Jim Dillenschneider

The expression “there’s a pair to draw to” is commonly used in the card game of draw poker.  The expression is part metaphor and part poker rules.  In draw poker you are allowed to draw new cards in exchange for old ones in the event the initial cards dealt weren’t to your liking.  The other part, the metaphor, is any pair you would like to emphasize.  That being said, this expression could also apply to two 1955 Fords owned by Jim and Martha Dillenschneider. 

It has been said that life is a game and you have to play with the hand that is dealt you.  And, to some extent, maybe there is some truth in that.  However, if one chooses, we live in a Country that no matter what cards are dealt to us, with some hard work and Heavenly Guidance; we can achieve successes never imagined. 

An initial card dealt to Jim was when his Mother purchased this Victoria brand new in 1955.  He was eight years old when arriving home from grade school, was informed that his Mom was on her way home with a brand new car.  As he waited on the front porch to see the arrival of the new car,  what came into view was  a two tone, white over red, two door Ford Victoria, equipped with white wall tires, V8 engine, dual exhaust, standard shift three speed transmission, and one of the widest smiles peering through the windshield that Jim had ever seen.  Some of the neighbors, noticing the new car, began to gather to ask questions about his Mom’s new Victoria.  Some of the answers to questions were; “if the transmission ever breaks, the standard shift versus an automatic transmission will be less expensive to fix”;  “the red and white paint looks sharper than the other choices”; “the two door looks sportier than the four door”;  and so on.  It was a memorable moment.

As years went by Jim got old enough to obtain his driver’s license and since being the first of his siblings able to drive, the Victoria began to be referred to as “Jim’s car”.   And, he was more than happy to assume the task of providing family transportation in “his car”.  When not chauffeuring family or running errands, many adventurous miles were driven in the Victoria.  A high school summer job that required driving the Victoria to a local hardware store to acquire supplies for the summer job provided a chance meeting of a very nice young girl employed by the store.   She was not only attractive but was very knowledgeable about the store inventory as well.  One or both of these qualities could be considered reasons for an increase in repeated store visits.  You can decide.  Martha was this young girl’s name.  And, if you ever meet her she will enjoy telling you about refusing Jim’s first request for a date at the check- out register, and he forgetting to get his change for the purchase made.  Was this frustrating for Jim?  Upon realizing that he had forgotten his change could he assume she would think that the change was a gratuity for excellent service?  Did he not want to acknowledge he had been shot down?   Again, you can decide.  HOWEVER, the second request for a date was accepted, and the first date Martha and Jim ever had was in the Victoria.  More time passed as education and military commitments were completed by Martha and Jim.  On June 26, 1971 Martha and Jim were married.  As of this writing they have been married 50+ years, raised two sons (Mark and Scott), and enjoy being able to spend time together.  As for the Victoria………read on.

Remember that even though the Victoria was “Jim’s car”, it was still family transportation. And as such was driven by all members of the family.  Unfortunately, the car was involved in a single car accident around 1968 or 1969.  In 1968 or ’69, ’55 Fords were usually worth a couple of hundred dollars.  If they were wrecked, the term “total loss” was commonly used.  The Victoria’s useful life was over and was to be taken to the junk yard.  However, that was not to happen.  Martha and Jim had their first date in that car.  Essentially, Jim grew up with that car.  So for the next 30+ years Jim found places to keep his wrecked car so that someday it would be repaired.  It rested in barns, buildings, and behind garages waiting to be repaired.  As time passed the realization that Jim would never have the time or money to repair the car became apparent.   In 2002 the wrecked car was sold to a gentleman named Bob Nolan of Elyria, Ohio.  Another ten years passed.  In 2012 Jim arrived home to find Martha talking on the phone to Bob Nolan.  With wide eyed anticipation, she handed the phone to Jim.  Martha had a premonition of what was to happen.  Bob wanted to know if there was an interest in buying the car back from him.    The damage from the accident had been repaired and by all accounts the car had been returned to pre-damage condition.   Additional discussion concerning the purchase of the car was completed and a trip to Elyria, Ohio to bring the car home was planned.   After arriving at Bob’s home to inspect and purchase the Victoria, there was an additional surprise waiting to be seen.   In addition to seeing that Jim’s Victoria  was repaired and in beautiful condition, setting next to Jim’s  Victoria was a 1955 Ford Sunliner convertible with the identical white over red paint scheme.  At that time interest was only in buying the Victoria.  All the damage to the car had been repaired and it was beautiful.  So Jim’s Victoria headed back to his home.  As for the Sunliner……read on.

During a subsequent visit to Elyria to purchase additional parts from Bob, Jim and Martha attended a cruise night by riding in Bob’s Sunliner.  Bob even let Jim drive the Sunliner back to his home afterward.  The top was down, the evening was warm and the additional sensations from riding in an open vehicle were very nice.  So nice that during the trip back to their home, Martha was heard to say, “if ever you were to want to buy another car, I would approve of us buying this one”.  At that time Martha was safe in that remark because the Sunliner was not for sale.  But as time went along, things changed.  Bob and Jim would often talk via telephone conversations due to the distance separating their home towns.  Fourteen hour trips one way prohibited frequent visits.  But one night while talking on the phone, Bob asked what Jim was ultimately going to do with his cars.  This led to a discussion that ultimately ended in the Sunliner possibly being purchased by Jim and Martha.  Well, Martha had given her blessing on the subject, so a major concern had already been addressed.  The color combination on the Sunliner was exactly the same as the color scheme on the Victoria.  The cars made quite a statement setting beside one another.  The Sunliner had an automatic transmission making it easy for Martha to drive.  The cars were very similar mechanically so service and repair parts already purchased would work on either vehicle.  The issue of transporting the Sunliner to Jim and Martha’s home wasn’t a problem since that had been previously done with the Victoria.  And, among other things, there was space to house the Sunliner.   The more thought that was given to the purchase of the Sunliner, the more it seemed plausible, and having a “pair” of 1955 Fords was a neat idea.  So Jim and Martha purchased the car.   Martha decided to name the Sunliner “Sunny”.  She likes to call the Victoria and Sunliner “sisters”.  When both cars are taken to a cruise event people will often take a second look as they pass by.  When only one of the cars attend an event sometimes people having seen one or the other of the cars will ask, “wasn’t this a hardtop?”  Or, “wasn’t this a convertible?” Having this “pair” of Fords makes for some fun conversations. 

The expression “there’s a pair to draw to” easily applies to Jim and Martha’s 1955 Fords.  And, some would say, also to Jim and Martha.  Rarely do you see one of them without the other by their side.  They have been lucky in the game of life.  The cards that have been dealt them, some good and some bad, have been played wisely resulting in a winning hand.  That being said the game is not over.  Wise choices must be made during one’s travels.  Again, no matter what hand is dealt you, with some hard work and Heavenly Guidance success never imagined can be achieved and rewards enjoyed.  It doesn’t matter what two are standing together, be it man, woman, or machine.    Hopefully those of you reading this possibly understand what is being said.   And, if you do, when people see you I ‘bet’ they say, “there’s a pair to draw to”. 

Jim and Martha Dillenschneider