It's been nearly 40 years since Alice graced the parking lot of Robert E. Lee High School, but it can be spotted there once again this coming school year.
“I'm really excited. I love old stuff like old music and old things. I have a record player for a radio. That's how much I love old things, so this is right up my alley,” she said.
Alice has been in Katie's family for more than 50 years.
Katie's mother, Lynne Breedlove Sperry, said her father wanted an old car and looked all over for one. He eventually came upon Alice about 1963 at an estate sale. So he bought the car and brought it home. Mrs. Sperry's mother named the car Alice because it was a model A. It also suits the car because Alice is an old-fashioned name for an old-fashioned car, Mrs. Sperry said.
Once her father helped get Alice in working order, he allowed Mrs. Sperry and her two brothers to drive the car, and Mrs. Sperry drove it for two years until she graduated in 1975. Lee was smaller back then and only housed 10th, 11th and 12th grades.
“One of my fondest memories of my dad is him teaching me to drive a stick shift, and he laughed at me all the way around the block,” Mrs. Sperry said.
When she got the hang of things, she said she enjoyed driving Alice around Tyler, and she and her friends loved to pile in, go riding around or go get a soda.
“You could do a lot of stuff with her …” she said. “I just remember having a lot of fun with my girlfriends and driving everywhere.”
But there were some challenges. Mrs. Sperry said if it rained, the distributor cap would get wet, so she got stranded many places. She said the brakes also weren't good, and she had to use emergency brakes to stop the car.
Mrs. Sperry's mother gave Alice to her in the 1990s, but it didn't get a makeover until this year.
Bud Calicutt, of Arp, helped restore Alice and had the car in his shop for several months. A new braking system was put in as well as an extra tail light on the back. Seatbelts and turn signals also were installed, and the car was upgraded to a 12-volt system.
Calicutt said Katie had an easy time learning to drive it.
“She got in that thing and in 15 minutes she was driving the heck out of it,” said Calicutt, who works on Model A cars and served as president of the Tyler Model A club for years.
While her older brother got a truck, Katie believes she received “the American classic.”
She said she had never driven a stick shift but has gotten used to Alice.
“Whenever I can, I love to drive her,” she said, adding that she lives in a quiet Flint neighborhood where she can blast the horn.
Katie's best friend also rode in Alice when she took her to the mall. But her mother said she is not supposed to drive it on busier streets, such as Broadway Avenue.
As far as starting school next week, Katie said she thinks she'll receive mixed feelings about the car from other students.
However, she said her grandmother is thrilled that Alice is going back to Lee.
“Alice is her baby and I'm her baby, so her baby gets to drive her baby,” Katie said.