This writer has had a passion for Checkers for over 45 years, it started out back in junior high school with a response letter generated by viewing a Checker Marathon ad in National Geographic magazine. About a month later I received a letter from Eugene Hardick from Checker’s Brookline, Mass, office, I was ecstatic, I wanted a Checker
Twenty-seven years later my dream of buying a Checker came true when I purchased a 1957 Checker Model A8 from Ben Merkel. That purchase would introduce me to some of the nicest people I have ever met, people who would ultimately become good friends and be considered family.
Many are aware of the lawsuit prosecuted against me by the Checker Car Club of America, it was the most traumatic experience of my life. Close to forty thousand dollars was spent saving the ICTA from injunctions filed in Federal court by the CCCofA in an effort to shut down the club I created via Facebook ten years ago.
About a year later our club is stronger than ever, thanks to the many friends and family who supported the quest of providing a world class Checker fan FREE experience. The support of friends and family was key to moving forward and not packing up the tent and closing shop.
Perhaps the most supportive people during this difficult time was: David and Connie Powers. Without their and my wife’s support, I don’t think I could have survived the litigation prosecuted by the strangers (people I don’t know) that now run the CCCofA.
Recently I received a package from Connie Powers! Connie is the daughter of Steve Wilson, the second president of the CCCofA, the package contained some of Steve’s belongings. If you don’t know who Steve Wilson is, just check this blog out.
The package contained three videos, a video of a the 1996 Checker show produced by Steve Wilson. Additionally, there was a one hour video of the Checker show produced by former CMC plant supervisor John Logan. Also included in the package was a video of Steve’s birthday party in 1992.
I viewed the videos, it was heart wrenching. The videos was produce at the 1996 CCCofA event at CMC, and it depicts the club I remember, the club I once served as president.
In the Wilson video a number of great old friends pop up, Don McHenry and the Late Richard Thomas who passed recently. Also in the video is a young Ben Merkel, Eric Lachmann, Michael Angelich, Bruce Urhich and Pete Talanca make an appearance.
Other friendly Checker faces pop up, Joe Pollard, AC Burkhaulter Jr., Father John from Cleveland and John Logan. The people I first met when I started in this great Checker hobby. A bigger than life Bob Welsh and Roy Dickinson can be found in the video, these were the people who welcomed me to the hobby.
Connie Wilson Powers also makes an appearance in the video with her father Steve Wilson. I had never met Steve, my first Checker show in Kalamazoo was in 1998, it’s so nice to hear the voice of the man who really transformed the CCCofA into a great club.
Beyond my friends in the video, there are many more Checker fans in the video. The Wilson video is fantastic as it shows the people who love their Checkers. The funny thing about the video is that there are more ICTA members in the video, than current CCCofA board members. As a matter of fact, there is not one current board member in appearance in the video. Ironic isn’t it?
The bonus, is the John Logan video. John spent three days covering the entire event. His arm must have ached for days after filming. A fun one hour video or raw unedited activity John narrates the whole time.
John has been very generous to the ICTA. Making any donation to a club, is a big deal. Johns donation of CMC factory documentation was fantastic and put the ICTA on the map as the best archive of Checker information. The addition of his video continues to expand the archive.
Thank you to David and Connie Wilson and John Logan.
Joe, what a treasure! Such fun, passion, sharing, and a GREAT group of Checker lovers. It meant so much to my dad, John Logan and a host of other special people to contribute to the Checker legacy. Bless you for being a huge part.
J F, thanks! And thanks for sharing your great posts every week!