Saturday, July 31, 2004

Musician's a proud 'Baby' driver

By Karen Andrew
Enquirer staff writer

Adelaide Cawein, 87, of Covedale loves her 1984 Toyata Tercel wagon, which she calls Baby. Cawein drives Baby to the Butterfield Senior Center, where she plays the organ.

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Adelaide Cawein of Covedale is 87 and drives a 1984 Toyota Tercel station wagon. This is an extraordinary car because it obeys her.

"I don't have any trouble with this car, and feel like it's a part of me, after all these years," says Cawein. "It carries out all my commands immediately and keeps me out of trouble by minding my requests."

As a matter of fact, this is her dream car. After all, why would she want to trade in such a great car for something newer or fancier?

"My granddaughter says 'Why don't you buy a new one?' I could buy a new one, but I like the one I've got," said Cawein.

She calls the car "Baby" when she goes out for a drive.

She and her husband, Wilbur, who died 10 years ago, bought the car new.

They had owned Toyotas previously and never had any trouble with them.

They bought the copper-colored wagon so Cawein could transport several pieces of equipment, including her accordion and an amplifier. Until recently, she played her accordion with a girlfriend who played a guitar and a man who played drums at senior citizens dances and music programs.

Because the equipment is just too heavy to pick up now, Cawein plays the organ at the Butterfield Senior Center downtown. She entertains her audience with some before-dinner music.

"I play songs Lawrence Welk used to play - polkas, and old-time songs that people like to sing such as 'Let me Call You Sweetheart' and 'In the Good Old Summertime.' "

She now drives Baby only on the surface streets.

"I don't take my car on the expressway anymore to keep it out of danger," said Cawein.

Besides the Butterfield Center, she drives to Bally's on Thursdays to swim and walk the one-mile track.

Cawein has also taken up a new instrument.

"I'm now taking piano lessons," said Cawein. "I used to play the steel guitar and played Hawaiian music. I started playing the accordion 25 or 30 years ago, but I just can't hold that accordion now for four hours."

And when she goes for her piano lessons, she leaves Baby at home and walks.

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