Sunday, September 09, 2007


quit bugging me
Originally uploaded by JKonig.
I come from Volkswagen people.

So browsing through JKonig's stream this little gal grabbed me, because she's just the color of the little Volkswagen bug we called Feff when I was a kid. My dad and stepmom imported her to Denver from NYC and named her after her license plate -- which led with the letters FEF.

And I was reminded that, giant 5 foot 12 girl that I am, I was once this small, that I could fit comfortably in the back seat of the little V-dub with my older sister and younger brothers, in the days before we knew seat belts mattered.

All four of us would snug in, skin on skin, an extension of the way we used to fold around each other with that easy kind of intimacy that comes best to kids and is shed somewhere, awkwardly, around adolescence.

And I was remembering the sticky waffle marks that the plastic seats made across the back of my legs on summer days going to and coming from the neighborhood pool. The smell of chlorine and volkswagen which is not nearly a new car smell but is also not nearly like the smell of anything else.

And I was reminded of the old funky logo of the fox perched on the castle parapet that lived under clear plastic in the center of the steering wheel; a logo that made Volkswagens live, in my mind, in the same fairy land with Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Where the castles were.

We upgraded at last to a Land Rover when we moved to the mountains -- or maybe it was because my dad saw that we had booted my brother G (the blonde one below, between me and A) into the wheel well in the very back.

(G was a good sport about it, anyway. Like he is about most things.)

Feff is the only car I remember like I remember a family pet, and I mourned her in the same way. And I think I may have closed my heart, just a little bit, to loving cars in the same way after that.


Anali said...

Such a cute picture! And I love the story. You know that I love the VWs myself! ; )

a.m. said...

Beautiful. I so vividly remember traveling in cars as a highlight of my childhood. And I regret that my children will not have the same memories as mine. Should we get into an accident, they will be much safer in their pod-like car seats, and I appreciate that. But they will never know what it is like to lay on the back dashboard of a car driving all night under the big western sky as stars stream overhead and the only light is the glow behind from the red tail lights.

I spent all of second grade being homeschooled in the back of VW bus as we rambled across the country. I did great in my classes, but my handwriting never quite stayed between the lines...

I too love VW's.

anniemcq said...

When I was four, my mom let me go with my much older brother and his friends for a ride in their new volkswagon. I got to hang in the wheel well, too! I was really sad when my dad said we couldn't get a Volkswagon.

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