Note: This feature is in the Nov. TT&C 2017 issue.
Clark Wade with a White truck.
Victor Hugo, the famous French author of “Les Misérables,” once wrote, “Each man should frame life so that, at some future hour, fact and his dreaming meet.” Clark Wade of Tucker, Ga., might be the poster child for Hugo’s whimsical quote.
Clark, at age 4, began dreaming on a big scale. “I had a couple of Smith-Miller GMCs then, and I wondered how super it would be if other truck brands were made in model or toy form. I had an imaginary friend, George, who lived on an imaginary street and had all kinds of imaginary toy trucks and construction equipment. When my parents, John and Eleanor Wade, asked me where George lived, I said, ‘Fumby Street,’” he said. The real Fumby Street was a farmer’s access path to the fields behind the houses on the street where Clark grew up. Years later, Clark’s childhood dream and his present-day reality would collide.
One of Clark’s oldest memories is getting a Smith-Miller Mobil gas tanker for his third birthday. “I played with trucks and construction equipment constantly as a kid and had quite a number of them—Smith-Millers, Doepke, Nylint, Tonka, Wyandotte, Structo, but sadly, I have none of the originals today. My parents were some of the great, Guinness Record holders, thrower-outers of all time,” he said.
As a teen, Clark built a lot of plastic model kits, mostly cars. But in 1987, he became a serious collector of mid-century 1/12 and 1/16 scale trucks and construction toys. “I was helping Sarah, my wife, clean her mother’s basement and found a few old toys there, including a Doepke ladder truck and a Marx six-wheel Army truck. Then, boing! I was hooked again. I became an adult collector that day, and 30 years later, I’m still just as excited about model trucks as I was on that special day,” he said.