Mary Hodges'

1949 Chevy 3100 Pickup Truck


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04 June 2007
# 1960

From Mary :

           A couple of months ago my Great Uncle passed away. He was kind of like a Grandfather to me, but in a distant sort of way. My Dad was orphaned at 14 and was sent to live with his Uncle on a ranch in McCamey.

           Uncle Frank was a quiet man who would rather sit at the kitchen table reading his western novels and drinking coffee than do anything else. When I was little, we had a truck that my Mom drove to work. When you're little, you don't realize the value of something. I was just excited when we got to stop next to the tree at a red light cause there was shade.

           Well, one Christmas my parents were strapped for cash and sold the engine out of the truck so I could have a good Christmas ('cause that's the kind of incredible parents I have). The truck was parked in our backyard and became a big play toy for me. I would get my little purse with legos and whatever else I could scrounge up from my room to put in it. Me and the dog would go "cruisin" in the truck. My parents teased me that I prolly drove 100,000 miles in that truck.

           When I got older, Dad told me that this was the truck he drove in high school. One day we were moving it from storage to our new backyard. I fell in love with the truck all over again. I told my Dad, "This is going to be my first vehicle." Poor Bessie needed a LOT of work! But Dad saw that look in my eye and had that yearning to do another restoration, so it was on.

           Dad and I drove down to McCamey so I could ask Uncle Frank for this truck. Without hesitation, he said I could have it.

           So Dad and I rounded up the paperwork and went back down there a few weeks later so he could sign over the title of my "brand new" 1967 Chevrolet pickup truck ("Bessie") .

           But anyway ... here's what I actually wanted to talk about:

           I went home this last weekend to see my parents. I surprised them, after a hard week, only to find that they had a surprise in store for me. Neither one of them knew what to get me for my birthday. Since Uncle Frank has passed, it is still unsure what is going to happen with the ranch. So my Dad and his cousin Bill have started bringing things back from McCamey. Ever since I was little, there has been a truck out at the ranch that I have been in love with. I have always told my Dad that I wanted it and all he ever said was, "It needs a lot of work."

           Even after I got Bessie, I wanted this truck. Well, Dad got home Friday from work before going to run an errand and when I was talking to him, I glanced in the backyard and saw a truck parked behind the little fence in the back area. I knew my parents had gone down to the ranch a couple of weeks ago and they had said they brought back the old International that was down there.

           So when I glanced back there, I said, "Oh that's the truck y'all brought back ... wait a minute. Isn't that the one I've always wanted?" I turned and looked at my Dad who had that grin he gets when he's gotten away with something. All I could say was, "Oh my God!" over and over.

           Then he handed me some paper work. He had run the VIN number and found out that this is a 1949 Chevrolet pickup truck.

           As for the history of this truck, the story only gets better!! My Great Grandfather bought this truck brand new. Uncle Frank was driving it one night between McCamey and Girvin and hit a bridge, tearing up the right side. My Great Grandfather took it to the dealership in town to trade it in for a new pickup. The dealership was owned by none other than my Grandfather (his Son-in-law). Grandpa took it as a trade in and then it was taken out to the ranch and put on blocks ... in 1959.

           So this truck has always been in my family ... and only has about 63,000 miles on it.

           I am SO excited about this truck!! I told Dad that we were going to have to think of a name for it and he said that he had already picked one out. I asked what it was and he said, "You'll have to ask your Mother." He then turned to leave. I didn't know why but he seemed to have gotten choked up. When Mom finally got home, I was retelling the story and sharing my excitement with her. I asked her what name Dad had picked out for the truck. She looked at me and got that tear-filled look that could be happy or sad until something is said and all she said was, "Pancho." Pancho is the name that was given to Uncle Frank when he was in high school Spanish class. It stuck the rest of his life.

           I couldn't be sad when Uncle Frank passed because he's not suffering. When he passed I said, "Now I have another guardian angel." This is the absolute truth. I know that he will be watching over Dad and me as we work to restore yet another one of his trucks and someday get to cruise the town in it. I know he's in Heaven with my Grandparents and I'll be safe in "Pancho."

Mary Hodges
"West Texas Bowtie Gal"
Bolter # 14607
San Angelo, Texas

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