Randy Gearhart with his Pontiac Grand Prix on the day he graduated from Northern in 1968. He used to cruise through the Clio Road Arby's and the A & W. "I guess that a good many of the miles on this car were 'Clio Road Crusin’ Miles,'" he says.
Randy Gearhart may live in Georgia now, but he is definitely a “Flint guy.”
He lived at 2314 Ohio Street, a few blocks from the A.C., before moving to 2913 Mallery Street, just off Ballenger. He went to Washington Elementary and Longfellow before graduating from Northern in 1968. He was home from college in the summer of 1969 working at A.M. Davison’s when he met his future wife, Debbi Reburn, across the street in the Carriage Room at Smith B’s. She worked the counter where he often went for lunch or a Tall Texan, more commonly known as a chocolate soda.
Even his name sounds like Flint.
Randy has a story to tell about his father and growing up in The Vehicle City:
My dad, Robert Gearhart, was superintendent of labor relations at Fisher Body Plant #2. In late November, 1964, he told me that I could pick out our family’s next car. It would be replacing our 1962 Chevrolet Impala.
Wow! Really? I had just turned 14 a couple months earlier. What a responsibility. What an honor.
I started looking through our most recent issues of Look and Life to see the new season’s offerings. Turning the magazine pages, I suddenly stopped. There she was. I had to look no further. The Pontiac Grand Prix.
I told dad that this was the car I wanted us to get. We got in our Applegate Chevy and rode over to Superior Pontiac/Cadillac on Dort Highway. Dad put in the order. A few weeks later, we got “the call” that our new car was ready for pick up.
One week after we took delivery of our new Grand Prix, on a gray December day, my dad suffered a heart attack. He died in the hall outside his office at Fisher Body.
He was only 40.
He had purchased an insurance policy that would pay off the car in case of his death. That was a good thing. But, that shiny, new, paid-off Pontiac became so much more than just a car to me. It was a connection to a man who loved his family and a dad who trusted a pimply-faced kid to make one of the most important purchase decisions a family can make.
The older I get, the more that act of trust means to me.