By:  David W. Schumaker

It was Thanksgiving weekend of 1954(?). The Creightons from Tampa, Florida  and the Schumakers from Parris Island, South Carolina had gathered with the Grandma and the other Lewises of Patterson, Georgia to celebrate the holiday.
Clyde and I had gone over to the shore and bought a bushel of oysters to roast for the occasion.  A cold front started moving in in the early afternoon and by nightfall it was rapidly approaching freezing. Fearing that her Satsuma oranges and Kumquats would freeze Grandma and I went out in the night with a flashlight and gathered most of them--a bushel or more.
On coming back in I asked "Paw" (that was my pet name for Fred, since he had insisted on calling me "Cap'n") if he had antifreeze in his car. He said no, but not to worry, it wouldn't get cold enough to freeze anything. I insisted that he drain it, and when he refused I went out and raised the hood and opened the petcock on the radiator, but couldn't locate one on the block, which I knew had to be there. He said there wasn't one. So we let it go at that!
The next morning we found that the oysters, which had been on the enclosed back porch, were frozen! As was the fish pond and there was a heavy frost all around. "Paw" decided he had better get some antifreeze for the car, so I drove him to the little gas station down by the highway, and they had none. While there a new Buick came in and it was steaming.  They opened the hood and we could see ice had pushed out a couple of the freeze plugs!
We went on into Blackshear and then to Waycross before we found some antifreeze.  Came back and filled the little car (a Studebaker) and cranked it up.  As it warmed up water began to spew out from the block below the manifold. There were a couple of cracks.  So back to town to find some stop-leak.  After putting in several doses of that we finally got the leaks down to a seep.  The Creightons managed to get it back to Sarasota, and the next we heard from them he had bought a Packard Straight Eight--like mine! Which is another story!.
After Cathy Sue was born in August of 1949 and winter rolled around, Mary Love complained that the drafty old 1940 Chevvy would be the death of the baby if we took her any place in it.  I shopped around and couldn't find a car I could trade for. Had borrowed money for the down-payment on the house we were living in. Then one day in February or March one of my Lieutenants came in on a Monday morning driving a brand new 1949 Packard. I asked him how he could afford that when I, as a Captain, couldn't trade for a new Chevvy. He told me the dealer in Wilmington could work out a deal. So a few days later we drove down there and checked it out.  The outcome was that he gave me $700 for my 1940 Chev. for which I had paid $850  three years earlier, and which sold for $850 new in 1940. He set the monthly payments at what I told him I could pay, and for the first time I heard of a "balloon payment".  At that time the limit on financing a car was 2 years or 24 months.  My payments were $90 a month for 23 months and the 24th one would be $2,000!  I asked him how I could ever make that payment and he says if I hadn't gotten a bonus by that time I could refinance it.  So we drove out with a new 1949 Packard Straight Eight four-door sedan!
Then when we went to the mountain house in August 1950, described elsewhere, "Paw" had driven it and fallen in love with it. That is the reason he went for the  Packard after his Studebaker froze up!
We steamed the oysters later, and all had a big weekend. But that was one of the coldest winters on record for that area. It killed several camphor trees that were 50-75 years old.

David W. Schumaker, Sr.
Colonel, USMC, Retired
June 26, 2000