‘Hot Rod’ Hamilton to turn 80
By Vanessa Hamilton-Highfield
Once a hot rodder, always a hot rodder.
She’s usually seen barreling down Birch Bay Drive on her mobility scooter, heading to the Bay Center Market. You’ll see windsocks dancing from each handlebar, a bright orange bike flag bobbing to and fro, a slow-moving vehicle sign and a license plate that reads “Hot Rod.”
Hamilton, as she is better known, moved to Birch Bay
last April to live close to her daughter and her family.
She was born in, of all things, the back seat of a Chevy
on the way to the hospital in North Syracuse, N.Y. Since
1959, however, she’s lived in various
locales on the west coast, including Sacramento and Escondido,
Betty (and her late husband Derwent ‘Joe’ Hamilton) were avid stock car racers in their hey day (following Joe’s stint in the U.S. Navy during WWII). This particular picture was taken just after a Powder Puff Derby Race that Betty won back in New York in 1946.
Hot Rod will celebrate her 80th birthday on October 26 and laughingly gives this explanation for her longevity: “You’ve heard the saying only the good die young? Draw your own conclusions!”
Birthday wishes may be sent in care of Vanessa Hamilton-Highfield, 8195 Comox Road, Blaine, WA 98230. And be sure to give her a birthday wave next time you see her racing down the bay road.