’57 Chevy delights owners Sue and Jerry Fell

This story appeared in IN Autos and RVS magazine, a publication I write for regularly. It’s fun to write about old cars and their owners!


Jerry & Sue Fell love their ’57 Chevy.


Jerry & Sue Fell


Jerry Fell from Fort Wayne had always wanted to own a 1957 Chevy convertible. He had already owned other classic cars that he had restored over the years. In high school, he had fixed up a 1930 Model A, then a 1940 Ford Coupe and a 1949 Chevy club coupe.


In 2002, Fell, a retiree from Slater Steel in Fort Wayne, finally purchased a turquoise 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible from a local owner. He thought his dreams had come true! Except the car with faded red paint didn’t look or run well. “It needed a new interior and new top,” he said. Fell had the engine rebuilt and added power brakes and power steering. The car was without rust, so Fell added chrome bumpers.  The car’s convertible top usually stays down but not always. “It gets too wrinkled if it’s left down,” he said.


As for paint, the Chevy had a red, albeit now orange, exterior. He chose to paint it  turquoise for two reasons. One day, while looking down inside the car’s back window, Jerry’s wife, Sue, discovered what she thought was the vehicle’s original factory color:  turquoise. “We restored it to its original color,” said Jerry Fell.


The second reason the Fells chose turquoise was sentimental. “When we were married, we had a 1955 turquoise sedan,” said Jerry Fell. “We always liked that color and wanted another car like it.”


The 1957 Chevy is the only classic car the Fells currently own. Jerry Fell likes that particular car’s style. “I’ve liked Chevys since they came out,” he said. “The Chevys made between 1955 and 1957 were all different, but popular.”


Over the years the Fells have exhibited their 1957 Chevy in various car shows around the tri-state area. In eight years they have won 67 trophies, including  Mayor’s Choice, Best Convertible, and Best of Show. The Fells and the Chevy have been featured in a local newspaper photo as part of the Waynedale Parade during a Memorial Day celebration.


The furthest the Fells have driven the car is to Marshall, Michigan, to attend a car show. That was a couple of years ago. Now, the Fells drive their turquoise ’57 Chevy mostly around their neighborhood and to local cruise-in’s.

They store it in the winter and drive their other, modern vehicles during cold weather.


The Fells hear comments from people at car shows who recall ’57 Chevys from their past. “They share their memories and it is fun to hear,” he said. The Fells have added an attraction that must surely prompt those remembrances — two soda glasses that appear to be filled with frothy liquid and a cherry on top. The glasses are balanced on a  tray attached to the driver’s window. Who wouldn’t want to stop by and chat with that car’s owner?


The End

Scott Elzey—Racing Collector

Midget car owned by Coxie Bowman

Writers learn to follow leads for stories. I wrote this article about Scott Elzey for Collector News magazine after a friend had told me about Mr. Elzey’s tree with a bicycle hanging in it at the end of his lane to his home. Yes, a bicycle hangs among the branches of his big hackberry tree. How did it get there? Mr. Elzey put it there! Then Mr. Elzey took me for a ride in his airboat on the Wabash River- that became an article for the Ossian Sun Riser.

After interviewing Mr. Elzey about his bike, he took my husband and me to his man-cave —the restored loft of his barn he has converted into a racing fan’s dream. Doesn’t this look like a great place to relax and spend time with friends? I wrote a different article about his love for collecting racing memorabilia for the News-Sentinel newspaper.

Enjoy the story!


As a teen during the late 1960s, Scott Elzey of Uniondale, Indiana, accompanied his grandfather Coxie Bowman on weekend racing trips across the state of Indiana and into the eastern half of the United States, as well as Canada. During the week, Bowman operated a Texaco gas station in the small town of Ossian, Indiana. Bowman might have appeared to be content earning a living at sedately filling the gas tanks of cars. But on the weekends he wanted high speed, excitement, and high stakes. He raced midget cars.

Racing items hang from Elzey's restored barn walls

Though small in size, midget cars could reach speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. Prizes were set accordingly as midget race winners earned $800-$1000, an enviable amount in the years following the Depression. “Grandpa started racing in the 1940s and continued for 30 years,” said Elzey. As he watched his relative race in nearly every state in the nation – 43, to be exact — Scott Elzey gathered racing ticket stubs and other racing souvenirs that represented life on the racing circuit.

Today, those ticket stubs and dozens of other racing memorabilia are part of a collection Elzey has displayed at his farm outside of Ossian. The items are not in Elzey’s home, but in his barn’s hayloft. Rid your mind of cobwebs and dust motes. There’s nary in sight in this loft that is covered with drywall and adorned with carpet, plush sofa, big screen TV, and custom-made bar.

It seemed natural with Elzey’s collection of racing items to design his retreat with a racing theme. As Elzey began to collect larger car parts at Internet sites, he initially stored the items in the century-old house he and his wife, Deanna, had remodeled. He knew the day would come when he would need more space to display them. In 2006, they designed a floor plan to convert the hayloft to a game room to accommodate Scott’s racing collection.

Among the items he has collected over the years are two midget race cars his grandpa raced in. The midget chassis that sits on the loft floor was built in 1972 in Indianapolis, Indiana. After purchasing the car in 1987, Coxie Bowman lowered the front chassis, gave it the present red and white paint scheme and the number “33”, and cut the hood to accommodate the engine with the lowered chassis.

When floor space in the loft became too tight to accommodate the second midget car, it was no problem. Elzey hung the remaining car, one Coxie Bowman had built, from the ceiling.

That’s not the only large item suspended from the ceiling in Elzey’s loft. A 12-foot hydroplane racing boat hangs in one corner. Although no Elzey family memories are attached to it, it is present because it upholds the room’s racing theme.

A third midget, partially completed, is perched atop Elzey’s stairwell leading to the loft. According to Elzey, this car is unique. “Grandpa was building that car when he died,” he said. “It had an independent front suspension, which was later outlawed by various midget racing associations. And the driver sat on the left side of the engine, not behind it and not on the right side, as all the other cars were set up. Sadly, the car was never finished so these technical innovations were never tested.”

Random car parts like sheet metal from race cars are tacked to the walls, along with racing posters and framed black and white photos of Grandpa Bowman. In several he is standing beside one of his midget cars after winning a race. He placed in dozens of races during his lifetime.

Elzey completes the racing theme with National Hot Rod Association drag racing lights, which flash red, yellow, green, adding pizzazz to the ‘man-cave’ when plugged into an outlet. An antique racing car steering wheel, brake lever, and fuel pump, the type used when fuel was pumped by hand, hang on a wall. A nearby shelf holds helmets from Indianapolis racing driver Bobby Grim and others.

Just to make sure no one gets bored Elzey added arcade games in keeping with the racing theme. “We always had a game room in our home with pool table and pinball machines while I was growing up,” said Elzey. “I developed a love for games from my father.”

Even the room’s basic functional pieces contain a racing theme. Cam shafts serve as rail ballasts. Gearshift knobs work as coat hooks, and exhaust pipes and radiator hose provide a nifty look as banisters. On his custom bar Elzey implemented an aluminum diamond plate and checkered pattern seen in racing decor.

Grandpa Coxie Bowman passed away in 1996. He never saw his grandson’s eclectic display of racing memorabilia. But he might have suspected his influence on the younger man as in 1980, Scott Elzey began attending major racing events. So far, he has witnessed 46 events, including the Indianapolis 500 Race, NASCAR and Formula 1 races. He still attends midget races in Fort Wayne. Of course, the ticket stubs become a part of the collection.

At this point Elzey’s hayloft/game room looks filled with racing items. Who knows? If Scott Elzey continues to buy racing items, he may need to find another farm building to convert.

The End

Purple Heart Recipient– Carl Mankey

Carl Mankey of Craigville is the recipient of two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and Silver Star from the United States military for his service in World War II.

I missed posting this on Veteran’s Day, but this man was in my thoughts. I had never met anyone awarded a Purple Heart until I met Carl Mankey. It was pretty exciting, even though Mr. Mankey is a humble man. He and his wife invited me into their home for the interview for Senior Living Magazine and I felt at home. It was an honor to meet Mr. Mankey and hear about his episodes in Asia fighting for freedom. The article was published recently in the Bluffton (IN) News-Banner.


Do a good thing today and contact a WWII vet and tell them you’re thankful for their service. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it and you’ll be blessed.




Carl Mankey


Carl Mankey of Craigville, Indiana, has been awarded two Purple Heart medals from WWII.


The prestigious Purple Heart medals are military awards given to men and women wounded or killed in combat against the enemy. The history of the Purple Heart goes back to General George Washington who in 1782 first awarded a medal for meritorious service, regardless of rank, to three soldiers. For the next 150 years the award fell out of popularity but was revived by General Douglas MacArthur when he announced the creation of a new medal on February 22, 1932. That date coincided with the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth. In honor of the Father of our Country and the man who established our military’s first medal, the Purple Heart bears the profile of Washington on its face.


Born in 1923, Mankey joined the Marine Corps in 1943 at age 19. Why join the Marines? “I figured the Marines were the toughest soldiers,” he said.


During the next three years, Private First Class Mankey, who was employed as a truck driver prior to joining the military, showed his mettle as a soldier several times. After training in San Diego and New Zealand, he fought in Tarawa, Saipan and Tinian – all part of the Marianas Islands where the fighting was intense. The skirmishes on the small island of Tarawa were especially fierce. “We heard the number of soldiers who died there per mile was worse than anywhere else,” said Mankey.


In November 1943 Mankey was hit by a bomb while fighting on Tarawa. Concussed, he recuperated in a Hawaiian hospital for four months, then returned to fight. In June 1944 Mankey was again injured, this time in Saipan, when a bullet ricocheted off his rifle, removing the end of his nose. He  recuperated at a hospital in Saipan before again returning to fight on that island.


In August 1945, Mankey led 20 men from his platoon up a mountain in an attempt to destroy a machine gun nest. Despite heavy enemy fire from four machine guns, Mankey moved into the open to shoot at the nest with his rifle. He also threw grenades. Later, Mankey returned to the machine gun nest, completely destroying it.


Upon being discharged in August 1945, Mankey was awarded two Purple Hearts. In actuality, Mankey received one Purple Heart and one Gold Star in lieu of the second Purple Heart, according to the Marines’ policy. He also received a Silver Star medal for showing gallant conduct, ‘in keeping with the highest tradition of the US Naval Service’ and a bronze star for service in Asiatic-Pacific area and a Victory Medal for WWII.


After the war, Mankey returned to his hometown. In 1947 he married and during the next few years he and his wife Dolores became parents to six children. Today, they have 15 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


In summer 2011, at the age of 88, Mankey participated in an Honor Flight, a free trip to the nation’s capital offered to WWII veterans by volunteers to thank them for their military service. The one-day tour includes free airfare to Washington and tours of various war memorials. Mankey made the trip with his grandson Ryan Morgan who served as a companion to assist his grandfather.


Mankey has this to say about his three years of island-hopping in defense of his nation’s freedoms, “It was a heck of an experience.” His  support for today’s American military and its work overseas is unequivocal. “We’re needed over there,” he said.


The End

Antique Tractor for Wedding Anniversary Present?

This past year I’ve enjoyed interviewing owners of antique/classic vehicles for Indiana Autos and RV’s Magazine. These people love their cars/trucks/tractors/other! Don Lehman is no exception! I like the vehicles too and have learned much about them. Several other classic car stories and photos are listed on this blog. Search “classic car”.


To some people’s way of thinking Don Lehman’s decision to purchase a 1968 Oliver 1650 tractor for his and his wife’s wedding anniversary might not have been advisable. How romantic is a tractor?


Lehman obtains parts for his Co-op Farm Bureau E3 from Ebay.

According to Lehman, the decision was a good one. “My wife, Jerri, loves all of my tractors,” he said. “All” can be understood to mean seven antique tractors that Don Lehman owns and maintains as a hobby at his home outside of Craigville. 


“Jerri supports me in this,” he added. “Not only does it cost us to fix up each tractor, but she drives the tractors in parades.”


Don Lehman takes his time when working on tractor restoration. “If I rush, it’s noticeable,” he said.

Lehman began his hobby in 1995 when he purchased a 1950 Cockshutt 40 from a neighbor. “It was in three pieces when I brought it home in January,” said Lehman. By April, with the help of a friend, the tractor was in good shape. Lehman displayed it at an antique show in August.


Cockshutt was part of a farm implement company based in Canada. Other company brands included Minnesota Moline and Oliver. “The company owners thought they’d go big with these brands,” said Lehman. Sadly, the company went  bankrupt in the 1970s.


Lehman also has a Co-op Farm Bureau E3; 1955 Cockshutt 40; 1944 Cockshutt 60; Cockshutt 20; Oliver 88; 1953 Minneapolis Moline ZB; 1953 Minneapolis UB  model.


Lehman restored a 1950 Cockshutt 40.

Lehman restores the vehicles himself. Working full-time at Bunge in Decatur does not allow him much time to devotion to his hobby, but Lehman refuses to hurry the restorations. “I never set a time limit on finishing a project,” he said. “If I rush, it’s noticeable. Instead, I take my time and do it right. If I don’t get it done, there is always another day. I have more fun that way.”


Lehman searches for parts to restore his antique vehicles on Ebay and among collector clubs. Lehman also meets fellow antique tractor enthusiasts at the Wheels of Yesteryear Festival held in Bluffton each August. “It’s nice to share parts with people who attend,” he said. “This kind of hobby takes a tremendous amount of effort. It’s fun to talk with people of the same interest.”


While not a fan of tractor pulling contests, Lehman has attended antique tractor pulls. “I learn something with each project,” he said. “It requires much patience.” Lehman has even attended Cockshutt conventions. “It’s a family-oriented hobby,” he said. “My wife’s nephew has painted my tractors and the vendors I purchase parts from and people met through festivals and contests and conventions become friends.”


He may have established a self-imposed limit to his collection, however. “Seven tractors is enough for awhile,” he said. “The money to invest in them only goes so far. I’ve had fun with them, but we can only drive one per person at a time.”


The End

Judy Clausen- Value of Exercise

This story of a friend appeared in a new publication, Sr Lifestyle. It is a powerful of the effectiveness of regular exercise. Do you exercise regularly? What have been benefits to you of regular exercise?


Judy Clausen (middle) of Bluffton chats about news events, local community activities and the beauty of nature with walking pals, Joyce Burke (L) and Liz Moser leading her dog.





When Bluffton resident Judy Clausen began walking for her health 37 years ago, she had no idea how it would impact her life.


Clausen started walking regularly when she was pregnant for her first child. “A friend said if I walked routinely while carrying my baby, it would assist with a quick delivery. My friend was right.”


Clausen had avoided sports and exercise as a teenager. But seeing results of a safe delivery prompted her to keep up the walking regimen after her baby was born. At that time she and her family lived in Iowa where Clausen usually walked alone. “None of my friends were interested in walking regularly,” said Clausen. “It was a great way to relieve stress by getting out of the house each night and leaving the girls with their Dad.”


After Clausen and her family moved to Bluffton in 1994, she resumed the habit of walking year-round, usually trekking four miles per session. At age 50, she began to fully appreciate the benefits of the aerobic exercise. “I had never had high cholesterol or been overweight,” said Clausen. “Then I noticed people in my age group were battling these problems and I realized walk had been good for me all of those years.” The health habit continued for more than a decade as Clausen, usually accompanied by neighbors, walked at night around their housing addition.


Then in spring 2007 Clausen’s good health came to an abrupt halt when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. During a six-week stay in the hospital that included surgery to remove the cancer, doctors were successful but Clausen was pitifully weak and dangerously ill. Her health deteriorated to the point that three times she was declared brain dead. Thankfully, her family refused to end her life and prayed for Clausen’s recovery. After a lengthy, some would say miraculous, recovery, Clausen returned home in mid-summer. She was weak and weighing only 92 pounds, but alive. More importantly, she was determined to work her way back to the health she had enjoyed prior to the surgery.


While at a rehabilitation hospital in Fort Wayne, Clausen got out of bed for the first time in seven weeks of hospitalization. When she walked the length of the hall, she credited her lifelong love of walking for her stamina. “I know I was stronger than I would have been had I not walked all those years,” she said. “It felt really good to walk that day.”


At home Clausen continued walking, slowly, but steadily increasing her goals. At first she used her walker to reach the end of her driveway.  Then she challenged herself to stroll to the neighbor’s driveway. Gradually, she learned to walk sans assistance. After several weeks of increasing her distance in increments, Clausen finally managed to resume her previous level of endurance at four miles per evening. The pace is medium as Clausen, usually in the company of neighbors Liz Moser and Joyce Burke, completes the session in 75 minutes.


The walking might look the same, but the importance of the activity has been magnified to Clausen. “Walking puts everything in perspective for me,” she said. “It offers me daily freedom, health, and strength. My walking partners and I always talk about the beautiful trees and sky and sunset. That was not available to me when I was in the hospital all those weeks. I appreciate nature more because I walk and take time to see more things in my neighborhood.”


As for the physical benefits, Clausen adds that she believes walking has helped her keep her weight within a desirable range, avoid high blood pressure, and maintain general good health. “I’ve not had the flu or a cold in years,” she said. “When cold weather sets in, my walking friends and I dress for the weather and go outside for our usual distance. We think fresh cold air is good for us.”


Clausen believes having a walking buddy enhances the walking experience. “Walking with someone keeps each of us honest. If one of us is gone for a week, we know our walking friend is waiting for us to return and get back in the routine. At this point in my life walking daily is a huge pleasure. I will keep walking until I die.”


The End



Jori Leman hones her talent as a photographer

If you like creative photography, you’ll want to read about Jori Leman and view her talent in the photos below. For having first picked up a camera a couple of years ago, she has honed her skill at seeing the world in a unique way. Be sure to check out her website. Enjoy!      


Jori Leman is a photographer with vision



With no formal training and little knowledge of the mechanics of a camera, 2011 Norwell High School graduate Jori Leman has established herself as a photographer with purpose. Since 2009, she has shot photos for dozens of high school seniors, weddings and several family group settings.


Leman discovered a love for photography during a family trip to Cancun in 2009. She had just purchased a camera and while on vacation,  took several shots of scenery. Her father, Ron Leman, was impressed with her work. “He likes to paint and is a graphic artist,” said Jori. “He thought I had a good eye and encouraged me to do more with my photography.”


Leman captures life in a fascinating way w/ her camera

Jori pursued her interest by asking friends if she could shoot photos of them. “It was just for practice,” she said. The friends liked the photos and displayed them on Facebook pages. Other friends asked Leman to do the same for them. “My friends wanted to support me and it gave me confidence,” she said. Today, she has established a business she calls ‘Jori Leman Photography’. 


When she started shooting photos, Leman used a Canon point and shoot. As she evolved into portraiture, she switched to a Nikon D5000. She uses two lenses—18-55 millimeter and 85-125 millimeter for wide angles and close-ups.


Jori and her mother, Kathy, drive around the area, looking for places for Jori to capture through her lens. She likes run-down structures. “I love their rough textures cool angles and colors,” she said. She likes to place high school seniors in front of such edifices, juxtaposing young with old. “The buildings make good backdrops so the senior stands out,” she explained. She also takes photos in parks.  


Leman learned composition and color from her father who owns Leman’s Sign City in Bluffton. “We have painted together for years in Dad’s warehouse,” she said. “He also established a make-shift studio for my photography there.”


Leman credited not only her parents, but Norwell High School art teachers, Donna Ballinger and Jeff Prentice, for their expertise and advice. “Mrs. Ballinger was my teacher for most of my high school art classes,” she said. “She encouraged me to develop my interest and we’ve taken painting classes together in Fort Wayne. Mr. Prentice gave me confidence. He does that with many students.”


In July 2010 Leman held her second photography exhibition at the Brew Ha! Espresso Café in Ossian. Since then, she has developed a website, www.jorileman.com, that displays many of her photos. Her Facebook page (‘Jori Leman’) also contains her photos.


Leman plans to attend Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne and work towards an Art in Education degree. “I love children and would like to be a teacher,” she said. “I’d also like to continue my photography on the side during the summers.”


The End

The Significance of the Cross- Pt 2

Tulips signal spring the way the cross signals God's love for us.

Happy Easter!

Actually this is a day late as the day’s activities with church and family precluded my time at the computer. I was glad for the break! I hope Resurrection Day was a blessed one for you and your loved ones. Here is Chap 2 of my article which appeared in The Lookout (Standard Pub) a few years ago. I hope it is a blessing to you.

2. The cross reveals the wisdom of God in offering men the only effective scheme for their salvation.

The power of God was revealed on the cross. The blood spilled on the cross itself does not save us, however. It is a symbol for what is most important —the suffering of Deity. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (I Peter 1:24)

The Savior is found in the suffering and agony of the cross. Jesus Christ had to suffer and die a despicable death on the cross to save us from our sins. No other Being could have bridged the gap between sin and sanctity. It had to be the Son of God. A savior without the cross would be no savior.

At the cross we are emptied of any reason for boasting of ourselves. When we recognize through the cross what God has done for us, we have inner peace. Accepting forgiveness at the cross shows us what it means to be a follower.

The Apostle Peter rejoiced in the cross on earth and in heaven. Only the love of Jesus Christ on the cross had any glory for him: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you.” (I Peter 1:3-4)

Unfortunately, Peter wasn’t always clear about the meaning of the cross in his life. Before Jesus’ death, Peter thought he knew what it meant to be a cross-bearer. He imagined what the messiah should be. He thought he had the strength on his own to stand with Jesus and fight with him to the bitter end.

But self-made faith caused Peter to be vulnerable to a fall from his greatest failing– inconsistency. As a result, Peter ended up not being the follower of the cross he thought he would be. Yet, the cross redeemed Peter. He ended up being a true Rock of the church, respected throughout the centuries as a humble servant of Christ’s.

From Peter we learn the perils of trying to bear the cross on our own. To follow the cross we must come in repentance, aware of our weakness and our inability to deal with sin and death. Like Peter, we must always desire to be restored and forgiven.

When God hears the prayer of a follower who desires godly sovereignty, He faithfully restores such a one to righteousness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)  God’s grace compels this passion of the cross and leads us to salvation through the only means possible.

 ~ to be cont’d here next week: “Part 3 and final section — “The Significance of the Cross”

Has this article helped you? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Have a great day!