Three Dead Bugs

Ever since I moved to a senior retirement living situation I’ve participated in a memoir writing class. And I love it. Mostly I pick my own topics which I’ve posted here on occasion. However, I also like to respond to prompts others write in response to.

Lately the prompt exciting most of the writers has been our first and/or favorite automobiles. Of course with that topic I also had to join in. Here’s the piece I read to the class last week.


Three Dead Bugs

I had three bugs. I bought my first car, a Volkswagen bug, in 1961 so I could get to UCLA and back. And it served its purpose. Its old light blue body, built in 1957, cost me three hundred dollars, thanks to my father’s good negotiating skills. But unfortunately it died an accidental death. I had parked it on a hill, affixed the parking brake, which then failed and poor Bug Number One rolled down the hill and was smashed to smithereens when it hit the car at the end of the road.

I figured the only way to get over the death of my beloved first bug was to buy another one. By this time I was married to my first husband, And he picked out a shiny blue/green one with a black convertible top. And though it was supposedly my car, my husband drove it more. That is until one night, when I called him to bring me a change of clothes to the downtown hotel where I, with my fellow jury members, was being sequestered overnight. The next morning the guard brought me a bag of wrinkled clothes but no explanation about why. After the jury did its final deliberation and we were dismissed, I was told my husband had been in an accident and was in a nearby hospital. I rushed there to see him and he explained he rolled the car several times – maybe he was drunk as usual. Though he wasn’t badly injured, he had just killed Bug Number Two.

Soon after that, we decided to get a divorce. But I needed a car before I could leave. This time I decided to order a brand-new bug from Germany in the brightest red I could find. It would take at least six weeks to arrive, so I used that time, to find an apartment, pack and patiently wait. And as soon as the car arrived I was out of there. I drove that Lady Bug for years even taking it to Washington DC where I lived and worked for a few months before marrying my second husband, Bob. It even weathered my return trip on the Pennsylvania turnpike in a snowstorm where the huge splashes from the trucks passing me almost carried us away several times. Lucky that bug protected me through that scary trip.

After we married, we decided to keep my apartment in Playa del Rey and Bob’s apartment in San Bernardino while we waited for and hoped he’d get a work transfer back to Redondo Beach. In the meantime, both of us commuted back and forth a couple of times a week. I was on my way back to Playa del Rey one morning when I was hit from behind and squished into the car in front of mine. And just like that Bug Number Three was dead too. Needless to say, our commuting days came to an end. Plus, I never drove another Bug again.



  1. Joyce Goldberg says

    Love this!!! Good writing and good story!

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