Rogers Price and my dad’s first car


Jeff REeves

Columnist


My dad was like most young veterans who served in World War II. When he came home he went to college on the GI Bill. This bill helped hundreds of thousands of servicemen start new lives after the war, and someone else helped my dad, this someone was Rogers Price.

My dad had enrolled in Middle Georgia College in Cochran, Ga. This is where he met my mom and they started dating. My dad had grown up in Milner, Ga., and my mother grew up in McDonough. Neither one of them owned a car and they would catch a ride or borrow one of their father’s.

When they both came home for the weekend, my dad would come visit my mother and spend the weekend with her family in McDonough.

My dad’s sister, Shirley went to school at Gordon Military Academy (GMA) in Barnesville and she had a friend named Zack Hinton who also went to school at GMA. Zack boarded there and was not old enough to drive. He would have to get a ride on the weekend to his home on Jonesboro Street in McDonough.

One Friday my Aunt Shirley asked my dad if he could give Zack a ride. That afternoon my dad pulled up to the school and my aunt introduced him to Zack. This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship between Zack and my father.

Dad and Zack rode to McDonough that day and dad dropped Zack off at the Standard Oil Station on the Square which houses The McDonough Welcome Center presently. My dad said, “to be ready on Sunday night” to Zack and he would pick him up around midnight. Zack replied by saying, “yes sir Mr. Reeves.”

Later that year my mother and father got married in September of 1949 and, neither one of them having a car of their own, they decided to go out and look for one. My parents had chosen to make McDonough their home and my dad said years later that he really liked McDonough, how friendly everyone was and that he was looking forward to living there.

My dad had gotten a job in Atlanta and really needed a car to get back and forth to work. A good number of people in McDonough worked in Atlanta and they formed carpools where several people would ride together and share the expense.

One cool Saturday morning in November of 1949 my dad was at the McDonough Theatre and walked down to Collins Motors on Atlanta Street and started to look at some nice Ford cars they had on their lot.

Now my dad was just 23 years old and had no experience at all when it came to buying a car. He said this pleasant man walked up to him and and introduced himself as Rogers Price and said he would be glad to help him look at cars. My dad had just moved to McDonough and had no idea who Rogers Price was.

Mr. Price showed my dad several cars and my dad didn’t really have any certain model he liked. My dad told me that the 1950’s models had just come out and most small town dealers would have a limited amount of new cars on their lots. My dad knew he couldn’t afford a new car anyway, so he was just looking at the used ones.

After a little while, my dad had not been able to pick one out and Mr. Price said he had just the car for him. He told my dad that he personally owned a 1949 two-door coupe with overdrive that he was getting ready to sell. My dad said he would like to see it. The car did not have many miles on it. It was jet black and had those wide, white wall tires. It was in top notch condition and dad said it was a great looking car.

My dad went for a test drive and really liked the way it drove. They rode around McDonough and went out Hwy. 42 South and drove down to Iris Lake and turned around and went back by the Asbury Place, now known as Lambert Farms and drove back into the Square in McDonough.

When they arrived back at Collins Motors they went into Mr. Price’s office and started talking business. Mr. Price said he would sell the car for $1,800 and my dad responded that this sounded like a fair price.

My dad had just finished being in the service and attending school and had not yet had time to start any credit. The truth of the matter was that my dad was not prepared to purchase a car that day. He had just started looking for a car and a deal that would work for him. He told me that on that day he only had 18 cents in his pocket, and that was it!

Mr. Price came back and said that since my dad had been in the service during the war, that Collins Motors would be glad to finance the car for him. He asked my dad if he could pay $90 per month on the note and my dad said that sounded fine.

Then Mr. Price said there would be a down payment of $300 to get the loan started. My dad said sorry, but he didn’t have $300. So Mr. Price said to my dad, I tell you what we are going to do. I will personally loan you the down payment to help you buy the car. My father said that would be very much appreciated.

Mr. Price said that he could come back that afternoon and he would have all the paperwork ready for my dad to sign and my dad could pick up the car then.

My dad said he wanted to go tell his wife about the deal and he would be back.

My dad went and told my mom the good news and said that Mr. Price said they could get the car that afternoon. My mother was surprised at how soon they could get it, but said if you want it, lets go get it today. My dad went back that afternoon, signed the papers and drove off for the first time in a car of his own. We all remember that day and what it felt like to have a car of your own!

Without Mr. Price that day may not have happened. Mr. Price had a big part in helping my parents get off to a good start in life. My dad said he drove off with a great car, two notes without a co-signer and he still had 18 cents in his pocket. This world needs more people like Rogers Price!