Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day Uncle Frank

I wrote this for another site a few years back and thought it was appropriate to share here as well.

My Uncle Frank's favorite holiday was Labor Day, so this olelongrooffan thought it fitting I do up a post about him and his cars for this Labor Day 2017. Unlike his brothers who were white collar dudes, Uncle Frank worked in a furniture warehouse and wore that emblem proudly. He loved the fact our country provided him a day of rest.

When Uncle Frank passed in 2000, unbeknownst to me, thejeepjunkie ended up with all of his old photo albums. Thehorsefarmer took them up to Bus-Plunge when he went up to the Ozarks earlier this summer. A couple weeks ago, Bus-Plunge mailed me a bunch of them and I thought my fellow readers might enjoy seeing some old photos of old cars this fine holiday. If so, go ahead and make the jump. Also, sorry about the wonky sizing of the photos, they are, after all, more than a few decades old.

That first image is of Uncle Frank taken in 1943 with his vehicle of choice in the background. The above photo is of his best friend Rudy's car. I'm not sure of the make of Uncle Frank's car but Rudy's is a Chevrolet of the late 40's.

Now Uncle Frank is my paternal uncle. He was from a family of three boys. Around about 1938 or 39, his dad passed along and my grandmother, Moo, soon remarried to a widower named Pappy, (yeah nicknames run rampant in my family). The woman in the above photo is one of Pappy's two daughters, Florence Teppe. This image was taken on Thanksgiving day in 1943. Turns out that Aunt Florence had a boyfriend into her early 80's in St. Louis. The randiness in my family seems to transcend generations.

Here is a photo of Rudy and Uncle Frank taken that same day with the same car. That flat roof building in the rear of this photo was a bakery and man did our mouths water when we visited Moo and Uncle Frank.

Pretty much after that first car of Uncle Frank's he always owned convertibles. This is Pappy and Uncle Frank's 36 Desoto convertible. Reportedly it was P**** Magnet Yellow with a red leather interior. This was okay as Uncle Frank was a lifelong bachelor.

I would suspect these images were taken in the late 40's This series of pictures was taken in 1951 while Uncle Frank was away in the Army. He was a Korean vet and damn proud of it.

Yeah, this is Uncle Frank comforting a fellow soldier who had lost a buddy during a firefight. Yeah that's just the way Uncle Frank ruled. This olelongrooffan is honored to be part of his lineage.

I have no idea who these girls are in this crumpled up picture but check out the horns on the front of his ragtop.

My grandmother, Moo, had written on the back of these photos. "Ain't she purdy?" was on this one. This olelongrooffan has to agree with her on this rumble seated equipped beauty. Wonder what one of these is worth nowadays?

On the rear of this one was "New House, the brown bomber and a passing car."

This is an image of Uncle Frank's ragtop and Pappy's Desoto. According to what Uncle Frank told me one time, Pappy always drove a Desoto. He bought a 53 Desoto Firedome that Moo drove until Uncle Frank took her license away. That Beast then came into the possession of my family and we Hooned it around alot. Semi automatic transmission and Hemi Firedome FTW.

A little later in life Uncle Frank switched over to Pontiacs. The parade car in this photo is the first car I remember Uncle Frank owning. Yeah, thejeepjunkie and this olelongrooffan thought Uncle Frank was pretty cool. A bachelor who owned land yacht sized convertibles? How can that not be cool?

After that one he picked up a 67 Pontiac convertible. This picture was taken in September 1966 so I'm a guessing that ragtop was brand spanking new. Uncle Frank owned this car until the day he died. The Bus-Plunge told me Uncle Frank would buy a new Poncho convertible every couple years. Maybe that is why I remember him owning that 63 version of one back in the day.

Uncle Frank liked to hang out at a bistro called Al Smith's there in St. Louis, Missouri. He had a great sense of humor and always brought a smile to everyone's face. They also sold take out liquor and he would always leave with a "handy 7 pack." One for the drive home and 6 for the remainder of the evening. And no, the guy sitting down the bar is not deformed, the picture is torn.

Once when I was still a kid. during some conversation with Uncle Frank, I asked him how he enjoyed his life.

"John," he said to me, "life is all about what you put into it. Down at Lambert's Furniture there are a bunch of guys I work with who look at life as a challenge and they are always grumbling about what they have to put up with. I choose to look at life as an opportunity to have fun, entertain my fellow life seekers and have as much fun as possible." He then looked me straight in the eyes and pointed his finger at me and said "I expect no less of you."

Just a little bit of insight to this olelongrooffan.

Uncle Frank, and Moo and Pappy for that matter, always parked out front of their home there on Giles Street. One time some idiot driving down Giles Street in south St. Louis smashed their Pontiac into Uncle Frank's beauty.

Once when thejeepjunkie and I were visiting Unce Frank, we took his old vert out and gave it a thorough bath replacing all the wheel covers on it. When we returned, despite it being a little chilly out, we had the top and all the windows down. Uncle Frank was waiting for us on his front stoop enjoying a cold libation. "At least you know how to drive a convertible," he said. "Never drive with the top down and the windows up." That my fellow Hoons is advice this olelongrooffan follows to this day.

Among the photos I got were several of a fire that happened sometime in history up there in the city famous for producing thejeepjunkie's favorite carbonated beverage of the light variety. I included this one as that cool old fire truck reminds me of that funny assed Seinfeld episode where Kramer commandeered the steering wheel on the rear of one.

Uncle Frank and his beloved Pontiac in front of the house he was lived in and and died in. I remember as a kid going to visit my grandmother in this house. We boys were banished to the dark, somewhat danky, basement to play with a bunch of cool old toys. Upon reflection, they all were probably painted with lead based paint. But, hey, I'm still yelling at kids to get off my lawn so I guess all is okay in my world.

I was especially flattered that Uncle Frank thought enough of this olelongrooffan to save this image thejeepjunkie took of he and I in South Beach when he visit me down in Naples back in the day.

But I was even more flattered he saved my now grown daughter's birth announcement.

Missing You and Happy Labor Day Uncle Frank.