Brother Can You Spare a Ride?

Watching “Young Sheldon” bump heads with his older brother on the TV show, or same with Brick on “The Middle,” reminds me of when I was in third grade and my brother, Don Stuffelbeam, was a high schooler.  He was my idol. I was his little pest. He was an 18 year old senior at Wethersfield High School in Kewanee, Illinois, I was a nine year old third grader.  Don was quite a big shot in high school, a star on the basketball and football teams. I was a little squirt, just learning to properly carry scissors.

And, he had his own car. 00000_MODEL_A2A Ford Model A Roadster, for which he paid $25. (Later, he sold it for $50 and moved up to a 1946 Ford. )

Our home in Kewanee was on Chestnut Street, about a twenty minute walk from school. More often than not I would walk to school, and back home. My brother “Stuff,” as I called him, would seldom give me a ride. Usually if he drove past me, on my way home from school, he would ignore me, pretending to look the other way, and cruise past. It was as if I was invisible. That is, until the day Don was driving up Tenney Street, when the battery fell out of the Model A. Clunk!

00000_MODEL_A

Actual photo of Don’s “new” Model A.

It happened right along the street where I was walking. I helped him put the battery back in the car and amazingly it started back up with one crank. Mumbling something about rusty bolts, Stuff gave me a ride the rest of the way home. Don has been retired for years, and some time after the passing of his wife, Louise, he decided to treat himself to a (you guessed it) a vintage Model A Ford.  He now proudly drives it around Glen Ellyn, Illinois in good weather – and the battery has yet to fall out.

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