As two of my gentle readers pointed out, the picture in my previous post was NOT a Chevy Vega, but rather a Pinto. It certainly looked like I remembered. My mistake.
Hopefully this is a correct picture of that POS. I distinctly remember the rear left axle coming loose from the body where rust had consumed everything but the carpet. It was a manual transmission and when driving down the road and shifting, I would need to steer slightly in one direction to keep it on the road. Oh what fun.
Then came the day of the farm auction. By this time my Mom had left my Dad. He had no choice but to sell. On that day I drove there to do what I could to help. It started.
The tractors that I help tear apart and rebuild sold. The combine that I spent a summer repairing sold. The old broom machines that belonged to my paternal grandfather sold.
Then he asked me something; a question no one has ever and can never ask. "Son, if you want the farm, it is yours. You say 'yes,' and I will stop it now."
And he could have.
I was 17 and had been accepted into Western Illinois University for fall semester in 1984 to study physics. I said no. It had been in the family for nearly 100 years.
Within a few months my Dad passed away. Within days I received a letter from him, sent the day before.
About that time I earned my first amateur radio license - KA9RVK and my girlfriend earned KA9RVL. Cool, eh?
She and I and about four other students from our graduating class were inducted into the National Honor Society and shortly thereafter graduated.
The summer of '84 was spent scrapping up money and getting ready for college. What changes were ahead, I had no clue.