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Story by Lois Grace

It was March of 2005 when VW Trends ceased production. With it went my "VolksWoman" column, although I was busily trying to find it a new home with another magazine. All this came about rather suddenly, to me, since I am a "contributing editor" and not directly involved in the publishing process. But to those close to the source, it was said that diminishing returns forced the shut-down of the magazine. At any rate, I hated to see it happen.

I've been writing for a long time. If you have a passion for a certain subject, and are able to locate someone willing to give you space for your thoughts on the subject, writing is easy. (being an English major doesn't hurt either) My ultimate goal was to write for a national VW magazine, and the road to VW Trends began with a column in the newsletter of the VWCA, The Autoist. Fred Ortlip, the editor, gave me space once every two months to print my thoughts and ramblings on my favorite subject: Volkswagens. For me, this is an honor that continues to the present. In between, I wrote columns and features for the Northeast Area Transporter Owners (NEATO) newsletter, the Connecticut VW Association newsletter (The CONNection), The German Air Sucker Society (G.A.S.S.), the local chapter of the VVWCA newsletter (The Golden Gate Gazette), and just about anyone else who asked me for a contribution. I did it willingly, and happily, and people seemed to enjoy what I said. But my dream was always to end up, ultimately, on the staff of a genuine, bona fide VW magazine. Now, don't misunderstand me, I love writing for club newsletters, but the pay is much better for magazines! I have been in the optical business for more than 35 years, but it was never what I wanted to do to make a living. Being hired by Trends meant that my optical job was secondary, and my REAL calling was finally answered. Every time that magazine check arrived in the mail, it confirmed what other people were always telling me and what I never quite believed: my writing had value and was worth something. Sure, I knew it was worth a lot to me, but to have a corporation pay me to write it was a just the pinnacle of success to me. With the news that VW Trends was going to end, my dream seemed ended as well.

The thing I find that I needed to keep in mind, when I was casting about for a new home for my VolksWoman column, is that when one door closes, another one often opens. And, that things always seem to happen for a reason. After six very enjoyable years with VW Trends, it was now time for me to make a change and go somewhere else with my thoughts. While endings are always sad for me, beginnings can be thrilling, even if a bit scary. After all, if Autoist editor Fred Ortlip had not said "Sure, give it a try", my column would never have appeared in that newsletter 25 (or so) years ago. If VW Trends editor Ryan Price had not been willing to listen to me and read my e-mails about why he should hire me (!!!) 16 years ago, my column would have sat in the computer. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the VW hobbyists who took a chance on me and allowed me to realize another dream by writing for them. Fred Ortlip, who has the thankless job of putting together (on his own time) a club newsletter, saw something entertaining in what I wrote or the way I wrote it, and added my name to his roster of contributors. Ryan Price was hired by Trends shortly before I showed up asking for a job, and worked tirelessly to get my column looking good, no matter what page I showed up on. It is because of him that I actually got paid for the words I wrote! You simply can't put a price on a feeling like that.

So, with the end of the trend, there was a beginning of another. VolksWoman lives on at AllAirCooled.com and she still has way too much to say.

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