SEMO Looks the Same

It’s nice to see that some things in Cape remain more or less the same. Academic Hall has undergone a bit of a facelift, but it looks pretty much the same as it did in around 1966.

Academic Hall in the mid-1960s

The trees are a bit different and there are parking meters there today, but a student from the 60s would have no trouble identifying the building, even though the photo was taken from the parking lot behind it instead of the more traditional front view.

Foreign Languages Building today

There are a few more bushes and it’s shot in a different season, but the Foreign Languages Building looks like a copy of itself. Even the downspout on the side looks identical.

Foreign Language Building then

I see my old 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon in the shot. I need that car back. Since I left West Palm Beach on June 21, I’ve driven my Odyssey Minivan 3,278 miles, requiring 15 fill-ups at an average price of $50 per tank.

I was supposed to head back Friday so I’d be back in town in time to hop a plane with Wife Lila for a vacation trip to Seattle (because that’s as far as you can get away from Florida and still stay in the continental U.S.) Day before yesterday, a couple of warning lights flickered on, then went off. Since it’s 1,100 miles back to Florida, I took it into the local friendly Honda dealer for a checkup. I’m not being sarcastic when I say “friendly folks.” I like the service I’ve gotten from them in the past.

The bad news came back that I need a new center brakelight. And to replace the cabin air filter. And a new catalytic converter. And a new transmission. New transmission? Say what?

“I can’t in good conscience tell you that you could make it back to Florida with the error code that the computer is showing,” the nice man from Honda said. The new trannie would cost about $5K. If I did everything they recommended, the total bill would come to about $7,500. Plus tax. The car’s got 144,360 miles on it. That doesn’t make sense.

Want a good deal on a Honda Odyssey?

So, after weighing options, I’m leaving the car at Mother’s, flying back to West Palm Beach, hopping another plane to Seattle, seeing what 40-degree temperatures feel like, getting in Wife Lila’s car and driving back to Cape to pick up my bike and computer gear. By that time, we’ll figure out what we’re going to do to keep us a two-car family.

In the meantime, is anyone looking for a 2000 Honda Odyssey with good air, new tires, a few dings, comfortable seats and a bad transmission? I’ll make them a good deal.

What happened to the Buick, you ask? I drove it until I left for college. It was a bit of a challenge at the end. Reverse went out. With practice, you get pretty good at figuring out how to not need to back up. Dad finally gave it to one of his mechanics to haul firewood on his farm. I wonder if it’s still kicking around? I got in the habit of never needing to back up. I could make it work.

Last Model T Produced in 1927

Foodie Friend Jan Norris sent me a message Tuesday morning gleaned from some list that sends her daily minor factoids to clutter her brain.

Let me clear one thing up before we get to her post: I’m missing that piece of the male gene that contains an interest in automobiles. I have buddies that can ID every car on the road, what engine it has, how many throckmartins it puts out and whether that particular model has whingdings or not.

I do well to know how many doors it has and come close to guessing the color. That’s why I’m going to go out on a limb and say that these photos from Mother’s scrapbook are of a Ford Model T that Jan’s quote talks about. [You can click on the photos to make them larger.]

Last Model T

On this day in 1927, the last Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line. It was the first affordable automobile, due in part to the assembly line process developed by Henry Ford. It had a 2.9-liter, 20-horsepower engine and could travel at speeds up to 45 miles per hour. It had a 10-gallon fuel tank and could run on kerosene, petrol, or ethanol, but it couldn’t drive uphill if the tank was low, because there was no fuel pump; people got around this design flaw by driving up hills in reverse. [Like on Mill Hill.]

Model T cost $290 in 1927

Ford believed that “the man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.” The Model T cost $850 in 1909, and as efficiency in production increased, the price dropped. By 1927, you could get a Model T for $290….(But in 1927, with pay averaging $1000 a year, this still was likely a good chunk of change out of a salary.)

A car for the great multitude

“I will build a car for the great multitude,” said Ford. “It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one — and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.”

Some things don’t change

I don’t know who the folks are in the photos (maybe Mother will chime in), but they are all looking at the broken-down car in the way we STILL look at a vehicle that won’t start. The small child in the top photo has already mastered the if-I-stare-at-it-long-enough-maybe-it’ll heal-itself pose.

You can see another variation of the “Oh, Bleep!” pose in this fender-bender story.