I explained to Dick that I would ask some of the Southport/Perry Township Historical Society officers if there are any records that might confirm or deny his thoughts.
As Dick and I chatted, I recalled a previous marshal of Southport. I don’t remember his name, but he lived on Union Street (known as Southport Road outside of the city limits). My father’s Sunoco station serviced all of Davidson’s Lumber Co. company trucks on weekends. We also had other customers, including the town marshal, who drove a full-size Chevy with a red light and a siren.
One evening when I was on duty, the marshal pulled in and explained that his car needed some repairs. He also told me that he was going to leave the car and needed a ride home. That posed a problem because the other fellow working with me was away in our service truck and would be gone for a while.
The marshal asked me if he could use my car to drive himself home, but I wasn’t a big fan of that idea. I also wasn’t keen on him hanging around with me at the station, so I handed him my car keys and explained that we closed at 10 p.m.
I got busy making the repairs to his car and with my other duties. When closing time rolled around, there was no marshal. I phoned the marshal’s house and got no answer. I got in his patrol car and drove his residence, but no one was there, and my car was not in sight. I sat in front of his house for a few minutes while devising a plan.
Since I thought I would look impressive driving the marshal’s car, I decided to head to the Tee Pee Restaurant for something to eat and to hang out with friends. I cruised through the parking lot several times, much to the amazement of my friends. Those who didn’t know me very well were asking my friends why was I driving a police car. I was attracting quite a bit of attention, especially the off-duty officers who worked at the Tee Pee.
I decided that I had pressed my luck far enough. I hopped into the marshal’s car and drove back to our station. I locked it in the garage and drove our service truck home. As I remember, the marshal showed up the next morning with my car. He told me that he showed up late at the station and that his car wasn’t there.
I explained that I had driven it to his house and we must have passed on the road. I don’t think he bought my story, but he was the guy who wasn’t back to pick up his car on time.
It was a fun evening ... and I didn’t even pull anyone over.
Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools.