Signal Station Prospective…..#43 (the 50’s)

A typical neighborhood Signal Station

A typical neighborhood Signal Station

Siren wailing,  the sound echoing from the bike  bellowing its approach down Shone Ave,  getting closer to Ed’s Signal  Station across Mountain Blvd.  that  evening hour.    The high school group that had gathered around the modified cars with their header pipe covers having been removed,  quickly began turning off their ignitions silencing the deep-throated engine sounds emitting from the by-passed mufflers.   The teenage gathering waiting in anticipating for an appearance by a representative of  local law enforcement, presuming someone having complained about the noise.  Heads turning toward the oncoming sound,  a nervous shuffle detected among the group,  save one,  Ted Riley, the older high school graduate who worked evenings at the Signal Station,  he knew that it was only Gary and his bike siren.  Ted having graduated from Bishop O’Dowd Catholic High School, the newest school in Oakland,  a member of its second graduating class.  He worked weekends and evening from five till ten, being the only station employee in addition to Ed Fletcher the owner.   Ted upon hearing the siren screaming down the hill,  having heard it many times before deemed to enjoyed watching the hot rod group scramble.

The whaling sound of a siren coming down Shone Ave.

The wailing sound of a siren coming down Shone Ave.

Gary released the cord fastened to the latch which swiveled the bike siren against the tire,  the sound coming to an abrupt end.   He pedaled across Mountain Blvd to the station among the puzzled gathering and promptly discovered,  he wasn’t the most popular person in the assembly. The teenager was spending more time at the station in the evenings,  revealing a new-found interest deeming Ted’s 1950 red Oldsmobile convertible with its leather seats was a work of art.  Ted having yet to modify the engine from stock, but having glass pack twin mufflers and air-lifts shocks installed in the rear to give a forward rake appearance. This gleam producing car was another reason for the young lad to pursue a different tack, making a decision to approach Ed Fletcher about a position as an attendant or helper.   Gary was disappointed with the explanation, the teen would have to be older to pump fuel for reasons of the insurance, but could perform the other customer service task,  windshields, check the oil, tire pressure, general shop cleanup.  There was one major a difficulty,  the station didn’t need another employee.

Ed’s Signal Station was a neighborhood business, patronized mostly by  local residence and the staff  and visitors of Oak Knoll Naval Hospital 1/2 mile down the road.   The two lane meandering Mountain Blvd. wasn’t considered a major thru way,  but it was used by those in Hayward or San Leandro wanting to bypass Oakland’s congested traffic when going to Richmond,  the North Bay or Caldecott Tunnel to Orinda and Martinez.   Gary understood the employment situation  having an awareness of the stations business aspect and volume.   His spring enrollment to Castlemont High was approaching and for the time being it would be best to maintain the status quo and continue to hang out and be of some help to Ted, besides just to be around the 50 Olds boasted his anima.

Setting aside his employment situation he reasoned some ambitions need to go undiscovered until fulfilled,  the solution to employment would come with time.


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