Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

DeSoto 1

After many years of enjoyment, I made the difficult decision to sell my 1957 DeSoto Fireflight 4-door Sportsman. She joined the family in 1978 when Dad purchased her at the Auburn Car Auction in Indiana. This car was part of our family for a long time, many Sunday drives, driveway hand washings, and road trips to Ray’s Tavern in Reading.

I will always remember the unique smell, a mix of old vinyl, dust, and gasoline. This car, labelled an eye sore by some, boasted several unique fixtures: a push button transmission, a Hemi, and no posts between the front and rear windows, creating a unique open space between the front and rear seats.

DeSoto push button

One Sunday when I was 13, I asked Dad if he wanted to enter the DeSoto in the Father’s Day car show in Hillsdale. We began the long process of washing and hand drying all 18 feet of the car. Dad asked me to run inside for some dry rags. I grabbed them and started the long task of drying. I will never forget his shout of horror after I completed the front corner. “Stop! What are you doing?” I accidentally grabbed furniture polish rags and removed most of the wax!

DeSoto me

Chad and I enjoyed a few car shows ourselves, including the Hastings’ Summerfest Show and the Gilmore Car Museum. People would frequently be surprised to see such a rare car and share stories of DeSotos they owned or adventures on the wide open road with a friend. Even our mechanic used to own one and always had a story when it was time for the yearly oil change. I’m grateful for the few years we had, introducing the car to the kids.

DeSoto boys

While I will always miss her, I am thrilled that a passionate car collector recognized the prize sitting in the garage. He has the knowledge, resources, and desire to fulfill a complete restoration. I am proud to be a part of this car’s history and comforted in the fact that she is one of the cars who will be remembered and displayed for future generations.

Thanksgiving Day was bittersweet as the car was picked up, loaded on a trailer, and driven away. Just like Dad used to do when the kids left the house, I watched from the garage until she was no longer in sight. Perhaps the old man was watching too…


He Married Mrs. Butterworth…


The end of 2012 has been tough. We witnessed the unthinkable and now have to move on. I thought the best way to start the new year was through the healing power of laughter. As I wrote this, I noticed most of the stories were about my son, George Donovan, so I decided to keep this post all about him. As a mom, I always try to keep things fair, so while writing this, I had a healthy case of “Mom guilt.” However, upon reflection, I did write about Mary Kate’s artistic talents, so don’t worry Patrick, I will find a way to embarrass you through this blog too. 😉 Here are a few stories from the Murphy Family where we laughed together and used the humor to bond.

I have so many funny stories to share about my kids, but ones that stick out are from my son, George. He has always been a big boy, just under 12 lbs at birth (a natural birth, I might add). G always has a positive attitude and hearty belly laugh to accompany life. He also has a healthy appetite. Following the Murphy weekly routine, Sunday pancakes are the norm. One of those many Sunday’s, G’s siblings decided to tease him about his love of pancakes. They teased that he would one day marry Mrs. Butterworth. Not missing a beat, G picked up the syrup container as if he were making a toast and proclaimed, “You may now drink the bride!”

As a young child, George called trailer hitches “hookers” because to his three year old mind, it was logical that you hook things on to them. George also thought it was really special that his dad had two hitches on his work truck. It was a family joke, until one day on a weekend trip up north, we stopped in Baldwin to eat. After we were seated at the table, George proudly smiled and announced to our server, “My dad has two hookers on his car!” After our initial embarrassment, we were able to laugh about the incident.

Finally, I can share what is now a fond memory of our first family camping trip. Our kids were 3, 2, and six weeks old. We had purchased our first camper and wanted to start small and camp close to home. We opted for a beautiful, rustic campground in Yankee Springs. After the challenge of setting up camp with three young children, Chad and I put the kids down for naps and put on some music (via car radio) and shared some wine around the campfire. Oblivious to the noise in the camper for some time, what finally caught our attention was the water leaking out. We ran inside and found George over the bathroom sink, trying to prevent the water from overflowing by filling Dixie cups and stacking/sloshing them on the sink and tub area. With five gallons of water left in the tank, we still managed to make it through the weekend with many trips to the community hand pump.

In our family, uncontrollable fits of laughter are common. Unfortunately, many of these incidents happen at the table and accompany projectile kernels of corn or Vitamin D milk. However, despite the occasional mess, belly aches, or laughter to the point of tears or other bodily exits, humor is what makes the Murphy home worthwhile.