I get a little bit of money whenever a copy of By Mopar to the Golden Gate gets sold. It’s called a royalty though it’s hardly royal in the crown and sceptre sense of the word. In time, book sales might produce enough cash to cover the giveaways but that’s far from certain and it’s not even a goal. I didn’t write the book to make money. I wrote it partly as a bucket list checkoff and partly to gain a little notoriety in the road fan community. But the best benefit of all was one that had never even occurred to me.
Another graduate from my high school has long worked at my home county’s only newspaper. Her name is Linda Moody and she writes features on a variety of subjects along with a regular column on our shared home town, Ansonia, Ohio. It was through an article of hers that I first learned of a book written by another school mate which I reviewed here. That gave my sister an idea and the next time she saw Linda she told her about the book I had just written and that led to an interview and article. That was very cool, of course, but it’s not the big benefit that I’m writing about.
The article prompted a few contacts from people who saw it and recognized me. One was an email from the fellow beside me in the photo. The photo is from the first time Terry Wolfe and I have seen each other in forty-seven years. I’ve actually mentioned Terry in this blog when I wrote about the 1952 Ford I bought from him. Starting about the time I entered my teens, I spent much of each summer with my grandparents who lived in a very small town. Make that a VERY small town. Two boys of roughly the same age naturally spent a lot of time together on bicycles and on foot and, once in awhile, on something that floated on the nearby Stillwater River. We attended different high schools but remained close friends into our motorized years and through graduation. At some point, bound up in our own lives and families, we lost contact.
I know we’ve both thought of each other now and then over the years. My Dad once told me about seeing a poem of Terry’s in the paper and I made quickly forgotten plans to contact him. Fortunately, Terry was much better at following through when he saw the article on the book. First came an email that led to a phone call that led to some vague but sincere plans to get together. Those plans came together two weeks ago.
When I knew I would be in Darke County without a tight schedule, I checked with Terry to see if he would be around. He would so after doing a few chores at my stepmother’s, I headed his way. Terry has retained some of his mechanical skills and keeps them honed by restoring and showing Wheel Horse tractors as a hobby. We talked about some works-in-process and several show ready “Horses” as we got reacquainted. Then, after an extended session of “sittin’ & rememberin'”, we, along with Terry’s wife Sue, headed to a nearby pizza parlor for a couple cold ones, some excellent pizza, and a few more memory tests. We will definitely do it again.
I’ve no record of what we looked like forty-seven years ago, but here we are forty-nine years ago as high school seniors. I won’t try to analyse those forty-seven years nor will I profess some sort of regret. That’s just the way life works. And I won’t claim that writing a book was solely responsible for that recent meeting. It does, however, get some of the credit and hearing from and connecting with Terry was a terrific “royalty” that I sure had not anticipated.