Boots says "kick the tires"
by Rob Clay
"How much to run an ad in your paper," she asked.
Dorothy “Boots” Dempsey is 95. She does not drive but she did. She drove the Dodge Aspen for all of its 53 years. Now it is for sale but the story behind it is here.
It was not her first car.That was a 'Woody' back in St. Paul. "I was twenty-one. I was a chauffeur.”
She grew up in northern Wisconsin on a farm. St. Paul Minnesota was the big city. "I drove the glider pilot trainees during WWII from downtown St. Paul to the Minneapolis airport for the Army," she said proudly. She was also a "Rosie" after she learned to use a rivet gun. But that was before she drove.
Dorothy needed a security pass to bring the boys out to the aircraft on the tarmac. Security was tight then too. She dropped them off. While backing up to turn around, she nudged a Boeing B-17. No real harm except her pride. She could have been distracted by the "good looking" boys she was ferrying to the airport. Dorothy was pretty. She wore dresses. The major noticed. So did the pilot trainees. "The major took me to Sears. He bought me some 'boots' and some britches," Dorothy said. She wore the boots everywhere.
The war ended. Boots was out of a job. She'd met her future husband who became a Northwest Airlines pilot. Jim had invited her to a local watering hole in St. Paul. Boots did not drink but she thought Jim was handsome. He stood her up. He did not show. That was okay. She married him anyway.
She and Jim headed for Seattle. Boots remembers the "Seattle mist" described by a man at the airport. "Even if you leave, you'll come back," he said. Boots left. And came back, after nine years in Hawaii. She raised her kids here. She lived in North Hill out of Des Moines. She said Burien was "Ambaum to Fourth Avenue," in those days. "Horses could tie up at the feed store in old town," she recalled.
In 1976 she and her husband bought the Aspen. Dodge called it "unbelievable". Dorothy called it necessary as Jim piled the kids into the wagon for a variety of trips. They did the license plate game; the car color game. They took care of the Aspen. Now the car is 53 and showing some age. She wants to sell the car. She wants to write a book on her life from copious notes she has saved. She'll write it on her 1984 Apple Macintosh.
The Aspen wagon needs a bit of TLC. It has a newer engine. It has been serviced at Sunnydale Muffler by race driver Duane Swanson. The tires are good; the inside is clean. It needs a good scrub and maybe even some paint but it runs and is considered a "classic". "How much?," we asked. Dorothy claims it is worth $3500 but she says there is 'wiggle room'.
How much for the ad?," she asked. "No charge Boots," we said.
Give granddaughter Katie a call at 206-460-4270 if you want to take it for a spin. Make an offer.