Rural Missouri - April 2018 - 23
photo courtesy Merced Photography
1st: Curt Blankenship, Sullivan
1st: Cassie Hartman, Springﬁeld
There's not many 1936 trucks still in the same family. But in a garage
near Spring Bluff, Curt Blankenship cares for a treasured piece of family
history. The green and black Chevy has the original 235 straight 6-cylinder
engine and three-speed manual transmission. Everything is original, save
for the paint, which is a lighter shade of green than was applied at the
"Grandpa bought it new in Owensville from Crowder & Ruffner Motors,"
says Curt, a member of Crawford Electric Cooperative. "Grandpa used it on
the farm in Japan, Missouri and hauled furs from Japan to Cuba."
Grandpa was William J. Schmitt, who lived in the tiny community of
Elmont. He pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league baseball team
but quickly discovered he could make more money farming than in baseball.
"My mom told him that when he was done with it, she wanted it," Curt
says, explaining why the old truck is still in the family.
Curt has fond memories of the truck. It was the only vehicle his grandpa
owned, so the entire family - all 11 of them - rode in the truck. William
made benches for the 6-foot bed so the extended family had a place to sit.
When his mom took ownership of the truck, wooden racks were added
to the bed to haul pigs and calves to the county fair when Curt was in 4-H.
He says he plans to pass it down to a niece or nephew when he is too old to
drive it anymore.
Cassie Hartman always knew she wanted a Volkswagen when she grew
up. "I thought it would be a 'Bug,' " she explains. When the Springﬁeld
resident was making plans to start her traveling ﬂower business, "Ozark
Mtn Flower Truck," she originally looked close to home at husband, Nick's,
1952 Ford. "He wasn't as excited about me messing with it as I was. So I
found my own."
Cassie found a bright lime green 1970 VW Single Cab online from a dealer
in Kentucky and bought it sight unseen. She changed the paint color on the
truck and started getting it ready to sell ﬂowers in southwest Missouri.
The truck - known by Cassie and customers as "Stella" - makes a
two-hour loop to farmers in search of local, seasonal ﬂowers to sell in the
area. Stella also has a following at corporate events, farmers markets and
"My favorite part is meeting people from the VW community," she says.
"A lot of people that have old Volkswagens will pull up next to me or maybe
someone who used to have one will stop by and chat."
Cassie is proud of her truck and wants to make sure people can continue
to see it carrying ﬂowers.
"I feel a special responsibility to have the privilege to care for this truck,"
she says. "I'm still hoping she forgives me for choosing her to be the truck I
learned to drive a stick with!"
Finalist Bill Skaggs, Kansas City
Finalist Gary Stearns, St. James
Finalist Ronald Stutes, Warsaw
Finalist David Yocom, Walnut Grove