I saw the movie, Herbie the Love bug when it debuted in 1968. I was very young and though I don’t remember the plot of the movie and have not seen it since, it remains etched in my history for one reason.
A Herbie replica was in the parking lot of the theatre and was being auctioned off for the price of a raffle ticket. I wanted to win the car. My Dad explained that it would be many years before I could drive the car. It mattered little to me as I liked the idea of a car waiting for me until I would be old enough to drive. I never won the car, but thought about it many times.
Eventually I would be old enough to drive, My first car was a 1980 Roadrunner, brand new with the same number of kilometres on the odometer as years I had been alive. It was beautiful, the colour changing depending on the light. Still, I would see many Beetles around, my daughters punching each other, playing the Beetle game and I would remember my first love. It wasn’t practical I would think, as I loaded carseats, children and their items into larger vehicles.
A friend had an old Beetle, not running, and one day I happily sat inside the car while he pushed it. For a moment I felt the wind in my hair, the dream realized.
The girls grew up, moved away and I found myself with the ability to choose whatever vehicle I wanted. I would dream of the car as I worked endless hours on my house, watching the house rise from the ground to be a reality where once it had been a dream. The Beetle had been relaunched and no longer did I need to be a mechanic or handy at body work to own one. Still, I decided it would be a Jetta or a Golf, practical, and would spend hours thinking of the colour, the moment when it too would become a reality.
My eldest daughter was hit by a car that summer. It was a Jetta and just like that I didn’t want one. I bought a Pontiac, and received a great bargain by having a friend that worked for GM. Still, I would see the new Beetles around town and look at them with longing for what might have been.
The newest Beetle was launched, looking more like the original. I spent much time on the internet building my dream car, tucking it into a folder on my desktop for “one day.” The day came and together my husband and I went into the dealership transferring the years of dreaming into a reality. We would need to wait while it was built in Germany and then sent on its long journey to our dealership. I could wait, could delay gratification, had been doing this for most of my life.
Five months later the moment arrived when we would pick up my car at the dealership. In the time waiting, I built a lego model of a Volkswagen, surfed the net for accessories and dreamed of that moment. I dressed that morning in a 60’s style shirt in celebration. The Beetle was beautiful, the colour perfect, it exceeded my high expectations. As I drove off the lot, the first song I heard on the radio was a song from the 60’s, it was perfect.
Everyone it seems has a dream car, this one is mine.
The other day I was at a store and a young Mom and her daughters pointed at the car as I drove by. In my rearview mirror, I watched the Mother playfully punch her children in the arm, and so it continues. Punch buggy, green, no returns indeed!