February 5, 2012


I was going to college in Oakland and needed a car.
My dad said to research the options.
Any car I wanted!

I wanted a brand new Volkswagen Bug.
The dealership was not far from my dorm.
I picked up brochuresI don't know about you, but I used to LOVE brochures.
Still do, but now I know they are a waste of paper and ink.

The brochures for the 1968 Bug were gorgeous!
My dad perused those brochures
and looked as impressed as well, 
though he had never owned a foreign car.
VINTAGE 1968 VOLKSWAGEN VW SALES BROCHURE BEATLE BUGSoon after, I was instructed to pick up my new car in Mill Valley. Dad drove me to get it.
There it was. I took in the reality of my new car,
an overcast-sky-blue cartoon vision.
Disappointment was nothing
compared to the fear of getting it over the mountain.
My shifting skills were minimal.

But off I went in first gear roaring up the hill only to stall out.
All I could do was roll back down to the flats. MUCH less traffic in those days, thank goodness.

Somehow I got going again, choosing second this time, lugging it all the way up to the little summit whereupon I got moving at a more correct pace for second gear. Shift into third you say? I wasn't going to risk killing the engine again, so second it was all the way over the mountain. Racing down the other side, my only option was to ride the brakes, smoke billowing.

There I was. Let down and disappointed,
but I had wheels, enough said.
That silly looking car lasted a good long time,
horrible shifting, naughty capers and all.
We, and I mean we (don't tell my children)
drove that Opel around like crazy people.
All the guys loved it and they weren't
above bad boy tricks. For instance
driving  it backwards to Bolinas.

At the end of it's life the Opel was tired.
Coming back to Mill Valley one day,
the clutch cable snapped.
All I could think to do was
roll to the shoulder and turn off the key.
Jamming the stick into first,
I got the car rolling,
popped the clutch and headed slowly down the hill.

No wonder I was so strict with my children.
I knew what they were doing,
if they were anything like me.

How did we all live through that?
Fewer cars on the road,
that's all I can figure.
And God's grace. 

Thanks God,
I made to Grandma age.

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