Many folks might enjoy a career
as an airline flight attendant. Or, perhaps as a law enforcement officer. For leisure time activities, maybe they would consider flying airplanes, sailing a boat, riding motorcycles, taking a cruise, rescuing German Shepherds or owning a classic car.
For Pantego resident Sue Maddock, it’s been a lifetime of all the above. And more.
While those things have been pursued with passion and enthusiasm, it’s her first-generation 1966 Signal Flare Red Mustang Convertible that has spanned them all.
“She loves it more than me, but she got it before she got me,” Husband Frank recently joked with a Brownwood Bulletin reporter doing a Sunday feature on the couple, and their car – with emphasis on the car.
Sue ordered her dream car in May of 1966 and when it arrived it came with a matching numbers birth date of 6-6- 66 making it exactly 50 years old this month. Working as a flight attendant for Braniff Airways, Sue had it equipped with everything she could afford with a $400 monthly paycheck. That included air conditioning, a radio, and a 289-cubic- inch V8 engine and three-speed transmission.
The purchase price came
to $2,949.25 requiring payments of $87 a month for three years. It’s in original, pristine condition, except for the top. She switched the black top for a white one – better suited for Texas summers.
Cars as nice as Sue’s sell for 10 times what she originally paid for it, but that’s irrelevant to her as the only way it will leave her ownership is when her son inherits it.
”My first ‘vehicle’ in life came in the form of a soap box constructed by my Dad when I was about 12 years old,” she explains. “It was a lot of fun, but soon I craved having a motor on it … being the daddy’s-girl, he caved and put a lawn mower engine on the back of the little racer.”
Sue and Frank, now respectively 70 and 80 years young,
will celebrate their Golden Anniversary next year, likely taking a cruise somewhere. It will be their 18th such ocean-bound adventure. They met during her time with Braniff – he was a pilot, and she a flight attendant. Braniff preferred unmarried stewardesses, so she became a full time wife and mother.
But that didn’t mean that Frank would be the only one still flying. They owned a small single-engine antique airplane and flew for pleasure for 15 years. Sue had not only a private pilot’s license, but also a commercial license, as well, with a multi-engine and seaplane ratings.
Then in 1981 Sue decided to go back to work. She became the only female in the patrol division in the City of Irving’s police department. Three years later she joined the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office and spent the next 21 years before retiring with the rank of lieutenant.
Those years increased Sue’s interest in public service, so she twice sought public office – once for the Pantego town council and then challenging her boss for the sheriff’s job. “I didn’t win either election but the experiences were amazing,” she says with a big smile.
Motorcycling became a big part
of Frank’s and her life in the 1970s. They own two really big Harley Davidson “hogs,” and she recently added a sidecar to hers. For many years they had a boat docked on Lake Texoma – how they managed to engage in all those activities, and caring for six German Shepherds along the way for more than three decades, can only be explained by their over-active lifestyle and enthusiasm for adventure.
Oh, yeah. They are what Sue describes as “HUGE” Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys fans: “I try never to miss a game on TV and hang on every play from the start of the game to the very end … good, bad, or otherwise!”
Somewhere in between, the Harleys and that beautiful Pony Car stand ready for still more.