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   Vern's Chevys

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My father Vernon M. Thomas is seen here pointing the way from the bumper of a 1934 Chevrolet coupe.

He was involved with Chevys from his first job in 1929 until his retirement in 1973.

On the following pages are some black and white photos from that 44-year career.


At the age of 18, Vernon entered Bowling Green Business College in Kentucky and took an accounting course that included the General Motors accounting system.

Upon graduation in 1929, he was told of two bookkeeping jobs that were available.  One was at a coal mine.  The other was at “Short” Shoemaker's Garage — a Chevrolet dealership in the Kentucky town of Falmouth, about 200 miles to the northeast.  He opted for the latter, and eventually he became the garage manager.

If I have deciphered the clues correctly, Shoemaker’s Garage was located in the now-decaying building below, as shown in this Google Street View from 2014.  The address is 313 Main Street, which at the time was on US Highway 27, one of the two major routes between Lexington and Cincinnati.

Below, Shoemaker’s newspaper ad for the 1928 Chevrolet.




It was in the late 1920s that Sam McGee of the Grand Ole Opry, accompanying himself on an instrument called the banjo-guitar, recorded a song he had learned from a Nashville mechanic.  It was called “Chevrolet Car,” and Sam hoped the “Shiv-uh-lay” company would buy it.  They didn't.  But you can hear it here.

Well, I have a little car, and-a it's a Chevrolet.
It is better than a Dodge or a Ford coupé.
I would swear my name to this good fact:
She's the next car now to a Cadillac.
     I love my baby, but crazy 'bout my Chevrolet.

I got in my car one Sunday morn; 
I stepped on the starter and I blowed the horn.
I pulled down the spark and I give her the gas;
Said, "Look out, boys, and let me pass!"
     I love my baby, but crazy 'bout my Chevrolet.

Now I give the Chevrolet a whole lot o' praise.
She burns up the gas without a blaze;
She will make thirty miles on a gallon of gas.
So the Chevrolet car is the best at last.
     I love my baby, but crazy 'bout my Chevrolet.

The Chevrolet car is all OK.
The Chevrolet car is taking the day.
When your hair turns gray and your head gets bald,
You will see the Chevrolet will beat them all.
     I love my baby, but crazy 'bout my Chevrolet.

The Chevrolet car — she is so keen,
The prettiest little car that I ever did see.
She is worth her weight in silver or gold.
She's the best little car that's ever been sold.
     I love my baby, but crazy 'bout my Chevrolet.

If you want to win a sweetie, I will tell you what to do:
Just drive your Chevver down Fifth Avenue.
Well, the Chevrolet motor, she hums like a bee.
You can have the other car but let my Chevver be!
     I love my baby, but crazy 'bout my Chevrolet.