Saturday, May 19, 2012

Old Blue

Well, this blog entry has been delightful. It took the assistance of Bill Taylor, Alan Taylor and Johnny Gailey to fill in some blanks.

My dad had an old 1948 Chevrolet pickup. It's value was mostly sentimental. When he replaced it with the Chevy Apache pickup sometime in the mid-sixties, he took the '48 up to the Dry Farm (long before public landfills) and parked it in the ravine. It was too special to mix with the regular throw-away stuff, and there it sat until Johnny Gailey came along. I tracked Johnny down in Clifton just as he was walking in the door the other night. His wife handed the phone to him and off we went. I could tell he had fond memories of Old Blue. He said Dad had removed one of the wheels after he drove it in the ravine just to keep people from doing something stupid with it. That sounds like Dad. Johnny said he kept the blue color but dolled it up with some metallic paint. He replaced the flooring in the front, cleaned it up, fixed a few things, then drove it around for several years. My favorite part was when he said he fixed the broken speedometer by removing the gizmo and installing a match stick for the speedometer dial. He said he's kicked himself over and over for selling that truck. Apparently it went through several owners before it got to Gary Garner who sold it to some fellow in Sugar City. It's highly possible that Old Blue might be listed on Ebay like this version of the same vehicle (and I hope they haven't removed the ad before this posts:

Apparently back then, you only needed one tail light and it was on the driver's side. Bill said that they figured if you couldn't see it with one tail light, you weren't going to see it anyway. HA HA. That's probably true. Also, you didn't start the engine with a key. You turned the key, then stomped on a starter switch mounted on the floor. Now, I remember vehicles with a floor button for dimming the headlights, but I'd never heard of the starter thing. On rare occasion, even now I find myself stomping my left foot on the floor to dim my headlights, sort of like throwing your arm out to catch the long-ago grown up kid as you apply the brakes.

The '48 did not come with signal lights, either. To turn left, you stuck your left arm horizontally out the window. To turn right, you indicated by sticking your left arm out the same window, only you bent it at the elbow and sort of pointed your hand to the right. Nobody had backup lights on their vehicle. The single red bulb on the back was for night-driving and braking only. The light got more intense when you applied the brakes so you'd know to slow down should you be following. Since everybody in town knew where everybody lived, signaling wasn't as big of a problem as you might think, and it was often omitted in the winter when it was too cold to keep the window down. Also, there were no cute little windows that you could bend to get a little breeze in your face, though there were some vents you could open and close from the outside for a little air movement, highly inconvenient and not too effective. Something I did not remember was that the windshield was in two sections split by a vertical divider.

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