Lawrence M. Walsh
WILMINGTON – Residents took a visual stroll down memory lane with a recent visit to the Midwest Classics on 66 Museum, revisiting the cars – and trucks – of their younger days.
Five residents and some staff members toured the facility, which opened July 7, the fulfillment of a 10-year dream of Mike Bell of Perth, Australia, and Jeff Hubrich, a longtime resident of the Joliet and Wilmington area. The duo has been working on, restoring, buying and selling classic cars and bikes for 34 years.
Sunny Hill Activities Director Danette Krieger said the nursing home held a car show in the parking lot at the county-owned nursing home on Aug. 18 and “we realized that we have a lot of car buffs living here and the residents, especially the men, loved spending time by the old cars and reminiscing about their own automobiles and fast cars they have driven in the past.”
Krieger said one of the participants suggested that she talk to Bell and Hubrich about bringing a group to the museum; late last month the group rolled on down the highway.
Bell said, “There was a lot of reminiscing about what they used to drive.” The museum currently showcases everything from two 1915 Model T’s to muscle cars and today’s vehicles. And there are pickups, which prompted stories of driving their fathers’ trucks when growing up on farms.
One resident wasn’t sure why he was on the trip, Bell said. “He said he’d worked on cars for 40 years and didn’t need to go see them.” It wasn’t long, Bell said, and the resident was acting as a tour guide, sharing what he knew about the vehicles with the others.
Overall, there were “lots of smiles on their faces.”
Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County is one of three nursing homes, and a group from Trinity Services, to take a group to the facility so far. Bell said they would like to see more.
Midwest Classics can count on one group for sure. “We’ll go back,” said Krieger.
Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County, 421 Doris Ave., Joliet, is led by Administrator Becky Haldorson and is under Will County Executive Larry Walsh’s office. For additional information, go to willcountyillinois.com or visit the nursing home Facebook page.
For more information about Midwest Classics on 66, go to mco66.com. The museum is at 706 W. Baltimore St., in Wilmington.