Gas Prices and Atomic Bombs

It’s amazing how readers can come up with the strangest permutations of story ideas. Yesterday I wrote about how a big tire went bouncing down Broadway in 1965, wreaking havoc (OK, breaking a window and denting a car).

Among the photos I posted was Pete Koch’s Sinclair Station. Read the comments on yesterday’s posting to see what it’s being used for today. (You might have to press CTRL-F5 to bring up the latest ones when you get there.)

Cape gasoline prices

A comment I made that I thought gas would have been about 36 cents a gallon in that era prompted Spokesrider to say that sounded high from his perspective in Michigan. I still think 36 cents was right, except for the occasional price war kicked off by Thoni’s.

Bro Mark sent¬† me this photo of his living room wall, along with this note: “Saw your piece this morning. I bought these paper gas price signs in Cape and framed them a long time ago. Ah, the good old days of cheap gas and polio and cold war threats…I’ll take the high price of gas today, thank you.”

Snow ice cream and strontium 90

All the news about making snow ice cream and Mark’s comments about Cold War threats must have been in the back of my mind when I picked up The Week magazine and saw an obituary for Dr. Louise Reiss. If you are of an age to remember Duck and Cover, your parents may have sent your baby teeth off to Dr. Reiss.

The St. Louis doctor had hit on the idea of testing children’s baby teeth for strontium 90, a radioactive byproduct of atomic bombs that were being detonated in the atmosphere. Her analysis of 320,000 teeth showed that children born in St. Louis in 1963 had 50 times as much strontium 90 in their teeth as children born in 1950.

Her findings were largely responsible for the U.S., Britain and the Soviet Union agreeing to a partial ban on testing atomic weapons in the atmosphere.

That’s why you’re safer eating snow ice cream today than when we were kids. (You still want to avoid yellow snow.)

4 Replies to “Gas Prices and Atomic Bombs”

  1. I thought I recognized that wall…Thoni’s….a business unto itself back then. The service people must have gotten a huge “rush” for flashing the wad of BILLS they had in CASH. I had never seen so much money. As for the the teeth….mine went to the tooth fairy!

  2. You could be right, Ken. The only part I’m sure about is that it wasn’t until 1970, when my feet first touched ground in Illinois, that I saw gas for over 40 cents a gallon. But that was on our way to Danville, IL, where we lived for the next 3 years. In Danville there were frequent gas wars, with prices sometimes in the 20s. In the mid-late 1960s I lived in Minnesota, and there was one obscure place between home and the Twin Cities that usually had gas for prices in the mid 20s. But what the normal price was in those days, I am not so sure.

    BTW, I tell people that I have an excellent memory for things that happened in the past. I often remember things wrong, but I remember them very well.

  3. Ken: Those prices was before the federal and state Governments started taxing us out our ears for Gasoline and Diesel fuel. The fact is today we get less of a product in Gasoline than we did in 1970. since 1970 they have stripped out additives saying the “sky was going to fall” if we didn’t eliminate this and that so we as consumers get less of a product for our money and gasoline taxes are not real high but they’re high enough comparedtosome other states. curently there’s 36 cents tax on Gasoline and 42 cents tax on diesel fuel. Sometimes I wonder where the tax goes due to the condition of some of our roads. But as I said the government tells us, “You can do with less, but we don’t have enough so we need more of your money”. I say all this because I have worked in the gas and Diesel fuel business for 22 years so really you can’t make a lot of money selling Gasoline and Diesel Fuel and that’s why we don’t see a lot of full serve statins anymore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *