by Evangeline T.

Hello and welcome to Maine Memories, little snippets of life from our home state.

This week, I’d like to share an unusual memory about the Doodle-Bug!

You probably have never heard of a doodle-bug and are wondering if it’s some kind of big, ugly beetle. It isn’t. Let me explain.

My dad grew up on a prosperous Maine farm and as an adult, wanted more than anything to have a farm that would also be prosperous and provide for his family. But Dad didn’t have the funds to purchase expensive equipment. Times were hard, and we had to make do with what we had, supplemented by a little ingenuity.

As a young girl, I’d hear him saying, “If I could only afford a tractor, I’d be able to do far more around here.” Despite wishing and hoping, it just didn’t happen. So, he put on his thinking cap and formulated an idea.

He took an old truck, separated the cab, and cut the frame down so only a seat, dash, and the working needed parts to make it go were left. What was it? Why, a doodle-bug! Now, I don’t know where or how that name came about, but everyone in town knew dad and his doodle bug.

It did the work of a tractor, plowed the fields, hauled in winter’s wood and other chores.

I loved to ride around beside dad in the doodle bug, and one day on our way to town to gas up, he asked me for a match. I said, “Dad, you know I don’t carry matches.” He laughed and told me to look in the glove compartment. I opened the glove compartment, and there was nothing, not even the insides. Just a hole! Of course, dad knew this, and we both laughed.

He was a great father, and to this day, I haven’t forgotten my doodle bug rides. They certainly were memorable.

By the way, he later got his tractor, but that’s a story for another day.


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