My car is a stick shift 1973 VW Super Bee­tle that I bought in 1976. Since that year was the 200th anniver­sary of the Unit­ed States the price stat­ed in the For Sale ad was $1776 – I think we agreed upon $1500 as a suit­able sale price.

Pro­rat­ing the cost over the past 33 years it comes to about $45 a year – not bad?

Of course we are on our sec­ond engine and in the last year it has become our only car. A yel­low cab dri­ver demol­ished our oth­er car, a trusty, not-quite-as-old Vol­vo, last March.

Obvi­ous­ly it’s a strug­gle for two work­ing peo­ple to man­age with just one car in a state like Flori­da that has lit­tle or no con­ve­nient pub­lic trans­port. I work far­ther from home so I gen­er­al­ly use the car. My hus­band can walk to work in 17 min­utes – he’s timed it!

There are few of us dri­ving vin­tage VW’s. One sees the occa­sion­al VW bus and rarely a bug. Yes­ter­day a young per­son drove by tak­ing our pic­ture (obvi­ous­ly she wasn’t inter­est­ed in the bug’s occupants!).

I should explain that my car isn’t some vin­tage glam­our job – it has peel­ing, rusty spots all over its body, rem­nants of age, con­tact with oth­er vehi­cles and palm fronds falling on the roof. The paint is a very dull roy­al blue and pieces of rusty met­al hang from below – I always say that those ven­ti­lat­ed floor boards are our A/C sys­tem; just helps the air­flow through the interior!

But we are vin­tage nonethe­less. I am reluc­tant to buy a spe­cial num­ber plate des­ig­nat­ing it vin­tage – what if some­one then thinks my old banger is valuable?

A friend once begged to allow her 5‑year-old son (a Her­bie The Love Bug fan) to vis­it and have his pho­to tak­en beside the car. When I offered them a ride around the block both moth­er and son were in heaven.

Our bug was our trans­port to field trips in our home ed days. We actu­al­ly had two fam­i­lies aboard – quite the char-a-banc ride! Total­ly ille­gal I’m sure and yet we were all buck­led up: three chil­dren under 10 in the back seat plus an infant I was babysit­ting anchored in his car seat; my friend and her youngest daugh­ter buck­led togeth­er in the front pas­sen­ger seat!

The pic­ture was com­plet­ed with a large pushchair (stroller) peep­ing out from under the bon­net (hood), which was tied down with rope. Our pic­nic cool­er got wedged behind the back seat. Our paint job cer­tain­ly looked bet­ter in those days. As enter­tain­ment our boys sang all the way home. Hap­py days.

Our sons learned to dri­ve on that stick shift. I always thought it was impor­tant to actu­al­ly under­stand those nois­es com­ing out of the engine! I firm­ly believe they are very good dri­vers as a result of the sev­er­al years they spent dri­ving the bug.

What a car! It’s part of who and what I am today.