Friday, May 29, 2020

Collectibles or Junk?

I tend to be a bit of a pack rat…not a hoarder per se, but rather a person who doesn’t easily part with weird or interesting items that some would deem ‘collectibles’.  Of course, others might be more inclined to rename some of my collectibles as ‘junk’. 

As the saying goes, “One Person's Junk Is another Person's Treasure!”  So here are a few miscellaneous ‘collectibles’ that I ‘discovered’ the other day while rooting through drawers in our storeroom…

I have badges!  Lots of badges… In one of my former lives, I was involved in Loss Prevention, (security and safety), at long time retail icon, Montgomery Ward.  I was based at the company’s headquarters in Chicago and my last 3 months were spent helping close down the company as it went out of business after 129 years.
One day I found a pile of old security badges in the trash and the collector in me was inclined to save them.  I probably picked up over 100 old badges.  These are 2 of the fancier ones.  The first one, from Virginia, might have been for store use but was more likely carried by a field investigator or security supervisor. (I have no idea what the ‘P-2’ on the badge stood for)

That second smaller badge is even more shiny and ornate.  It is smaller but this one has its own leather badge case.  It was probably carried by the Mobile store security manager.  That store had closed before I joined the company in 1987.

This is yet another ‘collectible’.  I’m sure this watch from 1993 has almost no value as it doesn’t work!  Still, with the Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer watch face, I couldn’t let it go into the trash.  Not much value though… There is a working model of this same watch on eBay and they are only asking $19.95.

Rudolph was created in 1939 by Robert L. May.  He was on assignment for Montgomery Ward.  The company had been buying and giving away coloring books for Christmas every year and management decided that creating their own book would save money.  May’s daughter liked reindeer and, as a child, he had been treated as an outcast like Rudolph.  “Rollo” and “Reginald” were other names that May considered.  The Montgomery Ward artist who drew Rudolph changed him from a reindeer to a cute white-tail deer in an effort to deflect criticism about the red nose. (A red nose was considered a sign of alcoholism) 

In its first year of publication, Montgomery Ward distributed 2,400,000 copies of Rudolph’s story.  The rest, as the saying goes, ‘is history’!

Moving from fun to mundane… This little object is an advertising hand-out from the Parisian Novelty Company.  The name of the company is a little misleading as it was and is based in Chicago Illinois.  Parisian Novelty Company was founded in 1898.  For more than 100 years, it was the leading manufacturer of button parts, button making machinery and other equipment for companies serving the promotional products industry.  In 2008, the button division of the company was acquired by the Matchless Group, which had been founded in Chicago even a bit earlier…in 1885.

Note the address on the object, 3510 South Western Avenue, Chicago 9, Illinois.  It took me a little to figure out that the ‘9’, referred to the city of  Chicago’s Ninth Ward…

In case you were wondering what this item is, it’s a 24” tape measure.  Despite the company’s then current focus on plastic buttons, (promotional, campaign, souvenir, etc.), the measuring tape’s case is metal.  The spring is still working and there is a stop lever on the side to hold the cloth measuring tape at whatever length is being measured.  I have no idea when this object was produced but I’d guess that Parisian Matchless could tell me if I asked…

Sticking with Chicago for one more ‘collectible’, this is a souvenir folder from “A Century of Progress International Exposition, aka, The Chicago World’s Fair.  This iteration of the World’s Fair was held from 1933 to 1934 in the midst of the Great Depression.  It was a celebration of the city’s centennial and its theme was technological innovation.  Fair visitors saw the latest developments in science and industry, including autos, rail travel, architecture and even cigarette-smoking robots.

Despite the Great Depression, by the time the Fair closed, a total of 48,469,227 visitors had viewed the exhibits…and picked up their souvenirs. 

So what was inside this folder?

What did you expect!?  When I first picked this item up, I was a bit stunned and not a little disappointed when I discovered that it was full of various sizes and types of sewing needles… At least it is colorful!

This ‘needle kit’ was just one of the vast number of Century of Progress souvenirs that visitors could buy…or that were sometimes given out.  Other examples include: picture books; postcards; photo collections; bottle jacks and openers; stamps; mini steins; mugs; art deco bracelets; keys to the city; bookmarks; ashtrays; brass bowls; train sets; pocket watch fobs; FDR brass tokens/coins; playing cards; cigarette cases; spoons; Belgian tapestry; umbrellas and; cast iron pencil holders.  That is just to name a few examples! 
Interested?  Just cruise the exhaustive listing of souvenir items listed on eBay!

I did find a couple of my needle folders for sale and mine won’t help me much with the cost of retirement… It was listed for $6.99 plus $1.75 for shipping!  But, I did have many more needles in my folder! 

If you’d like to learn more about Chicago’s Century of Progress/World’s Fair, just go to

This picture shows one of the busy locks in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.  I have no idea where I obtained this print either…but I found a nearly identical picture on the internet while researching ‘whaleback’ ships.  While this photo identified the lock as the Weitzel Lock, the identical photo, which is in color, identifies it as the Poe Lock.  The Weitzel Lock was built in 1881 and the larger Poe Lock was built in 1896.  That large building is the administration building and it was completed in 1897…so I’m guessing that this probably is the Poe Lock.  This was a busy scene… As early as 1893, over 12,000 ships passed through the Locks!

The whaleback design vessels were initially intended as easy-to-tow barges and they evolved into powered freighters in their own right.  They were usually used for carrying grain or ore.  When fully loaded, the ship looked like a whale’s back.  A total of 44 of these vessels were built between 1887 and 1898.

The whaleback Charles W. Wetmore, built in 1891, was the first Great Lakes Vessel to leave the lakes.  She shot the St. Lawrence River’s rapids in doing so!  She traveled on to Liverpool England, then subsequently returned to New York and from there steamed around Cape Horn to Everett Washington.

         ·         A shipyard was built in Everett Washington with the intention of building additional whaleback ships.  Only one was ever built.  The City of Everett was completed in 1894 and it sailed for 29 years, becoming the first American steamship to navigate the Suez Canal and the first American steamship to circumnavigate the globe!

         ·         The only remaining whaleback designed ship is the SS Meteor (formerly the Frank Rockefeller)  This 380 foot long ship was built in 1896 and it was finally retired in 1969.  It is now a museum ship in Superior Wisconsin.

These 2 photos are the front and back covers of a 22 page 1940 Ironrite advertising booklet.  Ironrite was a well-known household appliance name brand especially during the 1940s and 1950s.  Originally based in Detroit Michigan, the business was established in 1911 as a machine shop.  It was originally named the Sperlich and Uhlig Company, (the founder’s names), but it was changed to the Ironrite Ironer Company in 1927.  The first Ironrite ironers were actually built in 1921 and Detroit’s J.L. Hudson Department Store was the product’s first retail dealer.

The Ironrite Ironer was later manufactured in Mount Clemens Michigan from the mid-1940s until 1961 when the plant was closed down as demand waned.  At its peak, the company was producing as many as 400 units per day and many home laundry rooms were equipped with one of these ironing machines!  The popularity of permanent press clothing was partly responsible for the end of this product’s popularity.

The automatic ironer, also called a mangle, was an electric appliance that used a roller and a cast-iron shoe to press clothing. Company brochures promised homemakers that an Ironrite ironer could take them away from the "nerve-racking method of lifting, pushing and pulling a heavy, hot hand iron back and forth hundreds of times to complete an ironing." A popular home appliance in the era before permanent-press clothing, the Ironrite could be found in many home laundry rooms.

The theme or selling point for these ‘automatic ironers’ was that they eliminated housewives from their ‘hardest home drudgery, hand ironing!  These machines, also called a mangle, used a roller and a cast-iron shoe to press clothing.  As you can see from the picture on the first page shown above, now housewives could “iron sitting down”…”in a comfortable natural position”!  Several different models were available over the years and even the chair, (called a ‘health chair’ by Ironrite), was available to the company’s customers.  

As you can see in the second picture above, you could see the product demonstrated at your favorite store and they even offered home demonstrations.  My favorite offer though is that if you took your ironing to an Ironrite Dealer, they would iron it for free as part of their demonstration of the ironer!

An Ironrite ‘Health Chair’ constructed with steel and lacquered plywood is part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City!

Ironrite Ironers and accessories have been slow to fade from the scene and many units are still in use.  Many of these ironers (in working order) and related accessories are offered for sale on eBay.  Manuals and books range from $9.99 and up, better ironers range from $250 to over $300 each and a ‘rare’ Model 88 Ironrite ironer in a Mahogany Cabinet is priced at $750.  Check out the items for sale at eBay… Just click on

The items I’ve included in this post are certainly not big money items…but I enjoy having them and I like the history behind them.  I’ll just hold onto the collection, and someday, hopefully many years from now, my son David II will have to figure out what to do with dad’s accumulation of all these dang ‘collectibles’.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Stimulating the Economy and More…

We certainly have done our best to help stimulate America’s economy!  It certainly needs everyone’s help and that’s a fact… Covid-19/coronavirus has laid waste to what was a booming growth period in our history. 

Well, we started out the year helping out the local economy with the dental profession…and some ‘fun’ oral surgery.  Then we had a new roof installed.  That was followed by brand new gutters and, along the way, our heating, ventilation and air conditioning service picked up some added and unplanned income as well. 

But we weren’t done! 

It all started when our neighbors built their new house on the garage side of our home…  Without consulting them, the builder leveled all the trees on their lot.  That side of our house was along the edge of the woods and most of it was moss covered.  It was like having a green carpet year around. 

As you can see from the photos, the moss is gone and erosion had badly impacted this section of our rear side yard.  Not only was it ugly, but the new pattern of rain runoff was washing out any mulch and had created a ‘no-grow’ zone.

So…one day just a couple of weeks ago, this pick-up truck backed down our driveway and began unloading stones, rocks and small boulders of various sizes.  Bag after bag of mulch followed.  Then came some flat stepping stones… Several trips were needed to get all of the materials.

These photos show what work was done to 1) create an area for Laurie’s new plantings, 2) stop the erosion, 3) improve the appearance of our yard, and 4) create a stepping stone walk way toward our back yard.  

The stepping stones still need to be spaced properly and set into the soil so they are stable.  In addition, we need to plant grass between the stones once they are permanently in place.  We did have to have our sprinkler system service pay us a visit to change out a sprinkler head in order to allow us to water this area when the hot and dryer weather is upon us…

We’ve had 2 or 3 heavy rains since this work was done and it appears that the drainage/wash out problem has been properly addressed.  The staggered half-moon stone ‘dams’ by each of the plantings were the key to success.    

When we had a service clean off the old gutters last year, one of their ladders broke off part of this Japanese Maple Tree and damaged a significant limb.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  We just used some painters tape to bind the damaged branch together, hoping to save it.  As you can see by the second photo, when we took the tape off a week or so ago, you can still see where the damage was but since there is growth beyond the damage, the tape must have done the job…

I’m using the first photo…which was taken when the roof was being installed…to show just how dark and dirty our driveway was.  It sat under a number of hickory trees and having it cleaned was basically a waste of time.  

Now, with almost all of the trees gone, I decided it would be worth-while to have it scrubbed.  The company that did the rock work also cleaned the driveway for us…

Now for a look around the yard at some recent flowering scrubs and blooms.  Just lately, we learned that this is a flowering wild privet.  Since the flowers looked great and smelled so nice…from anywhere in the yard…we’d assumed that they were honeysuckle bushes.

A privet is a flowering plant that contains about 50 species of both deciduous and evergreen shrubs.  They sometimes form small or medium-sized trees.  The leaves or bark of Chinese privets are used in herbal medicine to treat diarrhea, stomach ulcers, bowel problems, chapped lips, sore mouths and throats and as a wash for skin problems.  The leaves and bark also make a useful tea for improving appetite and digestion for chemotherapy patients.  On the negative side, some species are considered an invasive species here in North America.

Laurie’s front flower bed is a riot of color this spring.  Right now there is a mix of pansies interwoven with pretty little red drift roses and the bright yellow Stella de Oro re-blooming day-lilies.  A little later on, her purple cone flowers will bloom.  Both the Stella de Oro day-lilies and the cone flowers are favorites for the butterflies.  In addition to blooming and then re-blooming, the day-lilies are also deer resistant.
That’s about all for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day – 2020

This post is intended to honor of all the brave men and women in the military who are and who have served our country so that the rest of us can live our lives in freedom.  This tribute also honors the memory of my father, Ronald Allen Myers…

This picture of my father in uniform was taken in the United States not too long before he was shipped overseas.  Although he enlisted soon after WWII began, due to various state-side postings and advanced training, he didn’t board a ship for the journey to Europe until early 1945.

This is my dad, Ronald Allen Myers’ grave at the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial.  This 113 acre cemetery is located less than a mile north of the town of St. Avold France and it’s no more than 3 – 4 miles from the border with Germany.

This cemetery is the final resting place for 10,489 soldiers.  Every state in the Union as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. is represented by members of our military who gave their lives in their country’s service…

This photo includes one of my dad’s high school graduation photos (looking serious), his folded and huge 48-star burial flag from Europe and his Purple Heart Medal.  He was killed in action on May 6, 1945.  The War in Europe officially ended 2 days later… I was 2 years and a little less than 10 months old.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any memories of my father.

Thanks to all past and present members or our military
and God Bless America!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Socializing and Critters Too!

What was the mundane in our days and weeks is no longer so… Any deviation from the pandemic norm is a welcome diversion from virtual ‘house arrest’.  Still, at my age and with some health concerns too, the option of getting out and about is both tempting and a bit scary as well.  So, for the moment, we’re sticking with our self-isolation.

As I write this, we are in Day 67 of our ‘home-stay’ due to Covid-19…

We’d seen a lot of mama rose-breasted grosbeak but when papa had visited previously, he was in and out in a hurry so photos just didn’t happen.  This time he didn’t seem to be in a hurry and Laurie was able to capture several photos of this colorful bird.

Did you know that rose-breasted grosbeaks have an average maximum lifespan of over 7 years in the wild and that they can live up to 24 years in captivity?  The highest recorded age for one of these birds in the wild is almost 13 years.

Other than a couple of short ‘drive-way safe-distance’ conversations and one back deck ‘socially distanced’ experience at our house, our social life has ‘tanked’, all thanks to Covid-19.  We were excited on this particular day as our friends Larry and Bev had invited us over to their covered patio for a little happy hour experience!  

Larry is a fellow blogger.  You can check out his blog postings at (

Love the plantings at their driveway entrance…  The pampas grass is nicely contrasted by the knock out roses.

Flowers, flowers everywhere!  This was one of the lovely bouquets that Bev had arranged and that greeted us on our arrival to the ‘happy hour’ patio…

We’d only seen Bev and Larry once since Covid-19 and our stay-at-home self-isolation experience began. (That was when they made a driveway drop off consisting of terrific yeast rolls and deviled eggs) This was actually the first instance that we’d ever spent any time on this nicely designed outdoor space.  Sure was good seeing people somewhere other than at our house!

We needed some substance to help us along as we consumed a couple bottles of wine.  Larry furnished some vegetable and shrimp spring rolls with plum sauce, wasabi or spicy mustard.  In addition to some wine, we brought a batch of Laurie’s deviled eggs. (She uses Dijon mustard and small capers in the mixture)

Here was another beautiful bouquet on the patio…

Bev’s sister Pat came by as well but my photo of the two of them didn’t come out well.   Our kudos to Larry, Bev and Pat for helping out friends in need.  Once a week Bev and Larry cook dinner for them.  When the meal was ready to go, Pat made the delivery… Very nice indeed!

This great looking Sweet Bush or Aphrodite is situated right next to their patio.  Its flowers are beautiful!  This showy sweet bush variety with its glossy foliage and beautiful apple-like scented flowers is perfect for planting near an outdoor living space.  The long-lasting flowers are great for floral arrangements and the bush is deer resistant too!

One of Larry and Bev’s neighbors, Steve and Pat, raise these striking Belted Galloway (Oreo) cattle.  They’re in a pasture right across the road.

The Belted Galloway is a Scottish breed of high-quality beef cattle.  They have adapted to live on the poor upland pastures and windswept moors of Scotland.  The origin of these cattle probably ties back to cross-breeding between native Galloway cattle and the Belted Dutch ‘Lakenvelder’ breed.  As of 2015, there were more than 18,000 registered Belted Galloway cattle in the USA.

Laurie was able to capture these nice photos of a Red Bellied Woodpecker visiting our feeders.  When he arrives for a snack, he really hits the feeders with some force and any other birds scatter.

These medium-size woodpeckers breed mainly in the Eastern USA but they do range as far south as Florida, as far north as north central Canada and as far west as the eastern portion of Montana.  The name is somewhat misleading as the most prominent red part of the plumage is on the head.  However, in the first photo you can see part of the ‘red belly’.  These woodpeckers eat insects, fruits, nuts and seeds.  Much to the ‘delight’ of some homeowners, they also like to drum to attract mates, frequently using metal roofs and gutters!

This is Fiona!  She is a new addition to our neighborhood, having just been rescued by our next door neighbors, Sherry and Mike.  She already likes Laurie a lot!  But, I’m guessing that a man mistreated her in her previous life as she’s a bit nervous and shy in the presence of any man.  Those worries will pass as she learns that no harm will come to her via the new men in her life.

So, since she’s not our dog, why am I so happy to see her?  The reason is simple.  Laurie can be Fiona’s aunt and get a regular ‘dog fix’ without us actually owning one of our own.  That is perfect!  Thanks Sherry!!

That’s all for now.  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Eggs, Eggs and More Eggs!

I love breakfast and something with eggs is my preference, although I will go for a bit of variety between my usual early mornings ‘protein’.  Monday morning for example, Laurie made us some corn bread.  Add butter and/or jam and we’re happy folks.  Usually, she just goes for her yogurt and granola mix.

However, this post is all about the following ‘egg-centric’ breakfasts.    

We had some leftover baked potatoes so for this morning's repast, I sliced up and fried the potatoes in butter. (No seasoning needed as they’d been rubbed with Costco’s Steak Seasoning before baking.  Fry up a bit of Jimmy Dean’s Hot (Spicy) Sausage, add 2 over-easy eggs and toast with Amish butter and it was a great breakfast.

Love the Jimmy Dean sausage/breakfast products ads, the one’s that start with “Hi, I’m Jimmy Dean and I wish I could tell you…” I’ll bet he would like to be able to ‘tell us’ but he passed on in 2010.  The Sara Lee Corporation had bought Jimmy Dean’s company in 1984 and had dropped him from their ad campaigns in 2004, allegedly because he was ‘too old’.  Curiously, in 2018, Sara Lee started re-airing some of his old ads…must be working as they’ve continued using his voice or someone whose voice resembles him in current ad campaigns.  

I am famous…at least in my mind and in Laurie’s opinion…for my moist and cheesy scrambled eggs.  I use 3 – 4 eggs, lots of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, slivered Manchego cheese, some cream cheese and then a little half and half milk.  I add pepper to the mix and then I cook it slowly in a frying pan, making sure that it stays moist.

I did screw up on Mother’s Day though… I decided that I’d ‘up my game’ and I added a heaping tablespoon of Boursin cheese with garlic in it.  Laurie was not happy!  I liked it but Laurie gave me 5 demerits for the finished product!  She asked me "Why would you change what I asked for!?"  Bad David! 

So…Laurie loves to eat her scrambled cheese eggs on buttered toast or an English muffin.  Her juice with two half slices of toast or two halves of an English muffin…and that’s it.

During the same meal as shown above with Laurie’s cheese eggs on toast, I added some leftover fried chicken slices that I’d re-fried in butter to heat them up.  Excellent! (FYI, the reddish spots on the chicken are drops of Tabasco)

A couple of posts ago I’d included a breakfast using Hormel’s sausage crumbles. (Very bland flavored) Well, one day last week I discovered that I had some left in the bag.  I also realized that I had one more small baked potato that needed my ‘attention’.  Fry them together with a bit of spice, add two easy over eggs and my day was off to a terrific start.  

FYI, Laurie and I both agree that one or two of her leftover baked potatoes, originally oiled and coated with Costco's Steak Seasoning, make the very best fried breakfast potatoes ever!

As the pandemic continues, now and then we do look for a bit of breakfast (actually meal) variety.  Laurie decided that she’d put together a quiche one morning!  We used Egg Beater, a bit of spinach, Jimmy Dean spicy sausage, mozzarella cheese plus half and half milk and the spices called for in the recipe she followed.  This was what it looked like when it was ready to go into the oven.   

Here is the finished product!  Looking good…firmed up with the sausage on top browning up just a bit.

This was Laurie’s plate with the quiche.  It was firm enough and moist enough.  We both thought that it was pretty darn good for a first attempt.  In the future, she said that she’d add more spinach and change out the spices called for to better fit our tastes.  Very filling and none of it went to waste!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave