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Skateboarding part 4: protective gear- 1980s- present day. A Day at the Skate Park- my critiques.

Published August 15, 2019 by AntiqueMystique1

I did it at the skate park. I was told to leave by some teenage d-bags that, “This is a boys only park, so get outta here.” This teenage boy’s brass balls snide remark irked me, for one. Secondly, it further goes without saying that skateboarding is still a “male” dominated past time and this will never change.

And third, it solidifies my previous feelings about this upcoming rude punk a$$ generation: they are raised by the internet, not their lousy parents. They have no respect, no morals, either.

Well, that’s just tough. I stayed and made my videos much to the irritation of those morons aiming a hand-held megaphone that was equipped with police siren effects and other annoying 💩 .

I cursed under my breath as I did a few laps on an empty basketball court. The NOS Rector pads felt okay, flexibility in them was amazing for being decades old. I didn’t put too much faith in my new mass-produced Chinese elbow pads since they do shift on my elbows.

I watched those never-will-be posers take their spills while attempting to grind rails, do verts on the metal half pipe portion. Ah, yes, the days of old– their skateboards went flying over the edge of the half pipes, but they never attempted to make a half-a-rat’s assets to practice, practice, practice their tricks. They just did it once, gave up and sauntered back to their picnic table.

Most of the time they were glued to their phones, seldom looking (nor doing) anything else. Their skateboards scattered on the ground like spilled Legos. Never in arm’s reach, never sat upright, either.

No audible conversation at all amongst them. I found it odd that they were so pre-consumed by their cell phones and didn’t bother to provoke me anymore. One of the boys very lazily strode to the highest half pipe; put the megaphone on police siren aimed in my general direction and returned to his lazy pack. And this is supposed to irritate me that I give up and leave? Ha! Such ineptness.

There was just too much immaturity running amuck that it made me wonder why I got out of bed on my day off? Oh, yeah, right. I wanted to test out my NOS gear, plus skateboard around (cruise) on my new deck to break it in more and see how it preforms on different concrete. Maybe pull a few front nose fakies. I never said I was ever going to attempt these with a devil-may-care attitude. I take my time, I take it slow since I know my limitations and don’t go beyond those unless I feel confident doing so.

My outing on this beautiful, albeit humid, sticky, gross heat of midday wasn’t all for naught. I brought my other “go-to” board “weeble wobble”. Yes, I will adjust those king pins to remedy this issue all skaters encounter. I’m still in my ‘shake down’ period right at the moment and figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

The best gear I know and love will always be Rector. It fits very true to size and won’t shift. The size smalls run very small, mind you. This is fine by me, but may not work for the next person. My helmet probably pre-dates 1985, and it’s light weight.  My gloves are all new old stock. I ditched my long board gloves since the size small/medium were WAY too big on my hands. I never wanted anything new again.

I made myself have fun on this hot day.  I slid down the metal half pipe; remembering my old practice runs from back in the day. The metal was screaming hot and on bare skin… Ouchy! Woo-hoo!!! Alrighty then…

Keep in mind that the city planners were idiots when this skate park was built. The metal half pipes can be ridden, however, its sheet metal meeting a not-so-level slab of concrete.  The metal has a lot of  questionable “give” and does produce a creepy, unsettling loud ‘ping’ sound as the wheels make contact with its surface. So skateboarders beware. I say take caution when attempting to ride this to all skateboarders, not just newbies. I caution the seasoned, the intermediates, etc. There are no plywood half pipes. When I first took up skateboard 30 some odd years ago, I learned on plywood, even helped my oldest brother in the final construction phase of his first half pipe. It was a real learning experience, very grueling hard work, and once completed– very scary, yet exciting and exhilarating to be the first to test it out.

Nowadays, I take my skateboarding slow. I’m not about to risk a bone fracture by skateboarding at break neck speed. My attempt at front nose Fakies are taken with  cautious approaches. I’m there to get the feel of both board, wheels, and terrain underneath my feet. What do I need to correct on the hardware, if any adjustments need to be made? That kind of assessment. And its all about having fun within one’s own ability.

I stood atop a massive slab of steep concrete that jutted out of the pavement like a pyramid with the point left unfinished. I’m not here to be grammatically correct with any skateboard terminology, by the way. I’m trying to describe the skate park layout. There are tiny rails anchored into the pavement. I view it as another accident that could mangle beginner or even intermediate since they were placed too damn close to the proximity of each half pipe. I’m observing as a spectator and an old-school skater.

I watched the lazy punks take many spills. There popsicle decks went skiddering, the wanna-be skaters tripped head over heels every time. They skated poorly like something out of Skater 3, a video game. I wouldn’t have even put them in a poser category nor even beginner. Perhaps a weekend warrior at best.  There was no true form nor unique style all their own that I could see. They sported tattoos and smoked cigarettes. They rode the half pipes with no zeal. There wasn’t even any ounce of passion. It was like bland nothing-ness. Almost giving off a ticked off message to the world that they didn’t want to skateboard, but did so anyway just out of boredom, perhaps.

It was like watching a dull skateboard follies without a laugh track nor any blooper sound effects. They just went up the half pipes without any real sense of feeling. There was none of this: “I’m awesome!” or “Look at me!” And there was zero sense of “practice makes perfect” attitudes nor even any positive energy, either. To me, that was very odd. In my day teenagers couldn’t wait to out-best their friends or try to impress them, either. Teenagers of my generation took a tumble, jumped up, and kept trying it over and over again until they felt they got their tricks partially correct to their liking. But I see none of this in today’s youth, nothing but this massive laziness boredom. And god-forbid if their Ipads or cellphones just quit working due to some cosmic solar interference, they’d have a snowflake meltdown and need to find their “safe” place.

Teenagers in my day would have thrown their non-working cell phone or Ipad in the street and went on their way regardless of what caused it to quit working. They might have retrieved said device later if their parents made them, other than that, an 80’s teenager was vastly different to this generation. And I’m sure the generations of teenagers before my time might have taken similar approaches to modern technology, perhaps.

I didn’t detect angst, per se from the lazy teenage boys at the skate park. I mainly sensed it was for them just killing time between texting their friends, like something to do to pass the time before they had to head home before another school day rolled around.

I wish I could have “shredded it” as one older male with long hair cheered me on as I strode over to the skate park looking like a throwback of a typical early 80’s skateboarder. I gave the long-haired older dude a warm smile in return, nodding in approval, and gave him a ‘thumbs up’. My old Rector gloves linger with the new leather scent, “fresh out of the bag” newness/ Saddle soap treatment. All is awesome applesauce on this day and I don’t let the snide remarks deter my determination to stay at the skate park. 🙂

My old stock Rector pads lovingly shed their black lining like an affectionate cat. I remedied the sticky rub-off with non-GMO cornstarch and aluminum-free baking powder before I left the house. I figured it would also combat chaffing and sweat build-up.

I ignored the teenage village idiots seated at the picnic table. I practiced my falls, sliding on my knees, just having fun again that I hadn’t got the chance to have in many, many years.

I didn’t try any dismounts since I was putting the old pads through their first ever durability test runs. I felt no unpleasant jarring aftershocks striking concrete and metal. In fact, my knees were cushioned the whole time and comfortable.

Concrete though isn’t a good sliding surface, by the way with pads. The metal will scorch skin and that’s the only thing that burned. Otherwise, Rector pads get two thumbs up 👍. And that’s my initial critique on the new old stock gear. I never tried out the Clawz gloves yet since these were probably first generation designed for the second generation of skateboarding in 1989-90. They were for street skating, but do not have any full wrist support at all. The only minimal support (if one can call it protection) is a Velcro wrist wrap design. I used one Clawz glove back in the day without a thought that there was really no wrist protection at all. These were made of suede leather, minimal pads sewn on the palms, top leather with Clawz logo sewn into the glove. The Clawz logo is prone to cracking as with anything vintage and being thirty years old is to be expected.

Also, eBay is an excellent source to find a lot of vintage skateboard stuff at reasonable prices. Depending on the seller(s), they may even offer best offers and free shipping within the United States. Hope this helps. I’d also include Amazon as another online buying source for skateboard related stuff, but I find that eBay is vast and has more to chose from.

Just a word of advice buying on eBay: always try to review seller’s feedback rating. If they have a ton of negatives, I’d recommend shopping with another seller since you may (or might not) get the item(s) you purchased on there. And its a let down, believe me when the item you work hard for never shows up in the mail. It happened to me recently with a couple of rock n’ roll trading cards, although the seller was very quick to issue a refund, I was searching for the cards for last couple of years. So, it just a matter of buyer beware on eBay. It’s still a good place to find anything you a person could ever possibly want/need/ add to an existing collection, etc. The selling aspect would be saved for another blog entirely.

Thanks for liking, blogging, following and sharing. And please, stay tuned for more future posts from me when I can find the time to do so. Have a great day everybody and happy skateboarding! 🙂

By the way, have any skateboard related questions? Please, feel free to send me a comment on here and I will be happy to respond to the best of my knowledge.  Mind you that I don’t know a whole lot about how to do skateboard tricks and I’m still learning myself even after all these years. I have very minimal skateboard mechanics under my belt (self-taught), but I do try. I am a very old-school fashioned skateboarder though.  🙂

 

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No point looking at life in the rearview mirror: part 1 of my dead mall series.

Published July 20, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1
Bling current fashion lep print komono and skinny jeans 7-19-2016

Editorial correction: kimono. Bling! store in mall.

“I finally look human,” was my thrilled reply while examining the sale’s associate’s finished results.

I was nearly moved to tears. The friendly Dillard’s sales associate at the makeup counter said I had a very nice, fair complexion after I told her I thought my tattoos looked terrible and how embarrassed I am by them. And for the first time in twenty-three years I felt like I was fifteen all over again before I made the lifetime mistake of inking my skin.

I gazed in amazement at my arm. I was so blown away by how the estee lauder double wear foundation makeup is very good, if not terrific. I had ventured into Dillard’s to find some Derma-Blend makeup, but was told to try Sephora in another city. Traveling long distance is out of the question. I have seen Derma-Blend sold on Amazon and I might have to order some. And another helpful Dillard’s employee recommended I try applying some red makeup over my tattoos first to hide the blue tone, then finish off with the skin-tone makeup.

I left Dillard’s feeling a boost of hope for the inexpensive route of hiding my hideous tattoos. Those that don’t me would likely think, “What’s the big deal? Everybody pretty much sports tattoos nowadays. It’s fashionable.” I will have to disagree. I view my tattoos as being one of those lifetime regrets.

I wouldn’t say I was a trend-setter back in my 80’s generation, per se, and I’m sure I wasn’t the first to have inked her skin at sixteen. I did it much to my parent’s dismay and worry. I didn’t have very many good role models aside from my straight-laced typical 80s parents throughout my teens to look up to. My older sister was the first to get a tattoo on her arm when she was a teenager and it made a bold statement. Perhaps a part of me was highly impressionable although she strongly advised me not to get a tattoo because I’d later regret it. She turned out to be right about that. I do regret mine.

And the therapy sessions I had at sixteen (per my request), turned out to be a nightmare and it was through my [then] new therapist they told me how to get a tattoo as a way to “Rebel against your parents,” Up until this point at sixteen I never dreamed to do that and now regret putting my parents through a lot of unnecessary grief.

Should-have, would-haves and could-haves… like my college instructor told me three years ago, life is too short and we shouldn’t live in the past since we can’t change it. And they’re right about that. All we can do is move on and live life to its fullest.

Was I rebellious at sixteen? Well, if you constitute spoofing my parent’s rules in a comic book as a form of being out of hand, then no. I did push the envelope growing up, but did so through my unique, mismatched fashion. I was a trend-setter in that regard. I liked to make outdated fashion statements, but was quiet most of the time. I wasn’t very out-spoken at sixteen. I took out my emotions through drawing or I’d wear the heavy metal bracelets and pair those with the most gaudy 70’s bell bottoms I could find in thrift stores. I wore something very similar to platform boots (the originals straight out of the 70s) that zipped up mid-calf and I bought a second-hand 60’s fringe hippie vest that I just loved. So I clashed with my fashion statements. If that’s the only terrible thing [pre-tattoos] I could have ever done to rebel against my parents, then it’s laughable by today’s standards and hardly worth a mention.

But for that moment standing there in Dillard’s I got a little teary-eyed seeing my skin clear for the first time, and this was a real self-esteem booster for me. I felt alive again like I was no longer tied to that dark chapter of my long gone teenage years.  I was impressed how well the sale’s associate did trying to match the colors with my fair skin tone using only dark makeup they had on hand in the store. I was very pleased seeing no hideous tattoos covering my arm. I did all my tattoos at sixteen under the wrong advice of one very misguided adult therapist, by the way.

At sixteen I had erroneously believed that all therapists were well-trained in their chosen field and knew how to reach teenagers and help them find healthier alternatives, like say, for example, temporary tattoos that wash off with soap and water. Needless to say that wasn’t even an option nor did it ever come up in any of my one-on-one therapy sessions. And I was proven very wrong about my [then] teenage assumptions about therapists and it only further solidified my distrust of adults around me growing up.

And for a brief time I had my nose pierced as a teenager. This is, until my dad’s grandmother saw it and asked me to promptly remove it. It simply shocked her and my intentions weren’t to do that since body piercings were relatively a new trend that was taking a slow hold by around…oh, I’d say, 1993 or thereabouts. I see it didn’t catch on until around 20o8 or so.

My nose piercing didn’t last long, thankfully. But what I would like to address is the possibility of having a deviated septum (nasal cavity damage) as a result of nose piercings and the inability to fight off colds. Speaking for myself I tended to come down with colds often when I had my nose piercing. Oh, yeah, and there’s a good chance it could become infected no matter how well the piercing is kept clean, which is another good reason why I took it out and let my nose heal.

I was amazed I made it into adulthood. And nowadays I would love to re-capture the good parts of my teen years since not all of them started off bad. (And wouldn’t we all want to re-live our good moments?) 🙂

If you made it to adulthood without doing drugs consider yourself among the lucky ones that made the right decision to just say no. Other than having been a transfer student most of my teen years, and moving around a lot back in the day, the adjustments were always rough on me. New town, new clique of school kids. Oh and did I mention, a massively large student body population at each new school? Yep, and then come in the bullies though they made up the average annoyances I had to put up with at school, minus the private and religious schools where I had thrived.

Now bullies of my generation were more of the “I pick on everybody!” type. They didn’t exclude the popular kids. And the popular kids were these very stuck up, aloof teenagers that would move to another table in the cafeteria just to ignore the unpopular kids (yours truly included). I had never seen this strange new social pecking order in any of the private and religious schools I had attended. It happened quite a bit in the public school systems. And I found making friends and maintaining friendships nearly impossible for me since my family moved around quite a bit which means I’d lose contact eventually.

I didn’t come from a military family. But wherever there was better pay, nicer neighborhoods and a chance at a better education, that’s where my family would re-locate, and believe me, being a transfer student comes with large amounts of stress that I was unprepared to deal with at sixteen. I was in all sense of the word, ‘lost’. I came from a very nice, one classroom religious school where the older students tutored the younger students when the teacher was busy only to be thrust back into public school for the umpteenth time. Arrg!

Public schools never worked for me. I wasn’t delinquent as a juvenile. I wasn’t a trouble maker. I didn’t sass back to the teachers. I didn’t skip school. I didn’t cheat on my homework. I had mountains of homework that took me from five in the evening until five that next morning to finish. I ran on maybe one hour of sleep on any given weekday. My hair and makeup were slapped together and most mornings I’d leave the house on an empty stomach and take my vitamins without breakfast just so I could make it to the bus stop on time. I looked strung out because I was exhausted. There’s such a thing as overworking oneself and that’s what I did to in order to make the grade. I guzzled soda like coffee back then. I still ate lunch and dinner and I skateboarded for entertainment, too.

I was held back here and there a few grades. And as I became older and the school kids were younger than me and this created a lot of friction. I had a studious attitude that was often misinterpreted as having a small chip on my small shoulders, when in fact, I wasn’t. I had very little patients for my younger peers immaturity and sarcasm and I take life very seriously.

Yet when I was in the religious schools, my grades improved by leaps and bounds, and I’d like to hope, my nature was relaxed and laid back. I got along great with the religious kids, no problems there. I was in familiar surroundings in those religious schools, I’d say much like the mall with their outdated floors, interiors, stores—maybe not so much the merchandise and music stores are a thing of the past just about.

And my biggest addiction growing up as a teenager has always been music. It was whatever the music industry cranked out: heavy metal, thrash and speed metal like Metallica and Anthrax I simply loved. Surprisingly, I was never a fan of Guns n’ Roses (or ‘GnR’ for short back in my day) because I felt Axl Rose was mean to make his fans wait two hours before the concert began, and he threw adult temper tantrums and would storm off the stage mid-set. Although, I did find that two of their songs grew on me, “Civil War” which was popular on the radio in 1990. I especially related well to actress Anne Ramsey’s intro: “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate, and some men you just can’t reach.  So you get what we had here last week. Which is the way he wants it, well, he gets it. I don’t like this anymore than you do,”

And I liked the song “Used to love Her,” which my mother hated due to its questionable lyrics. It was actually about Axl’s dog. And neither me nor my older sister were allowed to have the Guns n’ Roses 1988 album Lies, Lies, Lies.I also liked two of [Glenn] Danzig’s songs: Twist of Cane and Mother. Those grew on me.

I did like two songs by Megadeth, “Symphony of Destruction” and “Hanger 18” which were popular on the radio in 1991. I didn’t discover Iron Maiden until I was fifteen and then stumbled upon their eary stuff which lead me to discover W.A.S.P. (another 80s heavy metal/ shock rock category band). I still have all of my original Iron Maiden and W.A.S.P. LP’s from the 1980s. And I was a huge Def Leppard fan, especially of their earlier stuff. Back in 1993 I never did find a copy of their 1982 song, “Me and my Wine”. I loved the video of this song so much and later was told it could be on their High and Dry album. Hey, that’s like, totally awesome, but which release? :/ The U.K. version or was it ever on the U.S. release? I have said LP and can’t find it. I managed to find it on youtube years later so that sufficed.

If it’s heavy metal, rock, hard rock, classic rock, 80s power ballads, then I enjoy it all pretty much and managed to find it on LP as well. And I also loved all those Ronco and K-Tel produced disco albums as a teenager. I have a few of them still. I didn’t buy into the “it’s the devil’s music,” that was strongly coming from the religious community back in the day and a lot of 80s parents were decrying the same thing, “It’s the devil’s music.” Yet, we’d have this tug-o-war power struggle going on: parents give a little, and their kids will take it a mile. And when we’ve reached this new millennium, our musicians are now veterans in their own right.

And growing up we weren’t joined at the hip with cell phones, texting devices, nor Facebook. I think that would have annoyed me as a teenager because I like actual in person chatting. As teenagers we hung out at the mall and made fun of the mall walkers. That’s something that’s a lost pastime; teenagers hanging out at the mall thanks in large part to those darn thug mobs that ruined it for this upcoming generation. Growing up cell phones (at least from what I remember them resembling) were likened to those satellite car phones that you might glimpse in a 70’s action movie and they looked like old-fashioned landline phones.

Any good deals on the sale racks? A few, but I mostly came for the purpose to price the makeup to cover my tattoos with. Old Navy has a large clearance section, but looks are deceiving. Their price differences aren’t much of a huge savings, but they do have some awesome wardrobe ideas. Now the skinny jeans and/ or jeggings I stumbled upon in Maurice’s and Bling! are way out of my league. I can’t justify these store’s prices. I believe from Maurice’s their jeggings were $34.99-42.00 for one pair. From Bling! a similar pair of distressed skinny jeans will cost around $42.00.

And they had a rayon leopard print kimono for $32.99. That’s an outrageous price I thought. It’s totally awesome on the mannequin in the store window, but looks like someone had just cut out a large bolt of fabric from Jo-Ann’s and draped it over the shoulders and didn’t bother to stitch it together correctly. Not complaining about the lack of shape or form of said kimono (shown in picture) because I realize they’re supposed to have a loose drape with that style, but it resembled an over-sized poncho in my eyes, and on me when I tried it on, I practically swam in it and it was a size small. It appeared to be one of those ‘one size fits all’ garments. I don’t believe I wasted the cell phone battery to snap a picture. I’m not much of a selfie person. What else did I see? I didn’t go to any other stores, but might pop into Books-a-Million and price their comic books. I still buy on occasion comic books. Superman was my favorite and so was Tales from the Crypt, which let’s face it, those were some creepy comics that were a throw back to the 1950s E.C.’s creepy comics that were re-issued in 1990. I had a whole stack of them and my parents threw them away because they felt like they were too graphic. Thanks for liking, re-blogging, sharing, tweeting, reading and commenting. I always appreciate it. Stay tuned for more dead mall series. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Edison C-19 story and how it all began.

Published June 10, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

It’s a long fascinating journey, and it’s very atypical of a young woman taking up as a serious hobby, but somehow things just ‘fell into place’ and took off from there.

 

It was right before my great grandmother passed away in 2003, I believe and I had been writing back home to her like clockwork about all the new antiques I was slowly, but surely, accumulating, so-to-speak. She was thrilled and wrote back one letter in particular that stated she wanted me to have some coal oil lamps for my antique dresser (at this time it wasn’t Eastlake, but it was from probably the early 1900’s). She went onto say that she wanted me to have her celluloid dresser set with hair brush and comb and corset cover. I have since acquired all those items, plus some cigar boxes that belonged to my great grandfather (her first husband) and his folding metal ruler with worn leather case. Oh, and dad got the Victrola, and in our family that was a big ‘to-do’. Rather it was more of a matter to see that it arrived safely to its new home and it did. In our family you had to help out with chores in order to earn the right to listen to the Victrola. And in 1990 during that one blazing hot summer, I received that same right to listen to the Victrola for the first time after I helped great grandmother wash dishes. At the time I was thirteen and likely had seen the Victrola  before at my great grandparent’s, but never took any fascination to it.

 

In fact, the fascination that surrounded that particular Victrola machine wouldn’t come back to haunt me (pun intended), until I was in my late Twenties. By this time my great grandmother’s health was failing and just how serious it really was was alarming since she’d always had the mind sharp as a tack and at the last we’d became very close pen-pals since I was living in the state over. Most of all she became my biggest ally during a time in my young teenage years when I had none, especially when it came to the topic of old music. She sided with me which I found astonishing when I was thirteen and she naturally shared a lot of my views as well. I later find out that the Flapper era (she was a part of at fifteen and married to her first husband, by the way) centered around pushing the envelope much like every coming up generation did or tried to do after hers. However, a flapper would smoke and drink (when prohibition was enforced and the country was dry), and powder her nose in public which was once considered taboo in my great grandmother’s time. And nowadays we just whip out the powder compacts like its nothing. She told me to wear my makeup because we earned the right and to treat it like gold. And she was right. Makeup is still expensive to this very day, but I found myself weeding out a lot of my old makeup like used mascaras and old eye shadows that wound up in the trash due to potential bacteria concerns. That, and I hardly wear makeup anymore because it irritates my skin.

 

Shortly before she passed away I wrote letters to her constantly not ever receiving a reply. My suspicion that something wasn’t right didn’t go unfounded for very long. At first I was kept in the dark about how she was being terribly abused by her caregiver. I often wondered after the fact if that’s why she never wrote me back. Perhaps her caregiver tossed my letters in the trash. And I also heard that my great grandmother would have her good days, and bad. Her mind was going and she wouldn’t be able to recognize family members at the very last. I had told my dad’s mother about not getting any replies and how odd I found it, and then told my dad’s mother that she must have been mad at me for buying an Edison phonograph instead of a Victrola (like we have in the family). Shocked over hearing my wrong assumption, my dad’s mother flew out of the house and told me that wasn’t the case at all, and then proceeded to explain to me that great grandmother’s mental health had been in decline since the death of her husband a year or so before and then she eventually suffered heart failure at the very last. And there was a lot of elder abuse by her caregiver as well which was frankly, horrible, shocking and inexcusable.

But for many years after great grandmother’s death I began to have nightmares about that Victrola. And in all these nightmares I see myself glancing at the turntable and not seeing a 78 on it. I must add to that at this point in time I hadn’t received a record list of music in great grandmother’s collection. There were two records I distinctly remember hearing when I was thirteen, “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo” and it was on a black bat wing Victor 78, however, the artist escaped my mind. But Carl Fenton’s Orchestra had did a rendition of that song on a Brunswick 78 that matches the artist I heard that day so long ago.

And that same day in the summer of 1990 we also listened to rural comic, Cal Stewart “Uncle Josh in a Chinese Laundry” and “Uncle Josh on a bicycle”. I remember it fondly because great grandmother asked me what I liked to do for a past time, flashing me a wise all-too-knowing smirk, then happily flipped through those old leather bound record books before selecting a 78. I rattled off, “Skateboarding,” since at this time it was still very much a male-dominated sport and there weren’t too many girl skateboarders that were die-hard serious about skateboarding. When I say die-hard, they had the expensive top-of-the-line skateboards and high end ball-bearing wheels like I had on my beloved Mark Gonzales Vision ‘mini’-skateboard. Due to my pint size I couldn’t ride a regular adult skateboard so for a brief while they made mini-versions of the original sizes. Very cute and highly collectable and I’m kicking myself now for not hanging onto said skateboard and keeping it put up. 😮

 

Well, Uncle Josh lived long before the invention of skateboards and he passed away in 1919. I had to try another and I said, “Bicycle”. And great grandmother placed a 78 on the turn table, cranked up the machine and released the brake. The record spun around faster than anything I’d seen and she placed the steel needle on the 78. The sound just filled the room. The comic laughed with a now familiar laugh that will forever resonate in my ears and draw me close to a Victrola and/ or Edison. I have some of this same comic’s rural sketches on the Edison Diamond Disc too. And it will always take me back to that first moment I laid eyes and ears on that particular machine. And in my nightmares about that Victrola, no 78 existed. In my waking hours I couldn’t make sense of it. I mean, why now so many years later and after her death was I beginning to have nightmares about the family-owned Victrola?

My ex-boyfriend summed it up: it could actually be a sign that these 78’s no longer existed in her collection since I kept having the nightmare repeatedly for a year and half after her death. When the day came that my dad’s mother mailed me the record list, I held out a glimmer of hope, but wasn’t too disappointed to discover that neither copy of “Uncle Josh on Bicycle” or that of the song “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo’” didn’t make the list. I mean, unless we had a Mandela effect happen back in 1990 that summer, those were the 78s we listened to. I also found out before my dad’s mother passed away that it wasn’t uncommon for great grandmother to throw away broken 78s simply because the sentimental attachment to them wasn’t there. Sure, they may be hard to find 78’s nowadays and eventually I found descent copies from eBay years later and it was well worth the wait. A very eerie twist to this Edison phonograph story is that I have almost duplicated all the copies of all of my great grandmother’s 78s long before I received the record list in hand, minus my collection doesn’t contain any of the Decca 78’s though.

As they say great minds think alike and perhaps there was this certain compulsion that drove me to spend hours in the freezing cold out in a shed of one antique store in particular during the winter of 2004 and in the heat of summer searching and sorting for foxtrots and early jazz with some instrumental and sentimental ballad 78s thrown in as well. I never did get around to itemizing a full list of my own 78s but really should do it sometime soon and then back them up to a jump drive or as like to call a ‘Tom thumb’ drive.

It wasn’t until 2008 amidst another family crisis when I finally did find a sense of closure and the nightmares about the Victrola ended when I visited my great grandmother’s grave for the first time. And on her grave I placed a personally inscribed Edison Diamond Disc that was too worn out to be played, plus I had said song on backup copy.

I didn’t go to great grandma’s funeral which shocked many in my family because we had been close in the beginning and also in the end, and she had been the only grandma with no fear that stepped in and helped my parents care for me when I was a sickly premature baby. I only found out years later I was her favorite out of the fifteen great grandchildren.

After the Edison C-19 came a few more upright antique phonographs and table tops too, but that’s the one that started all and still remains. The Edison C-19 took a major hit when I thought I wanted to ship it off and have it completely and thoroughly cleaned, then had a sudden change of heart. Something just didn’t feel right and I quick as I could made the place where I shipped it to send it back after much back and forth email exchanges where they tried convincing me they’d be more than happy to keep it for as long as needed. Mind you, at this point, there had been no work done on this machine, but boy howdy, did I learn a valuable lesson to never, ever ship off an entire mainboard assembly with the horn attached in a box several states away. Not only did the horn arrive broke from it’s lift rod, but the turntable platter appeared to have been met with a cheese grater and it the green felt was in almost near mint condition before I shipped it off. I did insure the machine for what I paid for it, but never filed a claim with an insurance adjuster because it would have been my word against the place I shipped it to, and it would have been difficult to pin point if it was a simple case of human shipping error on my behalf, or if the damage had been deliberately caused. Either way, I’m sure the place I shipped it too is laughing their butts off, figuring there wouldn’t be a snowball chance in heck that I’d be capable of repairing the whole phonograph to working order, and as luck would have, I did with my ex-boyfriend’s help. We worked hours soldering the horn back onto the lift rod, then spray-painted over the repaired spots with black paint, let it dry and still the biggest test was yet to come…

We’re our efforts all in vain? Or did we just fix the impossible? It wound up okay, and the horn lift knob had a burr in it. The wooden lever was broke and I had to buy a replacement for that plus another screw and believe me, you can’t find either at Ace Hardware. So those had to be special-ordered from an entirely different outfit with much better prices. And the horn still ‘hangs-up’ and won’t set down on the record which is due to the damage the phonograph incurred, that and I never did get around to fixing the lift knob yet.

It wound up alright and by 1: 45 am we heard it play again. At this time I was emailing another repairman who offered to sell me an entire mainboard assembly since trying to solder those old horns back in place were impossible to do. We did it using lead solder and fluxing compound (the old kind that plumber’s used to use) that my ex-boyfriend had lying around. And we also used a hand-held blow torch. So that Edison C-19 oak cabinet had been put through heck and back and I’m now more the wiser since my early days. It still plays and it still gives off that slight haunted vibe from time to time, although it’s faded through the years since I’ve owned it. But in the beginning owning this Edison C-19 was brand new to me. I didn’t always understand the mechanics behind them other than they don’t use electricity to operate. They use a hand crank that winds up the mainsprings, that in turn, play an Edison Diamond Disc.

Some other machines were sold here and there because I either needed the money for some other project or simply ran out of space. Mind you, all nine of these machines stayed in one bedroom along with the cylinder phonographs and table tops. And when I moved, I traded off a few to upgrade to a slightly higher end model of an Edison Amberola 75 and gave away one table top model and one suitcase model Victrola to my friend.

It’s the collecting part that’s half the fun, but its when these antiques are restored to their fullest potential that makes all those searches, all that time and money spent, all that hard, extensive hands-on work truly pay off. And I have the habit of preserving these 78’s on cd and upload them to my MP3 player as well.

And just some slice of wisdom; should you ever turn around and sell these antique phonographs you probably won’t get out of them what you put into getting them fully restored. People will try to price-gouge you as well. So be leery of the ‘want something for nothing’ types that will try to beat you up and walk all over you if the day should ever come you need to part with one of those beautiful wind-ups. I know as a seller of these antique phonographs it’s very much like working in retail. You deal with all sorts of online customers sight unseen, and if they want museum “mint” antique phonographs, why do they buy mine knowing well in advance nothing will be showroom perfect? I clearly state if the phonographs has had any repair work done to it and not to expect factory new results. These machines are very simple and they are what they are. There is no bass boost on a Victrola. If you use a Tungs-tone stylus or a Loud tone needle then you might break the sound barrier when you play John Phillip Sousa. And once the cabinets are refinished, they’ll lose whatever value they had to begin with.

 

So, my best advice to you: leave the cabinet alone, please and don’t attempt to varnish them. You will get more money out of it if it’s left un-restored.  Now rarity and price, I would be more than happy to share at The Victor Victrola page. Note: I don’t own nor operate this website. It is a database reference for makes and models of Victrola only. They do not cover Edison phonographs. There are books (in print) that are collector’s guides, but I’ve noticed nearly all of those are very expensive and don’t contain enough information (specs) about the machines other than showcasing some expensive (out of my attainable reach) museum quality phonographs. Now the best book for restoring these antique phonographs is The Compleat Talking Machine.

 

Thanks for reading, liking, re-blogging, sharing, commenting, tweeting. I truly appreciate it. There’s more to come but it’ll take me time to add to this blog and will as I can find the time to do so. 🙂

Antiquing during a stroll

Published March 24, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1
mirror found 3-23-16

Mirror in “as found” condition. Before gluing the joints.

There’s a lot of stuff I’ve come across quite often on my walks. I have found money anywhere between $4, $10, and $20. I have even found a full book of postage stamps another time. And I’m always grateful to find anything while on my strolls. So, it pays to look on the ground. Take the time to scour parking lots, alleys, sidewalks, curbs when you take a walk because you never know what you might find.

It was a strong windy day. Hold on to your hat. Well, my beloved straw cowgirl hat was battered in no time. And the gusts would blow sand and dirt. Good thing I wore my shades. But the sand and dirt stung my legs something fierce.

 

How could there be any remote chance of snow later on? I thought as I merrily enjoyed the day getting my natural dose of Vitamin D from the sunlight. I didn’t think very favorable of the cyclone-like day we were having. But I didn’t despair and kept trudging right along getting blown off course (literally) and into a grassy stretch of an empty lot. I was originally going to take the over pass sidewalk just to avoid waiting on non-stop trains that love to just slow down and stop at every intersection. Then the trains will back up, creating a long line of cars backed up for miles. There should be a law against the trains doing that. It’s not only a frustration for motorists, but also to people on foot that have to wait for an incredibly long time.

 

I believe I wasn’t even half way when the gusts decided it for me: my stroll was going to be short-lived. Sure, I’d get to where I intended to go, maybe just not right when I wanted to. Trying to walk into the wind was challenging, and painful when the sand hit my body. Then I look toward the train tracks. They were clear, and instead of me hoofing it clear out of my way, I headed several blocks (hoping there wouldn’t be another train to block the intersections). And as luck would have it, I made it across safely and there were no signs of any trains. Strange, because I kept hearing the blaring noise of the train track signals every few minutes it seemed like today.

 

But my eyes spied a green bean seed packet. Could it be? Aw, drats! Empty. Well, if you’re a serious green thumb, a newbie to gardening/ herb container grower or live on a farm, then the urge to inspect any discarded garden seed packet for potential overlooked beans or seeds is always worth a look. Never know where you might find free food. I say that because green beans are easy to grow. I don’t recall the particular brand of the green bean packet other than it caught my attention on my walk.

 

So I mosey on, keeping a firm hand on my hat or what’s left of it. Ahead of my sights are more shuttered businesses that ceased. It’s not surprising considering the area of town isn’t part of a tourist trap. In fact, it could so use some revitalization if city planners and tax payer money would go to good use to re-hab some of the most forlorn eyesore properties, but I can safely bet, nothing will ever happen. The buildings will continue to decay. The ‘for rent’ and ‘for sale’ signs will remain indefinitely. And it looks straight out of an episode of The Walking Dead. But it’s an area of town that’s for lack of a better word, ‘antique’. I mean the buildings have their roots some dating back to the early 1930s, and maybe a little before the Depression era. But that’s not particularly what drew me to stroll down this area of town. I see a junk yard of cars enclosed by a long span of chain link. Between the links are white broken plastic (think in terms of mini-blinds), and behind that is a mini-salvage yard for vehicles. It really doesn’t impress me, but junk yards, in general, are nearly all gone nowadays. I cross the street and see a business that doesn’t have any customers. It’s a very old antique-looking brick building.

 

Very old by out-ward appearances. Interior-wise, looks like a 1970s slapped together in one day look and vibe about it. I feel as though I’ve transcended into the past. I suppose it was the overcast day and everything was hazy even the sun. And right in front of me was an antique mirror with an attached Art Deco light fixture. The mirror is leaning against the old building. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mercury coated beveled glass staring back at me.

 

Lord knows I’ve been praying to happen across by chance an antique mirror. The light fixture and antique incandescent light bulb were a plus. Instead of giving it much thought, I carry on my way and then… back-track. I do a double take. The mirror is in tact, but the frame has seen better days. In fact, I surmise it was originally yanked out of a bathroom due to its added on light fixture and partial two screws holding two broken pieces of plastic in the lower corner. Could have been a tooth brush holder, maybe a soap dispenser.

 

I try to talk myself out of even inquiring about said mirror. But something about the mirror appearing discarded and forgotten latched onto me. Maybe it was that white chipped paint, weather-beaten wood underneath. Good grief, I think to myself, I’ll never get it home on foot, and definitely not in this cyclone of a day. But wait—the light shade is milk glass. The shade itself practically screams “I am Art Deco!” and so loudly that it would make the nearby resident want to chuck rocks at it. Maybe that’s how the shade got broke in the first place.

broken fixture shade before cleaning

On the ground I discover three fragments of milk glass in the parking lot. I study myself in the large mirror. The mirror I would have to guess was manufactured even before the late Twenties when Art Deco became in vogue. Oh, and the light fixture retains an antique incandescent light bulb.

1458769540467

Perhaps an original Thomas Edison light bulb? In 2016? I crook the brim of my hat to get a better look. Yeah, right. It would have to be a Chinese knock off “Edison” bulb found at Lowe’s. But no. It pre-dates the Chinese knock-offs and its about as authentic as the day it was produced eons ago.

 

The filament and connecting wires are very different than any past or current incandescent light bulb I’ve seen. I know Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and this light bulb looked like a familiar design of his. I also own Edison phonographs, and researched him extensively for my phonograph restoration and that has nothing to do whether the light bulb still works or not.

 

before cleaning of the wall mount light fixture

There’s dirt and grime and I wouldn’t trust testing out that light socket plug. In the old days bare wires were covered with a piece of inset cardboard between the prongs of the plug to prevent two bare wires from crossing. Yikes!

Despite the broken milk glass lamp shade, the porcelain wall mount bolted to the mirror is in excellent shape for its age. It screams 1920’s. I know this because all throughout my years growing up I lived in many Victorian homes split into apartments where the electricity (and the light fixtures) were never updated, replaced, or even new, and most were straight from the Twenties in those homes. They were very antique, all white porcelain, and something clicked in my brain trudging up a memory from long ago.

 

Studying that very light fixture mounted on the antique mirror took me back to a happier and much less different time in my [then] extremely young childhood. It reminded me of a special place in time, one that can never be replaced. It was a feeling I received that I hadn’t felt in many, many long years. Why this antique mirror struck me with that overwhelming emotion of familiarity I have no idea.

 

“Antiquing” has always ran in both sides of my family. It goes way, way back and I’m no different. But I still try to convince myself “This mirror will likely shatter if I inquire about it,” and “It’s not out here for looks.”

 

I must have passed by the building three times debating whether or not I should inquire about the antique mirror. And by the time I made it to the end of the third block, something was practically nagging at me not to pass it up. It might be a good deal and it was something I had in mind rather than buying a new mirror that would be straight from China and an overpriced piece of junk.

 

I had that old Victor 78 song stuck in my head, “Don’t Wait Too Long”. I forget who the artist is that sings this particular fox trot. All I know is that my late great grandma and I have similar tastes in music. Don’t Wait Too Long was one such song in our record collections. We must have been on the same wave length, or perhaps it was a nudge from her in spirit when I began my fascinating antique phonograph hobby when I was 26 years old and wound up with that new old stock song on a Victor 78.

 

After much thinking about the mirror and seeing my stroll was going to be cut short due to the gusts, I turned on one heel and started back for the abandoned-looking business. The lights were on inside but the door was locked. I was smack dab in a crime-ridden area of town, on foot, fighting against the massive strong gusts that pummeled me with dirt, grime and sand.

 

I didn’t see the Keystone cops running after the likes of Charlie Chaplin or that of the great stone face, Buster Keaton, so I figured crime had taken the day off. For some weird reason I could envision meeting up with the like of Charlie Chaplin on this particular day in this area of town (don’t ask me why). I suppose it was the almost sepia overcast sky that made me think of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton (two out of three of my favorite silent film comics along with Harold Lloyd in no particular order).

 

I was almost worried about knocking on this business’s door since you never know who might answer. I could see into the business through a large window. But for what business this was, I have no idea. And I have no idea how an antique mirror wound up leaning against their establishment.  I hesitated at the door thinking of a million excuses not to inquire. Maybe the business was remodeling. Maybe they weren’t intending to toss out this beautiful antique mirror. Maybe it was placed outside just for looks. (I was thinking in terms of tacky lawn decorations). But no, I didn’t get that impression. I swore I distinctly heard my late great grandmother (who lived in a museum, *ahem*, a house), encouraging me “…never know until you try.” It sounded so clear as a bell that I turned and looked to my right, then my left. And if it had been her instead of me coming across this mirror, she would have had no problem knocking, and in her own sweet outgoing way, could charm the pants off the person who answered with just her smile.

 

So, I knocked and didn’t have to wait long. A young man answered. I kept my inquiry brief and pointed to the side of the building where the mirror was. He told me the mirror was free and I could have it. I thanked him, and went to the side of the building and tried to lift the mirror. The frame was rickety and I noticed a silver fish (a small insect) running for its dear life to hide under one wooden shim nailed to the frame. I replaced the mirror just as it was, resting against the brick building. This calls for the vehicle. I was hoping between the time I left and returned, the mirror wouldn’t be the unfortunate victim of the cyclone gust’s fury. And I worried to that someone else might happen upon this mirror and snatch it out from under me. Surprisingly, it was still there when I returned and in one piece. I loaded it myself, then returned to pick up every piece of broken milk glass and plucked one wood shim that had detached from the mirror and headed to town.

 

I was still debating just returning home and tilling more garden space by hand, but on this particular day, I’m sure the wind would have planted my seeds in various places in my backyard instead. I still need to make more seed tape (this is so the crops will grow in evenly spaced rows and made using toilet paper and a mix of flour/water paste to glue the tiny seeds in place. Allow it to dry over night and you’ll be ready to plant them the following day or whenever the danger of frost has passed). But instead of going home and playing farmer Brown, I decided to see what the thrift store had to offer. Not much so I then stopped by the store on my way home and bought a pineapple. They’re on sale, can’t beat that. 🙂

 

I didn’t take the mirror inside. I left it in the vehicle and worked on removing the light fixture in there. I will assume that the gaudy layer of white paint contains lead (as most paints pre-1970’s contained lead) and it was flaking so bad I didn’t want it everywhere in my house. I managed to get the light fixture removed safely including the light bulb, then disassembled it and washed the shade, porcelain wall mount and plan to get the rust off the screws. I assumed after much “Righty tighty, lefty Lucy” elbow grease using nothing more than a pair of Ford Model T pillars and a Chinese brand pair of needle nose pillars and hands like a brain surgeon, the bolt and three little rusty screws released their firm death grip on the porcelain wall mount and milk glass shade.

 

cleaned mirror glass 3-24-16

I scraped away some of the flaking old paint. Underneath the white paint was somewhat of a salmon-pink hue in areas. The paint still flakes off very easily when touched and the mirror requires a lot of TLC when handled which I do with work gloves on. The wood shims holding the glass are the consistency of match sticks and very brittle. It’s still in rough condition.

And I did it all without breaking anything or causing myself seven years of bad luck. I was suspecting at any given moment the mirror would break, but it didn’t although the wood frame was coming undone at all four corners. I’m still not even sure how I managed this feat. I’ve worked on antique phonographs, but never an antique mirror until now. I’ll worry about repairing the glass shade another time. I was more fixated on finding a solution to glue the frame back together with the glass still inset. The logical approach would be to gently remove all the wood shims holding the glass and remove the mirror, but working in cramped confines of the van would make this step impossible.

 

And when in doubt, think like MacGuyver and that’s what I did. I returned inside with each light fixture piece, disassembled the scary outdated chord and light socket, set those aside, and placed the shade and porcelain wall mount inside a dish pan of sudsy/ Clorox bleach warm water. Not too hot, and definitely not too cold. Porcelain should never be subjected to extremely hot water or else it will break and crack. I resumed my task and let that soak in the meantime and brought out the Gorilla glue, some elastic snagged from my sewing box and a stick I found in the yard.

In order to get the joints aligned to the best of what I had at my disposal, I devised a very weird  clamp/ jig method using the elastic and stick and twisted it around the stick and mirror frame until I could see the gaps in the joints of the wood getting smaller. I knew that too much tension could spell disaster. I wound it with enough tension and called it good enough. I placed the stick under a tool kit and jumper cables to hold it taut so the glue could dry in the joints overnight. I then used a bungee chord to create tension to the other end of the mirror and hope and pray that it holds, which it did. I closed the door and put the tools back in the house. It was a cloudy evening. I overheard my neighbor exclaim they wouldn’t be surprised if we got a tornado and earthquake in the same night. The neighbor was talking to somebody else, not me. I gazed at the sky. The temperature was steadily dropping. It wasn’t extremely hot out today, but it was just right for shorts and short-sleeved shirt weather. And by evening it was very cold.

I washed up and ate a late supper of leftover Smoked Herring/ Flax seed meal and Chia seed patties combined with boiled Cactus leaves (a very good source of vitamins), some Cauliflower, and Broccoli mashed potatoes. I also had an apple and some brown bagged micro-waved plain popcorn.

 

Tomorrow I shall see what became of my improvised restoration efforts. Before I even begin to think about taking this antique mirror into my house it will require a new coat of either paint on the wood frame or I may strip it down and go over it with a clear coat varnish and call it good and let the weather beaten look shine through.

 

I detest the ‘shabby chic’ job that ruins antique furniture, dressers, and mirrors even though this mirror wasn’t given that look. The paint suffered from a severe case of weather-element damage and who knows what wall it had been bolted to for so many years.

 

And yes, I inspected mirror prior for any sign of black mold and/ or rotting damage to the wood frame. I didn’t see anything wrong and used my scrub brush to dust off the cobwebs and leaves before loading it up, so that tells me this mirror’s been sitting outside for a week or more. And perhaps this antique mirror was rescued in the nick of time since tonight it’s raining. Thanks for liking, re-blogging, commenting, tweeting and sharing. I always appreciate it. 🙂