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Gas stories from the PastPosted Wednesday, May 14, 2008, at 11:08 PM
The high price of gas seems to be the main topic of concern these days, and I thought it might be nice to have a bigger forum on the topic. I've been trying to remember what the prices were when I was a kid, cruising the streets of Dexter in our 1953 Ford station wagon. (Yeah, pretty cool, huh?) Around and around the Pig we'd go, with the fan belt screeching and the car full of girls.. Wow, we were really in the big time!
I looked it up, and according to at least one website, I was probably paying about 31 cents per gallon back then, and, as my good friend Goat Lady points out, that's about $2.19 by modern standards.
I don't know how many of you remember what gas was when you were young, but I asked my good friend, 93-year-old Paul Corbin, to share some of his gas memories from the past. The man is amazing, absolutely amazing. Those of you who get the North Stoddard Countian have probably enjoyed his bi-weekly columns and can attest to the impressiveness of his memory.
Here are some of his observations:
"Back in 1926 my father was driving a 1924 Model T and paying eleven cents per gallon for his gas. Oil was ten cents per quart. Back then you just about had to buy in even gallons of gas, because it was pumped up into a glass cylinder with markings that showed the number of gallons. Dad always complained about the price of 11 cents. He said, "If they would make it ten cents, then I could pump up five gallons, and the fifty cents worth would last me for nearly a month!"
Well, that 11-cent price didn't last long. By 1928 the price of gas went up to 15 cents, and the price of corn went down to 10 cents per bushel. This time Dad said, "They should have made that darn Ford so it would burn corncobs!"
With gas selling at the outrageous price of 15 cents a gallon, he drove that beautiful Model T out under the shade of the big sycamore tree, and that was the end of his driving career.
I bought my first vehicle in 1937. At that time you could still buy gas with pocket change. It was a common practice to pull into a station and buy 50 or 75 cents worth of gas at 18 cents per gallon, but the stations got tired of handling nothing but quarters and half dollars, so most of them ran a special price of six gallons for one dollar. This saved the customer 8 cents, and the stations were taking in folding money."
Of course, Paul Corbin remembered the gas rationing of World War II and the accompanying gas stamps. If you didn't have a stamp, you didn't get the gas!
Maybe I can find a photo of our old green Ford to post tomorrow night... In the meantime, feel free to post your car/gas stories from the past...(I'll be right back...)
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-722-5322.