The saying goes, “A picture says a thousand words’. In hipster talk that translates roughly into “A kool frame riffs millennium verbs,” or in some circles “A swingin’ snapshot lays down a kat’s score hipper and with more jazz than some ramblin’ gin-weary monologue spread around like a tome, ya dig?”
Case in point: The picture laid out before you kats is of my bookshelf, to my left as I type at this souped-up typewriter. I was just playing around with the interwebs when I shot my peepers over, and realized that everything on this part of the shelf, with very few exceptions, is 4o years old or older. Some of these gadgets I’ve had for years. Some of them I’ve had almost all my life.
What’s really crazy is everything you see in this photo has a story. Some stories I remember vividly, as if they happened yesterday. Some are a little fuzzy, getting lost in time. But every time I glance over, I get a memory…Memories of places I used to hit that are gone forever. Memories of that far off land of childhood. Memories of things I loved to do. And memories of people I loved who are no longer around.
I’m really digging this pic. I think what I’ll do, just for kicks, is give you kats and kittens a little story – from memory – that goes along with one of the items on the shelf. Every now and then I’ll re-post the photo and give you a new story.
Let’s start with the big red car.
What you see here is a 1933-1936 Cadillac LaSalle Sedan, made of pressed steel by the Wyandotte toy company. It measures around 13″ long, and originally came with solid rubber tires and a matching, teardrop-shaped camper trailer. The design was an idealized, Art Deco version of the real car, and was very modern for its time.
In the 1970’s, my parents were antique dealers. Often my father would get up at five or six AM to hit yard sales and flea markets, looking for some kool stuff to buy and sell. One spring Saturday morning when I was around seven, my dad went out early to the yard sales, and came back while I was still asleep. He woke me up and brought me into the kitchen, where this crazy-looking toy car, big as an elephant, was sitting on the table. It was painted black, and had all kinds of little smiling faces and sayings on it… Mostly Happy New Year, 1939 I think…and little painted balloons and confetti. The paint was in pretty sad shape, and the tires were missing. I immediately fell in love with the big car, and my Dad said if I wanted, he’d repaint it for me and put some wheels on it. Of course, I said, and he got to work.
He stripped the old paint off and painted it the original Fire Engine Red. Then he made some wheels (I think out of radio parts and rubber tubing) and put it all back together. Man, was it beautiful.
I loved that car, and took damned good care of it for the last 33+ years. It’s always had a place of honor on a shelf or table, and now resides where I spend a lot of my time when I’m not out at the Tiki Bar, so I can look at it a lot. My father passed on to the promise land in 2002, which makes little things like this even more special to me. It’s amazing I still remember that day, and how happy we both were over this piece of steel. It makes me happy all over again every time I see it. (a little side note: The palm tree sticking up behind the car…my father made that for me, and the car, when we moved down to Florida in 2000. he seemed to think the car needed a palm tree, now that it was parked in the tropics.)
– Tiki Chris, reporting live from The Tiki Blog