For Christmas, my husband got me a Lego set.  Yes, I’m a kid at heart, but that’s not why.  This set makes, like, the grooviest model 1960’s Volkswagen Bus ever.  We’ve owned three of them, a 1973 Bus, 1984 Vanagon, and a 1966 Splittie with a rare Freedom America snow cap. I’ve been known to collect VW Bus memorabilia like t-shirts, magnets, die cast models, bird houses, Christmas lights, etc, and I could hardly believe my luck when this beauty popped up on Amazon.com, just in time for Santa to deliver it.  One tiny caveat: Legos require assembly.

I grew up making things, with blocks, Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, erector sets.  There were no Legos yet, but building is building, right?  The box said “Expert, for ages 16 and up.” I wasn’t intimidated until I opened it.  This particular set contains 1,334 pieces in twelve different colors and 235 different shapes.  Many of them are smaller than my pinky finger-nail.  There were two instruction manuals.  I figured one was English, the other, Spanish.  Nope.  You need both.  There were no words, just diagrams of its 115 complex steps.  I shoved it all back in the box and it took me a month to work up the nerve to open it again.  You build a Lego Bus the way you eat an elephant… one bite at a time.  Now that it’s done, I feel like it should be displayed in a glass trophy case, right next to my Olympic gold medal for Endurance Lego Construction.


Legos, Legos, a thousand plus
in the kit for the Volkswagen Bus
What mere mortal hand and eye
would dare attempt its assembly?

I dump the contents of the box:
thirteen bags of plastic blocks,
instruction books marked “1” and “2”
with diagrams out the wazoo

This potpourri, I organize
first by color, then shape and size
Special parts in their own piles:
headlights, hinges, bumpers, tires

I build each module, step by step,
awed at how the parts connect
Frame and axles, checkered floor,
engine, cockpit, windows, doors

Splittie windshield, louvered vents,
a roof equipped with a pop-up tent
Ensconced inside, a small homestead
cupboards, table, fold-down bed

When the final page I reach
and snap in place the crowning piece,
Do I smile, my work to see?
Take photos for posterity?

(You betcha!)

Legos, Legos, a thousand plus
behold, transformed into a Bus
and due to the level of difficulty,
they’ll remain a Bus eternally

  front view

 with splittie windows open

 in the driver’s seat

 rear view

 back hatch open

 engine compartment

 side view

with side doors open

 pop-up tent

 living area

 Z-bed down

 my favorite piece

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29 thoughts on “I’VE GOT A LEGO BY THE TAIL…

  1. Aunt Marilyn February 18, 2018 / 8:47 am

    Joan, as I was reading I thought to myself, “Why isn’t there a picture?” As I scrolled through what looks like a sales pitch for VW’s I was happily pleased to see so many pics of the project. If I got one for Christmas there’s no doubt it would still be in the box! Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 18, 2018 / 10:09 am

      Thanks, Aunt Marilyn! I’m not a picture-taker, but wanted to share this… so intricately detailed, right down to the gas cap, door handles, etc. There is even a potted cactus and a neon lava lamp! I added a picture of the Lego Kit at the top, appreciate the suggestion. 🙂


  2. Carri February 18, 2018 / 8:50 am

    You do have Wasserman genes! Grandma and Grandpa would be so proud

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 18, 2018 / 10:13 am

      Thanks, Aunt Carri. I don’t know if Legos didn’t exist back in the 70’s or if Mom didn’t buy them because she was afraid all those tiny parts would end up in her sweeper bag. My biggest challenge was keeping the pets, especially Peaches the cat, out of my Lego construction area. 🙂


  3. Tippy Gnu February 18, 2018 / 9:51 am

    I’ve never heard of this before. It seems like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle. Looks great, too. Now that you’ve accomplished this, maybe you can move up to building a real VW bus out of junkyard parts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 18, 2018 / 9:53 am

      I think I am already doing that. 🙂
      The poem, as I’m sure you guessed, was a parody of William Blake’s Tyger, Tyger.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tippy Gnu February 18, 2018 / 11:08 am

        No, I didn’t guess. But now when I compare them side-by-side, I see a similarity. Taking on the Lego project must have been like taking a Tyger by the tail.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Peter Klopp February 18, 2018 / 10:29 am

    Your old childhood dream of playing with Legos has truly taking on a new dimension. Never had I thought it possible that someone could write such a wonderful poem on Legos in general and on VW buses in particular. Your photos were the icing on the cake, Joan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 18, 2018 / 11:00 am

      Thanks, Peter. Once I got going, Project Lego was actually a lot of fun. Each step in the instructions makes a “module” that you snap onto what you’ve already built. Often, you have no idea what you’re building until you slide it into place. “Oh, that’s the dashboard!” or “OK, that’s where the tail lights are going to go.” I’ve been in a parodying mood of late; this poem is one of several take-offs on William Blake’s Tyger, Tyger. The photos? Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. indysligo February 18, 2018 / 11:29 am

    I grew up building with my huge Lego set. It wasn’t just one or two models, but a small plastic trash can full of pieces from dozens of box sets. After I built the new model, I’d take it apart and build something different with the new pieces mixed with the pieces I already had. That bucket is still at my parent’s house and sometimes I want to go and get them and spend an afternoon building something new. It’s rather cathartic! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 18, 2018 / 1:36 pm

      Lucky you, Scott! You should go get that bucket and spend a few hours in Lego Heaven. It might inspire a poem! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 18, 2018 / 1:44 pm

      Thanks, Marissa. “Tedium” is such an ugly word… I prefer “moving meditation.” I limited myself to 60-90 minutes a day, and usually I wanted to keep going. I had to Google “Kragle” and no, I didn’t use any, LOL. The completed piece, while fragile, stays together on its own power. Plus, Kragle wouldn’t be conducive to all the moving parts–wheels that roll, seats that recline, doors that open and close, etc. One of my sisters said she and her kids did a Lego model of Diagon Alley from Harry Potter but they disassembled it afterward. 😦


      • Janeal Ravndal February 18, 2018 / 4:57 pm

        We had one too. Red and white but sure less fancy than yours. And we took six of our teenage students from New Hampshire to Florida and back in it. It waited patiently while we flew with them to Jamaica and Haiti for a month of work camp. I remember it had so little “pick up” with our load that trying to pass another car was more than slightly terrifying.
        Your handiwork is magnificent! Janeal

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan February 18, 2018 / 6:16 pm

        Thanks, Janeal! This one is the deluxe camper model. Some had just bench seats inside, and lots of windows. That’s probably what you had, if you managed to fit six teenagers in the back. We still have our 1966, which is undergoing renovation right now. I think the amount of “pick up” is the same, regardless of the load. I get a kick out of how people wave and smile at old VW’s. 🙂


  6. snoozing on the sofa February 19, 2018 / 12:31 pm

    Remember, the final step in building any LEGO model is to leave the extra pieces on the floor for barefoot people to step on.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just Joan February 19, 2018 / 2:07 pm

      Ah ha! So that’s what the extra pieces are for! I just saved them all in a sandwich bag. I think Hell accepts donations, if you’ve got extras:


  7. circumstance227 February 19, 2018 / 5:05 pm

    I just love this to pieces! It is not surprising to me at all that you are a kid at heart, and I am impressed by the achievement. Nice pics too! And now I will spoil all this praise by adding that . . . unless you are Shakespeare . . . .

    “What mere mortal hand and eye
    would dare attempt its assembly?” . . .

    ( . . . how can I say this nicely? . . . . oh, forget it. Just be honest . . . )

    doesn’t rhyme.

    On the other hand, Shakespeare never built a Lego bus.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just Joan February 19, 2018 / 7:09 pm

      Thanks, 227! My husband suggested that the Lego kit might be worth more if it was left in the box, everything in its sealed plastic bags, etc. To me, it would be worth NOTHING if I couldn’t put it together and play with it. I did not intend “eye” and “assembly” to rhyme. My poem is a parody of William Blake’s The Tyger. Those lines parallel his: “What immortal hand or eye / could frame they fearful symmetry?” (which don’t rhyme either, except perhaps in Olde English?) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • circumstance227 February 20, 2018 / 3:38 pm

        I remember having to learn about Blake’s . . . “rhyme malfunction” . . . during my undergrad studies. Must have repressed it all. (Sorry!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan February 20, 2018 / 4:29 pm

        No problem. Maybe it’s an oblique rhyme, in Olde English. Seems he had a “spelling malfunction” too, with that y in Tyger. 🙂


  8. L. T. Garvin, Author February 22, 2018 / 12:03 pm

    Oh Joan, I’m in awe of you both channeling William Blake and dealing with over 1000 pieces of Legos! Puzzles and such have never my thing for sure. They would make my sinus headache much worse, lol. You did an amazing job and definitely deserve a gold medal for sheer endurance!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 22, 2018 / 4:39 pm

      Thanks, Lana. Don’t be over-awed about the William Blake thing… I have another parody in progress called “Booger, Booger.” The Legos required a high degree of attention to detail and following of directions (I’m pretty good at that, I was a government worker for 24 years, LOL). Of note, I initially put the Bus’s front end on upside-down (the part with the headlights, emblem, etc). It looked vaguely wrong, but nothing jumped out at me. Well, it did later, SMH. I like form poetry and parodies BECAUSE they’re puzzles. Maybe it’s hereditary, my dad likes Sudoku. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. T. Garvin, Author February 22, 2018 / 10:28 pm

        “Booger, Booger,” LOL…I can’t wait 🙂 I would say those Legos definitely require that attention to detail plus a great deal of brain power and patience. I couldn’t put anything like that together if I had the rest of my life to do it. I’ve heard that puzzles are really good for us so it is lucky that you inherited your dad’s liking of them.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. K E Garland February 27, 2018 / 6:36 pm

    Woooow! This is impressive Joan. I’m also impressed by the patience you must have.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. chevvy8 March 4, 2018 / 12:39 am

    Well done Joan! This is truly masterful and it sounds like a really thoughtful gift since you enjoyed it so much. Loved the poem/limerick too! You’ve got mail. Enjoy your Sunday Joan.😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Quirky Girl March 7, 2018 / 6:06 pm

    Legos are awesome! And thank goodness I love them so much, because every time my boys get a 10,000 piece Lego set, guess who ends up having to do most of the building? 😛

    Liked by 2 people

  12. lyart March 18, 2018 / 1:43 am

    This is really cool. I loved LEGO as a kid, too. Never knew, they had a VW Bus (as it is simply called in Germany) on offer. Will have to look for one…


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