Stanya said. “My kids didn’t even question it for a second.”

Whenever they needed to chat about the car on the phone but didn’t want to reveal the secret, the family would call Bug “Snow White”. The name stuck.

On the way home from Seattle with Snow White literally in tow, Stanya said she bonded “with people all over the country who shared their car stories with us, and that made the trip even better. more special. One couple were so touched by the story of Snow White’s return to our family and the funny surprise for our daughter, Pippa, that they gave us $ 10 in cash to give her her first full tank of gas.

For the past month, the car has been hidden in Montrose in Pawlowski’s garage. Pippa recently received her driver’s license and reported the VW Bugs she saw on the road.

“Pippa knows I had a VW Bug and she wanted one for herself,” Stanya said. “This is the car of his dreams, which makes it even more special.”

On Sunday, the family celebrated Pippa’s 15th birthday outside the Steamies Burger Bar, the restaurant the Gorres owns on Colorado Avenue. Here in the middle of Telluride, the surprise that has lasted 40 years has been revealed.

Just as Stanya’s older sister passed the VW Bug to her, Pippa will pass the car to her younger sister when the time comes. Meanwhile, when one of her kids isn’t driving her, Stanya can’t wait to drive her first car around Telluride, with the canvas down and the music blaring like when she was 16.

“There is so much history that has gone into this car,” Pawlowski recalled. “It means so much to Stanya and the rest of her family that I’m sure she will keep it forever.”

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