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George & Virginia Jarvis holding Georgia, 6 months old, at Garage, 202 N. Fourth Street, Sayre, Oklahoma, 1922.


Starting a Garage

Before Daddy’s Army service, he and his brother, Howard, had built a garage and became the distributor for Maxwell and Chalmers, a fine, early automobile. Later, the partnership was dissolved; Howard kept the broom-corn business, and Daddy the garage. The two brothers were never really close friends after that.

After his military duty, Daddy returned to his garage work in Sayre. Incidents that happened at the “garage” are similar to those on the Gasoline Alley comic strip. Often, before selling a car, Daddy had to teach his customers how to drive. He also had to train his servicemen. On one occasion a new hired hand was told to put oil in a car he was servicing. He brought out the oil just after the main mechanic had removed the spark plugs for cleaning. Seeing the empty spark plug holes, he poured the oil there! People were not car “literate” in those days.

The car of an absent-minded professor, a very good friend of Daddy’s, was stalled and he asked Daddy to tow it. After tying a line onto the car, Daddy started to pull him down a sloping road. When his car started, the professor immediately pulled up to Daddy in his car. Daddy, looking out his window, saw his friend at his side. He frantically started motioning him back, but the professor waved a cheery goodbye and gave his car the gas. Fortunately, the line broke and the absent-minded professor drove off.

The classic garage story in our family regards closing time one summer night. Mother had come down to the garage with their two children, Georgia and Billy. Daddy had secured everything for the night and was talking to a good friend, Bill Clay, when it was discovered that “Little Billy” (yours truly) was missing. Everyone was looking and calling but it seemed that Billy had just disappeared. Just before Dad called the police, Bill Clay became the hero when he discovered me curled up inside a truck tire, fast asleep. I still remember Bill Clay as a kind man who always gave me nickels.

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