From age 7 onwards, our daughter, Janeva Salser-Sulman, knew few cars other than Volkswagens. As time passed, she “graduated” from passenger status to assistant mechanic, helping with bleeding the brakes, fetching tools and many other tasks related to maintaining our fleet of Volkswagens. In high school, she learned to drive the stick-shift Beetles, got her license and completed her high school and college years all the while driving one of them. It wasn’t until she had to appear at work in full office attire that she quit the VWs in favor of an air conditioned “alternate vehicle” in order to combat the broiling Texas Summers. Here’s a memory which she wrote and posted to me late last year.
Spring 1987 – I was a senior in high school – Daddy was just finishing this car. He had bought it and restored it, painting engine parts, replacing the interior – it was restored inside and out – a SPARKLING RED beauty of a car, and we dubbed it “Cherry Cheeks”.
All of our cars had names that fit their character. We had the “Red Baron” who flew across the country on long trips, fighting heat and cold and faithfully carrying 4 passengers and a dog. We had “Friendly”, whose speedometer loved to make noise at about 40 miles an hour, until “he” became demented on a trip to Ft. Worth, screaming so wildly, that Momma pulled off the side of the road and detached the cable from the dial to mute the poor beast. Funny that we never named the Ghia that you see in the reflection – that car is another story.
Secretly, I hoped to own and drive “Cherry Cheeks”, but I think that we all knew that “he” was a cash car. Anyhow, one day when we were out working on CC, (by this time, I was Daddy’s side mechanic), a family pulled up in front of our house, and piled out to coo over the car. The conversation ended with their purchase of the vehicle. There was still work to be done on the car and they eagerly agreed to let Daddy finish.
Before they left that day, they christened him with their family’s choice of name, “Jeremiah”, and came to visit with him and to check on progress. They eventually moved out of town, but kept in spotty contact for years. The last we heard, “Jeremiah” was still serving faithfully, and was still a beloved family member.