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After clean-up, he kept Mom's picture and Dad's pin-up calendar

By JIM BUSEK • Apr 10, 2018 at 10:00 AM

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to take one hour every week and clean out stuff that has accumulated in our closets and storage spaces.

Now that approximately 100 days of this year have passed, I am giving you a report on my progress.

First, “one hour every week” has turned into one hour every once in a while.

I have made two runs to Goodwill, so it is not like I have been a complete slacker. But still, I thought I would be further along.

The problem is I have to look at everything to decide if I want to part with it.

For instance, I found a newspaper clipping of a long ago Norwalk parade. It was a photo of a “60 foot inflatable snake held down by 20 ‘hefty’ boys.” I wonder why I kept that. It’s gone now.

I found a History of Huron County. And a History of Holmes County (where my mom grew up). I kept them. You never know.

I ran across a sweet photo of my mom with her elementary school class. I kept that.

Then there was a copy of “School Views,” a newsletter published by the Monroeville School District October, 1969. It has a front page photo of me with all the other new teachers. It shows me taller than all of them and with almost as much hair as most of them (new band director Elaine Yoe being the hair exception; she was sporting what I would call a modified beehive style that must have weighed five pounds). There are other teachers in the picture—Sue Schug, Julia Wheeler, Marian Edwards and Don Graham among them—that I knew and liked. But I decided not to keep the newsletter.

There was an undated newspaper clipping with a short paragraph about my dad’s car being stolen when he lived with his parents on St. Johns Rd. in Wakeman in the late 1940s. Sounds like a big deal, but that was the first I had heard about it.

Another clipping I liked was a feature story about my friends Tom Wheeler and Rusty Chester at age 17 driving a 1955 Volkswagen to Alaska and back. I copied and shared it with some school friends and then tossed it.

I found my backup bank safety deposit box key that I had given up for lost 40 years ago. I put it with the other one.

My whistle from my junior high coaching days was in the same box. I have not needed it for nearly five decades, so I threw it out.

My father and grandfather were plumbers and I—a thoroughly unqualified pipefitter—still have some of their memorabilia.

For instance, I found a 1923 Pierce Fitter manual. It explains how to troubleshoot and fix Pierce radiators and gauges and boilers. It is worn and greasy and black from my grandfather’s skilled-but-filthy hands thumbing through it to solve somebody’s long ago heating problem. I may never look at it again, but for some reason I am just not ready to part with it.

My other find from my plumbing ancestry memorabilia was even better: “The 50th Anniversary Edition 1985-1986 Rigid Pin-Up Calendar.”

Even if you have just a passing interest in pin-up calendars, you may have heard of this one. From 1959 to 1985 the Ridge Tool Company distributed more than a million of them. And, I have to say, the feature photos for each month really do show off plumbing tools to their best advantage.

Take March, 1985. I guarantee you the Rigid Model 12R Exposed Ratchet Drop-Head Threader never looked better than leaning against the beach rock where Heidi Mitchell was posed in her blue-and-red striped bikini.

It is hopelessly sexist. The dates do not correlate to the ones on the 2018 calendar. And I could probably sell it for a few bucks on eBay.

But for now I am hanging it up in my workout room.

I think that’s what my dad would have wanted.


Jim Busek is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected] hotmail.com.

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