1937 Buick Special

Me and Olivia

Me and Olivia
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Me and "The Hell Bitch"

Me and "The Hell Bitch"
My 50th birthday gift to myself a 2004 Harley she is named after Captain Call's horse on Lonesome Dove.

I Want This Bike!

I Want This Bike!
Me On A 1942 Harley

My Favorite TV Show

The Location Of My Visitors!

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

MHS Class of 1947

Larry and Gladys Hunter
Sixty Years Later
Reminiscing Minden High School Class of 1947
This year is my 30th high school reunion from Minden High 1977. But this story is not about my class but the one that was thirty years prior to my class. This is a story tribute story for the class of 1947. This story is written with help from my dear friend Mr. Ben Hunter.
Hunter’s Playhouse for many was not only a local hangout for the weekends but it became a life changing experience. Young couples were introduced and young loves would blossom and for many this would turnout to be their lifelong partners or lifelong friends. The time was mid 1940’s and Larry and Gladys Hunter wanted to supply the children of Minden and the surrounding area with good wholesome entertainment and a place to hangout on weekends. World War II was over and the whole country was now ready for things to take a turn for the better. The future graduating class of 1947 was young and full of ideas and sometimes lots of mischief.
Fun at the Hunter family home had been around since the 1930’s in one form or another with regular teen parties and activities in what was then called the “Little Playhouse”. Larry and Gladys loved children, with six children of their own teen parties were almost a necessity and a way of life for this family. In the post war years of WWII the idea of a better place for teen activities was born and a new building was soon erected that would forever be known as “Hunter’s Playhouse”. This small white building would soon come to be the place to go for young teens and pre-teens of Minden.
Maybe the Hunter family was way ahead of their time or maybe the thought of controlled activities for children were not only a way to keep and eye on their own children but a way to keep other kids safe and out of trouble. They had strict rules and you abided by them or you were escorted out. The sign on the door read NO IN & OUT! Once you got there you didn’t leave to go out to your car or hang out outside. You were chaperoned by one of the older Hunter family members or the Hunter parents. Music played softly on the Wurlitzer Juke Box, two slow and one fast was the rules on dancing and the juke box songs were strategically arranged just for this purpose. Everything was thought out to make your experience a fun and wholesome time. Parents didn’t have to worry if their kids were at Hunter’s Playhouse.
Pool tables and ping-pong were games of choice and with plenty of costume themed parties, birthday parties, and valentine parties there was always something fun and exciting happening. The little white house would forever hold a lifetime of memories for so many and still today those memories are as vivid as if they happened just yesterday. The real figure for how many lasting romances were born may never be known. Many are celebrating 60 plus years as man and wife. Friendships of a lifetime may even be far more than that.
Over the years many people have been asked, “What changed your life when you were growing up in small town Minden?” The answer for most that are 1940-1960’s graduates of Minden High will tell you that Hunter’s Playhouse changed their lives and the way they viewed life in general. So many successful individuals of this era say that this experience is what made them the people that they are today. Educators, lawyers, artist, surgeons, optometrist, preachers, doctors, judges, politicians, military officers, police chiefs, professional baseball, basketball, football players and many professionals came from this lot of Minden teens.
This year the Minden High Class of 1947 will celebrate their 60th reunion. Memories will be relived and tears will be shed at this reunion of classmates from long ago. Minden High has changed forever but for many it will forever be just a thought away to what many have called the “Good Ole Days”
One such individual wrote a poem that seemed to sum up much of what the class of 1947 experienced. The following is a poem by my friend, Ben Hunter.

“In Memory”

Our Class of ’47 lived through a time of fear;
While in Minden High School, World War II was here.

Loved ones went to fight the foe;
They were brave and knew they had to go.

Because of them, we had a great pride;
For those who did not return, we cried and cried.

World War II was hard to comprehend – why did it have to be?
So many loved ones never returned from across the sea.

The year of 1947 scattered us like leaves in the wind;
Challenges were taken and careers achieved in the end.

Then 1951 saw soon to be doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs
graduate from college with relief.

We learned through the years to make new friends, but keep the old.
New friends are like silver; old friends are gold.

Sixty years have passed and we old friends gather to remember,
especially our classmates who did not reach November.

Let us pause and have a roll call
for those we miss and love, one and all.

To those whom we hold so dear,
We dedicate or 60th year.

In retrospect I wonder what Larry and Gladys Hunter would have to say to this class of 1947. In my mind they might have said something along these lines:

To the Class of 1947
In 1946 we built you a playhouse to call your own. This class of 1947 was the first graduating class from the new “Hunter’s Playhouse”. We had many good times and we have now witnessed the fruit of my labors many times over.
Sixty years have passed since the day you received your caps and gowns. Many of you have left this earth and are only with us in spirit as we ourselves are today. So many changes in this world have come to pass but the one thing that never changes is the love and friendships that were formed from this small group of young people from so many years ago. We are proud of you not only as a group but as individuals. You far exceeded many expectations. But we knew that you had it in you to succeed. For many it only took a little discipline and prodding to get your true potential to unfold. We are glad that we got to witness this amazing thing called life in a place called Minden, Louisiana. We are also glad that we all came together to form a bond that will last for all of eternity. So until we meet again.
We are your friends,
Larry & Gladys Hunter

The Hunter family has always been a major contributor to the Minden area and especially in the field of giving back and helping children. Mr. Hunter a baseball fan was known for his work and dedication to helping young boys get started in baseball and semi-pro baseball. But that is another story and many are familiar with this aspect of the Hunter family. The other is their dedication to young and aspiring individuals with the Larry and Gladys Hunter Scholarship that is given to a worthy student every year to future their education. You can go on and on about the Hunter family and their philanthropic ways to better their community. Today that tradition lives on and the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Minden, Inc. is a regular supporter of many community events and Minden will be forever grateful to all that they do to support their community and better the lives of those that have known them past and present.
In 1997 Ben Hunter compiled a book with the help of many; submitted stories entitled “Memories of Hunter’s”. This year the family has agreed to donate the remainder of the books to help with funding for the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum project. This wonderful trip down memory lane is still available for $20.00 plus $5.00 shipping and handling. If you would like a copy please send your check made out to Dorcheat Historical Association & Museum, Inc. to P.O. Box 1094 Minden, La. 71058. You can also contact Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192 or iluvoldcars@yahoo.com to pick up your copy of “Memories of Hunter’s.”
If you were one of those lucky individuals that grew up with Hunter’s Playhouse as a backdrop for your life we would like to hear from you and hope that you will express to us how Hunter’s Playhouse changed and influenced your life. We know that so many have unique stories and so many want to tell them. We ask that you send them to Schelley Brown at iluvoldcars@yahoo.com.

The Ninth Reindeer

Rudolph, "the most famous reindeer of all," was born over a hundred years after his eight flying counterparts. The red-nosed wonder was the creation of 34-year-old Robert L. May, a copywriter at the Montgomery Ward department store. The Chicago-based Montgomery Ward company had been purchasing and distributing children's coloring books as Christmas gifts for their customers for several years. In 1939, May wrote a Christmas-themed story-poem to help bring holiday traffic into his store. Using a similar rhyme pattern to ***Moore's "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," May told the story of Rudolph, a young reindeer who was teased by the other deer because of his large, glowing, red nose. But, when Christmas Eve turned foggy and Santa worried that he wouldn't be able to deliver gifts that night, the former outcast saved Christmas by leading the sleigh with the light of his red nose.
May drew from "The Ugly Duckling" in part and also from his own experiences as an often-taunted, small, frail youth to create the story of the misfit reindeer. Though Rollo and Reginald were considered, May settled on Rudolph as his reindeer's name. Writing in verse as a series of rhyming couplets, May tested the story on his 4-year old daughter Barbara as he went along. She loved the story.
Rudolph's message that, given the opportunity, a liability can be turned into an asset proved popular. Montgomery Ward gave away almost two and a half million copies of the story in 1939. When it was reissued in 1946, the book sold over three and half million copies. Despite the wartime paper shortage, over 6 million copies had been distributed by 1946.
Sadly, Robert May’s wife died around the time he was creating Rudolph, leaving him deeply in debt due to medical bills. However, he was able to persuade Sewell Avery, Montgomery Ward's corporate president, to turn the copyright over to him in January 1947, thus ensuring May's financial security. May's story "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was printed commercially in 1947, and in 1948 a nine-minute cartoon of the story was shown in theaters.
Several years later, May’s songwriting brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, wrote a short song based on Rudolph's story in 1949. Johnny Marks was a Jewish-American songwriter who was born in 1909 and passed away in 1985. He is most remembered for his Christmas songs, which included, of course, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” He also wrote “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” which was first recorded by Bing Crosby, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” which became a big hit for Brenda Lee, and “A Holly Jolly Christmas” recorded by Burl Ives.
The reindeer song was recorded by Gene Autry at the urging of Autry’s wife. This simple children’s song sold two million copies that year, going on to become one of the best-selling songs*** of all time, second only to Bing Crosby's "White Christmas." Since then, the story has been translated into 25 languages and made into a television movie which has charmed audiences every year since its beginning. In 1964, Rudolph made his first television appearance on NBC, when Rankin/Bass produced the stop-motion animated TV special of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. This version had been re-broadcast many times over the years, even after it was finally released on Video and DVD. CBS now airs it each year, making it the longest running TV special ever. I bet if you have children or grandchildren you have a copy of this show in your collection. If you don’t, you can bet you’ll be seeing it on TV this season.
It is narrated by Sam the Snowman, voiced by Burl Ives, who tells Rudolph’s sometimes sad and sometimes wild ride to fame. Children as young as a year old can recognize the Red-Nosed Reindeer as well as they identify with Santa Clause. Rudolph toys, ornaments, books, tapes, DVD’s and videos are always under the tree or in a stocking in most homes across America.
Learning the words to Rudolph is also something you learned at a very young age, but for those who may have forgotten the song, I will include it in my story:

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.
But do you recall,
The most famous reindeer of all?

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,
Had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw it,
You would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer,
Used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph,
Join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say,
“Rudolph, with your nose so bright,
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

Then all the reindeer loved him,
As they shouted out with glee:
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,
You’ll go down in history!”

Christmas 1914

World War One, Christmas 1914 the Christmas Truce

A few years ago during the Christmas Season, Mike Harper told me to read the book Silent Night by Stanley Weintraub. I immediately purchased and read it. It is a book definitely worth reading, especially if you enjoy history and World War I information. It is a book that shows how even in the most horrific circumstances the human spirit will emerge. It is especially moving to see how Christians, even while fighting each other, will look deep inside and take time to remember what they believe it is to be human and the right thing to do.

One of the saddest wars ever fought, World War I, saw the destruction of human beings in mass numbers. When it was over, no one knew why it was ever fought. It caused more than 11 million deaths and brought about the end of four empires. Although the popular memory of World War One is normally one of horrific casualties and wasted life, the conflict does have tales of comradeship and peace. One of the most remarkable, and heavily mythologized, events concerns the “Christmas Truce of 1914,” in which the soldiers of the Western Front laid down their arms on Christmas day and met in “No Man’s Land,” a 500-mile stretch across Belgium.
Deep in war-torn Belgium, the Belgian, British, English, French and German soldiers had carved deep trenches for hundreds of miles. During the weeks proceeding December 24, 1914, both sides had suffered close to one million casualties over just a small, 12-mile stretch. The constant slaughter was so fierce that the dead bodies lay across the field, stretching from the Allied lines all the way to the German lines, and neither side was able to bury its dead.
There are many accounts of the Christmas Truce, which at first was just believed to have taken place between the Belgian, English and German soldiers along this particular 12-mile stretch. Later, it was learned that similar scenes had taken place for hundreds of miles in Belgium on that long-ago Christmas day. One account is that, even during Christmas Eve, the fighting continued all day. Then, at midnight, during the silence of that cold, moonlit night, a church bell in a town not far away began to ring out, heralding the arrival of Christmas day. Suddenly, lights began to appear all along the German trench lines. The English assumed that the Germans were preparing a nighttime attack. The bugles rang out, sounding the alarm, and the English soldiers grabbed their weapons and rushed to the edge of the trenches. “Please God, not today as well,” an English soldier was overheard saying. A still hush fell over the battlefield, when out of the cold night air, the English heard a most beautiful voice coming form the German lines singing a familiar song in German language. The song was soon recognized as “Silent Night, Holy Night.” When the German soldier finished the first verse, one brave English soldier stood and began singing the second. One by one, men rose up from the frozen entrenchments and began to join in, until almost every soldier, German and English, were singing. The lights, they soon learned, were the Germans taking branches and making small Christmas trees, sticking them in the snow-covered trench walls. The words, “No shoot to-night, Jock! Sing to-night,” were repeated many times.
All along a war-torn Europe that day, a small moment of peace was taken in. One by one, soldiers of both sides crept out from their frozen, muddy existence and cautiously walked toward the enemy to shake hands in the center of No Man’s Land. They agreed to let each side bury its dead and pay respects to these men who had lost their lives in the horrific battles from the days before. Prayers were said over both enemy and allied forces. The war-weary men embraced each other and cried. They shared what little food and cigarettes they had and exchanged small tokens, such as cigarette lighters, buttons, pipes and chocolate. Many of these souvenirs survived the war and made it back to the United States as proof of the 1914 Truce. Along the lines, a few men actually had cameras, and pictures were taken of the exchange of goodwill and humanity that day.
Family pictures were shown and admired and cried over. Some of the English men learned of men in the German troops who had been barbers, and these German men gave haircuts and shaves to the allied troops as Christmas gifts. They had become so close over these few hours that they had no fear of being killed by a razor from a German soldier. They sang and laughed and tried to put the war out of their thoughts, if only for a few hours. Someone along the lines had a football of sorts, and a game began. It is said that the Germans beat the English in that rowdy game of primitive football. One German, when asked by an officer of the 6th Battalion whether he was tired of the war, looked up wistfully at his tall questioner and whispered in pathetic English “Home, sweet, home!”
In some instances, the truce only lasted a few hours, when officers threatened punishment for soldiers who refused to end the no-fire zone. For others, the fighting is said to have ceased until over a week later. Officers were sent in, and troops were pulled back and replaced with fresher troops who had not witnessed the exchange of humanity. The troops who were pulled back could not shoot someone who they had just played games with, sang with and prayed with.
During the following years, orders were given to make sure that this act was not repeated. Officers were warned of possible repeats, and threats were made to the men if they were caught in an attempt to cease fire. However, that 1914 Christmas exchange would never be forgotten. Even though the military officials would like for it to never have existed, it did. This event showed that many humans, given the opportunity, would rather have peace and not war. You can be made to fight, but you can’t be made to hate. This was the gift given to many across Europe in 1914.
In November of 2005, the last known survivor of the 1914 “Christmas Truce” died at the age of 109. Alfred Anderson died in his sleep at a nursing home in Newtyle, Scotland. He was the last man to have heard the guns fall silent along the Western Front. He was also reported to be Scotland’s oldest citizen.
Mr. Anderson was an 18-year-old soldier in the Black Watch Regiment when British and Germans troops cautiously emerged from the trenches that Christmas day. “I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence,” Mr. Anderson told London’s Observer newspaper. “All I’d heard for two months in the trenches was the hissing, cracking and whining of bullets in flight, machine gun fire and distant Germans voices,” said Mr. Anderson, who was billeted in a French farmhouse behind the front lines. “But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted, ‘Merry Christmas,’ even though nobody felt merry. The silence ended early in the afternoon, and the killing started again. It was a show of peace in a terrible war.”
As a remembrance, a cross was erected in Ypres in Belgium in 1999 to celebrate the site of the Christmas Truce. The text reads: 1914 / The Khaki Chum’s Christmas Truce / 1999 / 85 Years / Lest We Forget. If you would like to learn more about the Christmas Truce, I urge you to get a copy of Silent Night. It is a story worth knowing.

Let Me Call You Sweetheart!

S.D. Huffman as a boy (my Grandaddy)

Marie & S.D. and Omega (my mother as a baby)

Inez Cooper sister of my grandmother
Marie Cooper Huffman 1937
My Grandmother
Collecting paper items is something that I have always been drawn to. Several years ago, when my great aunt passed away, I formed an appreciation of old Valentines. My Great-Aunt Willie Farley had been a school teacher in the ‘10s, ‘20s and ‘30s in Hico, Louisiana. She kept all of her valentines that she received from children over the years in a shoe box. When she passed away, my mother and aunt cleaned out her home, and this box of valentines was discovered, along with every car manual from every car they ever owned. They never had children and had spent their later years in their home in Shreveport, while still owning their home in Hico. It was like stepping back into the 1950s. They didn’t throw much away. With me being the antique lover that I am, I loved of digging into old trunks and looking through old dresser drawers and closets.
My great-aunt loved genealogy and in her later years went overseas to research our family.

Many volumes of paper were left to be gone through to unravel our family’s roots, but now let me get back to the Valentines. The one I found that was the most cherished was a homemade Valentine from a young girl named Inez Cooper. Inez Cooper would later become related to Willie Farley by marriage. Willie Farley was the sister of my granddaddy S.D. Huffman of Dubach, Louisiana. He married Inez’s sister Marie. Marie was my mother’s mother.

Now that you have that little bit of my family history, I will go on with my story.
It was so interesting to look through all those cards that for so many years were safe kept as cherished possessions. The names on the backs of the cards were from children, many who still resided in Lincoln parish. My mother and aunt knew many of the names from so long ago. The art work was varied from very good to not so artistic. The fancy paper ones were funny and beautiful with the paper honeycombs still working on most. The 1920s and ‘30s artwork was so different from today’s valentines. It was a different era of time and values. It was the simple act of showing appreciation and love for you teacher. (I think it is a shame that some schools do not allow the swapping of valentines anymore.) I took those tiny cards and made a shadow box frame. They now grace my wall as a part of my family’s past that should not be forgotten and put away in a musty old shoebox.
History and family is a very important part of most people’s lives, and the gift of a Valentine can always brighten someone’s day. So this year for February 14th don’t forget the people who mean the most to you. A simple Valentine could one day turn into a cherished memory for someone very special. In fact, I received an antique Valentine last year from someone I met after researching for a story about Mr. Nick Gordon. Elsy Bless, a WWII survivor, sent me an antique Valentine from Holland! I had mentioned to her my love of the cards. Now I have a special memory of Elsy and the friendship we made even though I have never met her in person.
The following Valentine information is taken from the President and Vice President of the National Valentine Collector’s Association (NVCA) Evalene Pulati and Nancy Rosin:

The feast of Saint Valentine has been associated with romance for 1,000 years. King Henry VIII made Valentine’s Day a national holiday. Love tokens were frequently given on the feast, almost always anonymously. Until the 1800s, they were usually handmade at home. A man or woman could spend days creating fancy drawings or cut work. Finished love token cards also could be made or written to order by specialists.
Commercially made cards became practical in the 1840s as the quality of both fancy paper and color printing was developed and refined. Lace paper, which had been around for decades, became widely available in Europe and imported into the U.S. Commercial valentine making began in the early 1800s in the U.S.
In the 1850s, Esther Howland, an enterprising Mt. Holyoke Women’s Seminary graduate, became wealthy as America’s first assembly-line producer of high-quality lacy valentines. She used imported lace paper to make folding creations that began at a dime but reportedly could cost up to $35 each, about the same cost as a horse and buggy. Today, her small cards bring around $30 and her larger ones, around $300. Look for an H in the upper left-hand corner of the back. (An H on the right corner is a different maker, 20 years later.)
Esther Howland’s earliest, largest and fanciest valentines aren’t signed and are recognized mostly by style. Her later cards were marked with a red H in the upper left-hand corner of the back. In 1881, Esther Howland sold out to Whitney, a major printer of children’s books.
Whitney’s biggest competitor, McLoughlin, also had a line of valentines. Some McLoughlin valentines have a blue H in the upper right-hand corner. The H confuses some people into believing they have found a Howland valentine. Sadly, this is not so. Blue H cards are by McLoughlin and usually sell for a more modest $10-$35.
By the 1800s, the so-called “comic” valentines appeared. Sent anonymously, they were a form of social criticism, cruelly pointing out people’s faults. Folks didn’t like getting them then, and they’re not favorites of too many of today’s collectors, usually selling for less than $20. About 100 years ago, the valentine to get was a German fold-out card with honeycomb tissue and beautiful die-cuts. U.S. valentines were similar but usually less fancy.
Like Kate Greenaway did in the 1880s, many top illustrators (including Norman Rockwell, Rose O’Neil, Grace Drayton, and Francis Brundage) drew valentines during the '20s boom and the Great Depression of the '30s. Their work is popular today (worth $20-$50). Postcard valentines and paper novelty valentines made for kids in the '20s are collectible but sell for less than $20 today. Few collectors care about the simple valentines most of us grew up with (from the 1950s on). They’re inexpensive and available, making them a great hobby to start now.
So, the next time you go to a garage sale or a flea market, check out some of those old valentines. You will get a smile on your face just reading them. Until next time, seal it with a kiss!
Let me call you sweetheart is also one of my favorite songs, and I will include it for my Valentine wish to all of you.

Let Me Call You Sweetheart
Words by Beth Slater Whitson. Music by Leo Friedman. (1910) Recorded by Ruth Etting in 1931.
Let me call you Sweetheart.I'm in love with you. Let me hear you whisper that you love me too. Keep the lovelight glowing in your eyes so true.Let me call you Sweetheart.I'm in love with you! I am dreaming, dear, of you,Day by day.Dreaming when the skies are blue, When they're gray. When the silv'ry moonlight gleams, Still I wander on in dreams,In a land of love, it seems, Just with you.... Let me call you Sweetheart.I'm in love with you.Let me hear you whisper that you love me too. Keep the lovelight glowing in your eyes so true.Let me call you Sweetheart.I'm in love with you!

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

This is a much said phrase by kids who live in the South. Every kid wants to use up those far and few snow days to get out of school. Most of us in this area can probably count on two hands the amount of times a significant amount of snow was on the ground in Louisiana.

The snow days when I remember having the most fun go back to the 70s and 80s. Do you remember the year the Red River froze over? I also remember a pretty good one in the mid 70s while I was still going to MHS. That gave me the perfect chance to test my driving abilities in the snow. It also gave a few others whose names I’m choosing not to disclose the chance to show their superior driving skills by their ability to cut donuts out at Caney Lake in the middle of the night in all that snow! I believe the car was a black 1974 or 75 Grand Prix. For those who can remember back that far, you probably can figure out who that person is. Hint: his wife is a dental hygienist named Gay. When you are young, you are fearless, and I think my generation was very much into believing that we were indestructible.

I have a few other memories of first snows when I was very young. I made a snowman with my daddy in our front yard one year, but then the yard looked ugly with big snowball tracks all in it. I didn’t like that. When you don’t get a lot of snow, you get down to the grass pretty quick with your snowballs. I also remember the smaller Louisiana versions of snowmen. You know the ones you make on the hood of the car because the snow didn’t stick on the ground! Those little hood ornament snowmen rode all over town until that motor heated up the hood. At the first red-light you came to, off he slid onto the road!

Snow when you are a kid is the best kind of snow even if you don’t get much. In Louisiana you never saw a sled, so you always ***made due*** with what you had. What we had was a 30-foot steep driveway. We would sit in our white enamel dishpan and slide down the hill, while Daddy stood at the bottom to keep a car from hitting you. Later we would advance to a car hood behind a four wheeler which is not too smart. We also used to get a big piece of plastic and take it over by the high school track field and slide down the big hill. Or we would go to East Todd Street and slide down that hill on a flat piece of cardboard. You used whatever you could find when you were a kid or even a teenager back then. I later would acquire a sled just in case; I’m still waiting for a good opportunity to use it. I think I may have gotten it out once in the last 15 years!

When you get older, you tend to not want it to snow because people in Louisiana don’t know how to drive in bad weather, especially snow and ice. I hope I never get too old to not want it to snow. So my wish for this winter is LET IT SNOW!

Sam & Donna Rindskopf

When You Loose Your Material Possessions

Many of you remember a few years ago the beautiful cover car a 1957 Chevy Nomad owned by MOTAA members Sam and Donna Rindskopf. Sam and Donna became MOTAA members while being members and past president of the Ark-La-Tex Antique and Classic Car Association in Shreveport.
A few years ago Sam and Donna were transferred back to their home state of California. We knew we would miss them. They are the kind of folks that are true car people and true friends. They moved to right outside of San Diego in a beautiful home atop a hill overlooking the magnificent California scenery. They quickly joined a Chevy club and became involved in meeting many new friends.
We stayed in contact by occasional phone calls and emails. Donna would email when she needed a new sponsor for her guide dog puppy fund. Donna as many of you know trains Seeing Eye dogs for the blind. She has done this for many years.
Sam and Donna have suffered a tremendous set back and I want all of you to remember them in prayer. While they were helping a daughter move some things in Las Vegas, the California fires were raging. They had boarded their dogs in a kennel in town and left a key with a neighbor for the care of the cats. Donna’s new Seeing Eye dog was with them.
The Witch Creek fire took 40 years of Sam and Donna’s lives together in just a few hours. The following is the email that I received from Donna.

I wanted to let all of those showing your concerns and prayers that the animals, Sam & I are safe. As far as Sam & I we have lost EVERYTHING. We were moving some things to Las Vegas for Tonya when the Witch Creek Fire started so we headed home trying to listen to updates. We had friends & neighbors keeping us informed as to the evacuation so we had told 1 of our neighbors where our house key was so if they had to evacuate before we could get home they would get our cats. Our other 2 dogs were being boarded at a kennel in Ramona and I had Guide Dog Puppy Horatio with us. When we got to our roads to get to our house they were completely closed and the police and fire department would not let anyone through no matter what. We tried getting in another way and that was unsuccessful as well. So needless to say we lost 40 years of family photos, mementos, antiques, collectibles, etc. , as well as the motor home ,car trailer with the 57 Chevy PU in it, the Honda Accord, the 93 Chevy PU, the 1979 Chevy Camaro, the 1957 Chevy NOMAD and a 4 day old 2008 Corvette(Sam’s dream car). We are staying with Sam’s sister Shawna and have not been able to get back into Ramona to see what we can salvage. We are hoping by Thursday so we have gone shopping for respirators, gloves sifters, trash bags, etc so we will be prepared to clean up and be protected. It is very hard to comprehend what our loss is until we actually get back to our home. Our families and friends have been our support through this horrific ordeal and we don’t know what we would do without them.Sam and I want to thank all of you that have sent your thoughts and prayers our way.
I will try to keep in touch as much as possible.
Take care and have a tail waggin day,

I have not been able to get in touch with them by phone yet but again I ask you to put them on your prayer list. Imagine loosing everything, I can’t even begin to be able to grasp what that must feel like. Car people stick together and that is why I thought the MOTAA family needed to know this. Sam and Donna if you get this copy of ACT we all love you and will be here if you need us.

Dubach Louisiana What I Did On My Summer Vacation!

Dubach Then and Now
Dubach High School Then
The Old Store

Gary & Craig Couch On Fuller Hill
Randy Huffman On Fuller Hill

News from the road for September 2004
What I did on my summer vacation! Do you remember writing that essay when you went back to school? My favorite summer vacations were always spent with my aunts. I’ve had lots of people that I called aunts during my life. Most were my aunts and some were my great aunts. All of them were fun to visit, especially during the summer.
My Aunt Ellen, my mothers little sister would always take me home with her to Dubach, La. when I was in grade school. My Aunt Ellen and Uncle Norman lived on Fuller Hill when they first got married and back then Fuller Hill was where most of your young married couples lived. Young families could afford to live on the hill because the rent ranged from $25-$40 dollars a month. Back then, even that money was hard to come by especially in Dubach. Most folks worked for the highway, gas plants, or oil fields.
My Aunt Bobbie and my Uncle Pete also lived on the hill. Aunt Bobbie is my daddy’s sister. They had two boys, my cousins Gary and Craig Couch. Next door to my Aunt Bobbie the Williams family lived; with kids Rene’ and Mike. Fuller Hill kids were tougher because they had to rule the hill. You probably aren’t considered a true native of Dubach if you’ve never lived on Fuller Hill. Mark Twain could have written Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn easily after a visit to the Hill.
One of my favorite parts of staying with my Aunts was being able to walk to the store by myself or with the gang of kids that ruled the Hill. “Mr. Johnny’s” was the store and to me it always had the smell of fresh cut meat on the butcher block and fresh vegetables lying in a bin in the center of the store. I can still remember the little shopping cart with the squeaky wheels on the old cement floor. Behind the counter you had a wide assortment of items that you may need from car fuses, fly swatters, hair rollers and cigarettes. But the best part of all was the penny candy, and the Coke box with the 5 cent Big Chief Chocolate Drinks and the Big Chief Red’s. I loved those and they have never tasted as good as they did when you were barefooted and covered in North Louisiana dirt. I can still hear the pop of the screen door on that old store as we would go in and out a million times a day with our pennies.
We played hard and we played all day on the Hill. The big kids built forts in the woods that were off limits to the little kids! With the help of my Uncle Pete a two-story fort was built for the younger kids. This architectural wonder was off limits to the big kids! The girls would just make houses out of pine-straw. We ate watermelon on the back porch in the evening, caught lightning bugs in jars at night, rode our bikes till they made us come in and got up early in the morning to start the day at Dubach’s Summer Recreation program. All of this with out wearing shoes. I don’t think we wore shoes all summer!
Summer Recreation was held in the gym of the old Dubach High School. Mrs. Tutter Colvin and Mrs. McKeithen were the ladies that supervised all the kids. We thought we could build the world, with Popsicle sticks, glue and glitter. I bet lots of mothers that have lived along Hwy. 167 still have their jewelry boxes or maybe a bird house or two that was constructed by kids in the early 60’s. These were cherished works of art. We had mosaics for the more advanced artist. I never advanced!
Most of the boys played basketball while the girls made their Popsicle stick master pieces. You sometimes got an occasional basketball right in the middle of your art work. I always sat on the top row of bleachers to keep this from happening to me. You would work for several days or even all week on your projects because they had to dry for quite awhile. We kept Elmer’s in business, due to all the glue we used.
I remember leaving the gym with some of the kids, my uncle, Randy Huffman, or my cousins, Gary and Craig. We would walk down to the train track that ran through the middle of town to lay our pennies on the tracks. We would try to go back the next day and pick up the flattened out copper spheres.
We would go to Ball’s pharmacy and sit on the floor to look at the comic books. If we had money we’d sit at the ice cream counter for our milkshakes or a cone. I loved to watch the Mexican Jumping beans that they sold. My Aunt Ellen would always buy me a package of them every time I stayed with her. I always wanted to bust them open to look inside but never did. Especially when my Cousin Craig told me it was worms inside that made them jump! I didn’t believe him then, but I guess he was right.
Another good place to go in Dubach back then was “Hamilton’s”. It seemed to me that this store had everything you could want in there. They had the little stripped canvas carry-all that you would pick up at the door to do your shopping with. My favorite thing in this store was the tradition that every kid got a free, big lemon cookie out of the Jack’s cookie container that sat on the end of one of the shelves. Later in life I found one of these cookie containers and bought it, just because of that memory of my childhood. Do kids today even know what a Jack’s cookie is?
My daddy’s other sister Betty Lou had a big family and we would load up in one of their big old cars and head to Ruston for Buck Night at the drive-in. We would take a blanket and load the car up and head out. Do you remember the mosquito coils that you burned at the drive-in? All the kids would lie on the blanket on top of the car. I don’t think cars today could take that much weight on top of them with out caving in. We also would go to the Dubach skating rink. This was an old building with a huge fan in the wall, at one end and holes in the floor at the other. This was one of the best places to me as a kid. You could bring your own 45’s and pick them up and the end of the night. The closest thing that Minden had to this was the Sibley skating rink. It was about the same set up and was the cool place to hang out on Friday and Saturday night. My Mama would drop me and my friends off and threaten to kill me if I went outside. The kids that smoked hung-out outside. We were younger so we didn’t venture out too much! I think the building is still there where Tharpe’s wrecking yard is.
My Great Aunts had dairy farms or drove school buses in Hico, La. this was a good place to go too. One of my great, great aunts; Armour Hood, dipped snuff and could spit all the way across the room to hit a spittoon. She was also an avid watcher of Jack Lelane. We would do jumping jacks and she would spit across the room. I was always amazed at her aim. Her son, my cousin, Reese Hood lives in Minden today.
My other Great Aunt, Inez Barnett, had dairy cows. Her barn was always where you spent all your time watching them milk the cows before the electric milking machines were put into use. I would sit on a stool with cats all around me. She would shoot me with milk as she was milking. I was never good at learning to milk a cow. I did once fall through the hay bails in the barn and about had a near death experience. I didn’t climb on the hay after that. She had an out-house back then and I hated that thing. They later did get indoor plumbing but I still remember taking a bath in a #3 washtub on the back porch! She had a little house in the back they called the “Brown House” and I loved to sleep out there when we stayed overnight. I remember the old iron bed and kerosene light. It seemed the smell of fresh hay in the barn was always so strong, especially at night.
The other day I went to Dubach and cried all the way home. They highway department has made a lot of progress. I think they have killed Dubach. I always thought two lanes were plenty! How many lanes do you need to get to Ruston or El Dorado? They have taken almost all the houses, buildings and the school that I remember as a kid and torn them down. Downtown still has a few businesses but not like its hay-day. Fuller Hill is long gone.
The memories still remain for anyone that ever had the privilege of living on a limited income and with the love of lots of family members that were all so close it didn’t matter if you were staying with your mom’s side one night and walking down the street to your dad’s side of the family the next night. We were all one big family and we still are. Even though some of the ones that I remember so fondly are gone now they will always be in my memories and a part of our family!
Dubach Restoration and Beautification Organization has done an amazing job in trying to give Dubach life, DRABO is alive and well and the Dubach Chicken Festival is a great gathering of “Dubachians.” It is a place and a time to remember the old times and the old places. If you are from Dubach you want be sure and be at the Chicken Festival on Saturday September 25th or any other events that are scheduled to promote Dubach. The Hamilton Warehouse is a great old building that is a wonderful place to rent for family reunions, etc.
I have lots of great memories of Lincoln parish summers and this is only a small part. Dubach will always have a special place in my heart. Maybe later I will remember more until then I will be seeing you down the road.

"Wayne Chance"

“They say he has gasoline in his blood”
People always seem to ask, “Why do you like old cars?” My answer is sometimes long. A big part of that reason is because of a man named Wayne Chance. Wayne lived around the corner from where I grew up in Minden, Louisiana. He always had a car under the carport or in the garage that he was working on. I have always loved antiques, period. From old clothes to old pictures, if it was old, I loved it and wanted it. To me cars were just an extension, of that love for the old. To me antique cars are the ultimate antique. They are a way of expressing your inner-self. They are an extension of your personality. In some ways, they even form your personality.
The following story is about a man that I have always admired, because he was maybe one of the biggest factors influencing me with my love for old cars. After all, he is the one that, sold me that first car. A 51 Pontiac, when I was 15 years old, for $200.00! He was the one that saved all of his old Hemmings Motor News Magazines for me. I took those magazines and looked ever car over, while I dreamed of the day that I would be able to get something bigger and better. This is about the special feeling, of seeing that person that watched you grow up, watching you go through the judging stand of your first Petit Jean show. You get the feeling that you have finally accomplished something that you have always wanted. You get the feeling of completion and total satisfaction with your life. That may sound strange to some. But I bet there are a few that understand that last statement.
Wayne Chance was born and raised in Sabine Parish in the city of Florien, Louisiana. Wayne graduated from Florien High. During these years he was a star basketball player for the Florien Black Cats. Wayne always had a love of cars but didn’t always have the money to fund this love. During high school, Wayne worked for Mr. Andy Speights wrecking yard and garage. Wayne told me he wished Mr. Speights were alive today, so that he could thank him, for all the things that he did for him. He helped Wayne finance his first car when he was fifteen years old. That ‘49 Chevy was the first of many cars for the Chance family. When Wayne would pile the cars into the wrecking yard, Mr. Andy would tell Wayne to check the gas tanks! If the cars had a drop of gas he would let Wayne siphon it off and put it in the old ‘49. If a car came in that had better tires on it, Mr. Andy would tell Wayne to swap tires and get him a better set of rubber for the old ‘49. Mr. Andy also funded Wayne’s weekends, with a $5.00 loan for movies and dates. This loan would be added to Wayne’s tab, to be worked off the next week. Wayne said Mr. Speights was the one that got him started with his life-long love of the old car hobby. Wayne’s job was to pull the engines and stack the tires. He learned a lot and learned to love cars. Everyone has someone in the beginning that inspires that love for cars. My inspirational someone is Wayne Chance. Wayne’s someone is Andy Speights.
In 1962 Wayne married his other love. LaVerne Chance was also a pretty good basketball player in her day and this attracted Wayne to her. In 1963 the first child came along. That first child was a 1939 Chevy resto-rod. The other children Danny and Karla would follow soon after. Five grandchildren are now the center of attention in the Chance household. Son, Danny has a son and daughter. Karla is the mother of three little girls. The first child, the 1939 Chevy is still such a part of the family that it shares space on the wall with the other family members and is the backdrop of family portraits. Son, Danny also shares his father’s love of cars. Danny owns a 1963 Corvette and is in the process of a ground-up restoration with his Dad on a 55 Chevy.
Wayne and LaVerne both went into the medical field. LaVerne became an R.N. and retired several years ago. Wayne retired in 2000 from the Minden Medical Center as director of the Radiology department. You have to work somewhere to be able to fund your habits when it comes to the old car hobby. As we all know this hobby doesn’t come cheap!
Wayne’s brothers, Carl and David also have the love of cars. This love has remained a constant in the Chance family with probably at least 100 cars between the three brothers at any given time. The brothers are regulars at the Pate Swap Meet in Texas. In fact they have made almost every year at Pate for the last thirty years. Swap meets are where Wayne says he is happiest, in his car world element. It is the thrill and excitement of the hunt. It is the fact of not knowing what you will find, around the next corner or in the next booth. The hope of finding that rare part or car that you have been looking for! It’s where you may find something that you have looked for over a period of many years. Wayne first came to Petit Jean Mountain in 1973 with Mr. Ervin Talton and Wayne Crawford, for the annual Father’s Day Show and hasn’t missed many since. He loves the mountain and the swap meet is his favorite hunting ground. He never goes far without an empty car trailer (just in case)! He travels to the Hershey and Carlisle, Pennsylvania swap meets on a regular basis. The illusive car of his dreams is the type car that he had when he married in 1963. He told me that for the last 20 years he has been in search for a 1950 Oldsmobile 2 door 88 Holiday Hardtop! So if anyone out there knows where he can find one he would love to hear from you!
He has his garages near his home filled to capacity. One garage he built two-story just to have room for spare parts! The longest distance he has traveled for car related business so far is San Francisco, California. He delivered a car he had sold and picked up a FIND while he was out there. No reason for making that kind of trip and bringing back an empty trailer…. is it!
Wayne’s favorite years of cars are the 50’s and 60’s models. He said he likes these because these rides are the ones that he couldn’t afford new when he was growing up. He said everyday he wakes up with the anticipation of being able to work on one of his projects. He buys them and puts them in order to work on. He tries to finish one before he starts on another. He buys the cars he likes and is always looking for that perfect car that strikes his fancy. Some of his finds, just to name a few, are the following: a 1958 Impala that he has owned for 28 years. LaVerne is the owner of a beautiful 56 T-Bird that they have owned for 15 years. That 1960 Corvette is a keeper for sure! This is just to name a few. The corral changes slightly during the year with the exception of the ones that he considers the keepers and a part of the family.
Last year Wayne joined MOTAA (Mid-America Old Time Automobile Association) http://www.motaa.com/ at the Fall Show held in Minden, Louisiana. He entered a car or two and took home a trophy to boot. Wayne has helped judge many shows and was a past judge for many years at the World of Wheels in Shreveport, Louisiana. He is also the local car appraiser for insurance companies. With the high tech world of internet you can visit Wayne’s world at http://www.waynescars.com/ he sometimes has a list of a few that he may want to let go. If you are out and about you will probably see Wayne Chance at a local show or swap meet. He is the one with the fancy car shirt and grease on his hands. Wait…. that just described everyone…. I know!
Until next time keep it between the ditches.
Schelley Brown iluvoldcars@yahoo.com MOTAA Jr. Vice President and member of Ark-La-Tex Antique & Classic Car Association

The Night St. Car Nick Came To Town

'Twas the night before ChristmasAnd I was out in the garage.

There wasn't a trace of an oil leak on the floor to dodge.

The presents were wrapped and the lights were all lit,

So I figured I'd go mess with my old car for a bit.

I popped the hood latch and I lifted the hood,

When a deep voice behind me said "Looks pretty good."

Well as you can imagine, I turned mighty quick,

And there by my workbench, stood good Ol' Saint Car Nick!

He just stared at first, not sure what to say,

Then Santa piped in "Don't suppose you'd trade that for my sleigh?

'"Forget it, Mr. Claus" then I started to grin -

"If you've got time we could probably take a spin!"

His round little mouth, all tied up like a bow,

Burst into a smile when he said "C'mon then, Let's GO!!

"So as not to disturb all my neighbors' on our hasty retreat,

We pushed my old car quietly out onto the street.

Then, taking our places to drift down the hill,

I turned on the key, then let the clutch spill.

The sound erupted and took Santa by surprise,

But he liked it a lot, by the look in his eyes.

With cold tires spinning and headlights aglow,

We headed on out to roads where all the antique & classic car nuts go.

And Santa's grin widened, approaching his ears,

With every shift up, as I grinded through the gears.

Then he yelled "Can't recall when I've felt so alive!

"So I backed off the gas and said "Do you wanna drive?

"Ole' Santa was stunned when I gave him the keys,

As he walked past the headlights he shook at the knees!

Then he pulled out the choke and adjusted the spark

The engine gave a sputter before it would start!

Saint Car Nick said what a wonderful sound!

He let out the clutch as the tires tore up the ground.

He shifted into second, and again into third!

I grabbed for the handle, at a loss for a word.

With the tank reaching empty, Santa returned to his sleigh,
Never to forget that ride in my old 28 Ford Model A.

Later, I heard him exclaim, as he blasted from sight,

"Merry Christmas, ya’ll,It's been a heck of a night!!!"
By Schelley Brown
Ark-La-Tex Antique & Classic Car Association
Mid America Old Time Automobile Associaton

A Tribute To W.O. Couch

W. O. Couch is a name that some people may not recognize. Most of you know the name Willard Couch better. Pete is what many of you have known him by. He grew up in the hills of Arkansas as a poor farm boy. Later, when duty called, he would serve his country in the Philippine Islands during the Korean War, as an Army MP. Even in war times he had a soft heart and had a hard time with the horrors of war. I rarely ever heard him talk of these times.
For all of his nieces and nephews he has always been our “Uncle Pete”. The name Uncle Pete to us means someone that would do anything that you asked him to do; such as drive across town everyday when my parents were at work to bring me and my sister and brother an ICEE. If you had the chance to go to the store you wanted to go with him! He would buy you anything that you wanted, if he had the money for it in his pocket. Nothing was out of the question for Uncle Pete. He would do anything to please!
His two sons Gary and Craig called him Daddy. His idea of being a daddy meant being the parent that didn’t have to hand out the discipline. He was the one that gave in to whatever Gary or Craig wanted. He was too soft hearted to ever spank or get on to his kids. He wanted to be the “good guy” in their eyes. He left most of the discipline up to Aunt Bobbie.
Daughter-in-laws Kerri and Rita became an important part of the Couch family. They would bring new meaning to the Couch’s with the birth of each of their four grandchildren. Two girls and two boys would bring untold joy.
For the four Grandchildren; Tarrah, Gabe, Kelli & Morgan he became “paw-paw Pete”. These four were spoiled endlessly, with his love and admiration. Their dreams were his dreams, even if it meant that he would be the guinea pig for Tarrah; when she was first learning how to cut hair. He always was proud of Gabe and Morgan with their ball playing and of Kellie and her beautiful singing voice. You can see signs of him in all of them.
He was a hard worker, all of his life; from working in the oil fields of Louisiana, to working the hard life of drilling water wells in the mountains of Arkansas. But he was one of those people that financial success always seemed to be just an inch out of his reach. He never gave up hope of trying to “make it big”, as he would say.
Many people don’t know about the gifted and talented side of this man. He could draw you a picture of anything you sat in front of him. When I was very small, I wanted to become an artist like my Uncle Pete. He could look at a picture and draw it to perfection. He could take and old photo and tint it like a professional photography studio. Today studios charge you $100’s of dollars to do what he did for nothing. He had the imagination and vision of a great inventor. His invention of the “Gimmie’ the Cricket” cricket box, which was marketed for a time at Wal-Mart & Bass Pro Shop, came from his love of fishing. He never made a fortune but he always had a clear idea of just exactly how he would like to spend it.
Uncle Pete’s faults were part of the mortal man. He had faults, but who among us on this earth doesn’t? He was a loving and a giving man that enjoyed life with his family and his friends to its fullest. You always knew he loved you, there was never a doubt. He had his own special way of showing it. He never let you go hungry at his house and his favorite thing to cook other than fried fish was Bar-B-Q chicken. He made the best Bar-B-Q chicken that has ever been cooked and he was proud to share his table with anyone including an occasional dog or two that came by. His love of dogs was sensed by his four legged friends. When he sat down to eat they knew that he was sure to slip them the better part of his meal. His favorite dog was a shaggy, grey, mop of dog named Waffles. If he had only a dollar in his pocket and you needed it he would give it to you. If you needed a ride he would just hand you his car keys. He would give you the shirt off his back even if he needed it more than you did.
He was a proud man and wanted to do good for the ones he loved and cared about. When he was in pain he never spoke up, he didn’t want to worry anyone with his problems. Others were always more important to him.
One of things that most people remember when you talk about the Couch’s that lived in Dubach, La., is that when Christmas time came on Fuller Hill the Couch kid’s celebrated a little earlier than most! Uncle Pete couldn’t wait for Christmas morning; he was more like a kid on Christmas than we were. He would drive Gary and Craig around the block on Christmas Eve and give Santa Claus the chance to come early to the Couch home. This way all the other kids on the hill would worry that maybe Santa wasn’t coming to see them! Gary & Craig would be out till the wee hours of Christmas morning; riding their new bikes up and down the road in front of their house. All the other families probably didn’t share Uncle Pete’s enthusiasm with the rush of Santa Claus to the Fuller Hill neighborhood, but it did become a Couch tradition for years to come.
One of his jobs came out of necessity to make more money as the Vietnam War was winding down. The Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant was shutting down slowly and he became a produce salesman. He would take a truck and make long trips to pick up peaches and deliver them to stores. This earned him the nick name of “Pete the Peach”. This name maybe fit him better than most, because for those that have known him best he was a true “Peach” of a man.
He had a love of music; Elvis & Patsy Cline were a few of his favorites. Roy Orbision was his all-time favorite singer. A few times many of us have seen his performance of his favorite song “Pretty Woman”. We have even caught it on video at least once!
Fifty some odd years ago Willard Owen Couch found his “pretty woman” in Bobbie Jean Brown. This was a truly a, “love at first sight” romance. They only knew each other for three weeks before they would marry. She was also from a large family and so they seemed to have a lot in common. The marriage had some difficult times but it always seemed to have more good times. It has endured, through sickness and health, for richer or poorer and now it will endure and serve as a wonderful memory for all of us that have been blessed to be a witness to it and to be a part of their lives.
Some men’s worth is measured by the property and money that they accumulate in a lifetime; other men like W.O. Couch are measured by all of you that are here. Remember a heart is not judged by how much it loves; but by how much it is loved by others.
Today we should celebrate because we know that W.O. Couch is today without pain and worry. He is probably fishing on some golden pond with his own father and mother, brothers and sister that have gone on before him. He will fry fish tonight for a host of family and friends that have long since left this earth. I know that one day we will all meet again to share our stories about the good times that we have had on this earth and the good times yet to come. But for a time now we will grieve, because we have lost someone very important to all of us. Our lives will never be the same but we will always have him in our hearts and our minds. He will always be only a memory away.
Thank you, Mr. Couch for all that you have given to each of us, in your on special way. You will be missed always.
Your niece Schelley Brown

Twin Cars and Twin Brothers

This is the story of two men, two cars and one birthday! Hoyle and Doyle Chanler grew up in Minden, Louisiana. They have the good fortune to be identical twin brothers. Both have always had a love for cars and fixing things. Hoyle works at the G.M. Plant in Shreveport and Doyle works repairing boat motors a few miles from Minden in Sibley, Louisiana. I have known the Chanler families for many years. Bill Chanler, Hoyle and Doyle’s brother was the father of one of my good friends, Sharon. We will get back to Sharon and her part in all this later in the story!
Hoyle had owned a 1966 Chrysler 300 years before and had always wanted another one. Back in 1979 Hoyle was working in Springhill, Louisiana at a paper-mill. One day he spotted a Chrysler 300 Convertible sitting under a shed at a house in Springhill. The home belonged to a truck driver that just happened to be home from a road-trip. Hoyle asked him if he wanted to sell the car under the shed and he said, “I sure do, I’m from Pennsylvania and I’m about to move back there.” Hoyle asked him, “How much will you sell it for?” to his surprise the man said $150.00! Hoyle seemed pretty pleased with that price, to say the least. He told the man, “let me go ask my wife if she has any money on her.” Needless to say they managed to come up with the $150 between the two of them. They finished the paper work on Monday and the journey began.
The car would crank but it was out of gas. They got some gas together and fired it up and headed down the road to get a little more gas for the 30 miles back to Minden. After 7 gallons of gas and only about 10 miles the car ran out of gas. Hoyle got out and checked out the problem. A cracked gas tank was the culprit. Hoyle being the industrious fellow that he is went and got a quart mason jar and put a little gas in it and unhooked the fuel line from the fuel pump. (Don’t try this at home!) He then would stick the line down in the jar and let it suck up the gas and drive as far as he could then he would get out and repeat until he made it the next 20 something miles to home!
When Hoyle got home he started checking out the car and looking through the glove box and under the hood. The original owner’s manual was still in the car. This traced the car back to a Lt. Colonel Walter Osborn. The car had 67,000 miles on it when Hoyle purchased the car and from the records in the owner’s manual it had around 42,000 when Colonel Osborn traded it in at a dealership in Shreveport, Louisiana. This was done when the Colonel retired from Barksdale in 1972. Seems Colonel Osborn had purchased the car from a dealer in Hobart, Oklahoma in 1966 while the Colonel was stationed at Clinton-Sherman AFB in western Oklahoma from 1959-1966. He said he had seen an ad in a magazine for a 1966 300 convertible and the only place to order one was this small-town dealership. He went down, ordered the car and the rest they say is history. But Hoyle did not know all of this yet! He would not find out all about the car until several years later. All he knew so far was that he was probably the third owner of the car.
Then the work began. A re-paint of the original red color, new top, new seat covers, and new carpet was about all the entire car really needed. Oh yes don’t forget the gas tank repair! It took about 2 ½ years to complete the restoration. The car on a scale from about 1-10 was at least a 5 or better before the restoration started.
Now the plot thickens and really gets good. When Hoyle’s twin brother Doyle saw the car he wanted one too. As most of you know Chrysler 300 Convertibles are not on every corner or in every barn! In 1981 Hoyle was working at General Motors in Shreveport, Louisiana. One of his co-workers told him one day that he had an old convertible just like his. Hoyle wasn’t sure if he was correct but figured it was worth a shot to check it out. Sure enough he went to look and it was a car just like his. The guy had already told him he would sell it for $1000.00 but when he was ready to make the deal he went up on the price by $200 more dollars to $1200.00. Hoyle was getting pretty aggravated at the way the deal was going so he decided to get his brother involved. Doyle agreed to pay the man his $1200.00! Now the man wanted $1500.00! Doyle thought about this for a week and decided that he really wanted a car like his brothers so he called the man and said, “OK I’ll give you the $1500.00!” The price had now gone up to $1800.00 and both the Chanler brothers were getting pretty feed up with this guy! The man finally agreed to sale the car for $1700.00 and would agree to shake on it. Doyle still just wanted to pay the $1500.00. He told the guy that if his brother didn’t have one he wouldn’t give the man 100 bucks for it. That’s when Mrs. Chanler, Hoyle’s wife got in the picture! She called Doyle and said she was going to take care of the matter. She had Doyle come with his $1500 and she added $200 of her money to the car money. All this took place in 1981.
When they got home with the car they went all through it and come to find out the original owner, a Mr. Vaughn had been a coach at Minden High School. The brothers called up Mr. Vaughn and asked him if he had owned a Chrysler 300 convertible. He told them yes and that every time he saw Hoyle in his around town it made him sick to his stomach that he had gotten rid of the car. Doyle told Mr. Vaughn that he had just bought the car! Of course Mr. Vaughn was anxious to see the car after all those years. The brothers went right over and the Mr. and Mrs. Vaughn came out to check out the old car that they had once loved. Mr. Vaughn said, “Doyle I don’t know what you paid for the car, but I’ll give you $2500.00 right now for it!” Well, did the brothers get to have the last laugh on the so called friend at the plant the next day! Hoyle said he loved being able to go up to this guy and telling him that Doyle had been offered $2500.00 for the car just the way it sat!
Then the restoration on the second car began. The car was originally a lavender color. They wanted matching cars so the car was repainted and restored to match the first car. The only difference in the cars is one came with cruise control and one didn’t and one came with power windows and one didn’t. Other than that they look the same and so do the brothers!
The first big show that the cars were shown at was the 1984 World of Wheels show in Shreveport, Louisiana. Both cars placed and a spark of attention was lit about the twin cars and the twin brothers. Channel 3 came out and did a story about the cars and the brothers after the 1984 show. Another amazing thing happened at the World of Wheels show. A man came up to them at the show and asked them if the car had been owned by a Colonel. They opened the hood up and pulled the original owner card that is in a small pocket mounted on the car and sure enough Colonel Osborn had been the original owner and this man knew him. He told the brothers that he had been stationed with the Colonel at Barksdale years ago and that he knew the Colonel had moved to Hawaii after retirement. He even had the Colonel’s address and phone number. Hoyle contacted the man and they talked about the history of the car and how much it had meant to Mr. Osborn. The car was for his wife that had passed away years earlier. The Colonel was remarried and living happily in Hawaii. He sent Hoyle the history along with some pictures of himself to go along with the car. Now the story and the history of the car were complete.
Shortly after the show a terrible accident happened with Doyle’s car. While out driving one day a woman slid sideways and right into the 300 totaling it out. Lucky for Doyle he was okay but the car wasn’t. Insurance helped and the brothers happened to have another hardtop car that they could rob parts off of for the job that lay ahead of them. Five years and many, many hours later the cars were back on the road together.
Now back to my friend Sharon and her part of the story. Sharon had twin boys back in the 80’s. Clint and Craig are their names and they are also identical. Hoyle and Doyle always participate in area parades and to really confuse the folks years ago each one would get one of the twins to ride with them. One car would go by and then a few minutes later here would come another one or was it the same car?! You never knew!
If you would like to see the twins and the twin cars be sure and make it to Minden May 14th for the St. Jude Cruisin’ For A Cure Car Show. Hoyle and Doyle are new MOTAA members thanks to this interview! I’m still working on their young great-nephews Clint and Craig Fondren to join us at the shows. They also have the love of cars and own their own garage in Bossier City, Louisiana. You may even see them on the mountain this year! If you have to take a double take you will know that it is the twins!

"The Summer Reading Program When I Was Growing Up"

Summer is here, summer is here! Do you remember when that last bell would ring and you would bolt out of that class room like your pants were on fire? Summer was a time of rest, and relaxation and the summer reading program at the Webster parish library. I had the inside track on that program since my mama was a librarian. She would pick out the books and I would read, read and read some more!
I’m glad that I was introduced to reading at such a young age. My mama read to me from the time I was born. My favorite night time story was “The Velveteen Rabbit”. My mama would read this story almost every night. Anyone that knows this story knows that to read this long story every night was a chore. I think it has given me a great love of books and when you see and old book that you read as a young child you just have the urge to buy it. You want to give it to a young person so that they will have that same experience that you had when you read it so many years ago. I remember reading “Bambi”, and “Bambi Grows Up”. Not the cut down Disney version but the Felix Salten version. “Old Yeller” and “Where the Red Fern Grows” were also favorites. Later it would be the “Lord of the Rings” and all those that followed.
I still collect books. I have a collection of “Oz” books by L. Frank Baum. Most folks don’t realize that there are forty books in this series. The first book was published in 1900 under the name “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The last to be written by Baum is titled “Glinda of Oz” which was written in 1920. The series would be picked up later by other authors all the way until 1963. It is the early books that I love. They have the most beautiful pictures and the stories are so alive.
I know that much controversy has been stirred up about the “Harry Potter” books because of the witch craft that is used. But how many childhood books have been centered on witches, fairies, and goblins? Most of the ones that I grew up with all had a witch or a fairy in them. I was happy to see my niece reading such big books at the age of eight. She loves them and reads them front to back. How many of you remember the feeling of being transported to the place that you were reading about. If it can take them away from watching TV or the computer I’m all for it.
The highlight of the summer reading program back then was the Rex Theater. After you had all your marks on the board at the library you were treated to a day at the Rex. You received a summer reading certificate and got to enjoy the movies all day long. I recently got the chance to purchase a set of Rex Theater seats. Yes I came home and sat in them. They now have a place in my living room. The Rex was magical to me and the summer reading program was just as exciting.
If you have a young child I urge you to encourage them to read. Take them to the library and enroll them in the summer reading program. They may protest at first but if you can get them to read one good book in a series they will be hooked. “Nancy Drew” and the ‘Hardy Boys” are still out there waiting for you!
I would like to thank my mama for making me read. I would probably not be writing these stories for all of you to read, had it not been for the summer reading program and my mama. So this summer pick up a book and gets your kids one too while you’re at it! Be transported it is the cheapest way to take a vacation!