The North Texan Online UNT North Texan contents UNT North Texan feature stories UNT North Texan eagle tale UNT  North Texan alumni news UNT North Texan feedback
MoreUNT North Texan time tracksUNT newsUNT North Texan contact usUNT North Texan past issues
eagle tale

illustration by Shannon Mooney ('94)'Family' car by Joan Hatfield Sibbet ('68)

Like many North Texas students, I was a commuter. After years of driving every day from Justin to Denton in a car borrowed from my parents or bumming a ride with a friend, I got the car of my dreams. It was a brand-new 1968 Ford Mustang. It was like jumping out of the Dark Ages of that old borrowed car into the dream world of the hottest set of wheels on the street.

It had 289 cubic inches of Cobra kit-equipped engine under the hood. Nothing could beat it. Little did I realize that the difference between my parents' old car and my new wheels would be like piloting a Piper Cub one day and taking off in an F-16 the next. The first day was a good example.

After leaving Justin for Denton the first morning, I parked my new Mustang in the vacant parking lot of the Welch Street Church of Christ — I didn't want any dings on my new "baby." As soon as I parked, I realized the new-car smell was being overpowered by an odd metallic burning smell. I checked around and didn't see any smoke or fire, but I knew it was there.

Finally I spotted it — the emergency brake was engaged. I had driven all the way from Justin to Denton with the brake on. By this time I had to get to class. I'm not sure what the professor was talking about that day because the only thing I was interested in was how much a new brake job would cost. That was if I could get home without having to use the brakes.

As soon as class was over, I headed for the Mustang. A test drive proved my fears unfounded: The brakes worked. Thank goodness. I wouldn't have to face that " You did what?" speech from my father.

I knew it would be clear sailing now. After all, the brakes worked, it was a beautiful spring day and I had a brand-new, high-powered sports car — why not go home the long way? Yes, I'd drive to Argyle, then to Justin.

You can learn a lot by taking a long drive in a new car. One of the things I learned was that car dealers don't always fill up the gas tank. I learned that lesson outside of Argyle. The needle on the gas gauge was on "E" — as in "Empty," not as in "Enough to get you home."

Fortunately, a sympathetic stranger pulled up and, after shaking his head, rolling his eyes and mumbling to himself, offered to get me some gas. I had earned a college degree in driving a new car that day. From then on I always tried to remember to check the brakes and the gas tank.

After graduation from North Texas I became a second-grade teacher in Tarrant County at Watauga Elementary. My "new" Mustang took me to teach my first day of school, and most days after that. Time passed on. I got married, moved, had a daughter, switched to teaching the fourth grade and became a grandmother.

Finally, last year, I decided it was time to retire from teaching. On my last day at Watauga it was my "old" Mustang that I loaded 33 years of memories into from a career of education and drove home.

Over the years, my Mustang has remained a faithful member of the family.



About the author

Since Joan Hatfield Sibbet ('68) rode off into the sunset from Watauga Elementary, her "old" Mustang has gone into semi-retirement. She now spends a lot of her driving time taking her granddaughter on rides in a Pontiac Firebird. As for the Mustang, her husband wants to rebuild it and she hopes it will ride again.

UNT home UNT calendarCampaign North TexasNorth Texas Exesathletics