21 July 2017

Published July 19, 2017 by rochellewisoff

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Genre: Anecdote

Word Count: 100


            Most people I know have fond memories of their first automobile. Mine was a used 1971 royal blue Volkswagen Beetle. Fun size—like me.

            My father hated it. “A Jew has no business driving a Nazi-mobile.”

            The kids loved to sit in the ‘back-back,’ a mini cargo hold behind the rear seat and the bug was easy to maneuver. I enjoyed tootling around in it until the clutch went out. The heater worked great—all summer. Other quirks included slowing to a crawl at busy intersections while I floored the gas pedal and prayed.

            Could Dad have been onto something?

97 comments on “21 July 2017

  • Reblogged this on Flights of Fancy and commented:
    Oh, great story, Rochelle. My grandpa had a VW like that, and I was in that back-back as a kid. Loved it. VW is still not the most ethical of companies, but that shouldn’t prevent us from loving the beetle.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Great story, Rochelle. In the late 60’s and early 70’s, I owned three different bugs, two red ones, and a yellow one. My dad said I didn’t know much about cars so should buy new ones. Every two years I’d saved enough to pay $2,000.00 cash for a new one. Good writing as always. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  • I liked the black comedic touch at the end there. Good one Rochelle. One of my early boyfriends had a purple VW, with pink and orange regency striped door. It was very reliable, but it had no floor under the rear passenger seat. Early AC I think. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sandra,

      A purple VW? Oooh, I’m jealous! Gad you caught the dark humor as intended. This one seems to be bringing back a lot of memories for people. 😀 Not a bad thing at all. Thanks for driving by.




    • Dear Liz,

      Despite her quirks, my blue bug is a car I remember with great fondness. No one thought I’d ever learn to drive much less own my own car. Happy to afford a laugh. Thank you.




  • The “People’s Car” was the butt of many Jewish jokes, especially in the 70s. William Goldman used it as a catalyst for his novel Marathon Man. Don’t forget the massive recall, too!
    Nice story. Loved the irony of Israeli plates on a VW.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      The “People’s Car” indeed. Such sorry beginnings. Did you ever see the movie “Bye-Bye Braverman”? A lot of pokes taken at the VW in that satire. I caught the irony in the photo, too. Thanks for driving by.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Owning a Nazi vehicle and getting booed for that. Quite a common experience i would think. But seems a little distant thought for us in far away India. More of an Amby guy, the road king back then.
    Your special touch is evident in this as well. Brilliant, superb, outstanding…i shall soon fall short of adjectives, dear ROCHELLE.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Frances,

      You spelled it correctly. I didn’t start driving until after we were long out of high school and I had a toddler. You can ask Karen ne Wolf about our driver’s ed experience. 😉
      Happy to dredge old memories or you. 😀 Thanks for driving by.




  • Love it! I got the same comment thrown at me this past weekend (in regards to a beetle bug car I was looking at 18 yrs ago). I, too, have fond memories of a beetle bug and popping over hills just so our heads would hit the ceiling. Herbie lives forever in memory! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  • Memories. I didn’t think you would ever be able to drive. When I brought that bug home and told you if you would learn to drive, it would be yours, I wasn’t sure I had made a good decision. But, you did. It was a quirky little,thing though. Kinda like its driver.

    Liked by 3 people

  • Chuckling I am! Wonderful memory with details that add humor to the tale. Reminds me of my brother’s first car….he actually had pieces of wood on the front floor because you could look down at the street below — as in no floor in places! 🙂 Nine years older than me, taken from this world at 51…sweet memories brought back because of your tale here. Thank you! PS: Haven’t posted here in a while. Nice to be back.

    Liked by 1 person

  • My first car was a Jetta. I rarely think about the history of the car company, but this photo does point it out, doesn’t it? I like your little story and I hope the car actually did keep you safe, despite bogging down when you most wanted power! I think that was a trait of the old Bugs – I never drove one, but was often in one when the driver swore at it as it seemed to go slower the more the accelerator was pressed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Trent,

      I had a love hate relationship with that little car. Right from the beginning it had problems. Two weeks after I passed my driving test by the skin of my teeth, the clutch went out. Thus the reason I had trouble with “overall control” on the test. I think I had a guardian angel keeping me safe. 😉 Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Ah, happy memories. It seems that half of the hippies in Ann Arbor way back when had a “slug bug”, and hoo boy, but they were noisy little buggers. But so adorable, who couldn’t love them? Of course, that was before I knew about the Nazi connection, hm…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ruth,

      This one did inspire a lot of memories for many of us. How fun is that? Friday Fictioneers is all about participation after all. 😀 Your trip sounds ‘memorable.’ Oy! Thank you for driving by.




  • Lovely anecdote. The past for a lot of companies is difficult to ignore, but these days so many car companies are or have been owned by the big German and Japanese firms that were around in the war that’s hard to own a car that hasn’t been attached to them in some way. And then there is there more recent ethical failings… Maybe we should all cycle!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Octavia Preminger,

    Your dad should have known that VW Beetles were the only make of car where you could actually see over the steering wheel instead of through it. I had a 1959 model, and you’re right about the heater. It kept me toasty all summer. The motor crapped out on mine. I found metal shavings in the oil pan. A VW sure isn’t the same German engineering as a Mercedes Benz.

    Watch out for deer,
    Marlin Perkins

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Marlin Perkins,

      Like I said, ‘fun size.’ Why is it the heater didn’t work in the winter. Froze my noogies off. Not to mention I once had a head-on collision with a full-size poodle. It left quite a dent on the front of the car and walked away, unscathed. Great little car, that. Ah memories….always fonder than reality, aren’t they?

      Thank you for your drive-by comment.


      Octavia Preminger

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Patrick,

      I never make light of that matter. That you should know by now. Like poking fun at your enemy while always watching your back. I hope that made sense. Glad you liked the story in any case. 😉




  • I have had an aversion to VW Beetles ever since a friend of mine was severely injured in one back in junior high. However, they DO continue to exist in Veracruz in great numbers. You’d think it was the 1960’s again.

    Five out of five summer heaters (and “some are” not). 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Cuzzin Kent,

      I can understand your aversion. I used to say my car was made out of bonded Reynolds Wrap. If you read my comment to Marlin Perkins you’d see what I mean. The French poodle story is 100% true. But the car did have its good moments and it got me out of the house. Jan was happy to no longer have to be a chauffeur. Thanks for the summer heaters.


      Cuzzin Shelley


  • My dad had a sky blue Beetle when we were kids. We loved it very much, despite the fact that on hot days the PVC seats seemingly heated up to a temperature greater than the surface of the sun! Not good when you’re only six and wearing a skirt that rides above your knees when you sit down.
    Lovely writing, Rochelle and an interesting wander through the car’s chequered past. Funny how Hitler’s ‘People’s Car’ could become so loved over the generations. From facist beginnings to iconic status – strange how the world turns.
    Lovely to be back after two weeks of enforced FF abstinence (no wifi connection feels like having a limb amputated!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      Your dad’s seats sound like my grandparents vinyl covered furniture. Wearing shorts on hot days at their house proved painful.

      It is ironic that the “People’s Car” evolved into the “Love Bug” isn’t it? Truth is stranger than fiction. Thank you for such a lovely comment.



      PS Well said. Being without wifi in this day and age is like having a limb amputated. I think of close friends I only communicate with on the internet.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Shalom, Rochelle

    My striding through Neil McDonald’s Friday Fictioners backlog turned into a march at the end, but I got to my destination satisfied.

    Sorry about the commenting mix up. I have just closed my eyes for a sneaky forty winks while my MacBook updated it OS – various improvements and security enhancements. Maybe that was it?

    I liked this memoir, I have not read a memoir in a flash before, so it was new to me. I feet you could have added more and more memoir flash fictions about this much-loved first car. Perhaps you already have? Your style is comforting, like listening to a longtime friend, whom you are compelled to listen to.

    Hope your fishing trip feels successful. 😇

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kelvin,

      I confess to being something of a comment junkie. Yours was worth the highly successful fishing trip. 😉 Although you can’t really call it a flash fiction…but just because our name is Friday Fictioneers doesn’t mean we’re legalistic about it. If it’s a story, fact or fiction, in a 100 words it’s Kosher. My most common genre is historical fiction (fee free to peruse….I’ve been doing this for over five years, so it’s a lengthy journey…I didn’t start out as the leader.)
      Thank you very much.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Querida Rochelle,
    Isn’t it wonderful when you can look back on a simpler time?
    We had a VW too. It was beige. We had it until the motor caught on fire with my 1st born in the back. YIKES !!! I guess I should have written about that. I didn’t remember until I read your story. I always read the stories after I’ve posted mine. I don’t want to be influenced by someones story. Great story … I love reminiscing about fond past memories. BTW … bravo girl, I never learned how to drive ours because it was manual.
    Hasta la proxima … Adios, Abrazos y Shalom
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • Querida Isadora,

      Ah the memories of those first cars. They’re always simpler in retrospect, aren’t they? That VW was unique to 1971 in that it was what they referred to as “automatic stick shift.” It didn’t have the clutch pedal and you didn’t really have to shift. (It did handle better if you did). En realidad, I learned to drive a stick several years later when we bought a Plymouth Horizon. Now, in the day when manual transmissions are on the verge of extinction, I don’t want to drive anything else. Go figure.

      Gracias, abrazos y shalom,



  • Such reliable cars those Beetles – the heater working all summer, and never when you needed it most, was a great touch 🙂 I’m sure it wasn’t personal, but maybe your dad knew something the rest of us didn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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