Girl’s sweat leads to sweet ride to prom

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Sunday, May 2, 2010
— Boy meets girl.

Boy asks girl to prom.

Girl provides ride for the date, a 1957 Chevrolet that she restored.

It’s a classic American story that started over a year ago.

Gazette readers first met Storm Sommerfeldt in April 2009 when she was nearly done restoring the iconic Chevy with her father, Mark.

Storm and Mark designed the blue, green and black flames that adorn the car. She also chose the dice hanging from the rear-view mirror and chrome skulls on the door locks and license plate covers.

She drives the car to school, its V-8 engine thunk-a-thunking happily along.

Storm has entered the car in local car shows. At the first one, “she won a trophy just about as tall as she is,” said proud grandpa Dick Hamlett.

Storm is quiet and unassuming about her accomplishment. But she has Hamlett to sing her praises.

“I brag about her constantly,” he said.

Her father may not have thought of prom when he and Storm were sandblasting the frame or as he advised her as she rebuilt the engine. But Mark is a Scout leader, and her date, Paul Wilson, is an Eagle Scout, Storm said, so that made things easy.

Saturday would have been all the sweeter had Storm’s parents been there. But Mark was up north with Storm's brother at a Boy Scout camp, a previous commitment. Her mother was in Missouri, where, like many others, she works at the General Motors plant there after transferring from the defunct Janesville plant.

The family is selling its house and looking for a new home in Missouri. Storm said she’ll stay with her grandparents in Janesville for her senior year. She hopes to go to college and study graphic design.

Storm got her license soon after her 16th birthday last June. She’s been turning heads with her sweet set of wheels ever since.

But never, before Saturday, had she allowed a friend to drive it.

Then came Wilson, a senior at Parker High School, where Storm is a junior. They met at Parker’s Relay for Life fundraiser in March.

Just a week ago, he asked her.

She remembers his words: “I would love it if you would be my girlfriend.”

He also asked her to Parker’s junior prom.

Storm, interviewed just before Paul arrived for the date Saturday, said she hadn’t given him any instructions for taking the wheel.

“He’ll get ’em as he gets in the car,” she said.

As we think of Paul and Storm driving off to prom as the sun sets, consider this:

Proms are occasions for swank, elegance and flash: the limousines, the evening dresses, the tuxedos. The ’57 Chevy was not built to be an upper-crust mode of conveyance. But Americans have crowned this car a classic, promoting it from hits humble beginnings to aristocratic heights, in typical American fashion.

That is to say, the ’57 Chev seems perfect for a night as American as prom night.

Last updated: 1:57 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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