Skip to main content

This & That: Trust Your Car to the Man Who Wears The Star

Jul 15, 2013 11:37PM, Published by Erik Dittmann, Categories: In Print



Image titleBy: Dave Bowman

A recent article in the Wisconsin State Journal commemorated a milestone of iconic Americana:  A full-service gas station is marking its 50th year in business in Manitowoc.  The term “full-service station” has left the lexicon of our daily lives, along with “pay telephone” and “rabbit ear antennas.”  The whole idea, however, harkens back to a simpler time, at least in our nostalgic, warm and fuzzy feelings from yesteryear.

As a kid I remember sitting in the front seat of my parents’ car, watching the authoritative figure in the beige uniform with his name ceremoniously sewn in an oval above his right shirt pocket, taking my father’s request, putting the gas nozzle in our vehicle, and then leaning across the windshield as he squeegeed and wiped the window clean.  My father would then share a few closing thoughts with him on how outrageous it is for gas to cost 30 cents a gallon, the weather or the politics of the day, pay him, and then drive on our way.

As the years went on, I came to appreciate this personal touch.  The car I drove to college in 1977 had belonged to my grandmother, a 1962 Chevy Bel Air with a “three on the tree” transmission, a huge dashboard made of metal and a steering wheel that was larger than most front seat areas of today’s compact cars.  During one of my summers at home, it was giving off this most peculiar growling noise.  Be that as it may, I turned of course to my Dad, since my only real knowledge of the car was that it got me to and from school, and I could pack my whole dorm room belongings in its trunk.  He immediately knew what to do and took it to a local mechanic who had been working on his cars for years.  Now this mechanic had no “diagnostic equipment” and he did not need to check for an “errant computer error” in the system.  He opened the hood, stuck his head in, listened for a few seconds and then declared, “Yep, it’s the rocker panel.”  I was impressed and amazed, although I could not fathom what a rocker panel was and why it growled.  But through his personal expertise, he got the ol’ Chevy back on the road hauling my dorm stereo equipment, bellbottoms and leisure suits in no time. 

These days the vehicles have capabilities and features which George Jetson could only dream of.  You can actually talk to the car, and the car will talk back.  There is really no need to have any human interaction as you pump your gas and squeegee your own windshield clean, but there is something to be said for a time when “the man who wears a star” would dash to your car with a broad grin and you would say those words of a bygone era, “Fill ‘er up!”



column


  • James and the Giant Peach

    01/19/2017
    07:00PM

    When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Fit-A-Thon

    01/21/2017
    08:00AM — 11:00AM

    FREE for Everyone! Invite your friends and family! (Check in begins at 7:45 in the gymnasium...


  • FAMILY EVENT: Music Lab with Julie Mazer

    01/21/2017
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    Uncover your little one’s innate musicality with music-making activities using their voice, body ...


  • James and the Giant Peach

    01/21/2017
    02:00PM

    When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic...


  • Hiking by Candlelight

    01/21/2017
    05:00PM — 09:00PM

    Hiking by candlelight, a roaring bonfire, roasted marshmallows and warm refreshments await everyo...


  • SLP Christmas Party

    01/21/2017
    09:00PM — 10:30PM

    Having our Christmas Party. Excited to have Justin Regner playing for the event. Party is all day...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Homeschool Community Meet-up

    01/24/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    An opportunity to meet, mingle, play, talk and learn with other homeschooling families and the Yo...


  • Annual Dinner

    01/25/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join the Chamber as they celebrate the Business, Citizen & Non-Profit of the Year for 2016 on Jan...


  • Join us Wednesday, January 25, from 6-7 p.m. to learn about registration process, open enrollment...


  • James and the Giant Peach

    01/19/2017
    07:00PM

    When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic...


  • Hiking by Candlelight

    01/21/2017
    05:00PM — 09:00PM

    Hiking by candlelight, a roaring bonfire, roasted marshmallows and warm refreshments await everyo...


  • Homeschool Community Meet-up

    01/24/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    An opportunity to meet, mingle, play, talk and learn with other homeschooling families and the Yo...


  • For the third year ever, the Godfather Daniel Buchner brings you WINTER SUCKS ROCK DOES NOT night...


  • BDACT Annual Celebration

    01/28/2017
    05:00PM

    The public is invited to attend the annual end of season celebration for the Beaver Dam Area Comm...


  • Special Touch Beaver Dam Chapter meeting

    02/03/2017
    06:15PM — 08:00PM

    The meeting will start at 6:15pm with tacos. After singing we will do the " Word Walk" "Mercy -...


  • Flick N' Float

    02/03/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Family Adventure Pool Doors open at 6:45 pm Movie starts at 7:00 pm Members: FREE Non Mem...


  • Saturday Science at Discovery

    02/04/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Science and sports collide during this free event held on the first Saturday of every month! Expl...


  • Winter Day At The Park

    02/11/2017
    08:00AM — 04:00PM

    A Winter Day at the Park: Model Horse Show ADS Sleigh Competition Bobsled Rides Skijoring Com...


  • American Hero & Ice Queen

    02/11/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Calling all Superheros and Princesses - join us for a magical time! Crafts Face Painting Refr...


  • Bowl For Kids Sake-Beaver Dam

    02/18/2017
    12:00PM — 03:00PM

    February 18, 2017 Tower Lanes – Beaver Dam 9-Pin Tap Bowl-a-Thon Fundraiser 11:30 a.m. for ch...


High School Sports
Weekly Recipes