Memorabilia box reveals another funny item and story…

I lived in rural Maui back when there was zero bus service and you had to have a car to get anywhere (though we did moderately well for local area access on bicycles via back roads and pineapple fields).  The fact that it is an island made out of the slopes of two mountains (one of which is 10,000′ tall!) meant a lot of steep rides though, so like any teenager in a rural location in those days, a car was a significant desire. 🙂

My first automobile was a Chevy Love truckthat I purchased when I was 14-1/2 – six months before I could get a permit and license to drive.  $250 and we had to tow it from a neighbor’s yard because it didn’t run.  It was in terrible shape. He’d stopped driving it several years prior because the back of the truck was so rusted out that his dogs’ legs were falling through and the water in the puddles in the unpaved road to our group of houses was splashing up into the cab through the giant rust holes.  Truly an amazing vehicle! 😛  The back tires were extra wide for some reason, but that just made it seem cooler 🙂  It looked something like this, but with a ton of rust holes:


Of course I was stoked to get it and spent the next 6 months getting it running, putting plywood down in the floor of the truck bed, and so on.  Had to get the rust ground off the brakes by a machine shop (raw metal sitting == rust build up fast in Hawaii), clean out the mildew, etc and so on.

The deal with my parents was that if I drove myself and my sister to school (no school buses to the schools we were in) then they’d pay the car insurance and just enough gas money to go those miles.  The truck maintenance and gas for any other trips was on me.

I got my permit at 15, and two weeks later my license (minimum required waiting time).  The muffler was pretty rusted out and so it sounded a bit like a crop duster when I pressed the gas pedal (i.e., loud and frappy).  It also wouldn’t idle so I had to keep tapping the gas pedal at stop lights and stop signs to keep the motor from dying; other teens thought I wanted to race (ha!).

During some periods it wouldn’t start reliably.  Had to push start it pretty regularly so I parked it up an embankment that let me roll it down towards the house and hopefully get it to start (yikes!).  Some periods I’d start it first and then run inside to take my shower before driving to school so that I wouldn’t have to take a second shower after getting all greasy getting it running.

Anyway, at one point I decided to make a stencil out of legal size file folders (only stiff card stock I had access to for free :)) and spray painta logo on the side of the doors to embrace the crappiness of the truck and so I made one that evoked the circular logo of the state that was on the side of government trucks.

I found the stencil in my mementoes box and without further ado or story telling, here it is:

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🙂 Apropos, for truly it was a rusted hulk that should have been scrapped, but got me around the island for maybe a year before I upgraded to a $750 car that burned almost a quart of oil a week and a went through about a quart of transmission fluid every two days until I took the transmission out and got it rebuilt, but that ran much more reliably and had much less rust 🙂  (So bad for the environment – we were so clueless back then!  sigh).

15th Birthday Poem from Dad’s grandmother

Looking through my memento boxes for things for my dad (Geek’s grandfather)’s memorial service and found this poem my grandmother wrote me for my 15th birthday.  She was a great grandmother.

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It references our relation to Daniel Boone, and the large ranch on the coast of California that our family owned for many generations and that my dad (Boone) grew up on.

10 year old Geek explains why he does what his parents ask…

Posted this on Twitter but then realized that goes away and this is funny enough I wanted to keep it around.

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In case his 10-year-old writing is hard to read,

“I have to do what my parents tell me because they are insane and their doctor told me to humor them.”


None of us remembered this but it was found during our move and gave us all a laugh.  Creative rationalization.


Grandpa exclaims at pace of technology…

When I showed Geek’s grandpa this link and exclaimed how wild the pace of technology was he replied:

Yea, quite wild…but, just imagine MY view of “future tech”…old as I am now, I well recall when our phone at the ranch had a crank that called an operator up in Jenner.  You would tell her whom you wanted to call and she would insert a plug into her board that made the connection!

I well remember when, in 1948 (I was 7), my Dad brought home one of the first TV sets in Mill Valley, if not THE first. He had gone to work for Chronicle Broadcasting in SF…Channel 4, and they had given him one so he could familiarize himself with the new media. It had a screen the shape of an ocilliscope and the image was greenish.  I recall watching the movie serial of Last of the Mohicans (released for movie theaters).  On Saturday about 20 neighborhood kids would gather to watch the new fangled TV…

When at Stanford the only computer on campus was in a dedicated BUILDING, which it occupied entirely.  Punch cards gave it the instructions and the engineering students who were allowed to use it proudly carried bundles of punch cards prominently in their shirt pockets.

The first Texas Instruments calculators came out in my Junior year and cost $400…they could add, subtract and multiply only. The other big development that year, at least in the Arch department, was the Rapidograph pen.

Your grandmother began life in horse drawn vehicles, rode behind steam engines, saw the beginning of passenger air travel, saw the arrival of radio and TV, watched a man walk on the moon, and watched over
my shoulder as I learned how to run my first little Mac….talk about a transition in one lifetime!!!

Crazy stuff,…..totally crazy.