32¢ Gas; 29¢ Smokes

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968Photographers do a lot of cruising around waiting for magic to strike, so we burn a lot of gas. When I was on the street, I drove about 24,000 miles a year.

Even in “retirement” I logged 8,429 miles last year to, from and around Cape to produce this blog. That adds up to a lot of time at gas stations. When I was in Athens, Ohio, in February, I took a drive down West Union Street, but the Bonded station selling gas for 32.9 was just a memory. I’m not a smoker, so I didn’t care that you could buy a pack of cigarettes for less than 30 cents when I took these photos on a chilly October 22, 1968.

McCoy and Hoisington ready to serve

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968D. Hoisington and John McCoy were ready to hop out with their coin changers on their belts to pump your gas, check your fluids, air up your tires and wash your windows. I bought a lot of fill-ups from those guys because they stayed open late, their prices were good and they were just down the street from the photo lab. (For the record, I didn’t remember their names. They were wearing name tags.) You can click on the photos to make them larger.

Not like today’s convenience stores

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968Dealer French McCormick ran a clean, but sparse station. You could buy gas, antifreeze, STP oil treatment, a can of oil and some cancer sticks, but you couldn’t walk out with Slurpees, nachos or lottery tickets. If you had a dime, you could make a call from the pay phone on the wall.

An outdoor rack

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968Let me tell you, doing an oil change with a cold Ohio wind blowing up your skirt couldn’t have been any fun.

Confusing Wallace message

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968I can’t figure out if this customer and Hoisington are George Wallace supporters are not. The Jeep has a sticker supporting Wallace for “Furer.” I don’t know if they considered that a good thing or a bad thing.

“If you liked Hitler…”

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968Hoisington sports two buttons on his uniform. One, probably provided by his employer, reads “They used to call me Fumblefingers before I changed to Bonded.” The second, smaller one, says, “If you liked Hitler, you’ll love Wallace.”

Law ‘n’ Order big

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968Wallace’s Law ‘n” Order message was well received by locals who were fed up with the hippies and radicals at the university. Wallace bumper stickers weren’t uncommon in the rural areas.

Service Station stories

Like I said, I spent a lot of time at gas stations.