Bill Wilcox graduated with the Broken Bow High School class of 1955, and had the opportunity to visit with some of his old classmates July 2 as he traveled through Nebraska.
Wilcox now lives in Newport Beach, Va., and is an avid antique car collector. He and long-time friend, Bob Woolfitt, are among a large contingency of antique car enthusiasts making their way across country in celebration of the centennial of the Lincoln Highway. The interstate, one of the nation’s first transcontinental highways, runs from New York to San Francisco, and the pair will drive that entire route.
Wilcox is driving his 1932 Packard convertible sedan, known as “Sophie” after Sophie Tucker. He and Woolfitt started their trip from New York June 21, and arrived in Kearney Sunday, June 29. They took the day Tuesday, along with the other members of their home car club accompanying them on the trip, to come to Broken Bow for a visit.
Along the way, they stopped in Ansley where Bill’s father, Dr. Clyde Wilcox, had his doctors office above the bank during the 1940s and 50s. Wilcox was pleased to see the interior of the building had been restored, and enjoyed seeing the office area where his father had practiced all those years ago.
In Broken Bow, they stopped at the Bonfire Grill for lunch, and met up with several members of the BBHS class of ‘55. Many memories and stories were shared over lunch, including a rather humorous story about Wilcox.
Apparently when he was 16-years-old, an old Packard that had been in the family was passed down to him. He and some of his buddies took the care out for a ride one evening, and were stopped downtown at the city square when they noticed a police car sitting in front of the Arrow Hotel. The police car was running and had its lights on, and Wilcox commented to his friends that it might be fun to “borrow” the cruiser. So that is exactly what he did!
The story, as told by Woolfitt, is that Wilcox hopped in the police car and took off with it, taking it outside of town a few miles and parking it behind a fence and some trees. “It took them three weeks to find the police car,” said Woolfitt, as the room filled with laughter.
Following lunch, the group walked around the square and just spent some leisurely time checking out the town, before getting back on the road. They plan to arrive in Sacramento, Calif., July 9, and be in San Francisco the following day.
Wilcox, who also owns one of the other cars making the journey from Virginia, intends to fly back home from California and have his cars shipped back. Woolfitt will take a longer trip, stopping to visit family, before driving back home.
Wilcox is a retired radiologist, and worked in partnership with Woolfitt since 1977. He has two children; a daughter, who is an accomplished costume designer in New York City, and son who is an architect in North Carolina, as well as a 9-year-old grandson. He lost his beloved wife, Karen, in January.
Though the timing of his trip did not correspond with Alumni Weekend, Wilcox was thrilled to get to see some of his old friends. Though many years and many miles now separate the classmates, listening to them laugh and joke with another made it seem almost as though no time had passed at all. And that is what reunions are all about.