Marching Along – 1974

Spring is springing, a young man’s thoughts turn to Love, and a middle-aged man thinks about his trailer. March 74 certainly came in very lamb-like.  I was sick again in February with the flu, more severe in February than January.  I felt lousy and miserable most of the month.  Then, no surprise, the girls got the flu also. Louise more so than Ingrid, perhaps as she is younger and her immune system not as well-developed. The very good news was that Marge did not come down with it.  In general her health is more fragile than mine, but not this time thankfully, as there were more patients  to be taken care of.  By month’s end we are all well again and looking forward to a pleasant springtime and Easter.

It’s always something to go wrong when you own a home.  this time it is our 1962 vintage washing machine.  I can still, vaguely, remember buying it. Now the timer and control mechanism don’t function and I couldn’t repair it myself, nor find a replacement.  I guess it is obsolete.  Marge and I went to look at new washers again at Sears. We have had good luck with them and Whirlpool appliances.  We buy a new one that has all the features of the 1962 one and some new ones, and costs about the same amount.  that was a relief on the checkbook.

Back to the closeout furniture store. Oh I now have the answer to the buffet; they were to deliver it but still hadn’t done so.

1974 buffet

1974 buffet

 Marge and I were somehow able to do it ourselves.  The store loaded it into the wagon and we carried it into the house by taking all the drawers out first and then carrying the main part out.  Whew!!!, but we got that done.  I still have the buffet, now with some bumps and scratches of accidents over the years.  I could not have ever done it without Marge, I didn’t think she was that strong!

I have also started a new home improvement project which is refinishing the oak table that we have. This is a Victorian antique that Mrs. Sutherland gave us. As of now (2016) this table is in my daughter Louise’s home, so it has a long history, and in my opinion still looks good.  Marge and I had in ’74 discussed buying a new table. But we liked the old one and as Marge liked to sew, it also serves well as a cutting table. I believe sewing was her equivalent of woodworking, auto maintenance that I enjoyed, a skill one that requires concentration as well as physical skills.  While in our first home in NY, she made a very well made mother/daughter outfit for her and Ingrid.  I have a photo somewhere  and it was very cute. 

Marge’s  dad had refinished the table top in the past but not the legs. We were both much alike. Those stout legs had been turned on a lathe in the fashion of the 19th century. Large and ornate.

Bumps and bruises, as well as lactic acid from spilled milk had stained the top.  Fortunately, there was a furniture stripper close to our home and I took the table to him.  He stripped the entire table chemically as it would have been impossible for me to do by hand.  He also showed me, in an antique furniture reference book that tables like mine were getting $100-$150.  That was in 1974 dollars, so worth the effort.  I chemically bleached the table to even out the color variations. The chemical was a poison and I bought it from a pharmacy and had to sign for it. I made little progress on the task while ill, but I should complete it  soon and it will be good for another 100 years. Now (2016) it is still in daily use so I think it will easily outlive me.

Marge left in late December, her birthday, to visit her mother. She took the Rambler, and on returning it developed move drive train howls. I think it is soon headed for its end, as it is getting close to 100,000 miles. We had it for 5 years and only paid a few hundred for it, so I guess we got our money’s worth from it.

We did buy a used International Harvester Scout from a Postal Service sale.IH Scout It is about the size of a Jeep, licensed as a 1/4 ton truck.  It was sanded and repainted and had about 19,000 miles on it.  We hope that it will be good for short local trips.  Ours was right hand drive since the postal service used it.  The photo is not ours, but the same model.

The gasoline situation gets worse almost daily. We are fortunate because I have a PP&L company car and can get gas from the company garages. We have some PP&L neighbors and I give them lifts when asked.    Marge has been able to get gas for our personal cars, but we have cut down on our driving.  Long waits at service station are the new norm. We are going to  plan our vacation different this year due to this problem. There are several places within a tanks worth of gas for us to visit.  We hate to give up our earlier plans for Easter, but we will do what we can.  We hope our elected leaders can resolve this problem, as it is beyond personal or local resolution.

I made a business trip  to North Carolina in February with my boss Mr. Seidler.  We were evaluating a construction process Duke Power uses as it might be applicable to PP&L.  The demonstrations at Duke Power convinced both of us.

I am progressing well on my correspondence course in electronics.  The benefits expire in May so I have to hustle.  Realistically, I don’t think I may exactly complete all the lessons and kits, but I have learned a lot whether I finish or not.  I have always enjoyed building things as well as taking them apart, hopefully correctly back together.

Ingrid has her 12th birthday in March and Louise is reading very well.  Time moves along, they are growing up, we are growing older and I think Marge and I are good and loving mates and good parents.  Not perfect of course, but pretty good.   







About R. F.

I am a retired Professional Engineer who spent my working life in the electric utility industry. I am now a volunteer instructor at the University Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
This entry was posted in 1970-1980, Coopersburg PA and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Marching Along – 1974

  1. Louise says:

    I loved that Scout! It was metallic turquoise/aqua blue and had a black bench seat in the back that I am thinking you must have put in afterwards. When we first got it there were a few small holes in the floorboard, which was just bare (no carpeting) that must have been part of the design because they were small and even, maybe about a half an inch in diameter. I liked looking down and seeing the road go by through the hole, but then at some point you covered over them with fiberglass so water wouldn’t splash up when you drove through a puddle. I’m sure it kept the vehicle dryer, but I missed looking down onto the road!

    • R. Johann says:

      This is the first time I knew you were so attracted to watching the pavement go by, as it were. Might have made an avante garde film placing a movie camera over a hole as the car was driven around. So, I learned another factoid of our life that I was unaware of, thanks.

  2. Allan T says:

    I always want to buy a postal vehicle. As a Postal Employee I could not, and Janice was not about to buy one herself. How good was your luck with it? I know they didn’t have a passenger seat, but they did say they could put one in for a buyer.

    • R. Johann says:

      Hi Allan, as you can see from Louise’s column it was sort of a hoot. It had right hand drive and I bought a bolt on seat for the back. I think it did have a left front seat, but not sure. We had it maybe one and a half years. I sold it by parking near my RFD post box with a FOR SALE sign on it and the postman bought it next day. So it was different but for a 4 cylinder engine, got terrible mileage, maybe 15 MPG. So, it was a small adventure for all of us.

  3. ingridmg2014 says:

    I remember the Scout vividly as well. Deep turquoise, as Louise said. I think I liked riding around in it because it was unique–at least for people who weren’t delivering mail. I don’t know why, but I always remember this silly incident when we girls were riding in the back. I saw a spider on the interior wall–maybe it crawled in through one of those holes Louise liked. Anyway, I asked if you had a tissue because there was a spider in back. You replied, “Why–does the spider need to blow its nose?” So silly!

    • R. Johann says:

      Yes, those good old silly family history stories. I wonder how the Scout lasted with the owner who bought it from me. I think we paid about $700 for it from the Postal service and got about $400 when we sold it. But we did have a rather unique machine and I never knew how much Louise liked watching the pavement.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.