Today is Jason and Ken’s last day. Jason is Randy’s son, Randy has been with us since 1971, Jason 1994. Ken came to us by way of Louie, who has worked here since 1969, Ken and Louie’s wives work together. When Bob retired 7 years ago after 49 years of service Louie mentioned to Ken that we were looking for a mechanic and that it’s a good place to work, Ken’s family business was closing, an independent automotive repair shop that consisted of Ken and his father.
Jason and his dad have worked side by side for 15 years, when you work with your dad you become very close, I know. It’s a thing that even my brother and sister recognized as being unique and special. We have had many father and son teams who have worked here over the years, 6 of our remaining 18 employees were part of such a combination, myself included … Randy and Jason will be the last.
When I started working in the service department in 1977 Randy taught me how to brew my own beer, he shared with me a book he had and some old equipment. We would occasionally sneak some home brew sampling in the mechanics changing area, a dark little basement room.
My Dad told me the story of when Randy started just out of the army, that Don, one of our salesmen at the time would say hi to Randy walking by him everyday, for some reason Randy ignored him. Don finally said to him “you son-of–a-bitch, say something to me, even if it’s ‘go to hell’”. Randy started saying hi after that.
Don was/is the uncle of Fred our only salesperson remaining. Fred started in 1971 also. My Dad found some weed of mine when I was in high school, he brought it to Fred, the hip kid on the sales team, to verify what it was. Dad told me one of the guys at work knows a policeman that was disposing of it and I was lucky that I wasn’t getting in more trouble because of it. Fred in recent years told me his side of the story, he verified what it was and offered to dispose of it … which he did with enjoyment.
I think of Louie as our resident philosopher, most people call him Bill … that’s what it says on his shirt, his first name is Louis, middle name Charles, I have no idea where the name Bill came from. I’ve always liked his humor and perspective on things …. statements like “the only reason we’re all here is because we’re ‘not all there’” and “I got a Dunlop belly, it’s done lopped over my belt” … he’s a wealth of knowledge, we’ve had conversations about many things. Most recently when all the economic turmoil hit we were talking about it, he said “sometimes you just have to go outside and lay on your back in your yard … look at the clouds, look at the stars … it puts everything in perspective, it reminds you what is really important in life”.
These are the gentlemen who have kept our community mobile … changing oil, engine tune ups, transmission repairs … all with devotion.