Most weeks, I put together my weekly article on either Saturday or Sunday. I am doing this one on Sunday morning. It is also Indy 500 race day. About 70 years ago, I was attending my very first Indianapolis 500 race.
My mom’s brother, Wayne would drive up from his home in Tennessee. Her brother, George, would also go with him to the race. They started taking their boys and cousins with them. I remember going a few times with them because my father had a country pick-up milk route, and it was a seven day per week business. I have great memories of attending the race with my uncles and cousins.
A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for something on our bookshelves. I don’t believe I ever located exactly what I was looking for, but I came across a couple of other treasures. I pulled out a small book titled, Over the Hill.
I sat down and started looking at that book. The very first page got me. The words on that first page said, “The Star of this book is Fred Shonk. With Love from Ron Lowe 1995”. During the years around 1995, I had a part-time job driving a charter bus. I worked with a couple of guys that were also part-time drivers for the charter bus company.
Ron Lowe was one of those guys. His full-time job was a fire fighter for the Indianapolis Fire Department. The other fellow was Carl Cambridge. He was a deputy sheriff with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. All three of us are characters in this little book. But it was mostly about me.
Each page showed a drawing of something and a few sentences about me that connected with the drawing. Page 5 showed a guy (me) watching television and showing a commercial for a computer. It said that I thought that I was probably “over the hill” because I was satisfied to remain “computer ignorant” for the remainder of my days.
There are pages that describe how I might forget what I was doing while making my breakfast. A page that showed me wearing a robe and slippers while waiting at a bus stop. It said that as I understood the “over the hill” time of life that I always dressed casual.
There are a couple of pages that explained how quickly I can forget things. It showed drawings of notes, memos and calendars. I am totally connected with these personal helpers. My June calendar is ready to be pinned to the bulletin board. I have a check list that helps me to remember all the things I need to take with me when I am leaving the house.
A page explained that I was going to attend a reunion and decided to wear a 20-year-old blue suit. I didn’t think anyone at the reunion had ever seen it. Carl and Ron always said it looked very good on me.
A page commented about me thinking about my school days as I drove to the reunion. It said that I was very content to be driving about 35 miles per hour as I thought that was a very reasonable speed.
A page showed me at the reunion and said that friends that I had not seen in many years said that I looked better not older. It also said that I believed them.
Carl and Ron both have passed now. I really miss them. We had many special, wonderful times. Ron even came down to Beech Grove and drove a school bus with me for a few years.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.
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. He can be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.