Interesting that spell check did not have a problem with “doodlebug” as I thought perhaps “doodlebug” was another one of those words I have come to find out my family seemed to have invented or only used. But a check of the dictionary shows the following definitions for doodlebug: a small motor vehicle, buzz bomb: a small jet-propelled winged missile that carries a bomb and the larva of an ant lion or of any of several other insects. In my case, “doodlebug” describes a small motor vehicle my Dad once had and which I now have, in a form.
Remembrances. When I was maybe 8 or 9, one day, after school, I found in our side yard, this weird, half of a car. Old, rusted, with the top cut off and no rear end on it at all, I could not imagine what it was for or why it was in our yard. Later, when my Dad got home from work, he immediately went out to the old car and using a crank in the front, cranked and cranked until the old engine started and roared since it had no muffler on it and then he proceeded to drive up and down the our rather steep side yard, all the while, smiling and laughing. I had never seen him so happy before and once he had ridden himself silly and finally gotten off, he turned to me and asked, how I liked his new doodlebug. Doodlebug? New one on me.
Well, it turns out that at the time, old 1930’s Ford cars could be had for a song and that many had become or were in the process of becoming a form of farm or large garden tractor. “In the process of becoming” meant, take off as much sheet metal as possible so it resembled what was to later be a large lawn tractor. Anyway, the old doodlebug hung around the house for months before it finally was driven to some land we had nearby and was then used for years and years as a tractor to pull various farm implements my Dad acquired one way or the other. Sorry to say I do not have any pictures of my Dad riding his doodlebug or the actual doodlebug itself but the image above gives you an idea of what it looked like.
But that image of my Dad riding up and down our side yard that first day the doodlebug came into our family has stuck with me all these years and not long ago, after working on my own lawn tractor for what must have been the 10th time in 2 months, I decided it was time for me to make it into a doodlebug for me and all my neighbors to enjoy. So off came that cosmetic engine cowling and on went the addition of a car battery upfront. Won’t ever sell for much now as it no longer looks like a garden tractor you would see in a store, but I don’t care. It is now functional as I can get to the engine easily and the car battery has solved my starting problems and in the end, it has maybe fulfilled some deep hidden desire I have been holding for my own toy doodlebug.
Toys. Sure I like a fast car which handles well and appreciate motorcycles and hanging out “there” but in the case of these, always some concern over their appearance and maintaining their appearance. No such concern with the doodlebug. In fact the more rustic, the better or so it seems to me.
Anyway, I have my doodlebug now and although I am not sure my Dad would think too much of it as it is rather small compared to the one he had, it will have to do.
Never knew the word "doodlebug" also meant a German WWII buzz bomb and glad of it. I like "a small motor vehicle" better.