Meant To Be
When I was a little girl; my parents would tell me stories about the Volkswagen Beetles they owned when they were in their teens. I always knew I wanted a Beetle too. When I was 15 years old, a friend tells me he knows a Beetle for sale. I told my mom and Pete about it. My step dad, Pete, was a master mechanic. One of the best, but he wasn't too keen on fine German Engineering.
When we get to the seller's house, there is this - blue Beetle sitting in the yard...rotting. We went over to check it out. I'm sure my parent's though, "what a hunk of junk". However, that is not what I was thinking. Excitement was running through me. It was missing a fender, a headlight and a taillight. The original blue paint was faded and pealing. There were TREES growing from the floor boards, for goodness sake. Pete laughs and says, "If it starts, we'll get it."
I sat down in the driver's seat; put my hands on the steering wheel; making sure the car was in natural. I pushed down the clutch and turned the key. To all of our surprise the dang thing had a little juice in her. I tried to start it over and over again. Pete says, "Oh well". I begged for a few more tries. He says, "One more time... That's it!" I sit back in her and cranked it again.... OMGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!! SHE STARTED!!!!!!!! Barely, but she started. And then cut off.... I looked at him and he looked at me and I whispered, "please?" He said FINE!! Reluctantly.
December - 1996: It's the Christmas before I turned 16 and get my driver's license and Santa Claus pays me a visit. Under the tree, there are all these gigantic boxes and bags. I'm excited to see what's them so I started ripping and tearing into the boxes. There's stuff like a bumper, head lights, carpet, a sunroof crank. Car parts? CAR PARTS?! I gotta tell you, as a teenager I was not thrilled. Nut now as a parent... that was totally GENIUS on their part. April - 1997: My mom, Pete and I start working on the car. While Pete was rebuilding the engine, I remember my mom and me sanding the hood by hand for hours. Getting it ready to paint it "Plum Crazy".
September - 1997: Getting closer to my 16th birthday. I was out with a friend and when we pulled down 4th Street, I look and see....... MY CAR!! Mom wrapped streamers and bows all over it. I jump out of my friends car; ran towards this super cute purple Beetle. Of course all the while, screaming like a mad-man. I jumped in the car, cranked it up and took off down the road! I felt so free driving her for the first time. I was in love.
Now keep in mind, I was a teenager and teenagers do not appreciate the value of an antique and I just didn't take care of it like I should have. We didn't last long together, but we sure had a good time with a many, many memories. Sometime in 1998 we ended up storing her at a family friends house. In October of 1999, when I was 18 years old, my aunt invited to move with her to New Jersey. What?! I get a chance to find a full time job and a chance to start the "adult" life. Saving money, having bills, you know - the fun stuff. I was all in! Once I moved away, so did my family.
In 2000-2001 My parents bought a large piece of property in the middle of the woods in Prince Edward County. That's when they started to build their dream home. At some point they needed some kind of light poles... I guess to hold the house. They knew a man who had some light poles. The man offered to make a deal - Trade the Beetle for the light poles. That took the deal and I thought the car was gone forever.
I think about that car often. I like to tell stories like when the back seat caught on fire while I was driving down the road. (in my Beetles defense, we had 3 larger boys sitting in the back. Since the battery is under the back seat, you know the rest) One time I was lost somewhere in Chase City, Va. I pulled into a church parking lot to check the map. We didn't have Google Maps back then, so I needed to use a real map. I'm not sure how we even survived without phones or navigation. Anyway, once I figured out how to get back to where I knew, I put the car in reverse and started backing up. All of a sudden I feel/hear and thud and BOOM! I had to go through the sunroof because the doors wouldn't open. WHY? Because I when I backed up, my little Beetle was nose up in a ditch! Another time, I was driving through the woods on an old railroad trail. The tracks were removed years before. Well, I was flying through the woods and didn't see a tree laying across the path and BANG, BING, BOOM!! We all went flying in the air, hitting our heads on the roof. Man, we laughed and laughed at that. There are so many more memories of that car. I will cherish them forever.
Fast forward to December 15, 2018: Its holiday season and I traveled down to VA to spend a little time with my family. Saturday morning, my kids and I were on our way to my dad's for breakfast. I get a text from an old high school buddy, Bobby Daniel. He sends me a picture of a purple Beetle for sale on a FaceBook yard sale site. He says, "I think this is your car." Know that car inside and out. I zero in on those gray wheels and I knew it was her! Now I'm on a mission to find her.
We heard the car was located in Meherrin, VA.. Seriously... Down the road from my dad's?! I beg him to ride around looking for it with me. We were on back country dirt roads; sliding all in the mud. We stopped at a store, (Duffy's) asking people if they knew about a purple beetle. Nothing. The whole day all I kept thinking about was... OMG SHE'S STILL AROUND!!! I need to find her. With a lot of searching and dead ends....She has been located! I reach out to the guy and told him I think he may have my first car. He doesn't understand until his wife tells him, "Amanda is written in the back window." I send him a pix of me and the car from Sept 1997. Our minds were BLOWN!! I gave him of offer, he sells it for $100 less than I offered. He said he understands the memories and the sentimental value of it. Oh, and deliver it!
On December 16, 2018 she made her way back to me. She isn't in the best shape. I mean, she's been sitting for 20 years or so. I will say this, and it will not make sense to most, but besides the birth of my children and marrying my husband... I have never, EVER felt so happy and complete. We have no idea what we are going to do with her yet and honestly.... I don't care I am just so happy she's back with me. They say if you let something go and it comes back to you - it's meant to be. And I believe with my whole heart that we were meant to be together again. And we are.
I am a true lover of Fine German Engineering. Even today, between my husband and me, we have a total of six Volkswagen's! 1988 - VW Jetta, 1991 - VW Cabriolet, 1999 - VW Beetle, 2002 - VW GTI Turbo, 2014 - VW Beetle, and now we have my old 1975 - VW Super Beetle La Grande Edition! I also want to say thank you to Mom and Pete. Taking in every single detail of the car, with adult eyes, I see the love, sweat and tears that were put into this car the summer of 1997.