the way back machine #8

A little different take today as we fire up the way back machine and venture back in time.  The airline I toil for flies some pretty old airframes.  Like old enough that my dad worked on them when he enlisted in the Air Force in 1951 and they were being retired then.  Parts for these beasts are hard to come by and no one, literally no one, makes new parts any longer.  We tend to rebuild, refurbish, engineer and just plain cobble together the stuff we need to keep these guys in the air.  All well within the regs as set forth by the ever-present Federal Aviation Administration (motto: We’re not happy till you’re not happy.) of course. 

So some of the guys were making a few new hoses for an engine the other day.  The hoses are bundled together in a rubberized boot to make routing them through the engine bay a little less messy and to protect them from heat and fire.  The boots have been around a while.  The box they were in was filled with crumpled up balls of The Miami News, dated Monday, April 1, 1962 . The News was the main competition for the Miami Herald until it folded in 1988. 

How do I know the date?   I painstakingly unfolded as much of the balls as I could and started perusing.  Think about this:  JFK was running things, Viet Nam hadn’t blown up into a nightmare yet, the Cuban Missile Crisis hadn’t happened, and the front page headline was naturally, graft and corruption among politicians.  The city traffic engineer was suspended from his high paying ($10,944 a year!) job for allegedly taking a whopping $1000 payout to put a stop light in at an intersection.   The more things change….  The main local headline?  Some rooming house operator thought she was financing a “portable barbecue business” when she was accused of running a counterfeiting ring.   Really???? 

On a lighter note, there’s an ad for Delta Airlines on an inner page.  Their catchline?  “The airline with the BIG JETS.”  Bear in mind a big jet in 1962 was a 707 or a DC-8.  (The 747 hadn’t even been designed yet.   We had to wait 6 more years for that monster to come along.)  It’s Florida and every one in Florida needs a pool.  You could have called Pastime Pools and had a 15 X 30 piece of paradise installed for a mere $2,195.  Step into spring with kid’s fashions…dress shirts for a buck ninety-nine.  Girl’s lovely Easter Fashions just  $3.79.   For you homeowner do-it-yourselfers, we have an 84 lb bag of ready mix Sakrete for 97 cents.  I could do my whole driveway for about 20 bucks.

Speaking of driveways, a 4-door ’59 Cadillac (power steering, power brakes, automatic tranny, radio, heater,and factory air conditioning) went for $2,599,  and a ’60 Corvair (yes they were popular then) with, and I’m quoting the ads here, 4-door, radio, standard shift lots of thrift, for $1,099.  As a final car ad…from THE hopping place to buy cars, Studebaker-Miami, a new 1963 Lark.  You just can’t beat this ride.  2-speed electric wipers, padded dash, 15 inch wheels, 109 inch wheelbase, an alternator, and, I hope you’re sitting down, a whole TWO YEAR GUARANTEE!  All this for only $1,899 delivered! Just call FR7-3085.  Seriously, that was their number.  (Heltch, it was SW7-7309) 

How about a home to show off that new Studebaker?  3-bedroom, 2 bath, florida room ( in Florida!  Imagine that!) hardwood floors, on 1/2 an acre?  $250 down, $100 a month moves you in today.  Cash price?  $16,800.   Too much?  $100 down, just $79 each month gets you 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a carport.  Buy it now for just $10, 950.  Judging from the classifieds, foreclosure was just as big a problem in 1962 as it is today….lots of foreclosure/repo’s in there.  Enough of the news and deals, where’s the funnies?

Let’s see,  nothing new goin’ on in Gasoline Alley and the Phantom is still keeping the streets safe.  Snuffy Smith and his pal Barney are up to no good…. Oh well, all’s ok in 1962.  Guess I’ll head back to my world.   Good Lord!  38 below ???  Who turned off the heat???

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3 Responses to “the way back machine #8”


  1. 1 Helch December 5, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    OK Hotshot….let’s see if you remember this one!!!

    What’d the SW stand for in the phone number (you drive me nuts with that photographic memory!!!)


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