"My dad bought me a shiny blue tomos!"

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"My dad bought me a shiny blue tomos!"

Postby Micronaut » Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:09 pm

Closing a chapter in life

http://www.delphosherald.com/page2.php? ... 9&archive=

On the other hand

by Nancy Briggs

I have always been one for nostalgia.

I enjoy going through old photo albums, snickering at my sister’s hairdo and winged glasses and my brothers pineapple haircut.

Of course I skip the pages where my mother and I sport matching outfits (seemed cute at the time, I’m sure).

I have purchased my childhood home from my mother and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. It’s what I know. My mother was born in what is now my son’s bedroom and she and my father bought the home from her mother when they married.

In the next weeks, a part of my childhood and adolescence will be demolished to make way for the Veterans’ Memorial Park.

I spent many weekday afternoons and Saturday mornings at the old Marathon station at Main and Fifth streets pumping gas, washing windshields and checking oil for customers. My father also found many chores for me, including stocking oil on the shelves, cleaning tools, greasing bearings, setting spark plugs, fixing tires, sweeping and painting the curbs. I’ve also cleaned my share of bathrooms.

The station was opened in 1952 as Ditto Marathon. The name Briggs joined the company letterhead a few years later.

My father knew from the time he was a sophomore in high school that he wanted to be a mechanic and happily fulfilled that dream. He even used his talents during the Korean War in Japan as an airplane mechanic while serving in the Marines. I never knew a time when he didn’t have grease under his fingernails and various dings and cuts on his hands. Those were the strongest and most capable hands I’ve ever known. (Yes, I was a daddy’s girl.)

The Marathon station was quite the meeting place. A pot of coffee was always at hand and the latest gossip (Oops! Men don’t gossip!) was flying.

Saturdays were especially memorable. When the last car was done, the bays were cleared, the floor swept and then scrubbed with cleaner and brushes. It was fun to slip and slide around with my scrub brush listening to the radio and planning the rest of the weekend.

Numerous high school students passed through those bay doors, including our own mayor, Jerry Neumeier. Frank Ditto and my father believed in supporting the youth with a job and taught them good values along the way.

I felt fortunate to have a job when most of my friends lamented about spending money. We were taught at an early age that there would be no free rides in the Briggs household. If we wanted a car, we had to buy it. (My father did, however, buy me a Tomos moped we worked on constantly to keep running. I can’t describe the feeling I had zipping around town on that shiny blue machine. That moped and the piano in the front room are still a sore spot to some in the family who shall remain nameless. Comments about going soft on the youngest child have been bandied about. They are, of course, totally unfounded.)

I spent the better part of my youth at the Marathon gas station getting to know the people in my community and taking lessons from my father on dealing with the public. Those lessons have served me well over the years.

So, when the building comes down, I will feel a twinge of regret that part of my life will no longer have a physical reminder, but I can’t think of a more appropriate replacement. My father spent three years as commander at the VFW and I knew his views on veterans and how they should be treated and always be remembered for their sacrifice to us and their country.

I think he would approve.
Wayne from Maine
Micronaut
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