Sunday, December 30, 2007

SCREAM PUFF - 1934 Ford Hot Rod coupe

“Where were thee in ’63?”

Sure, I know it’s corny, but that’s just me. Hopefully, you’ll read a few more stories from me, so you might as well get to know me straight up.

In the fall of 1963, I met a girl who was to create a hold on me that still exists to this day. I think she’s the sweetest, cutest, hot little number that’s ever been and with a little good fortune, I’m gonna make her mine for real one day. That’s where my story starts.
Fall…1963, I was in the 4th grade at an elementary school in Memphis, TN. My dad had bought a 1934 Ford 5-window coupe in 1958 and drove it for 3 years before the motor overheated and cracked its block. By 1963, his coupe was sitting in our back yard without a motor.
That fall, Aurora Plastics Corp came out with a 2 car model set for the 1934 Ford 5-window coupe. One car could be built as a stocker and the second car could be built as a “Street Rod”. Yes, they were calling them that way back then.

The Street Rod’s name was “Scream Puff” and if you haven’t yet checked out the pictures alongside the story, she’s a hot rod…but not just ‘any’ hot rod. She’s a 1934 Ford 5-window coupe. She’s been channeled, fitted with fenders made from spare tire rings, a sectioned ’32 Ford grille, a late ‘50’s Buick engine with 6 dueces and zoomie headers, a white interior with bomber style bucket seats, whitewall tires and moon discs, a rolled rear panel, dual exhaust and a killer electric green paint job with smoke graphics. She’s a beauty.

Well, my dad saw the model set and just had to have it. He bought it home and it was then “our” project. Dad was going to build the stocker to represent his car, and it was my job to build Scream Puff. I’m pretty sure it was the first car model that I ever put together, so you can imagine what it looked like after a 9 yr old built it, but she was mine and I still recall being so proud of it and just picturing me cruising Highland Ave in it. I still remember sitting at our dining table with dad working on his car and me working on Scream Puff. It was the first time he and I had worked on any “car” together. That made Scream Puff even more special.
I think I had completed Scream Puff for only a week or so when we had one of those “Show & Tell” days at school. Well, as I usually could find a way, I even messed that up. Show and Tell day was over and done when I took Scream Puff to school to show her off…and the teacher took her away from me. Confiscated…tossed in the teacher’s desk like an old chalkboard eraser.
I was fit to be tied.
Of course I went home that night and told my folks what had happened. Now remember this was before schools got the bad rap that they have today. Parents didn’t worry much about what the teachers did – so, arresting Scream Puff didn’t really faze them. Well, the next day, I talked two classmates into running a diversion as we went filed out to go to lunch. “Charles” was sent ahead to keep the teacher occupied as we lined up for the march to the lunchroom and “Steve” was hanging back to be the lookout. I hung back long enough to sneak into the desk and rescue Scream Puff from the wicked witch… uh, teacher.
Once I had her back, I put her into my locker…my unlocked locker… in the cloakroom at the back of our classroom.
That afternoon I got ready to go home and opened my locker to get Scream Puff…and she was gone…vanished without a trace. Well obviously, there were only two other humans who knew what had happened and neither of them would ever admit to taking Scream Puff out of my locker. So there I was…no Scream Puff, and no way to get her back.

Fast forward to the night before the last day of school, some seven months later. I was getting ready for the next day and my mother asked me, “Did your teacher ever give you your car back?” “No” “Well, I’m going to go up there and get it back for you.” Uh-oh. “Well’s what happened…” and I told her about our raid to free Scream Puff from the evil overlord…and she told my dad. Bad news.

My dad had a conniption fit, to say the least. In his eyes, I had let them believe, for seven months, that my teacher still had my car. To him that was like the longest lie that I could have ever passed over on them. Now, you gotta know my dad, he didn’t spare the rod…not in the least. That night I got the worst belt whipping that I had ever known, but lying was never part of my life again…so it must have been the right medicine for the crime…and I never forgot Scream Puff. In fact, I kept the box that she came in for over 43 years. I’ve been told that Monogram still has the molds for the 2-car kit. Perhaps one day, Scream Puff will be re-released for this generation of gearheads.
Ok, let’s take another time trip – fast forward to 2006. I was cruising eBay one day and found the kit (Aurora 569) up for bid…but it was only ½ of the kit. The stock ’34 was missing, but Scream Puff was there and mostly complete. The decals were even there.
Needless to say, I had to get her, and I did.

A couple of months later, my dad had his 72nd birthday and I gave him the Scream Puff model and asked him to put it together for me. He thought I was crazy, but he said OK and put the new version of Scream Puff together. I will treasure it forever. If I ever get the money, I’ll have someone build a real Scream Puff for me and give it to my dad for the rest of his life.

We finally did fix up dad’s ’34 after I got old enough to do the work (that’s a story for another time). In 2001, he sold his coupe to me for a dollar and told me to go have some fun with it. That’s what my wife and I have been doing. We take the little coupe to all sorts of places.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Taylor Tot Story

The who?..Oh, the singer?

The blog guy?... uh, no….

Believe it or not, Taylor Tot is a … stroller. But not just any stroller…it was the premiere baby stroller of the 20th century. From hours on hours of research, it seems they were made from the 1920’s till the 1970’s. The company was the Frank F. Taylor Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.

So, how did I get in such a shape?... Well, as you may have already figured out, I love old stuff. If I had my way (and the moola of course) my home would not have anything newer than 1960 inside it,,,well, other than the TV, the washer/dryer and the computer…but you get the idea.

Here’s the tale… in May of 2004, my wife and I were at a West Tennessee Antique Auto Club car show around the square in Jackson, TN. We were walking along and checking things out and one side street was the location of the ‘swap meet’ (EVERY car show has to have one of those areas - it’s in the rules). Anyway, I spotted this kool looking stroller sitting there and told the LOML, ‘hey, that’s gotta be old’. So we looked it over a bit- thinking wow, this would be a neat thing to restore and use for the grandkids. There were no nameplates on it anywhere, so I had no idea what brand it was or how ‘old’ it really was, only that it looked ‘old’. I asked the fellow who was in the area how much he wanted for it and he said “40 bucks”… Well, we started to walk away, slightly wondering what we would do with one anyway…but then, the deal clincher.. “But I’ll let you have it for 35”… yep - SOLD.

Well, we get the thing home and I start trolling the internet to find out more about what we had. It turns out that ebay had some pictures that looked just like it…and that’s how I found out the name; Taylor Tot. At least I now knew what it was…ok. Now I go trolling for Taylor Tot…and lo and behold, I find a guy who was a college professor who was restoring the actual Taylor Tot stroller from his childhood. Man, he had his lookin sweeet! So I emailed him and we started talking. Sure enough, he knew a lot about them and had even figured a way to copy his front decal. He was kind enough to send me one for mine. (I didn’t use it, but more on that later).

So, here we go… I started taking it apart and media blasted everything to get it down to bare metal.
If I’m gonna do it, it’s gonna be done right. I know you guys understand.

Well, during this time of reworking and learning all I can about them, I found another one on ebay and it had the ‘high-class options’ of “wheel pants” and a foot tray. These are groovy little fenders that cover the wheels and don’t let the rider’s feet scrub on the tires and a tray that is put under the rider’s feet when the stroller is used as a ‘pusher’. Lucky me, I won the auction- so now I had 2. (it really does end, but who knows where?). So I get the second one and right off, I discover that it still has the date code that was stamped underneath the seat AND it has most of an original seat decal still in place – oh my…a prize catch indeed! This thing was made in 1949. Ok, change of priorities… the one from ebay became the project.

I completely disassembled the entire stroller, media blasted everything on this one and primed it. I had the original color matched at Dupont and shot it with color, and then went back and sprayed it with a hardening clear coat. Wow - this thing shines better than my truck did.
It turned out nice…but it has to be just RIGHT. That leaves the decals, buggy bumpers and wooden roller beads to need the same attention.

During the time I was restoring the body parts and the mechanical parts, I was also looking at the various decals that came on them. As I said earlier, the professor sent me a copy of his front decal - it was paper. I suppose I could have glued it on and no one would have been the wiser…but I would know. Ya understand?... and if I’m going to go ‘all out’, the seat decal needed reviving too. So I took the paper front decal down to my local sign shop and had them make one in vinyl. The seat decal was a bit tougher. The wording was not completely readable, but as my good fortune lasted, I kept watching the ebay ads and someone posted the wording from their stroller seat decal and WALLA (that’s a Southern term for “Hot DOG”!) mine made perfect sense. So I took what I had back to the sign shop and after 2 tries, they got the thing just right.

The wooden roller beads (1956 and up used plastic roller beads) sit on a rail around the package tray that sits right in front of the rider. They are something for the rider to play with. As it turned out, Hobby Lobby had fresh wooden beads. All I had to do was drill holes thru them and paint them with a child-safe paint.

The buggy bumpers had rubber tubing over them and the tubing is readily available by using…well…I think I’ll keep that to myself. You never know when I might make up some kits and sell them on ebay for a little walking around money.

So, now you know. I’m the resident expert on Taylor Tot strollers. I reproduced more decals than I needed and have ebay’d a few sets to other restorers. I’ll let you see some of the pictures and you can judge if my efforts paid off….by the way, in my searching, I found that someone had restored one of these, and gold plated the bumpers…and they wanted $3000.00 for it. YIKES!
… but if you really MUST have it… I can think of a price… heh-heh.
EDIT ADDED 10-7-08: Thank you all for your comments. If you would like a response or a question answered, come visit my new Taylor-Tot website at and use the 'contact us' feature. Thank you again and have a very blessed day.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A requested tale - from Christmas 2006

My LD ( ) remembered this story from last year and said I should post it... so, as the wonderful daddy that I am, for your reading pleasure:
The Salvation Army Story – Christmas 2006

This Christmas I decided to do something that I have never done before – be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Brigade. I caught up with the coordinator and got assigned to stand in front of the Wal-Mart store on Old Fort Parkway, on December 22…at the Grocery end, but of course.

Once there, I was just a ringing away and observing all of the people who came by. Old ones, young ones, tall ones, short ones, skinny ones and yes, fat ones, too. It was truly an amazing site to see people who looked as if they needed to keep all the money they could ever get their hands on, drop a dollar in the kettle. Right then and there, I determined to never pass a SA Kettle without putting something into it.

Anyway, about an hour into the shift, I noticed a blonde-headed lady come into the store..and in a little while, she headed out into the parking lot again. Well, in just a couple of minutes, she came back toward the store and was looking all frantic and talking fast on her cell phone. She went into the store and came right back out again. Naturally, her actions had perked up my 'ex-cop antenna', so I watched a bit closer..

She saw me looking her way and came over to me. She said; “Excuse me sir, did you see a little old lady about this tall, wearing a long lavender coat and breathing heavy come into the store?”. For some reason, I immediately pictured a maroon colored coat and I told her “No, I don’t think I did.” She said; “She’s my grandmother and she has bad dementia and we left her in the car to run into the store and when we got back, she was gone. She’s wandering around by herself and I don’t know where she is, I can’t find her”. The lady was very frantic and worried. I told her I would keep an eye out for her granny. So she went back into the store.

Well, as I’m standing there, I threw up a couple of prayers for the safety of her granny and I start thinking about what she said. Then I realized what a geek I was. Lavender is NOT’s a light purplish/pinkish type color. So, I started looking out over the HUGE parking lot…up one aisle, and up the other… and waaay in the back, I see a white-haired lady in a long pinkish coat and she is among 4 or 5 people…then as I keep watching, those people pass by her and she is left standing in the middle of the aisle all by herself.

As soon as I saw what I thought I saw, I hastened back toward the store and the blond-headed lady was coming out - I waved to her and she said “Oh, you found her??” I said, “I’m not sure, but look over those cars and up that aisle, it could be her.” When she saw the white-haired lady, she took off running up the aisle and wrapped her arms around her when she got there.

Needless to say, I was pleased and thanked God for her safe return, and my small part in it.

A short time later, the blonde-haired lady drove up in a Suburban, with the grey-haired lady in the passenger seat, and she thanked me so much… She was happy too.

Bell ringing for the Salvation Army will be part of my Christmas gift to the community from now on.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Santa has arrived

This is not as much a tale about me as it is one of my dear friends.

The Love Of My Life (aka: LOML, wife or CeCe) is the activities director of our antique car club and she came up with the idea of us putting on a Christmas party for our local chapter of Special Kids Inc. My designated role was to be Mr. Claus. Yep...The Man Himself.
(Which I was good for. I actually had the role in my 5th grade Christmas play and almost won an Oscar for it...even tho my only line was "Ho-Ho-Ho". :-) )

But...there are times when things just don't go the way you planned. Last Monday I awoke to the dreaded, but seasonally expected, snotty-nose sniffles. By Wednesday- it had merged into a full-blown sinus attack and it was time to create "Plan B". Notice, I didn't say USE plan B- we didn't have one. This is where my friend comes in.

Ideaguy (aka: IG- more about that later) is a good man and over the past few months, has become a good partner in this adventure called life. He and his wife are walking the same sort of walk that we have been on. (no work- job searching-praying, asking, trusting and believing) Apparently, there is some truth to the adage that 'birds of a feather DO flock together'. Anyway, I asked him to stand in for me as The Man. I didn't know if he would, but I was pleasantly surprised when he agreed.

Well, I got the 'rig' to him and let him know when to be where and Saturday morning rolls around and at the appropriate time, up rolls The One and Only, Santa Claus. Granted, he showed up in a SUV, but hey, it IS 2007. Well, we proceeded to stash him in a back room until some of the kids and their families arrived and here he came- "Ho-Ho-Ho's" all around. The kids went wild! It was really great.

We put the kids on his knee and took individual pictures of them all and IG was really great with the children. You know, some of the kids were in such a condition that they were mostly unresponsive, but IG kept talking to them and helping them feel great if it were possible. It was really a sobering time. Even in the midst of what we see as problems, we are a fortunate and blessed people.

I was talking to IG's LOHL and she said that doing this is a first for him- waaay outside his comfort zone, but she was happy to see him do it. In my world there are no coincidences...God is bigger than all of them...perhaps I needed to be made ill so that IG could/would get 'drafted' to do this. If so, then just pass me another hanky. ;-)

Ideaguy has started his own blog: Put it in your favorites.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Busted: and after only 2 days on the job.

My lovely daughter (henceforth known as "LD") has busted me out and called my first post from the D-Files "gross" ok, maybe it wasn't the best D-File to open right off the bat, but it was true. Trust me, everything I ever write in here will be factual. There were far too many customers that I dealt with to have to make stuff up. :-)

So, let's see if we can find one that wasn't so...uh...gross... Ah, here we are....

One day I got a call from a lady somewhere up in the northeast and she had an unusual problem. She started asking about our dust collectors. (Now, you may not know this but Delta used to have some real nice 2-stage dust collectors that were made by Cincinnati Fan Co. 2-stage simply means that the incoming dust (woodchips, frogs, kids shoes or whatever) gets sucked up into a drum (either a 35 gallon or 55 gallon size), gets slammed around and separates into heavy stuff and light stuff. The heavy stuff falls into the drum and the light stuff blows on into a dust bag that hangs on the side of the unit.)

Her problem was this: she worked at a place that made billiard balls. Yes, those billiard balls- as in 1 thru 15. Anyway, the balls are actually made of a composite that is like a powder and they were thinking of using our dust collectors to collect the dust from a container and then take it to another location nearby and dump it into another container. It didn't sound that complicated, but we started thinking about it... I got her number and told her to let me ponder it for a bit and I'd call her back.

Well, I had a co-worker named Steve (aka 'Spanky'- we've been friends since 1972- best men at each other's weddings: [my 2, his 1] etc.) and I started consulting with him on this deal... eventually we came up with an idea and I called the lady back.

Here's what we came up with: Buy our biggest 2-stage dust collector: cut the drum size down to the shortest that it could be without the insides hitting bottom: run the intake hose into the first container, remove the dust bag and attach an exhaust hose and have it dump into the other container. Basically turn the dust collector into a transfer machine, blowing their composite from one container to the other. With the drum cut down, their material wouldn't have any place to settle. We even drew her a blueprint and sent it to her (I saw the original drawing in my shop a few weeks ago...yea, I'm a packrat when it comes to that sort of stuff).

Boy, she loved it! A few weeks after this, we got a package delivered to Spanky and I at the office. Inside was a very nice letter from the lady thanking us for helping her solve her problem by using our creativity and ability to think outside the Also in the box were two black 7 balls. She said, "These are for 2 of the oddest balls that I've ever met". One for me and one for Spanky.

Yes, I said BLACK 7 balls. If you know pool balls, the black ball is an 8, not a 7.

I think Spanky has lost his, but I have him keeping an eye out for it... as for mine? I drilled a socket in it, used some JB Weld and inserted a nut in the socket and it is now the shift knob in my 1934 Ford hot rod. Yep, I do get some looks and comments..." Wha tha???... that ain't supposed to be a 7- where'd you get that..?"

Gives me another chance to open a D-File.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Looks like I'm in 'business'.

My first post made it and it hasn't vanished into cyberspace. :-)

I guess I can go ahead and start filling up my pages with interesting tales and information, but first I suppose a bit of background is in order.

I created this site to 'expose myself' to those who might be interested in what I have to say. You can ask most anyone that knows me and they will tell you that I have an opinion about lots of stuff. I may not KNOW anything about it, but I can still have an opinion. :-) I believe this is one of those 'heredity deals'. My dad has opinions and isn't shy about expressing them and neither am I (and yes, neither is my lovely daughter).

So, this will be my 'forum' to express opinions, share experiences and tell tales.

It's also going to be the first plank in an idea that I believe was Heavensent - ToolSmartz. I have so many years of experience in working with tools and woodworking machinery in particular, that it would be a shame to keep it all to myself when there is a coming generation that just might need the knowledge. In the grand scheme of things I'm not going to limit this to the youngsters - if you have a question - ask away. I'll do my best to answer it on here. Maybe my answer will be the final puzzle piece for someone else.

Alright, are you ready for tale #1?
Several years ago, during my time as a Technical Service Specialist for Delta, I got a phone call from a fellow who wanted to know if our (Delta) 14" bandsaw would cut asparagus stalks. I had never been asked that before, but I told him that it was doubtful because the water/juices in the stalks would make the blade wet and it would probably slip off the wheels. Fairly logical answer I thought. Well, about 2 days later, I got a call from a fellow who basically asked the same question, but this time, it was about deer meat. Oh, boy, here we go again... Well, I told him that I thought the grease, blood and such would cause the blade to slip off the wheels... it wasn't really practical - I says. Well, believe it or not, a couple of days later I get another 14" bandsaw call...from a woman. She was very evasive in what she was trying to ask- so I finally told her to 'spit it out'. She said "Do you have a weak stomach?" 'Well, not really, especially over the phone'. So, she says "Well, I work for the LA (CA) county morgue and we have homeless people who have died and we need to cut the top of their head off and remove their brain to be able to check the brain base for signs of communicable diseases and we are wondering if your bandsaw can do that".
Well, due to the 2 previous calls, I was well prepared for this one. I told her to call Hobart since they specialize in meat cutting saws.
Just one of the more odd tales from the D-files.

There will be more... :-)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The start of the effort

Well, today's the day - December 1, 2007 - that we start a new chapter in this life. 2007 has already been far more eventful than I could have ever dared imagine. I got laid off for the first time since 1972 and this has been a time that God has shown His greatness in so many ways that I can't even count them all...and He isn't thru yet.
He has many more things in store - more than I can see or predict.
As Job said, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him".
I'll stop for now and see if this actually works.