Being cooped up waiting out this virus scenario, I brought out an old shoebox full of pictures. A ton of stories in there so I thought I might share one. I'm not much of a story teller but will give it a shot. A bit of a background to start, this box of photo's was from back in the late 80's and well into the 90's. I'm not sure of the exact dates but whenever I had some free time off work I would take what little money I had to spare and hit the road looking for goodies. Sometimes on my own and other times with a friend, so we would split the fuel and motel room costs at that time, 26.00 to fill the truck and about the same for a motel room (we were motel 6 or mom and pop places, not the Hilton, lol).
Anyway on this trip I was in northeast Montana on my own, travelling backroads and checking out all the small towns. Coming into this town I drove down main street (3 blocks long) and at the last corner was an old gas station that was boarded up. No pumps or anything outside and I couldn't see in the windows. I parked out front and walked down the street to a café, went in and inquired as to who owned the old gas station. I now had a name and number so gave it a call. I spoke with a gentleman and asked if he was the owner of the old station and if there might be any old signs or gas pumps back in the work bays. He said the place was basically empty as they had cleared it all out for an auction years ago. So I figured that was a dead end, but I happened to still be on main street and there was a movie theater right next door to the old garage.
So I asked if he knew who owned the old theater and lo and behold he said he owned that also. I asked if there might be any old pop advertising or movie posters in the basement. He said he wasn't sure and asked where I was, I said right in front of the theater, so he said ok wait there and I will be right down. Ten minutes later I get to meet the gentleman, a great guy, likely in his 60's back then. We head down into the basement and there was an older Pepsi 4 head fountain dispenser but i really had no interest in it. Also found boxes of movie posters but the oldest was from the 70's and me knowing nothing about posters passed them up as I figured if they weren't from the 30's to 50's the value would be minimal (Star Wars never crossed my mind lol). So empty handed we headed back upstairs thru the theater.
That's when i noticed all the theater seats were new and this was an old, old building so i asked about the old seats. He said they had replaced them about 10 years ago. I asked if he had chucked them out or what. He said we put them in a building out back and naturally i wanted to take a look at them, maybe make this stop worth while somehow.
So we go past the station and around back. Here there is a big tall tin building behind the gas station, that i had seen, but never gave a second thought because it was so huge and looked to be on a separate piece of property. He fumbles thru a ring of keys, finds the one and unlocks the side door. He no sooner opens the door and i almost sh**t myself as 5 feet inside the door is a twin Wayne Cut 45 in Texaco, still has the pump plates on it and next to new old original paint. Now that I'm inside I can see this was the old bulk shed with a big long dock that they had shedded inside now. Holeeee Keeerist.
I said to him now that's what I'm looking for, he said he had forgot all about the stuff in there. Sure enough the old theater seats are in rows on the old dock floor. I asked if i could look way back in the building and he said go ahead, I'm going home for supper and will come back.
So i got my flashlight and went snooping thru the seats and tons of other junk in there. I could see it used to be Texaco for sure as there was boxes of nos map holders, cases of maps, pump plates, etc. Then way against the back wall i shone my flashlight in the corner and holy keeeerist
there was a dispenser of some sort that i had never seen before, but i was NOT leaving without it, no matter what the cost. So after rooting around in there for about 90 minutes, tons of stuff, he sold snowmobile stuff, etc. He stopped back and we chatted for awhile, i asked if i could buy the gas pump and the oil dispenser in the back. He knew about it but wasn't real sure what it even looked like anymore by sounds of it. He said he had a partner with this building and would talk it over with him to see if he wanted anything or if i could buy what i wanted. So i decided instantly that i was staying overnight and got a hotel room. I asked him if he would let me know on the stuff in the shed as i had made him an offer on it all and he said he would call the motel. About 9:00 that night i got the call that his partner and him were good with the offer. He said he was at the drive inn theater (he owned that too) and there was a pop dispenser there that i might want to look at, so i headed down there and met him. It wasn't that old and passed on it. I paid him the cash for the pump and oil dispenser and he said he would unlock the door for the shed about 6am when he was delivering milk and i could start loading when i wanted, he would meet up with me when he was done his milk run. I was down there at 6:30 next morning making a trail to get the oil dispenser to the front of the dock from the back corner. It was about a 4 foot drop from the dock to the ground so i decided to leave the oil dispenser on the dock until he could help me lift it down as i didn't want to drop it and break something (it was heavy, cast iron).
By the time he arrived i had loaded the twin wayne on the small snowmobile trailer i was hauling with me and he came inside to help me with the dispenser, once he saw it i could see in his eyes that it was a good thing i had paid for it or he might have changed his mind. He said he forgot that it looked that good, but really had no use for it anymore we loaded it on the trailer also and filled the back of my truck with other stuff, including 1 theater
I cut the picking trip short and headed back home with a load of stuff and memories. BTW i did stop back in for a few more theater seats to finish off the load from another
Well that's it for now, as i think back, thank god i asked about theater seats of all things....