Twinkle, Twinkle Little Car
Story by Patrick Scott Milburn
Becky Dickerson’s Love for Her Classic ’67 Chevelle Still Shines After Nearly 35 Years
I’ve written about many of them – the classic cars, restored and meticulously cared for by their owners.
Unfortunately, odometers on many of these beautiful automobiles move rarely and these classics are seldom seen. They are driven only on the most beautiful of days or to the occasional weekend car show. Meet Rebecca “Becky” Alyce Dickerson, 68, of Cobb Island. She grew up in Adelphi in Prince George’s County but every summer she visited her grandparents who lived in the old home place on Cobb Island.
Becky moved to Cobb Island in 1975 with her son Joey, and she has lived there ever since. She retired in 2004 from the Maryland State Highway Administration in La Plata where she worked for 27 years; she then went to work for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office for the next 13 years.
An eye for the classics
Becky has always had a thing for old classic cars.
Her father Alwyn Twynham owned a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro with a floor-shift, 3-speed manual transmission. Becky was 16 in 1967, and her father would let her drive the Camaro. She loved it!
In 1984, her boyfriend at the time, James Morgan purchased a wrecked 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle for $200. The Chevelle wore slicks on the rear, and in the rain one day, a teenager lost control and wrecked it on the Beltway. The rear quarter panels were bent badly in the accident, and the insurance company declared it a total loss.
The White Plains teenager sold the Chevelle to Morgan. The body was Nassau blue with gold vinyl tuck-and-roll upholstered seats. The Chevelle also had a running but tired original 283-cubic-inch motor which had gathered almost 200,000 miles.
The Chevelle wes trailered to a shop in Ironsides where the rear quarter panels were straightened and then to Nanjemoy for body work and paint – 1970 Cadillac Nottingham Green Firemist.
What a surprise!
Becky had no idea that Morgan had purchased the Chevelle.
When she finally saw the finished car, Morgan handed her the keys to try it out. … And she still has those keys!
On her first drive to work, Becky was almost hypnotized by the metal flake in the green paint. It sparkled brilliantly, and recalling the children’s song “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” she decided on a name for her Chevelle — “Twinkles.”
That week, she drove to a local paint shop, and for $25 “Twinkles” was painted on both quarter panels. This would become her only means of transportation for the next 35 years.
From 1984 until 2017, Becky drove “Twinkles” the 40-mile roundtrip to work at the State Highway Administration and then later to and from the sheriff’s office in La Plata.
Becky wasn’t afraid, as she put it, to “mash down on the gas pedal.” She says sheepishly that she won a few and lost a few street races in the Chevelle. But she “stopped all of that” when she started working for the sheriff’s office. Now her friends complain that she drives too slow.
More restoration for ‘Twinkles’
Never garaged, but always well cared for, the many miles over the years however, did take their toll on
“Twinkles.” Rather than move on to a new and shinier replacement, Becky chose instead to restore her beloved car.
The first rebuild occurred in 1991, and the work was performed again by James Morgan and students at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center in Leonardtown. The body was reworked, quarter panels replaced and the Chevelle was again painted in Nottingham Green Firemist. Fast forward to 2003 when she purchased a new 350-cubic-inch, V-8 motor – the fourth motor since 1967. Then, in 2004, the Chevelle was restored again by a shop in Colonial Beach, Virginia. Now, 13 years later, “Twinkles,” although running great, is again in need of new paint and some reupholstering. Although she hasn’t noticed others on the road, through the years, others have certainly noticed her. One passerby told her he had noticed her driving the Chevelle many, many times over a couple of decades. Becky has often been stopped by other drivers and approached by those who “know her car” but not her.
Becky says she feels safe in the Chevelle and has never tired of the classic body styling.
It had traveled almost 200,000 miles before she ever sat in the driver’s seat. And, allowing for a two-week vacation each year, the Chevelle’s odometer logged another 330,000 miles during her 35 years owning it.
It’s a truly remarkable half-a-million-mile automobile and a remarkably loyal owner. Ask yourself, who do you know who has done that? Driven a classic automobile for that many miles and for that many years? Now you know Becky Dickerson and “Twinkles.”
She is often asked if she will ever sell the car.
Becky quietly says she’ll have to find the right home, conceding “some day.”
But it won’t be today! •