Ellen White, 87, of Seffner, drives a white Fiat 500 Pop with an American flag painted on the roof. Four of her family members served in the military during wartime.
“I am driving the little white Fiat Pop and get a lot of truckers blowing their horns and many high-fives from people seeing it for the first time,” she said.
White has lived in Seff-ner for almost 22 years. Prior to 1992, she lived in Homestead, Fla. Although she has endured a lot of trials and tribulations, she keeps an upbeat attitude.
“At that time we endured Hurricane Andrew’s fury and lost our home, possessions and two cars,” White said. “Our son and his family lived in the Tampa area at that time and needing family support we relocated to the Tampa area, winding up in Pemberton Creek, in Seffner.”
White said her husband Robert L. White, who passed away 12 years ago, served in the U.S. Navy for five years in World War II as a radioman first class.
“I grew up in New York City during WWII, meeting my future husband on Christmas night in 1942 while roller skating with cousins,” she said. “A long mail courtship followed, during the time of his service in the South Pacific. We married just before his Navy discharge in October, 1945.”
White said it was difficult to grow up during the WWII era. Her husband served in the war along with her brother, Joe, who was in the U.S. Air Corps.
“Growing up during WWII was a worrisome time with so many of our young men overseas — really not much time for celebrating,” she said. “But it always was a time to display patriotism for our country and for all those away from their families. To this day, I raise our flag each morning with a little prayer of thankfulness that we are privileged to live in this great democracy.”
White and her husband, Robert, had a son, Jamie, who passed away during heart valve replacement surgery a year after Robert died.
White said she, her husband and son all held amateur radio licenses, which permitted them to help with communications during times of disaster.
Although her son and husband have passed, White said she is blessed to have her daughter-in-law Teresa still in her life as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She didn’t decorate her car so she could participate in a Fourth-of-July parade, but to show her patriotism every day.
“My lady friends at the Seffner Y think it is pretty cool,” White said.