Presidents Day ’76

 February brought winter weather, flu, car concerns, health, radio code course, and more…

Washington's birthday

Washington’s Birthday

Remember when we celebrated Washington’s birthday?

Per Wikipedia on this: Washington’s Birthday is a United States Federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States, who was born on February 22, 1732. It can occur on the 15th through the 21st of February inclusive.

President's day?

President’s Day?

Colloquially, the day is also now widely known as Presidents’ Day and is often an occasion to remember all the presidents, not just George Washington. Lincoln’s birthday was never a federal holiday, though treated as a holiday by many states. Confusing eh?

We now in 2017 have M. L. King Day showering acclimation and accolades to the memory of a fallen leader of the civil rights movement. All 50 states finally accepted the holiday in 2000.  MLK was a powerful orator and leader.  Had he not been assassinated, eliminated from the battle and fray, the conflict and clash of racial differences would he be solemnized by a Federal National holiday?  Had he aged gracefully, led a full life and died, as most of us do, from the infirmities of old age, would we still have a  day of observance, festival, and fête?  At any rate, a day off in January, perhaps that is the answer.

Las Vegas had, probably still has, some racial biases.  The last major race riot was in 1992, the year before I retired.  African/American performers were welcome on the stage, not in the casinos.  Personally, I think this was, to a significant extent, motivated by concerns for business.  Whatever the law was, many tourists did not believe in racial mixing and may have gone elsewhere to avoid it. Not good for business. Times change slowly and attitudes change.  I do know that the removal of the name of our founding president angered many in Nevada.  Eventually, MLK day was accepted by the state and the Power company, though there was grudging acceptance three decades ago as well as of the commonplace term, Presidents Day.  All these factoids of data are somewhat related to the month.  I have no background in sociology or racial issues to comment on, not my field.

As for me,  I would have welcomed a day off from shoveling snow would.  The 1976 snow came and stayed, like a guest overstaying his/her welcome.  It has been colder than usual and we look forward to spring.  Personally, I had a relapse from the flu, yet again. Not too bad though.  I qualified, as a manager, for an executive physical which is very thorough and I advantaged myself of this benefit. This was a two-day session at a clinic in Bethlehem and I passed with an A+. A few very minor concerns, not to worry about, and I was pleased to have this detailed report.

Marge, on the other side of the health ledger, is slowly recovering and we have gone to church a few times. She tires easily, though with some caution, gets through the day fairly well.  Last month, we did go to dinner at a nice restaurant to celebrate her birthday in December.  Although a month late, the evening was pleasant, pleasurable, and, delightful.

This month was, for us, one of much automotive activity.  I had the 1970-ford-wagonFord wagon painted and discovered that, yes still more problems; the accident blew out the plumbing in the air shocks. Of course, that was set aright and, oh yes, the body shop forgot to re-install the extra transmission cooler we had originally installed to handle the load from towing the trailer.  Isn’t this exciting?  Well no, but necessary and the body shop gladly remedied their oversight. Now, I truly believe, all the damage from the accident is repaired. Ready to roll again.

I am pleased and proud to announce the addition to our automotive fleet of a more or less, gently used 1967 Mustang convertible. I had a company car, we had the Ford wagon for various uses, and the IH Scout was Marge’s.  1970-scoutIn reality, this was a small truck with a right hand drive, as we bought used from the Post Office.  The weather let up a bit, I cleaned the truck up best as I could and put a for sale sign on it.  This I placed significantly and strategically next to our mailbox.  Sure enough, the mailman took the bait and we settled on a price $200 less than I paid 2 years ago.  Seemed fair, as it suited him, and really did not work for us.

And so, Out out brief Scout, to borrow from Shakespeare.  Onward to the Mustang.  I have digressed.

67 Mustang convertible

67 Mustang convertible

 The Mustang was owned by an engineer in my department and we settled on a fair price for it.  It was sound mechanically, but the body had some scratches and little dings. The paint was the ugly pea-soup green that Ford once uses. This image if from a google search and is the make, model, and color as the one we bought.    I don’t think our car had ever seen polish. Otherwise, in other respects, the car had power everything, just right for Marge and I promised to fix it up according to her wants and wishes.

Why not get a new car, we could afford it?  I, and I believe, yes I do that Marge and I were brought up in the old school, end of depression and beginning of WWII.  Then one often went without new stuff, as none was available, rationed, and fixed up whenever possible.  this quasi-minimalist mind set is still with me. Why send objects to the dump if they can still be made serviceable?  It is behavior I do not believe in.  Neither do I believe in going into debt to “keep up with the Jones’s.” Advertising means little to me other than the means of sustaining a decent standard of living.  I used to do income taxes as a retirement pastime/hobby.  Living on, or past the edge of poverty due to conspicuous consumption was not uncommon.

Also, I enjoyed making things, and if not acquiring the knowledge to get repairs done properly at the right price to all concerned. The Mustang fit into this category.  Pleasurable, yes seeing it turn into exactly what Marge and I both wanted for a car that suited her.  Not off the shelf.

These additions, deletions, coverage claims, etc. were calmly, politely, and very satisfactorily dealt with by our insurance company.  I have, had then, the same insurer that I had for my first car.  AMICA, great company, no regrets.

I like, and liked learning for its own sake.  In 1976 I was taking an amateur radio code course and using up the last of my VA school benefits on a correspondence radio/TV course.  Obsolete knowledge in 2017, but the satisfaction of mastering the technology of the time (1976) remains with me.

Beckoning all of us, over the calendar of time, is VACATION!!! Our Easter goal will be Virginia. First to Charlottesville, then to historic Williamsburg, ending in Jamestown, historical also, finally back home in Pennsylvania.  President’s Day offers the opportunity for a long weekend.  Marge’s health permitting we will do some local traveling.

These drips and drops of remembrances, do they have any meaning? I think, and yes hope, that they are a verbal window into everyday mid-American values, aspirations, and inspirations of 40 years ago.  The fabric of then mid-decade suburban life.


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).
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2 Responses to Presidents Day ’76

  1. Allan T says:

    Wow, I tried to buy a postal truck, but working for the postal service, I was not allowed. Nor could a relative buy it for me. I did own a 1969 Nova that I think was the same horrible color as the Mustang. Being young, my Dad “helped” me with the “deal” with the car dealer. Of course, because of the horrible color, I got a ” good deal”. Also, because we lived in California, he said I didn’t need air conditioning. Then he decided, WE should take my family( he drove) out for a ride to Las Vegas………Guess who complained all the way how hot it was, without air conditioning. Yep, my Dad.

    • R. F. says:

      The Scout was primitive transportation. It was a 4 cylinder that appeared to be half of a v8. Very poor mileage. I did buy an aftermarket rear seat and bolted it onto the rear wheel wells. At least the girls could sit there. It was rusty underneath and I did the best I could with a power sander to clean that up. The rural mailman wanted me to fake a receipt so he could chisel a few bucks from the tax on the sale. that was after he paid me, not part of the deal and I refused then.
      Was your Nova a convertible or a sedan. At least with the convertible, I could let the top down. the color was pukey, not so good looking even new, as in the photo I included. Dad’s always right, even when he’s wrong, eh? When my dad died later in ’76 he left an 81 Impala. I bought my sister’s share of the car and when Louise was 16, passed her state driving test, she got it. Of course in northern NY, not much need for AC and it was OK for short trips around town. Louise and I went to Scheib’s paint works and she picked out a metallic blue. Not bad looking considering the source of paint. Ah Memories.

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