I may be kidding myself, but I think I can make something out of that sad little bucket of bolts.
~quote from The Love Bug (1968)
I fell in love with the artistry of Michael V. Manalo when I first saw this image. My husband will love it too when he sees this post because he owned a red Volkswagen Beetle in high school/college. I've seen his photos of it and am envious of them.....because I did not take any photos of either one of my Volkswagen Beetles, not the one I loved or the one that replaced the one I loved after it was wrecked.
My great "Bug" that I bought in college was dark blue with a classic sliding ragtop. It looked just like this one (except the color). My first bank loan was for that car, and, although co-signed by my then boyfriend who was a young attorney in Reno, my fulfillment of all requirements of the loan really did usher in my adulthood. It was a big day when I paid off the loan and the car was mine.....such a big day, in fact, that I bought a boutonniere for my loan officer and took it to him during my lunch hour!
And it was a horrid night when I was broadsided on U.S. 395 while driving into town to my boyfriend's condo. I split my time between his place and my mother's house outside Reno, and on that particular evening I had clothes packed for several days plus other items loose to take to the cleaners the next morning. Lining that stretch of highway on the outskirts of Reno were many small motels and quite a few taverns. There was no speed limit and my usual speed was around 70 (I often washed my long hair at my mother's house and drove with my head tipped out the window to dry my hair on the way into Reno). So I was clipping along at a decent speed when I saw a car pull out from the parking lot near a tavern. It was the farthest thing from my mind that I was in danger of being hit, but the man at the wheel was an altered driver and he barged out onto the road to head in the opposite direction (toward his home in California, I later learned). He rammed the passenger side of my "Bug" and I rammed the windshield of my car. Unfortunately, my eyeglasses were made of glass, and not plastic as now, so their collision with the windshield shattered and cracked all glass concerned, tearing open my right eyelid in the process. Dazed and bleeding, I hobbled out of my car.....hobbled because the force of the collision had sprung open my door and actually knocked my left shoe off of my foot and into the middle section of the road. The drunk driver who hit me helped me into the bar with his wife screaming at him behind us. The bartender, who obviously had already called the police, pulled his phone from nearby the cash register to where I sat and I called my boyfriend. In the meantime, that bartender actually was slimy enough to offer me a drink. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to refuse, realizing that he wanted alcohol on my breath as well as on the breath of his drunk customer.
My boyfriend arrived quickly and was there when he heard one cop say to another as they looked at all the clothes strewn inside the car and outside on the pavement: "It looks like this little hippie is living out of her car" (those were the days, eh?). He sidled up to the cops and said, "I am the little hippie's lawyer; do you have additional opinions you would care to share with me now or would you rather wait until I question you in court?"
I was taken by ambulance to one of Reno's hospital ERs where one of the town's premier eye surgeons, summoned by said boyfriend, sewed up my eye. My injury and bruises were extreme enough that I dropped out of that semester of college. And my great "Bug"? A local fighter bought what was left of it with the intention of turning it into a dune buggy. I hope he was able to make something out of that little bucket of bolts.
Michael V. Manalo: his website is special, his photography sublime.