Have you ever met someone that you were immediately friends with and felt that you have known them a long time? That is what happened when Brenda and I met “Whitey”.
On Saturday afternoon June 13, 2009, we were walking on Market Street heading for the corner of Market and Main. I noticed an old car going our direction and waved to the driver. He waved back. I caught up with him at the corner and asked him what year was this Buick? He said “it’s a 1946 and I am going to park around the corner. I want to talk to you”. So Brenda and I turn the corner and find Whitey in the alley with his 1946 Buick 4 door sedan. It is a stick shift straight 8 beauty. We met and instantly felt that we had known each other in the past. We hadn’t but felt like it. Both of us were born in 1934 - graduated high school 1952 and are now 75 years old. Whitey graduated from Coldwater High School which was about 5 miles from Celina. I would have been in the 1952 Celina High School graduation if I had stayed there but moved in 1949 to Kansas City where I graduated from Southeast High School.
After a while of admiring his car he asked if we would like a ride in it. YES! And off we went to take a tour of the area. I asked him if he knows where the West Bank Inn is as we were to check in there for the next two days. He did and proceeded to take us there so we will know how to get there later. Great tour and conversation. We told him why we were there in Celina and that our stay would end on Monday morning. I told him we would be visiting the Celina Church of the Nazarene on Sunday morning and he said he lived right next door to the church. He has another old Buick he wanted to show us and we could stop by after church. We didn’t have his address and didn’t see signs of the cars so we thought that we would not have a chance to see his second car.
On Sunday evening Brenda and I had dinner in a restaurant that uses the same parking lot as our motel. After dinner, we walked across the highway to see the Spillway which controls the water level in the lake. Interesting watching the birds catch fish there. Then we started back to our room and here comes a cream convertible towards our motel. It was Whitey! He had to show us the car. It was a 1948 Buick Convertible also with a straight 8 engine. This one was an automatic. I told Whitey he can’t get by just showing me this car -- we needed a ride in it too. So we got a ride in his convertible.
It seems that everyone in the town knows Whitey and are calling out to him as we were driving along. Brenda and I felt like celebrities and started waving back when someone waved and called “Whitey”. Another fun ride! What makes this even more interesting is that cars that were new in 1946 and 1948 were new cars when I lived in Celina!
We chatted for a while and shook hands telling each other that we were glad that we had the chance to meet. Whitey and I exchanged addresses and phone numbers for later contact. All three of us had a tear in our eyes when we parted.
That was on Sunday night. On Friday I got a call at home on my answering machine and it was Whitey. He opened the local paper The Daily Standard and there on page 3 was his two new friends. I called him back and talked for a while. The story about the article will be coming in a later posting.
Whitey is one in a million. You know you like him the moment you meet him. I had only one friend in Celina that I knew of and that was Karl Allmandinger. Now I have two!
Whitey's 1946 Buick when we first saw it at Market and Main Streets.
Dick and Whitey with his 1946 Buick in the alley.