Let me introduce myself, Linda (Mullen) Erwin at your service. I am a native of Lafayette, Indiana. I attended Highland Elementary, Tecumseh Junior High, Jeff High School, and West Lafayette High School. As you can tell, I’ve always lived in the Lafayette area, but not always in the same place.
Mullen Towing & Recovery began when I was six-years old. I unofficially worked for the business at home. By junior high, Mom was running dispatch and handling the books, so I did the cooking, laundry, ironing (we didn’t have permanent press), and child care so she could work. I gave up that job at 21 when I got married and left home. After my husband died, I officially became a dispatcher on July 10, 1981. Then, I began learning the books. I never dreamed I’d enjoy calculating taxes, writing payroll, filing paperwork, and handling correspondence.
My Driving (and Towing) History
But lets back up to age 17. It’s not easy being a young driver and have a Dad who owns a towing company. I didn’t see a car when I pulled out from a stop sign (I still say it was Rick’s fault, I couldn’t see through him!) and hit a car. Dad arrived at the scene, as well as the police. I’m DEAD! Dad shook his head and chuckled. My car was drivable, but I shoved the fender into the tire of the other car. Dad pulled the fender out and he drove away. The next day, my chest hurt so bad. We had only lap belts back then. I had hit the steering wheel at less than 20 mile an hours. Thank goodness I wasn’t running faster. A lot of people were killed before shoulder belts were created by being impaled on steering columns. Yea, for improvements! A year later, my Dad went to the scene of an accident. The driver jumped in the truck with him and announced, “I bet you don’t remember me. I’m the guy your daughter hit. She didn’t do as much damage as I did.” I’ll say, he totaled the car.
I managed to drive safely until I was a student at Purdue. I ‘d piled all my textbooks on the seat. As I was pulling out of the driveway, the books started to fall. Naturally, I grabbed for them. Are you aware that you tend to turn the steering wheel the same direction your other hand is going? I drove into the ditch in front of my house and couldn’t get out. I called Dad. I was instructed to let the books fall next time after he pulled me out.
Over the years, we’ve seen many unbelievable things happen. A farmer’s helper was crossing the Grandville bridge with a tractor pulling a wagon with an auger. The auger got caught in the wrought iron side of the bridge. Before he could stop, the tractor was flung over the side of the bridge. The driver was hanging by his foot caught in the pedals which was the only thing keeping him from falling into the Wabash River. Help arrived - paramedics, fire, police, and us, Mullen Towing. The driver was rigged by former employees who were now working as a paramedic and volunteer fireman. We lifted him using the boom of our truck. He lost is foot but not his life. The farmer kept telling Dad to let the tractor fall in the river. Dad said be patient. Sure enough, Dad pulled the tractor back on to the bridge. The he pulled the wagon back and removed the auger from the wrought iron. A most happy ending to a potentially disastrous situation.
This story goes back to the days of the Purdue Tractor Pulls. Before the completion, they were oiling the weight sled. Some how, the guy pouring the oil as it moved forward became caught in the gears and was drug under it. Dad rushed up to help, but the owner of the sled hated tow trucks and refused to listen. They brought out a forklift and tried to remove weights but it shook the rig and the guy screamed in pain. Dad kept trying to intervene but the owner refused to listen. After several unsuccessful attempts, the man turned to Dad as the last resort. Dad lifted the sled with the weight in place enough for them to pull the guy out. He was alright. The owner of the sled praised Dad and changed his mind about the value of hydraulic tow trucks.
Anyway, back to me, my original dream was to be an old maid elementary school teacher. One of my teacher’s was my role model. That dream ended with marriage and of course, having children. I’m the Mother of three - Christina, William, and Melissa. The girls are married and live locally, while my son is single and lives in Pendleton, Indiana. Naturally, I have two of the smartest, cutest, funniest, etc grandchildren. Andrik Logan, age 5 is Christina’s son, and Zoe , age 3, is Melissa’s daughter. Samuel will be here by April 11, 2011.
My parents had a crazy habit of “adopting” people. They had four kids but that wasn’t enough. When a kid we knew was going though a rough spell or making bad choices, they were encouraged to come over. They didn’t limit their generosity to just kids, though; adults were welcomed too. Some even lived with us. The only problem was we always had young boys hanging around. We didn’t know any girls with problems. I was the only girl in the family and the oldest. That was not FAIR! I remember well when Mom and Dad announced child number four was the last one. I prayed and prayed and prayed for a sister. I cried and cried and cried when I got another brother!
An odd thing happens to most of us -- we become your parents. I “adopt” older people. My current adoptee is 88 years-old. He’s very able-bodied, but the death of his wife and problems with his job caused severe depression. We struck up a friendship while enjoying my favorite pass time PRUNING. Yup, I love to prune and he has four acres of honeysuckle for me to whack on. I gave him my Lumina. That’s right, the very one I intend to be buried in. He better not wreck it! We get to talk a lot. I’m sure he won’t mind me telling you this, but he was on the ship that took the US dignitaries to the WWII surrender ceremony. He has a copy of the document!
In my spare time, I also like to work puzzles, play handbells, work with kids and youth, run sound, kayak, punning (I know YIKES), hiking, working tech crew for plays, and participating in fun raisers at Civic Theatre. I also work with the Read to Succeed program at Miller School. I teach elementary age Sunday School at Trinity United Methodist Church.
I’m active in several organizations; United Methodist Women, Indiana Towing & Wrecker Association, Association of Women Business Owners. BNI (Business Network International) and Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. I am Program Resource officer for Trinity’s United Methodist Women.