Category Archives: Nostalgia

Being belted saved my life

There was a time early in my life when I was never belted.

Life was free, I was able to jump like an acrobat from front to back seat, and even spent time napping in the rear window above the back seat.

The beginning of the end of my freedom came on this day, July 10, 1962, when  Nils Bohlin, a Swedish engineer working for Volvo received a patent from the US Patent Office  for the first three point seat belt.

Here is how Bohlin described his invention:

 In the patent, Bohlin explained his invention: “The object… is to provide a safety belt which independently of the strength of the seat and its connection with the vehicle in an effective and physiologically favorable manner retains the upper as well as the lower part of the body of the strapped person against the action of substantially forwardly directed forces and which is easy to fasten and unfasten and even in other respects satisfies rigid requirements.”

Until that time there were either no seat belts in the cars we owned, or the two point ones which saved your ass but made you into a vegetable when your chest was either crushed by the ram-rod steel steering wheel or smashed against the metal dashboard or you did the flying header through the front windshield.

I admit I didn’t like seat belts at first, and for the first few years of my driving career I didn’t wear them.   I justified it by repeating horror stories of people trapped in cars due to their seat belts after a crash and burning to a crisp.

There was no one instance that convinced me that I loved being belted.  As I got older and a few more brain cells activated I began to slap the belts across my chest.  The one time I was probably saved from flying out of my car was when a flat-bed truck hitched my car on I-57 on its left side.  I was in the truck’s blind spot.   I felt the car engage with the truck and start to be dragged along.  They don’t teach these scenarios in Driver’s Education, so I did the only thing I could think to do: slam on the brakes.  So did the truck.  My car fishtailed and ended up sideways in front of the oncoming truck in the truck’s lane.  I still shiver when I see “MACK” on the front of a truck.  So I lived.  The car whipped into the far left lane of traffic away from the truck in the middle and I skidded to stop with my car door on the driver’s side wide open on the shoulder.

There was another time when the brakes went out in a car I was a passenger in  and careened down  a hill towards Lake Superior, but one story about being belted is enough.


Question 303 Perking Up Soon! Where Have You Gone Jo Di Maggio and Mr. Coffee?

It arrived yesterday, out of the past.  My circa 1975 percolator.   I speculated on the Amazon reviews and questions last post.

When I ordered it from Amazon because I couldn’t find it in  any local stores or even at Good Will or the Salvation Army, it had 302 “answered questions” and over 3000 reviews.

On a coffee pot.

This pot…. my new pot….

Coffee Pot


I am really trying to think of a question I can ask about it, but after just perking some coffee and having that smell waft through the house I can’t come up with one.

And the taste…. so un-Mr. Coffee.

Sorry again, Joe Di Maggio.    You and the Mr. Coffee clones have had a good run.  Back to the future does not need a De Lorean.

302 Answered Questions about Perking


It used to invoke emotions that were not as savage as twerking, but had its place in every American home at one time.

I am talking about the coffee pot.  A type that perks.  With a little glass dome on the top that you can see the coffee erupt into and then drop and then cycle again.

I have no beef with Joe DiMaggio and Mr. Coffee and all its descendants, but one day about two months ago I pulled out a small campfire coffee pot that you have to put on the stove and fired the gas and let her perk.

It was music to my ears and smell porn to my nostrils.  I was in bed and in love.

Then I tasted the love.

It was everything I remembered.

And more.

I am a perk addict.

Naturally, to feed my addiction I wanted ever more. My little perk coffee pot was good for one cup, so I set off on a mission to find a bigger pot.

This kind of pot is not easy to find.

Impossible, in fact.

I went to all the big box stores and  Ace Warehouse and Dick’s Sporting Goods and could not find a perking coffee pot.  I even went to Good Will and the Salvation Army, and no such machine.

So I turned to Amazon, and found it.


coffee pot

I am ordering it tonight.

I paused long enough to notice that there are 302 answered questions about it and over 3000 reviews.  Of a coffee pot, a simple coffee pot.  You put cold water in, put the grounds in a steel basket, cover, and put on a flame — and 302 people have questions.

We have come a long way.

Meanwhile, I will ponder the 302 questions and sip my coffee and maybe post a review.

Of a coffee pot.

Sleeping with “Stubby” –The short, short, short, short trailer

In Odell, Illinois, along the old Rt.66, I stopped for a few moments and took a picture of what a Standard Oil gas station looked like had I  been pulling up in my “Model A” in 1932 or so,  and took a look at a camping trailer parked next to the old station.  The trailer is vintage 1953.  Just think of mom and dad and the five kids stuffed inside enjoying…enjoying — Yes, dammit, enjoying.  And then getting a good night’s sleep stacked like human sardines.  Good times on the family va-ca.                Photo and text Copyright 2014.  All Rights Reserved

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Looking Back in Time at Home: Power Failure Creates a Time Warp Brings Life Back to 1965 Last Summer

March 27, 2008

For a short time this evening I was transported back to 1965.

It was a hot summer night, the parents were sitting on the front porch, and the block was filled with kids running back and forth.

As it got darker thousands of lightening bugs glowed like lights on an all encompassing tree.

The block was alive!

I now live in the house I grew up in, after a twenty year absence. It’s a blessing and a curse. When things happen now I tend to go back in time and remember what it was like then. On this block. In this house.

My front door was flung open. Same with the back. There was no noise in the house: no radio, no television, no fans going, no microwave. Nothing.

The power was out.

Had been for hours.

A line of storms had passed over the Chicago, with boiling thunderheads and long craggily lighting strikes.

One of them hit a transformer or something, and it blacked out the area.

Everybody was forced outdoors.

I just lay on my bed and listened.

When I was a kid, air conditioning was not common. With the exception of a few monstrous window units, AC was just another science fiction type thing, like flying cars, ovens that cooked things by radio waves and video telephones. A dream. A cool dream.

At night in the summer you sweated yourself to sleep and tossed and turned in discomfort. Sometimes you convinced your parents to let you “camp out” in the backyard. You had some fans and an open window, but that was it. The sheets were drenched.

Nothing was working this afternoon and evening, nothing that took alternating current, courtesy of Commonwealth Edison. No TVs. No radios. No sound systems. No Game-boys. Nothing.

The kids came out. The parents came out.

They sat on the front porches. Not on the decks in the back, which weren’t the style in 1965, but on the small concrete steps. Most just sat on the steps, as the chairs and other comforts were way off in the backyard.

Everybody could see what everybody else was up to. No kids could get in trouble, as many sets of parental eyes were on guard.

It was really like a return trip to when I was a boy. Like then, the kids this evening were catching lightening bugs in jars.

Then the clocks started blinking and refrigerators started to hum and the noise was more inside than out. The blue lights of the televisions came on again, radios played, and 2007 was restored.

Soon the porches were empty, the lights were on, and the past was again the past