Friday, April 10, 2009

Article #50 Service Stations

I remember when service stations were just that, where you could get your car serviced-repaired, oil changed and flat tires fixed. Nowadays forget that, with automatic pumps there is little if any service available. You pump your own gas, check your water, oil and tire pressure, and never see anyone that looks the least bit helpful. In my youth, when you drove up to the pump some clean cut young guy would come running out and greet you pleasantly inquiring...What can I could do for you? To which you usually responded...Fill it up or three dollars worth. He never asked Do you needed anything checked? but just went about doing that, then finished up with washing all your car windows. (Photo above l-r my uncle Weston, aunt Bonnie and my dad Stanley sitting on the running boards of their dad's Model T Ford.)

Every small town had at least one service station with a good mechanic that you could trust with your family car. (Photo on right my dad in high school standing by the family car.) While it was being fixed, you didn’t have a spare auto to drive around but had to stay home till the family jalopy was repaired. I remember hearing how my Dad couldn’t wait for weekend when his father’s new car was available for him to court my mom. He’s travel the 100 miles round trip to pick her up for a dance or other activity in his dad’s special automobile. Speed limits then were 35 mph, but some fellows were known to push the limits and go 50 mph. All of this without seat belts. Every young man learned early from his dad how to change the oil, spark plugs and fix flat tires if needed. A tune up was something that could be done manually and not on fancy computerized machines like today’s cars need. 


In my grandmother’s day, few moms knew how to drive until they started to work outside the home––then they needed transportation also. Many husbands were reticent to teach their wife how to drive. I think they knew what was coming…the start of a major revolution called the two car family. Then the one car unattached garage located in the back yard wasn’t enough to house two vehicles. Today we would feel extremely deprived if we could only afford to have just one automobile per family. What would the wife or the teenagers drive? I’m sure we all know families with multiple cars lining their driveways in front of their three car garages because they are all full. (Photo above l-r my dad and a friend with the family car-notice the muddy roads.)

6 comments:

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Cool post! We used to have a "service" station on the corner of the road we live off of...but they recently closed!

mom/caryn said...

I know I commented on this... what happened to my comment is a mystery. I mentioned a service station in Bellflower, California where my mom bought her gas. They pumped her gas, washed her windows, checked the air in her tires, filled her wiper fluid... They just took such good care of her...up untuil she died. The station owner and one of his workers actually came to her funeral. My brother and I took them treats one afternoon to thank them for treating her so well. It was great.

When I was driving to Southern Utah to visit with you and my sisters, a young man washed my windows when I stopped at a Shell Station in...ummm... Beaver, I think. I was waiting for him to come ask for a "donation" for his service, but he smiled, waved, and went on to the car next to me and washed his windows as well. Shocker!! But, a nice return to the "good old days."

ramblingwoods.com said...

This was a great post. When I was in college, I worked at a filling station. I pumped the gas and washed the windshield and gave away jelly glasses...Let's see that was in...1974..I was 17 years old....

SandyCarlson said...

Those photos are delightful, Lin. I remember service at service stations. I am 42, and the memories are from childhood. I remember when do-it-yourself came into vogue. We didn't know what to make of it.

Carla said...

That last picture of your Dad and his friend is so cute!

Well, I certainly remember full-service stations. In fact, I fell hopelessly in love with a guy who worked at the Houston Exxon close to where I worked. He did a great job of taking care of my car. Turns out, he only worked there in the off-season. He was (and still is) a major league baseball coach.

Kay said...

You really do have the most amazing family photos, Lin. I loved reading this post. I remember when all service stations were pretty much full service. The good ol' days.