My father was never much of a car fanatic. When he passed away at the age of 66, he had owned a total of six cars during his entire life. Purchasing a new vehicle never entered his mind. He always chose an older car that he deemed dependable . . . at the cheapest price. As a farmer with a wife and five kids to take care of, maybe that was his only option.
The first car I remember was a pale green late 1940s Pontiac. It looked like an Army tank with a chrome Indian hood ornament. Dad drove that car until it begged to be put out of its mechanical misery. He told my mother that he was going to purchase a really nice car from Alex Cox, his high school basketball coach, who owned the Standard service station in Darlington. Mr. Cox was going to let him have the car for a mere $300 . . . what a bargain!
I was anxious to see our "new" car. Happiness turned to despair when Dad drove out of the Cox garage in a 1955 . . . PINK and WHITE . . . Buick Special 4-door sedan. It was truly one of the ugliest cars in existence anywhere in the world. I did not want to be seen in it. I would rather ride my bike or walk to my destination. When I did have to ride in it, I wanted to crouch down in the back seat so my friends would not see me.
Well, the years passed, and when I turned 15, I drove my Cushman motor scooter to school one summer to take driver's education from teacher Emerson Mutterspaugh. That fall I passed the test at the BMV with flying colors, and I could now LEGALLY drive . . . but I did NOT . . . I was NOT going to drive a pink and white Buick! I pleaded with Dad to trade the car for something . . . ANYTHING better than the Buick. He finally gave in. I went with him to Horner's in Crawfordsville to trade the old Buick, or better yet, to buy my own car . . . one I would be proud to drive on my first date.
But alas, no luck. The only car that salesman Tubby Chambers could come up with for me, in Dad's price range, was a dilapidated Volkswagen Beetle with rusted out rocker panels. I was dejected, and I swore that I would NOT ask any girl out on a date until we had a decent-looking car. Dad got the message two months later. He promised he would go to Crawfordsville and trade the Buick on a more "sporty" car. I stayed home and kept my fingers crossed. Three hours later, Dad arrived back home with our new car . . . a 1963 red and white Chevy STATION WAGON . . . with NO RADIO . . . Thanks, Dad. The girls will really go for that. I was stuck. I continued to ride the school bus to school. I did take the station wagon on a few dates. Fortunately I ended up dating a girl that cared about me . . . not my car . . . and she eventually became my wife. When we got married in 1966, we bought a 1965 Chevy Impala Super Sport. The payment was $63 a month, a large amount for our budget, but it was worth it! Since then we have always had at least one nice car, and I bought all four of my kids nice cars when they received their license.
What happened to the pink and white Buick? I would guess that it ended up on display at a museum . . . The Car House of Horrors. And what about the red and white station wagon? My Dad gave it to my brother when he got married. He was driving to work one morning down the Stockwell blacktop when the rear axle collapsed. When my brother looked in the rear view mirror and saw sparks flying, he baled out into the ditch while the car was still going down the road. It went through a fence and crashed in a farm field. My brother had numerous cuts and scrapes. The station wagon ended up in car heaven . . . May it rest in peace.

John "Butch" Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 30 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history.