I remember my father pulling into full-service gas stations (only on payday) and feeling our tires compress the hose that went ding-ding. A guy in a blue shirt with a red rag hanging out of his back pocket would appear at the driver’s side window, and my father would say, “Fill ‘er up!”
While the gas pumped, the man would squirt swimming-pool blue liquid on the windshield and pull a squeegee across it in magical fashion. He’d wipe the bugs clean away, and sometimes, my dad would give him a tip.
I will forever love the smell of gasoline, and oh my gosh, it’s been so very long since I heard the ding-ding. How about you? My first memories of the gas station belong to Southern California, where I was born. The red horse with the wings on the Mobil station always held great mystery for me. I didn’t learn until the 7th grade during a unit on mythology that the flying horse was Pegasus.
Does anyone besides me remember going to the 76 stations and getting a bright orange Styrofoam ball to stick on top of the car antenna? I came across an old 76 sign recently while visiting the Farmer’s Market in Oklahoma City.
I also remember my dad pulling into the gas station and getting a dollar’s worth of gas. I’m aware of how old this makes me sound, but honestly, it doesn’t seem like that long ago. I remember as late as 2000, filling up my 1993 Honda Accord for less than $20 and squeezing more than a week’s travel out of that tank.
Those days are about as over as ethyl, the fuel my dad put in his Oldsmobile — the one that was so big I slept snugly in the back window on a road trip the two of us took in 1977. We drove from West Texas to Northwest Oklahoma to visit a church.
Here’s an “I Remember When” infographic about gasoline that’s sure to shoot water through your carburetor lines. Enjoy and feel free to pass along!