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Picture it: Mid-Michigan; Summer; 1986. I was 19 and still driving the mini Sherman Tank my father and his car-dealership-sales-manager-brother-in-law picked out for me when I'd first gotten my license, a '75 Buick Apollo. From my earliest memories, I'd always wanted to own something unusual, quirky and unconventional when I first bought a car... like a Volkswagen. Naturally, what I wound up with was a car that, for the time, evoked nothing but conventionality. Especially that particular one. It was medium, faded, metallic green with a cream-colored roof. It was a 4-door. The upholstery was cream, olive and brown Berbery plaid. 'Nuff said.:eek:ff:

I was living with someone I'd only been dating for about eight months. This person was only two years older than I, but was more-than-able to control someone as naive, trusting and in need of affection such as I had been, in my young adulthood. They knew I wanted a VW, but insisted I not get an old air-cooler. So, when the Buick was in for break pads on the previously-mentioned summer, an evil plot had begun to hatch.

The short of it was this: I didn't have any money on my own, but I hoped to sell the Buick, eventually, and buy a VW. I had not planned on buying one for more than what I could get out of my present car. My "better half" of the time took me to a VW dealer, but instead talked me into a car we couldn't readily afford. It was a 1979 Rabbit L Diesel; only 7-years-old at the time. The car was metallic reddish-brown (as pictured in photo below... not my old car, but exactly like it), had a crank-back sunroof, air, nice vellour interior, reclining seats, 4 doors, etc etc. Very neat little car.

Unfortunately, stupid me allowed myself to get snookered and I had put the car in my lover's name... "for insurance purposes", I was told. How did I know that there wouldn't be any less of a premium for a 21-year-old than there would be for a nineteen-year-old? Worst yet, I had gotten talked into hitting up one of my grandmothers for the $2600 for the thing. Grandma Ruth was a frugal Floridian of Wisconsin and Lutheran origins. She lived very simply herself, but had saved every penny she could to build college trust funds for my younger sister and I. The first bit of mine had matured and I had used $800 for the Buick Dad had picked out for me. The rest had gone toward my first semester in college.

Long story short (too late), I had to call my grandmother in Florida and debase myself to ask for an advance on my next trust fund installment. In 1986, $2600 was a pretty good piece o' dough. Today, it's bubkis, but then it was quite a little bit. You don't know the conversation I had to have with Grandma Ruth to get that damned Rabbit... a car I soon fell in love with. Too bad I was seldom allowed to drive it. Further more, as we still needed a car for me and I (again, stupidly) had sold my Buick, what do you think I was bought for my vehicular transport? Yep... another gods-awful GM tank... a military green four door Chevy Malibu Classic with a fraying, pea-green vinyl roof. Yeah, still not what I wanted and, furthermore, I didn't even have my name on the car I DID want and that I HAD bought with my own hard-sought money.

You may have guessed, dear readers, that I wound up losing that little car at the fervent and volatile end to this horrific relationship. There's a whole tragic story just attached to things pertaining to that car and its use that I won't get into. What times I did get to drive it myself, I would steal away to some remote place and park. I would just park somewhere, crank back the sunroof, recline the seat and gaze at the sky. Those were some of my few peaceful moments having that car at my (occasional) disposal.

I never owned another Rabbit after that. I wanted one, but I just never owned one. Several air-cooled VW's, but no Rabbit or Golf or Jetta. Now, I have found an 84 Rabbit L Diesel for sale here in Ohio. In cahoots with the owner to finalize the sale and take possession of a Volkswagen like the one I lost lo these twenty-five-some years ago. I cannot wait, for I feel that I am not only getting a good old car, but validating myself and getting vengeance for the wrongs done when I was so young and so stupid.

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