MOTORING NEWS - My earliest memory of any vehicle is of my dad's mustard-coloured Volkswagen Beetle.
I was about seven years old and we went everywhere in that little Bug.
I remember the black seats and how my dad had to pump the breaks whenever we went downhill. I don't remember why he had to do that, but I recall clearly his leg moving up and down on the brake pedal. I remember the steering wheel and how my sister and I watched in awe as my dad drove us around.
As a child I was bemused by the process of driving a car, using a clutch and changing gears all at the same time.
It always looked so difficult to do it all together and my dad was my hero for being able to master the skill perfectly. The Beetle didn't have a lot of space for our family of five, but somehow we fit in.
On Sundays, when my parents took their usual nap, my brother and I played inside the Beetle. To us it was a different world in there. I remember how we could shift the two front seats forward to make the space bigger at the back. The Beetle only had two doors and we used to climb into the small boot, where we played with our dolls for hours.
My brother and I would take turns sitting at the steering wheel, where we would get lost in an imaginary world. I remember how we vroom-vroomed while pushing the hooter and pretending we were travelling the world. We always knew when my dad came home from work, because we could hear the Volla coming down Elephant Street. For us the Beetle was everything we needed.
Today, when I look at the Beetle through adult eyes, I can easily criticise the small space and lack of a modern interior, but for us back then, and especially for my dad, it was more than enough.
My dad never made a fuss about buckling up - there was not as much awareness about putting on your seat belt as there is today.
Chocolates and tears
I went with him one Sunday afternoon to get the chocolate treats he bought for us every week at the nearest 8 'Till Late corner shop. I remember sitting next to my dad in the front seat with my legs bent underneath me, our chocolates clutched in my hands. I was telling him a story, the kind that seven-year-olds believe in.
At the T-junction close to our house, I remember another car approaching at high speed and how my dad pumped the break pedal harder than usual to stop. I fell forward and my head hit the windscreen, our chocolates flying through the air. I only woke up from my coma a week later.
When I got home the Beetle was parked underneath a tree in front of our house and not in its sacred garage space as usual.
I remember seeing some of my hair and skin still stuck on the broken windscreen. Half of the Beetle was smashed in. My Tex chocolate wrapping paper was on the floor in front and chocolate was melted all over the dashboard. My dad sold the car soon after that, but only after he fixed the splattered windscreen and washed away the chocolate marks and blood on the seat.
It was a sad day when the car salesman towed our Bug away. Our family stood in the driveway and watched our beloved Volksie disappear around the corner. I remember my dad wiping away tears and mumbling something about brake oil. I wish dad had never sold our Beetle. To this day I treasure only fond memories of that little Bug.
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