For the record, I was meticulous in caring for my books and comics. I normally would blame any damage to printed materials on my destructive younger brothers.
I’m going to have to fall on the sword when it comes to My Truck Book, though. THEY may have torn the cover off and dogeared the pages, but I plead guilty to scrawling on the pages, producing graphic images far superior to anything I did in Art 101 in college.
If I (OK, Google) translated the MCMXLVIII Roman numerals correctly, this book dates back to 1948.
The Milk Truck
Most of the trucks in the book are still with us in some form or another, but they are a lot smaller than today’s behemoths. The “trailer truck” had but 10 wheels instead of 18, for example.
Because of changing life styles, though, some have disappeared forever. When was the last time you saw a guy in a white jacket show up at your house carrying a bunch of glass bottles of milk?
(Any guy who shows up in a white coat at my house is more likely to be hiding a straitjacket behind his back.)
The Coal Truck
How many homes still have active coal bins?
Interestingly enough, the next page shows what we would recognize as a garbage truck today, but “The Ash Trucktakes away ashes and garbage.” If he can’t park his truck close enough to the garbage can,” it continues, “the ashman carries the tub on his shoulder or even on his head.”
I wonder if that’s where the expression “heaping hot coals upon his head” came from? (Yes, I know the phrase shows up in the Bible in Proverbs and Romans, but it’s still something to contemplate.)
The Laundry Truck
This was clearly before the days of washing machines in the home. Trucks like this one would drive all over town picking up dirty laundry and taking them to places like Rigdon’s Laundry.
Note the boy in the foreground putting on his skates. Wonder if he got yelled at by his mother for skating while wearing his good school pants?
Street-Car Emergency Truck
Cape had street cars at one time, but I don’t recall ever seeing anything this fancy to making repairs.
The Heavy Machinery Truck
They call it a “heavy machinery truck.” We always called it a “lowboy.” New ones have more wheels and fancy hydraulic lifts, but look essentially the same.
Dad was pretty proud of his lowboy, but it had a tendency to get into trouble. I’m not sure who was driving the truck this day, but I’m pretty sure he missed a zero or two when he read the weight limit sign on the bridge.
That mishap has photographic proof that it occurred. Dad came home crankier than usual one night, but I’m not sure if the following story is completely true.
Ran out of air
Seems like they were hauling a piece of heavy equipment across the Missouri Ozarks to a job when the air brakes went out on a steep downhill run. Much like the boys going down Wolf Creek Pass in C.W. McCall’s song by the same name, “from there on down it just wasn’t real purdy: it was hairpin county and switchback city. One of ’em looked like a can full’a worms; another one looked like malaria germs.”
In the song, the hapless truck “Went down and around and around and down ’til we run outta ground at the edge of town. Bashed into the side of the feed store… in downtown Pagosa Springs.”
In Dad’s version, told a good 20 years before McCall’s song was written, the driver plowed into the front porch of a general store in some small town. There wasn’t much damage to the truck or the building, but Dad said there was an old man sitting there at the time of the crash who dashed into the store, grabbed a roll of toilet paper and shouted, “Charge it!” before disappearing.