Simpler times

I didn’t insure my first car. It was a 1965 Buick Special I bought “as is” for 600 bucks from Roy Stauffer Chevrolet. Car insurance wasn’t mandated by law back then and society was far less “lawsuit happy.” Yes, driving without insurance was a roll of the dice, but it was one I was willing to take.
When I picked up a two-year-old VW Bug a couple of years later, however, I figured it was time to grow up and protect myself. And there was only one place I wanted to go to do that: the insurance office of Francis X. Solano on Market Street in Pittston. Francis ran an ad every week in the newspaper I worked for and that was enough for me.
I went right to his office to sign the papers and then stopped in quarterly to make my payments. In those days, life was a face-to-face world. And that made a difference several years and a few cars later when I had a fender-bender.
I called Francis and he told me to get an estimate for the repairs and bring it to the office. When I did, he looked it over and then opened a checkbook. The car was drivable and parked outside. “Don’t you want to inspect the damage?” I asked.
“What for?” he said. “I trust you.”
And that was that.
He handed me a check for the full amount and off I went.
I told that story to his son as we stood by Francis’ coffin Tuesday evening. He said he had heard several like it.
Francis X. Solano died on August 27. He was 96 years old.


Ed Ackerman