Anyone Collect Milk Cartons?

Vintage Cape Girardeau area milk cartons c 1970I still don’t feel like talking about our plumbing project. We now have two functioning bathrooms, but the upstairs one is going to need to have new floor covering put down. We couldn’t match the 57-year-old tiles we had to pull up, so we’re going to punt and go with all new. I don’t do paint chips, so Mother is going to have to make the decorating decision on her own. The room has gray tile with pink trim (which actually looks better than it sounds.).

But we’re going to talk about something else that came up during the project. I mentioned yesterday finding an old canteen that belonged to K Robinson of Troop 8. Keith Robinson claims he loaned it to his younger brother and that was the last that was seen of it.

I know how that works. I have TWO younger brothers. Had they taken care of the mint condition comic books I left behind when I went to college, I’d be able to afford a better grade of cat food in my retirement.

The space between the floor joists and the upstairs flooring was filled with cardboard milk cartons from Sunny Hill, Reiss from Sikeston and Kroger’s Dawn Fresh.

No missing children

Vintage Cape Girardeau area milk cartons c 1970None of the cartons has photos of missing children on them. That didn’t start until December 1984 after Etan Patz went missing in New York. Eventually 700 out of 1,800 dairies around the country participated in the program.

It’s hard for me to pinpoint how old the cartons are. Brother Mark thought he saw something that indicated the year to be 1970 or ’71, but I can’t find that stamp now. One Kroger half-gallon has an imprint 7/5 or 7/15. I guess they figured there was no need to put a year on it. Kroger was selling for 61 cents a carton;

One of Sunny Hill’s Grade A Pasteurized Homogenized Vitamin D milk was dated 7/28.It had Sonny pulling a carton on wheels. Another side pictured a family of four: Mom, Dad, Big Brother and Little Sister with the admonition, “Go to Church Sunday.”

Salute the Jaycees

Vintage Cape Girardeau area milk cartons c 1970

Miss Liberty had a photo of two children running in front of a car. It wanted you to “Drive Safely! … Give the kids a brake! ‘A good driver is a safe driver’ The life you save may be your own.” They wanted to leave no bases uncovered.

Another Sunny Hill (Cape Girardeau, MO 63701) carton saluted the Jaycees – “The young man who steps in to serve the community.” Zip Codes, which allowed automated mailing systems to bypass as many as six mail-handling steps, went into effect July 1, 1963. That means this carton had to have been made after that.

Why save them?

Mother wasn’t sure why Dad might have saved them. I vaguely remember him putting pecans in them after he had picked them out. I think he may have frozen water in them, too.

I guess the saving trait runs in the family. The last time I cleaned out our attic in West Palm Beach, I threw out about a dozen plastic gallon jugs we had stockpiled for hurricane water supplies. So far as I can recall, we never bothered to fill them. At the start of the season and if a storm is approaching, we stock up on bottled water that I’ll eventually use in the coffee maker. We have a well for our sprinkler system that we used to flush the toilets after one storm broke a water main and left much of the city dry for several days. Even if the power is out, we have a generator to run the pump.

Any collectors out there?

Before I use them for really good fire starters, do we have any milk carton collectors out there? I ran it by Laurie at Annie Laurie’s Antiques; she said those are such common brands in this area that she doubts there is much demand for them

Pencil Sharpener Museum

Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum 01-24-2013Let me say right off that a guy who can put his hands on his grade school Valentines and almost every negative he’s shot since 1959, doesn’t have much room to wiggle when it comes to talking about what someone else collects.

Passenger Jan and I were blasting down the backroads of Ohio on our way to Old Man’s Cave when she spotted what looked like a welcome and information center. We did a quick U-turn and headed back.

One of the things I like about rural areas is that you can do things like U-turns and stop in the middle of the road if you want to take a picture.

Jan, a Florida native, wasn’t used to roads that curve and have deep dropoffs. About half her early postings were that she feared she was going to die in a crash or, worse yet, go flying over a cliff Thelma and Louise-style to meet her end in a ball of fire and/or freeze to death because nobody would find us until around March 15, when the buzzards would pass over on their way to Hinkley, Ohio.

People here drive, they don’t AIM their car

Old Man's Cave 01-24-2013“Jan,” I explained patiently, “people outside of Florida learn to DRIVE their vehicle, not POINT it. Florida puts guard rails on perfectly straight stretches of road if there is a canal within 300 feet. Up here, you can have a 300-foot dropoff at the edge of the shoulder and it’s assumed that you are going to keep the car on the road because if you DON’T, there’s a 300-foot dropoff at the edge of the shoulder.”

She eventually quit whimpering. Or, maybe I just got to where I tuned it out.

So, back to the Pencil Museum

Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum 01-24-2013The Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum, which might measure roughly 10′ x 20′, is located on the grounds of  the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center at 13178 State Route 664 South, Logan, Ohio, 43138. It is open to the public for free Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can find out more at the center’s website.

It does NOT take you long to go through it unless you REALLY appreciate pencil sharpeners.

No puns or word play

Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum 01-24-2013First off, I am going to write this without any cheap puns because the walls of the place are covered with newspaper stories writers and editors tried to make “clever” and “cute” with bad puns and plays on words. I won’t do that, not because I don’t like puns and silly word play, but because some topics are too easy. This is one of them.

I have that camera

Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum 01-24-2013I have that camera pencil sharpener on the shelf in my office. I think Wife Lila may have given it to me. When Paul Johnson’s wife gave him a couple of sharpeners for a Christmas present after he retired in 1988, it triggered a dormant sharpener collecting gene. Before long, he had more than 3,400 of the things in all shapes, kinds, colors and subjects.

I showed more restraint. Besides, I liked mechanical pencils that didn’t need grinding.

Wife donated collection

Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum 01-24-2013When Paul died in 2010, his wife, Charlotte, donated his collection to the welcome center. (You can click on any photo to maker it larger.)

I bet you’ll recognize something

Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum 01-24-2013The odds are pretty good that you’ve owned at least one of his collection. In addition to the camera, I saw the old-fashioned plastic pencil boxes that had a sharpener built in that we used in grade school. He arranged his art objects by category.

Used to give them away

Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum 01-24-2013Early news reports said Paul would give away his duplicates to visitors. All of the ones on display now are supposed to be unique.

Plenty of color

Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum 01-24-2013Some of the colors are eye-catchingly, garishly blinding.

The Museum isn’t somewhere I’d go miles out of my way to visit, but it’s worth a stop if you want to kill a few minutes. The workers at the welcome center are friendly and the restrooms are clean. What more can you ask for? That’s the point of it, right?

Darn! I ALMOST made it without using any puns.