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Walter Wellman was the Smiling Irishman who offered the World's Greatest Car Bargains. Walter was The Workingman's Friend and he'll give you a Square Deal. Can't get much squarer than a fifty dollar car ($425.00 in 2012). Beats a fifty dollar Pepsi, hands down.
Taken from a 35mm Kodachrome transparency, the photo dates to 1952 and the Smiling Irishman's used car lot was located in the 2400 block of Pico Boulevard near South Vermont in Los Angeles.
The pre-war era mechanical Acme (yes, Acme) stop signal is intriguing. Hard to find it, but it
sits just to the right of the fire plug. Here's what it looked like and how it worked:
Once the Big War was over, they kicked my old buddy loose from Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming. His wallet was fat and once he reached Chicago, he bought hisself a brand new 1946 Ford with the cash he'd stockpiled from his pool table and cigarette concession.
Mike, you know how much Japanese love to smoke and cigarettes were hard to come by in camp.
Akira (I called him Ike or Aki) volunteered for several work details, the fruits of which were a pilfered pool table and a pickup loaded down with stolen cartons of smokes. Both came from a lodge near Jellystone that was shuttered for the duration of the war. No gas, no meat, no tires, no customers. Think about that the next time somebody tells you that the war ended the depression.
Ike was pretty good with a wrench and he found gainful employment at S-M-G Garage, 2122 Clark Street, where the back wall was still riddled with bullet holes on account of Moran's Boys being mowed down by gangsters in police uniforms back in 1929. He loved telling that story.
The building met up with the wrecking ball in 1967, but the brick wall was taken apart and stored for a number of years, eventually forming the wall of a men's restroom in George Patey's Roaring Twenties themed nighclub. The club wasn't profitable and when it closed, Mr Patey sold the salvaged bricks for a grand apiece. Legend has it that those pockmarked bricks have brought nothing but heartbreak, financial ruin, death, and all kinda misfortune to those who bought them.
Hope your St Valentine's Day is better than Moran's boys was.
During the course of research for this piece I found Ike's records in the National Archives database. It was a stunning find for me, bringing forth a flood of memories and a profound sense of loss.
everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last
oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days
from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting
our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever.
Not since my 29th birthday have I been so keenly attuned to the relentless flow of sand through the hourglass.
I don't find any of this to be depressing, mind you. What it does, however, is to remind me that the clock is inevitably moving on. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Ticking relentlessly onward, faster now. Maybe as fast now as the bio-clock of a thirty-something chick who has realized she wants kids after all.
Lotta people don't like that certain birthdays. Thirty. Forty-five. Sixty. The only one that bothered me at all was twenty-nine. A twenty-something is still young enough to be fun loving and cool, yet old enough to be a real grown up. Twenty-nine marked the end of an era for me. You'd think it should have been thirty, like so many of my friends of the female gender. Thirty was a breeze and I've never looked back.
This is a peak at the world the day I was born.
I also want to take the time to thank all of you who took the time to wish me a happy birthday. I appreciate it. May your lives be blessed and the new year be kind to you.
Tonight, as y'all celebrate The Wine Commonsewer birthday with teary-eyed toasts to days, loves, and friendships near and distant, I'll tip a glass of the red to you and yours....
alla vostra salute, alla vostra famiglia ed alla nostra amicizia
And then at midnight, we shall invoke the world's National Anthem.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot And days o' lang syne?
I'll leave you with this thought from Hamilton Wright Mabie.....
There is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.
The Armistice that ended the Great War was signed at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month
of nineteen hundred and eighteen, Anno Domini.
Today there will be ceremonies and parades honoring our military veterans. Some missing. Some dead. Others served in wars and skirmishes that were sometimes popular, sometimes
not. Still others were drafted without their consent. Many were willing volunteers. Each gave up
some or all of their lives in service to the US. As we think of those
who served, let us remember that the War to End All Wars did not.
I am a reluctant warrior, but if you must go to war, or if you're in a bar fight, these boys is who you want to have your back. Or maybe the IDF. But it ain't their birthday.
Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery
Resolution of the Continental Congress on 10 November 1775.....
Resolved, that two Battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one Colonel, two Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors & Officers as usual in other regiments, that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to office or inlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea, when required. That they be inlisted and commissioned for and during the present war with Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by Congress. That they be distinguished by the names of the first & second battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered a part of the number, which the continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.
Note the archaic spelling of inlisted.
Wonder if they'll be serving any of this at the Marine Corps Ball:
Please note: The wine is a red wine, a manly wine, as all wine would be if it could choose its destiny.
When I was a vagrant yoot, my buddy, El Jeronimo de Crow, talked about distant relatives in rural Mexico who did actually go to the cemetery Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, and fetch the family bones out of the burial crypts for a celebration and remembrance.
Not being Catholic or Latino, my immediate reaction was: WTH? In all my born days, I'd not heard of any such a thing. The custom seemed a bit ghoulish, yet kind of intriguing, in cool sort of way.