Telling Our Stories:
Story telling is the Shuswap
way of passing our history
to the next generations
Just about the time I got finished with school, around 1963 or 64 - Willy, Tony and I used to do a lot of mechanic-ing on everybody’s vehicles. This one time, Henry Grinder, who was Willy’s brother-in-law, got a car from his brother Freddy. Henry asked Willy if he would go out to Alkali and get the car. He only gave us a vague description of the car and that it needed some work on it to get it going. Willy, Tony and I loaded up all the tools into Willy’s car and headed out to Alkali.
We got to Alkali in late morning. We had no idea where the car was, or even what kind of car it was, only that it was blue. Well, we looked behind a lot of houses before we found a blue car, I think it was a dodge or Chrysler. It was in bad shape. Just about all the tires were flat, the gas tank was in the back seat, and many parts of the motor were missing. We looked at each other, shook our heads a little bit, and got to work. We started by checking out the gas tank first. I thinks some kids must have put some dirt into it because we could hear rocks rolling around inside when we pulled it from the back seat. We had to empty it out, wash it out with gas, then re-install it back on to the car. We pumped up the tires and found another one for one that couldn’t be fixed.
While we worked on the car, different people stopped by to visit. Everybody knew us out there. Willy’s wife Victorine was from out there. Nobody ever questioned what we were doing. I guess they all assumed we had permission to be working on this car. A couple guys commented that it would be a miracle if we got that car running. There was just one time we had to take a run into town to get parts for the car. It was late night when we finally got to the point where we would try to start the car. After a few tries, and to our surprise the car started. We were all totally relieved. So, into the car we jumped. We were on our way back to Sugar Cane.
We only had a couple of minor incidents with the car before we finally got it home in the middle of the night. We drove it at night because we had no ownership papers, no license plates, and no insurance for the car. Of course, back then no insurance and no license plates was not a big deal. So, the next morning, Henry got up and went out to look at his car. He looked at it for a few seconds, kinda smiled and said, “that ain’t the car, that ain’t my car!”. We all looked at each other and burst out laughing. We had worked our butts off all day and night, risked driving it all the way from Alkali, and it was the wrong car. We never did find out whose car that was.