Throughout the various stages of our lives, there is some form of transportation that plays a part in your life cycles. Whether it is your first Radio Flyer™ wagon, bike training wheels, the first date, or the first family car, you are bound to have a special memory. Freelance writer, Sherre Bishop shares a fun, nostalgic blog series about Memories On Wheels. Feel free to post your automobile memories. We’d love to hear them! Be sure to subscribe to our blog. Enjoy the series!
Think Beetles and Bugs. Enters the Volkswagen. The Germans have been manufacturing the top selling, bug-shaped vehicles since 1937. I remember a bluish-green Volkswagen van that my cousin, Leonard owned. His son, Craig was close to my age and we, along with our parents and siblings shared some fun times traveling in the Volkswagen van.
There were trips to Beech Bend Park for food and fun, Old Hickory Lake for holiday or weekend picnics and longer trips to Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park in Georgia. When various shows and fairs came to the city, the dependable Volkswagen was the ride that got us there.
So, if cars represent the owner’s personality, it fits cousin Leonard like a glove. According to Wikipedia, the Volkswagen van translates as "People's Automobile" in German. The company's current international slogan is "Volkswagen." In North America, the pronunciation is Americanized to the approximate "folks-wagon.” Cousin Leonard was a “people person.” He loved entertaining, travel, fishing, hunting, and carpentry. When he wasn’t traveling, he was making something, or discovering some new gadget. I remember as a little girl, he had me mesmerized at how he would say, “Abra-ca-dabra” and the radio would change stations! My young mind could never have fathomed that radios had a scan feature.
We ambushed a Volkswagen Van!
The Volkswagen must have mesmerized me too. My second car was an insurance-man-green Volkswagen beetle. It was complete with lady bug car mats. I’d be willing to bet that the mats alone would be high-dollar vintage bait on eBay right now. I sure wish I had kept those mats. Even though it was an automatic, I felt mature and accomplished as I drove with my hand on the stick shift in the floor. And, most importantly, it was mine.
But I digress, we cannot reminisce about Volkswagens without mentioning the Volkswagen Ambush episode! Craig and I played together a lot, along with the other cousins, while our parents worked. We were at the age where certain things were important to us, like calling “shotgun” for the coveted front seat in the car. Well, Craig saw the Volkswagen van pull up outside and he yelled, “Shotgun!” and ran like the wind for the van. I was right behind him, but unfortunately he got there first. So, I opened the van doors to make the door slide to the left and entered. Now, Craig had cousins, on “the-other-side” of his family that I did not know. This was because they lived in Michigan and other states. At any rate, Craig was carrying on about how he had front seat. I was in the back looking through the front windshield. Alternately, between listening to Craig’s chatter, I would glance at the cousins from “the other side.” I had never met these cousins, I thought to myself. Finally, I asked Craig who they were. He looked over at the driver and jumped out of the van like a scared rabbit. I ran behind him on reflex. In between breaths, I asked Craig, “Why did you get out?” He said, “That was not my dad. I didn’t know those people!” The people in the Volkswagen van were weird. Every last one of them had their mouths in the shape of a capitol, “O” as they stared as us. They stared from the time we got in to the time we made our exit. Truth be told, they probably thought we were the weird ones. Craig and I laughed for so long, my ribs ached! The Volkswagen Ambush is still one of the recurring stories in our family repertoire of stories retold, again and again!
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