Dreaming. Isn't that how so many of us began our love affair with Corvettes? No doubt, if we think back hard enough we all can remember when the seed of that dream was first planted in our minds.
The Seed is Planted
Laurie "Tex" Schwab remembers that day as if it were yesterday. She was five and growing up in California's San Fernando Valley in a family of car enthusiasts. It was another one of those days when her 16-year-old brother, Marty, and her dad had their heads under the hood of a car in the family garage.
On that particular day, a beautiful red '54 Corvette roadster rolled up the driveway with Marty's friend Kenny at the wheel. Five-year-old Laurie took one look at the '54 roadster and vowed, "I gotta have a car like that."
The seed of the dream was planted. Laurie wanted a cool car just like Corvette Kenny! While other girls her age were dreaming of Barbie dolls and Easy Bake Ovens, Laurie was already dreaming of Corvettes
A Dream Fulfilled
Nine years later, Laurie was visiting her dad in Texas when he took her out to the garage to see his newly-purchased '65 tuxedo black Corvette coupe. Seeing Laurie's excitement at the sight of the Vette, Dad let her drive it on the Texas backroads. That was it! She had to have a Corvette! Getting behind the wheel and actually driving it was certainly enough to keep the dream alive for 14-year-old Laurie.
For many of us, "the dream" isn't fulfilled until middle age, after the youngest leaves the nest. Not so with Laurie! Her dad promised the '65 coupe would be hers at 16 if she did well in school. That would be incentive enough for any kid but to Laurie, already a good student, it was just a matter of waiting. On March 15, 1969, Dad and the '65 appeared at Laurie's house in California.
What does a teenager with a hot Vette want to do? Go cruising, of course!
As a 10th grader, much of Laurie's time was spent cleaning her pride and joy so she could cruise "The Boulevard." The place to cruise was Van Nuys Boulevard on Wednesday and Friday nights. The four-speed was bone stock, except for air conditioning, a rare option in those days. It had a 327ci engine with 365 horses. No doubt, Laurie was the envy of many young men on Van Nuys.
For Laurie, her '65 was the beginning of a lifetime of "living the dream."
"I grew up with that car. That car has always been like a friend. It has seen me through many life changes," says Laurie. She still owns that '65. In fact, last year she held a party to celebrate their 30-year anniversary together.
Today, everyone knows Laurie as "Tex," but her nickname goes back to 1970. It's your typical "boy picks-up girl" story. Some guy was writing down her name and phone number so he could call for a date. He looked at her Texas license plate and scratched out "Tex" next to her name. By co-incidence, he was the roommate of the local Corvette club's president, so the name stuck
Tex: The Club Member
At 19, Tex was already a dedicated Corvette club member, joining Corvettes Unlimited in California's San Fernando Valley. Weekly meetings and club events became part of life, with drag racing, autocrossing, and road racing soon to follow.
Volunteering on the newsletter committee put her in touch with the workings of the club. She also became the club's SCCSCC (Southern California Council of Sports Car Clubs) representative, moving into the position of Western States Corvette Council representative the following year. At 20 years old, Tex was elected the club's first female vice-president and at the next election, became its first female president.