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Mom and her Beetle

Mom and our Beetle in 1966 at the beach.


Me and my first Beetle

Me and my first Beetle in 1990.

Behind the Driver's Wheel

I can remember dividing up the Tootsietoy cars in the plastic holder shaped like a big black tire with my brother when I was about 5. We would try very hard to divide them up evenly, I would get one, then he would get one, etc. Without fail every time we had a serious problem, you see there were 3 VW Beetles (known as "daddy cars" after my dad's 1966 Beetle at the time) in the collection. There was always a bargain of some sort where 2 or 3 cars equalled one toy Beetle.

The Beetle was always my favorite car and I have wanted one as long as I can remember. Maybe it goes back to my mother learning to drive for the first time at 30 pregnant with me. She learned in their 1966 blue Beetle, so in fact, I was behind the wheel of a Beetle even before birth! And of course, my first ride in a car was in that same Beetle home from the hospital in a blizzard in Chicago in early March.

Unfortunately my first car was a peach colored 1984 Ford Tempo I purchased from my grandfather in August 1989. My grandfather was 82 then and couldn't drive the car safely any longer. I didn't want that ugly car. The check engine light was always on and it made funny noises.

So what did I do with the Tempo? I used that Ford Tempo to drive around and find myself a nice Beetle. On New Year's Day 1990 I found my Beetle. A blue 1977 standard Beetle with a factory sunroof, dealer installed air and VW sport wheels at Alex's House of Volkswagens in Clearwater.

The Beetle wasn't completely together, it had just been repainted and sported a great big $3200 tag in the window. This was depressing, because I had paid $3000 for that ugly Ford. Well, I convinced my father to buy that Ford from me so he had his own car and in February I was the proud owner of a beautiful 1977 Beetle!

In May of that year I moved back to my home state of Illinois. That poor Beetle made it over 1000 miles towards my destination when a car ahead blew out a tire on the highway. There was road construction and only one lane available for the cars, the driver who blew out a tire panicked and slammed on his brakes. Everyone else did also, everyone stopped on the highway, my Beetle was about 4 cars back from the car with the blown out tire. The man behind my beautiful Beetle was not paying attention and slammed into the back end of my VW at about 50 mph pushing it into the car ahead of me. Poor Beetle!!!! To top it all off, the man who hit me with a giant 1968 Chevy Belair had no insurance, his car wasn't registered, his driver's license was suspended, had no side windows in his car and 4 hunting dogs riding with him (who all got away). Let's just say I cried a bit. That Beetle was repaired and driven by me for a short time, he just never drove right again after that giant wallop to the butt.

So I sold him and bought a black 1954 Beetle, who I drove for 4 years until I had to realize the rust was just too much of a problem on him and I simply didn't have the money to fix him right. I still miss that Beetle the most and hope to find a nice 1954 Beetle after Schnitzel is done so he doesn't get too lonely in the garage.

My husband is from the Netherlands (a.k.a Holland, home of wooden shoes, tulips, french fries with mayo and raw herring). He speaks Dutch, German, French and English which comes in handy during European traveling and has lived in the U.S. since December 2000. He is an RPG programmer, a Moto Guzzi fan and an avid TDI enthusiast. In addition to Schnitzel we currently own a 2004 New Beetle convertible in Harvest Moon Beige with tan top and interior, 2001 New Beetle TDI in all black, a yellow customized 2008 Jeep Wrangler, a stock 1988 Suzuki Samurai tintop in teal, and a 2012 Fiat Abarth in black. We live in Colorado at 8,498 feet altitude in the Rocky Mountains.