Wednesday, January 14, 2009
A Garage Unlike All Others
In Iowaville, most of the old brick buildings along main street have collapsed into rubble and eventually turned into empty lots or occasionally, having a new prefab building built in its place. One of the few remaining brick buildings resides at the south end of main street and is the home of Bell Garage. Where the apostrophe 's' went or if it ever existed, I don't know.
Mostly what I know of Bonar Bell and his garage are what I can see from the sidewalk and a couple stories that I've heard. I'll start with what I can see from the sidewalk, which is that Bonar is the mother of all packrats. The inside of his garage is completely full of various engines, transmissions, tangles of belts, hoses, pipes and several cars one of which appears to be a mint condition and very dusty 30's era car. Judging by the surrounding content on all sides, it hasn't moved since it was in its prime.
My neighbor runs a business and took one of his trucks into Bonar Bell's garage to get worked on and it was the last time he saw that truck for four years. Why it took so long or why he didn't do more to get it back and take it somewhere else, I do not know, but that story is always heard at gatherings where people talk about the Bell Garage.
The final story involves the ancient wrecker truck that sits parked out front. My cousin who was helping with the spring dirt work on the farm buried the tractor up to the axles in an old "buffalo waller" as my grandfather called them. It was a Sunday afternoon and time was tight and Bonar was the only one who would come. He brought that wrecker and a huge pile of chain. I gathered up every bit of change that I could find and met Bonar out in the field. We chained the wrecker to the nearest tree a very long ways away and using all the cable and the rest of the chain were able to hook onto the tracker. Bonar fired up the wrecker with a belch of black smoke and began to reel in the cable. How the tracker came out without the wrecker twisting up into a wreck and coming apart at the seams I will never know.
So on a recent foray into Iowaville when I spied that old wrecker sitting out in front of his garage, I couldn't resist taking a few pictures and posting them here with those few snippets of memory I have.