Hatteberg's People - Bud & Loretta Jilka

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

On Hatteberg's People, fifty years of marriage is always quite remarkable. And most married couples remember their first car...but how many have that same car 50 years later? Bud and Loretta Jilka of Salina do....and they still drive it.

(Loretta Jilka) "But I can't believe we have this car after 50 years."

There it was, an article in the Salina Journal by reporter Gordon Fiedler telling about Bud and Loretta Jilka who will celebrate their Fiftieth anniversary next month....standing in front of their 50 year old Chevrolet Corvair.

(Loretta Jilka) "I'm so happy we can still drive it. We'll drive it to our fiftieth and that will be great."

(Jimmy Dean Corvair Commercial) "Yes sir, that's the car that's getting all the stares. And there is a reason. It gives you more advantages and more appeal than any other compact car on the road today."

When County Singer Jimmy Dean told America about the Corvair in 1960....it sold a lot of cars.

(Bud Jilka) "I actually purchased it in January of 1961, with the thought in mind that I was getting married later in the year and I thought it would make a great starting car for us."

(Loretta Jilka) "It was our only car for ten years and I'm probably the one who drove it the most."

With Loretta's roses enjoying the Spring rain, there are not only reflections of those roses in the Corvair's mirror, but also years of memories of car that has been with them every year of their half-century marriage.

(Bud Jilka) "I never thought it was much of a feat to have that same car for all those years, but apparently it is."

(Loretta Jilka) "He likes to do a lot of the same things that I like to do, and we were just compatible together and we've enjoyed life together."

(Bud Jilka) "We took our first trip to Estes Park in this car."

It was their honeymoon and Loretta posed in front of the mountains as both the love affair with Bud began....and the love affair with that 1960 Corvair.

"We get lots of looks anymore when we drive it. They can't believe we still have it."

Over the years as their family grew.....the car stayed in the background. Loretta drove it most of the time.

(Loretta Jilka) "I enjoyed driving the car, it handled well, even though it didn't have power steering, and for the air conditioning, we just rolled the windows down."

The Corvair is famous for another reason. In the 1960's Ralph Nadar wrote the book "Unsafe At Any Speed", and the Corvair became the poster child for unsafe cars. Bud, never bought into that.

(Bud Jilka) "You are just as safe riding in the front seat of the Corvair as you are riding in the front seat of the bus."

(Loretta Jilka) "We never had seat belts or did we have baby carriers for the children. But it all worked out. Safety wasn't an issue."

Now as their 50th anniversary approaches next month, the Jilka's say, it may be time to sell.
(Bud Jilka) "So I think it is time to move on."

(Jimmy Dean Corvair Commercial) (singing) "The grand prize ribbon would be going to....the Chevrolet Corvair."

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