Kathie and I then went to Art and Cindy with our idea and the serious search for a new VandenBerg Mustang began. Art would get off duty as a Michigan state trooper midafternoon and we'd travel around the Midwest to test-drive classic cars. Multiple trips were made to Detroit, Chicago, and Kalamazoo. We covered thousands of miles and spent many hours together cementing a wonderful friendship. Art taught me a great deal about Mustangs because he insisted we invest only in a great car that would maintain its value. Through Art, I learned the subtle differences between a great Mustang and one that's only fairly good. After driving all over the Midwest with no success, a totally restored '65 Mustang fastback appeared at a local cruise night with a For Sale sign in the window. Art and I looked at it and bought it on the spot. It is, indeed, a great Mustang.
I have since had the pleasure of joining Art at many car shows with his new Mustang and have come to appreciate the beauty of this classic automobile. Art says he's in his element as he settles into his lawn chair at the rear of the Mustang and waits for the next person to come and admire his car. I smile as he jumps into action and delivers the history of the car since the day it was restored in 1989. The Mustang has won numerous awards during the summer.
Art and Cindy surprised us with a membership in the West Michigan Mustang Club. We have been welcomed with open arms and appreciate the family atmosphere that reaches out to help members in need. I thank God for the wonderful time Art and I have had together and for Art's role in my life, as he's taught me to be a brand-new Mustang lover. The Mustang is currently occupying the garage stall where the XKE used to park. Maybe I'll invite Art over and we'll peel off the car cover, set up the lawn chairs, and settle into our element one more time while we wait for spring.
To me this Mustang is more than just a car. This car used to belong to my dad. He owned it from the early '70s and sold it in the mid-'80s to a friend down the street. For about 10 years, every time I saw that Mustang, I wanted it. Every time I saw it, I told myself that that car would be mine one day.
In January 1999 I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The brain tumor was named Meduloblastoma. I had seven weeks of radiation and in May I started chemotherapy. I was to go through 11 cycles of chemo. I do a cycle every month. As you can see, I turned a bad situation into a good one. In August, I bought the car that I always wanted. So if a cancer survivor can follow his dreams, then you can, too.
Marcelino has been given a chance to follow that dream by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Sacramento, California. What the organization needs is our help in getting Marcelino's '67 fastback restored. Obviously, the foundation does not have the first idea of what to do where the restoration of a '67 fastback is concerned, but we figure that you folks will. Therefore, we are including the foundation's address and contact information below. If you would like to make a monetary donation the address is the same.
Make-A-Wish Foundation of Sacramento
Attn: Gwen Scales
1401 Halyard Dr., Ste. 130
West Sacramento, CA 95691
We would like to do more of these stories in the coming months. But what we need is your words on paper or in an e-mail. The story can be short or long, and what you'll get out of it is the notoriety of having been published in a national magazine in something other than the letters column. Old photos are great, even if your old photos are circa the '90s. Young and old are encouraged to send in their recollections for inclusion in the magazine.