Thursday, May 28, 2009

A blast from the past

Don't worry folks, I'm still around—just haven't had the creative spark this week, much less the time to do any writing of substance, so in the interim, here's a nice little placeholder...

Back when I was young, one of my favorite things about family road trips was all the gas stations we passed and/or stopped at, and especially all the different colorful logos on the signs.  I was reminded the other day of a chain of stations that once existed in the St. Louis area called Zephyr.  I don't know which was cooler—their name or their logo.  To the best of my knowledge, the company existed until sometime in the '90s, but I could be mistaken.

Zephyr was the lone service station in my mom's hometown of Valmeyer, Illinois (population 700—SALUTE!), about 30 miles south of St. Louis, not far from the Mississippi River.  It looked very similar to the one in this photo—31 cents a gallon?!?  You're breaking my heart!!  Anyway, that station was also one of the few surviving structures in Valmeyer in the aftermath of the Great Flood of '93, which wiped out most of the town, including my uncle's house, my mom's high school and the church my parents were married in about half a mile away.  The townspeople (including my uncle) who decided to remain took Stevie Wonder's advice and moved to higher ground, as Valmeyer was literally relocated about a mile away atop the bluffs that once overlooked the original town from the east.


dr sardonicus said...

Someone else knows where Valmeyer is. Cool. It's also fairly close to Belleville, where I grew up. IIRC, the last time I was in the old town, in '91, they had a Phillips 66 station as well. The decision to rebuild Valmeyer on higher ground is truly an amazing story and a testament to the fortitude of their citizens.

Brian Holland said...

And I bet you already knew that former Major League pitcher Ray Rippelmeyer was born and raised in Valmeyer--he went to school with my mom. Rip pitched briefly in the Majors in the '50s and was later a coach, mainly with the Phillies in the '70s.