Perham resident’s long-time wish to take a ride in a classic car is granted
By Barbie Porter
Howard Janke recently granted the dream of a Perham resident that was 30 years in the making. When the 1971 Frazee High School graduate was 20-years-old he purchased a Chevrolet 210. The car was in decent shape, but needed work done to the paint, tires, upholstery and he wanted a radio installed, as the car didn’t come with one. The Brainerd, Minn. resident figured, in time, the vehicle would be restored. But, it took longer than expected. Howard kept busy working in the drywall business in the Twin Cities area. All-the-while, the vintage automobile sat in storage.
However, his older sister Diane Arthurs, of Perham, continued to request a ride in his classic car, decade after decade. That wish has always been in the forefront of her brother’s mind.
Howard divulged his sister had a severe stroke when she was 33. It left her disabled physically, but mentally she remained sharp as a whip with her memory intact.
Diane recalled their youth, growing up in rural Frazee with her nine siblings, seven of which were brothers. She noted there were many winter afternoons where her feisty and determined personality resulted in her face being “washed with snow” by one of her brothers. “But, she is still feisty and determined to this day,” Howard chimed in.
About five years ago he began working on the classic car, all the while looking forward to the day he and his siblings could take a ride on the familiar roads where they grew up. When the day came, Howard headed to his hometown, where many of his siblings gathered: Roslyn Lubitz and Diane, FHS grads from the 1960s, and Keith and Jeff Janke, who graduated from FHS in the 1970’s.
“There were 10 of us,” Diane noted, adding two couldn’t make the trip and three had passed.
The morning began on Main Avenue in Frazee, where jokes along with memories were shared as friendly greetings from people admiring the car were met with smiles and friendly banter.
As the Janke’s climbed into the Chevrolet 210 with collector plates, Janke 55, the family prepared for a leisurely drive to the Toad Lake Store, where reminiscing would mingle with stories about the winding turns of life.
“We’re just enjoying the day, and the ride,” Howard said.