Travel: The Corvette Museum

Have you ever, like us, wondered what’s inside the yellow dome with the red spiral jutting out the top at the Corvette Museum? You know about the flashy cars, all privately owned and on loan to the museum. You’ve heard about the Corvette Cave In where demolished cars, recovered from a forty foot wide, twenty foot deep sinkhole sit in a showroom. Someone may have told you about the Corvette Café where you can have a loaded Chevy burger and a basket of steaming fries. But do you know about the Quilt Lady?

After touring the museum, James and I rest on the bench designed like a motor with mufflers for back rests. A woman with a vibrant purple knit top and snazzy jewelry buzzes over to us in her scooter and begins examining her appearance in the mirror. “I need to make sure I look okay.” Tilting her head sideways, she puffs her silver hair with one hand. “I’m the Quilt Lady,” she says, in a heavy southern drawl.

Delighted to meet Mrs. Jeanetta Holder, we stand and follow her to the wall where one of her quilts hangs, a 10 foot by 10 foot sample of the one of a kind quilts she makes for every Indianapolis 500 winner, the first going to Johnny Rutherford in 1976. “They make me kiss the winner of the Indy 500 every year,” she says, a twinkle in her eye. “I get his autograph and then take the quilt back home and attach the name.”

This vibrant lady, who drives herself to the museum two-three times a week in her mini-van, explains she was born to be involved in car racing, having arrived in the world eighty-three years ago on May 30, the day of the big race.

As we stand there amazed at her energy, she says, “I’ve always liked a challenge. In my younger days I raced dirt cars at Beech Bend Park. The ladies had to hustle up their own prizes back in those days.” With our eyes wide, our mouths hanging open, we can almost hear the roar of engines.

The quilt lady, having aroused my excitement about the glitzy corvettes more than a walk through the museum ever could, watches as we head over to see our picture, taken against the green wall, as we arrived at the museum. The photographer has placed us in a red corvette. James is driving, no doubt in the Indy 500. With the throwing all caution to the wind look on his face and ignoring my screams, he presses on. I think we have a shot of winning.

Visit the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green KY. It’s a couple of hours well spent, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to meet the Quilt Lady. But don’t expect to see her the week of the race. “I’ve been going to the Indy 500 since 1950,” she tells us. “Wouldn’t miss it.”