I dreamed I was an astronaut in the Gemini program. The spacecraft was a bit different than the Gemini capsules you may have heard about; it had a bathroom and a kitchen, and smoking was permitted. The portion of the dream I recall most vividly: we were going to take John McCain up for our next flight, and the mission commander was irritated no one had figured out how this would affect our fuel consumption.
Oh my: I just got that. I’m dreaming about McCain’s ANWAR position filtered through 60s can-do technological metaphors. Maybe. A few nights ago I dreamed about an extensive ad campaign for a hamburger sauce endorsed by bluesman Buddy Squeeze; apparently he had previously endorsed a steak sauce. “What Buddy Squeeze did for the ribeye, he’ll do for the hamburger.” That was the ad campaign. Complete with a picture of Buddy Squeeze, grinning.
He wore sunglasses. I don’t think he was blind, or he would have been Blind Buddy Squeeze.
The scanner is smoking. After I picked up (G)Nat from her “camp” this afternoon – anything in the summer that lasts more than 45 minutes is called “camp,” even though the term should only apply to places that are tick-infested, have mildewy mattresses in old smelly bunkhouses, and conclude each day with a campfire and terrifying tales of the hook-handed man who used his deadly sharp implement to put a hole in your tongue. And that’s how I got this! (Counselor opens mouth, shows tongue stud, kids scream) (Or, maybe not.) That’s camp.
Someone finally put up a website about the camp I attended from 67 to 72, although all the people participating seem to be from the 50s. Perhaps some shadowy forces behind the Lutheran Synod have been tracking down the class of the 60s and eliminating them, lest they tell tales of the things they saw, the glowing uranium mines, the creatures more beast than man. The site has a shot of the mess hall, which is exactly as I recall. I mean, exactly. But smaller. It’s all smaller. I think that’s why people shrink as they age; it keeps every childhood thing you revisit from seeming too small. It’s like coming across the Underdog cartoon that actually scared you as a kid and finding out it’s not as gripping as you thought. Although you could see why it creeped you out. Underdog was not in control of his faculties. It seemed as if he might harm Polly. The music certainly suggested so, and the music didn't lie.
Anyway. The scanner. Hot to the touch. After I picked up my child from her all-day music event, of which at least 47 minutes was spent performing music, and we went to the antique store. She went willingly, in case you’re curious. So: Ephemera ahoy.
There was a 12-inch thick drum of waxed paper for Red Owl Bread. A little problem with font mixing here; the lower part looks like a legacy typeface left over from the 30s, and “Harvest Queen” doesn’t quite fit – but it’s not a 60s addition, as I thought. It’s older. As I’ve said before, that owl scared me. He seemed angry and very interested in you. Both ends of the bag have smaller Red Owl heads banging around like nasty little viruses.
When I was growing up we ate white bread all the time, but not the pre-made stuff. Not even Holsum, even though it was baked downtown. My mom bought the bread they baked right at the store. When you got a fresh loaf, with the crisp crust and melt-in-your-mouth interior, it was as good as bread got. Or so you thought. Eventually you would grow up to look askance at anything “enriched” or “fortified” or “tasty” and resign yourself to brown dense loaves that taste like Duraflame logs.
It was a .25 card in a box of family photos that might as well have been marked DEAD PEOPLE WHOSE CHILDREN DIDN’T CARE, AND SHAME ON THEM. Says the back: “this is supposed to be the World’s Leading cut-rate drug store. Kansas City. 3-1-36.” Well, that made it easy. I just plugged “3-1-36” and “store” into Google, and up came Katz’ Drug Store.
Time has not been kind, but at least it’s stayed its hand.
From a box of photos that belonged to a local commercial photography, something that made my blood sing: heretofore uncollected photots of the Sheraton-Ritz in the Gateway district.
Yes, I know: thrilling! Romantic! Let’s take a look at that sign:
Which would be what? This, perhaps: a proto-ATM that let you talk to a real human over a closed-circuit TV. The box had no shots of this wonder machine, but there were a few staged shots of the bank in action. How I love this one:
The angles! The sleek unadorned modern surfaces! The guarantee to you, the customer, that they'll let a line form before they open up another window!
There are two shots of modern women enjoying the modern convenience of modern safe-deposit boxes:
I can hear Freud banging on the coffin lid, demanding to be disinterred so he can go to work on this one. Incidentally, the lady with the hat is also first in line in the picture above. Now let's look at another shot of helpful banks helping people, the modern way:
In the larger version, you can see the new library on the other side of the street. This was the new hope of downtown, the rebuilt Gateway district, a sleek rational urban center built around the latest ideas. Namely, raze it all, put up boxes with plazas and fountains. Both this building and the library have been demolished. The future lasted about 25 years.
Madge, set this lady up with our new custom checks. That's right, ma'am - you get to choose the color.
In the background, we see the woman previously observed walking towards the line at the teller's window. Apparently she works here:
Well, they had a small ast of characters - including Clint Howard, judging from the shot above - and used them as they could.
More, you say? Sure. This will be explained tomorrow. It has something to do with chain saws. Really.
Oh: that Underdog cartoon that gave me such delicious Saturday morning post-French Toast (homemade, with Supervalu bread, and cinnamon sugar and real maple syrup) delight? This. (The entire show is here. Nevermind the great theme with those heroic minor-key harmonies - I'd forgotten how nifty the incidental music was - or how much Simon Bar Sinsiter channeled Mr. Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life.")