TRUCKS WE LOVE
As a saleswoman in the 1930s, Grandma brought home more than just the bacon.
During the Great Depression, my grandmother Grace Mills Wilber sold Wilknit hosiery door to door in Dallas County, Iowa. It was a tough time, and she sought to earn supplementary income to support her two young sons and to help her farmer husband make ends meet. She was such a skilled saleswoman that, in 1931, the Wilknit Hoisery Co. awarded her a brand new car, a 1931 Ford Model A. That dependable automobile became her work “truck,” and she used it to haul in a bounty of additional money for her family.
Eventually, my grandmother’s incredible work ethic earned her three additional cars.
Recently, I saw a 1931 Ford Model A for sale on a lot in a small town nearby. I bought it in memory of Grandma Grace. Everything about the car is original, and I do not plan to update it.
On a wall in my house hang two framed pictures that I treasure. One shows my grandmother standing beside the Model A, sales case in hand, ready to go out on a call. In that photo, a farm chicken hurries past the front of the vehicle. In the other, I tried to recreate Grandma Grace’s photo, minus the chicken.
I also have one of the small ledgers that she used to record her orders and the black case in which she carried her hosiery samples.
Grandma Grace died when I was only 5. Now,
87 years after she earned her first car, I love having these reminders that keep her close to me.
THIS 1931 FORD Model A (left) is just like the one Candace
Wilber Horch’s grandmother drove on sales calls, taking the briefcase (below) with her.
Grandma Grace’s door-to-door sales job helped her family’s farm stay afloat.