Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Box 56

Here's a glimpse at something else in our world that is quickly racing towards extinction: the street firebox. I grew up being quite respectful of these red boxes that used to be scattered liberally around our city streets. I saw fires take houses. I remember the one on Warren Avenue that started with the owner working his acetylene torch in the garage. I felt so sorry seeing the firemen fight the blaze, with the mom holding two small children in the street. I remember the fire call the evening of July 12, 1960, when Ladder 3 and Engine 4 crashed at Woodford's Square and took the life of a firefighter. Pulling a false alarm? Dad told me this. No, he commanded me! Don't you EVER think about it! Don't put your stinking hands on one! Don't you even try looking at one!  Just walk on by, fast! He knew my friends and me too well. As a matter of fact, Dad just about scared the bjesus out of me, when it came to these things. I used to break out in a cold sweat every time the gang and I walked by one. I might have even got the shudders. I'm still a little nervous when I walk by an alarm inside, on a wall of a public building. Another life lesson taught by a loving father in the rip-roaring, rockin' 50's. Thanks Dadl!



25 comments:

  1. I've never seen one of these. I guess with everyone having cell phones and such now, they're not really needed. But I love your stories and the nostalgia.

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  2. Love how these objects are associated with so many emotions

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  3. "Don't put your stinking hands on one! Don't you even try looking at one!" I love that. Love the dad who said it and the boy who listened. That could be a couple of my characters there.

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  4. Something very nice from another era... We never had these!

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  5. I don't think I've ever seen such a thing in any of the many cities in which I have lived. Or, it is possible I have forgotten. Unlike you. You'll never forget! Heh, heh.

    Re your comment on Ocala: Lots of us folks in the deep south don't hardly knows how to spells nohow. So, we gotta work with what we got which ain't much. And dat's da truth!

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  6. so true! never even touch one in jest!

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  7. I don't think we've ever had these either...

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  8. My dad put that same fear into me about these things too! It's funny thinking about things that were so very common that are disappearing because they are outdated. You made me think of the very first job I had at a bank in my hometown of Quincy Illinois. The bank was in Quincy's tallest building (9 floors) and every now and then I had to go the basement to get something. The basement of the building was a civil defense shelter and it was full of barrels of water all sealed up in case of an emergency. Do you remember those old black and yellow signs identifying a building as a fall-out shelter?

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  9. Nothing like dad to put the fear of God...or fireboxes in you. I got worried once when I took off one of those DO NOT REMOVE THIS TAG tags from my pillow...

    Love the red on this box.

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  10. I had that same fear too, but the only fire alarms I remember were at school. Apparently some kids didn't scare so easily though, because they used to pull the fire alarm at school several times a year.

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  11. It's looks very nice, too bad I never saw one. Great memories =)

    LA By Diana Live Magazine

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  12. Somehow lessons don't get taught the same way these days. Pity!

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  13. A classic shot AND a classic story of a caring dad.

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  14. They are like phone booths, giving way to the cell phone. Even computers are starting to lose to cell phones.

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  15. Thanks for sharing your vivid memories...very red...stunning photo...

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  16. Haven't seen one like this in years. Great shot.

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  17. They were all over NYC in the 50s and 60s but they're all gone now. None to be found here in The Lou. It reminds us that there actually was a day when having a telephone was a bit of a luxury and not everybody had one.

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  18. I hadn't thought of these objects for ages. You're right; we could make a long list of everyday objects that are now merely objects of the past.

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  19. Oh yeah fallen by the wayside along with rotary phones and Night Gallery with Rod Serling.

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  20. We never had such boxes in France, firemen were always near enough, now we use the phone. But I like your stories around that box.You often make me think of a great book I read: "The life and times of the Thunderbold kid",by Bill Bryson.

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  21. Have not seen one of these in years, perhaps decades. Never pulled a false alarm, never would, but also never received any harsh lectures about them either. As a graduate student I was teaching a freshman class and just about to hand out an exam when a fireman walked up to me and said in a low voice, "There has been a bomb threat, please have your class quickly clear the building." Wow, I didn't have to asked twice. Perhaps one of my students didn't want to take an exam that day. It was a false alarm.

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  22. Your Dad was a very wise man Birdman, it's a shame that these days more don't make the time to 'explain' things more carefully to their offspring!

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  23. hahahaha. thats funny...
    i always have this weird sensation when i see an emergency shower (present everywhere in labs), i always want to pull those. but that would be a terrible, terrible watery mess. i grabbed my chance when they were getting their yearly checkup; they had some sort of thingie underneath to catch the water... and i thus asked the workers if i could pull. i guess they found me weird but they let me... :)

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  24. Love it, can't wait to see what you do next! Come check out my blog, maybe we can follow each other!
    Material Fixations

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