Friday, March 8, 2013

Here we are in 1940 again!

So I am playing Texas Holdem poker at my favorite casino yesterday and a couple of the younger (re: 20 something) players are talking about this picture on their smart phones.  Now you have to know that I am in possession of a cell phone, one that is about 3 generations away from the Motorola "brick" and I can see the time and make phone calls - no internet access, no music, yep it is just a phone.  Anyway, they can't figure out what the item in the picture is or does.  So the guy sitting next to me shows me a picture of an oil can piercing spout. I tried to explain that prior to plastic bottles, oil came in sealed paper cans that you pierced the metal top with this thing and you could then pour the oil into your engine.  Before paper the cans were metal, but back in the early days of auto care and clear up into the early 60's you could also find oil in the bulk that was dispensed in glass bottles.  That is when it dawned on me that I had some pictures of my dad working at an old gas station. 

My mom has written "JOE '40" on the top left border.  Dad is touching a gas pump that has gas priced at 15 and a half  cents per gallon.  He is carrying another out dated item.  A battery service tool.  Filled with distilled water and a pipette (like a turkey baster) for putting the water into the battery.  Yes, car batteries needed constant care up until the sealed batteries came along in the 1980's.  Behind dad and between the gas pumps, are the bulk oil containers with their hand cranks for pumping the oil and kerosene into the customers container or a glass bottle for servicing the customers oil needs.

By now you are probably wondering what this has to do with my genealogy search.  Well, this service station is located on Pacific Coast Highway, near the city limits of Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach.  Just a few blocks away from the 1st Street rental my parents had following their Feb 1940 marriage.  This is just another piece of the puzzling question.  Why neither of my parents are counted in the 1940 census?


  1. Welcome to Geneabloggers! I wish you great success with your new blog :)

    Ancestoring's Ask A Genealogist

  2. That's a great picture. Welcome to Geneabloggers and good luck with your search!


  3. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist:

  4. I also love the photo. The old gas pumps had such class. Filling up earlier today I was thinking how ugly gas pumps are. If only we could bring some of that back!

  5. I like those gas prices! Great picture.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)