Russ Wise, of LaPlace, comments on The Advocate's Wednesday story about the last Volkswagen Beetle to come off the assembly line in Mexico, to make room for an electric car:

"Here come the memories.

"My first new car was a 1969 Beetle. It cost $1,900 and came with an AM-FM radio and a fuel gauge. It lasted until the end of my military career, my tenure as the news director at KWKH Radio in Shreveport, and my first marriage.

"VW ads were the best. My favorite was a full-page newspaper ad showing a group of nuns getting into a VW bus. The caption read, 'Mass Transit.'”

Which reminds me

Anticipating a flood of Beetle stories, I'm getting in mine before the deluge:

In the early '70s I sold my Austin-Healey Sprite, a tiny British sports car, for a larger vehicle — a gently used VW Beetle.

I loved that baby blue bug, and found it amazingly versatile for its size.

Daughter Tammy owned a horse at that time (my adventure as a horse owner and reluctant cowhand is another story for another day), and sometimes I was called on to bring a bale of hay out to the stables for her.

No problem. I'd just toss it in the back seat of the Beetle and head out to the stables — where the cowboys hanging around their Ford and Chevy pickups got a kick out of seeing my delivery vehicle.  

Scooting around Rome

Keith Horcasitas, of Baton Rouge, says Kerry Palmer's Saturday story about mysterious turn signals "brought to mind my hand motions that I still employ while riding my Chetak Bajaj (a Vespa clone) scooter on the dangerous Red Stick roads — especially Perkins Road.

"While other riders appear to be pointing to God in the sky with a middle finger, most of them understand that when I point to the right, in addition to using my scooter turn signal, it means I will be turning in that direction.

"When I went to Rome in the summer of 2016, it was so cool to take a private scooter tour, and I got to see so many uncharted tourist spots, including 'The Aventine Keyhole' view — the doorway leading to the Priory of the Knights of Malta — of the dome St. Peter's."

Special People Dept.

  • William Orin Flowers Jr. celebrates his 96th birthday Friday, July 12. He is a World War II veteran who served aboard the USS Mauna Loa, which supplied ammunition to the Navy's ships in the south Pacific.
  • Lloyd Schroeder celebrates his 94th birthday Sunday, July 14.
  • Ronnie and Ginger Parker, of Jackson, celebrate their 50th anniversary Friday, July 12. (They also celebrated earlier with an Alaskan cruise.)

Weekend Kingfish

Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, says, "Many, many, years ago, I was a guest at Mr. Bill Dodd’s hunting camp in Clinton.

"He often had some of his political allies from around the state who had campaigned for and with him. We would sit around the table at night, and I was in awe as to what I heard about statewide campaigns.

"I especially enjoyed the stories about Huey and Uncle Earl Long. On one such occasion, one of the gentlemen there was wearing a diamond ring once owned and worn by Huey.

"He asked me if I wanted to wear it! I wore it for the weekend, and for sometimes afterward I read everything I could find about Huey’s life and career.

"A lot that was discussed never made it to print!"

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.