36.Fire Station Corner of Coke
Can't tell you the guys names, nor can't tell you fire station number. Is blue not but used to be whole in 1960s/70s. Lots of glass down the Coke street side, often have wondered if these guys got glimpse of the guy who killed my KAYO friend. When the fire engine came out, you could easily hear it from our house. Sometimes we would chase it, other times if busy playing Hot Wheels or marbles, well, let it go. The firemen at this place I would press my face on their front door screen and look inside.
Spick & span place, they were usually playing cards, watching tv, reading book, sort of boring but that is what they did. A number of times they would ask me in, and ask if I wanted to walk to Beil's for them and buy a box of crackers for 19 cents "keep the change" I was on it. The louvers storm windows still there as is the steeple on roof. Go drive by check it out if in the area. The firemen were always professional, and one time, don't tell momma, they even gave me bowl of chili. To a kid who was always hungry since we didn't have much food, would have been fool to turn that down.This small firehouse had ONE garage door, and a older 1950s fire engine that the guys kept spectacularly pristine shined like a marble in a goat's ass. Inside the firehouse itself, and to the Coke street side, their beds, and kitchen towards back, along with bathroom, shower too. The beds were (to me) spartan, as Firemen were Kings to a kid. These guys should be on gold thrones. But no, just old run of mill beds, but still light years better than what we attempted to sleep on in our crappy house. I do not know when this fire station closed, but not only did it serve a purpose in a hardscrabble and down on luck neighborhood in 1960s, the men (never lady women firemen here) but the men who worked here were really community oriented, even ran into some of them at Knights of Columbus Hall across street. I don't think any of them ever went into Lucky Lady Lounge across street though as all of them had their teeth.
Photo #1. The small fire station at corner of Coke & Leopard sits closed up now. Not sure when it closed. The cool bell tower still there. To the left is where KAYO gas station was. The garage door of the station not biggest, but it had a modern fire truck in 1960s, probably a 1950s type.
Photo #2. This haunting image is what fire fighters and EMS folks go thru daily. I remember my dad saying 'well they only work sometimes' to which to me meant they only work a few hours a week but get paid full. But when people, kids die in fires, car wrecks, suicides wherever these guys needed, it is just not like you can 'leave it there' and go back to station about your business. The faces, fatalities, burned buildings, houses, stay with you. I don't think my dad understood that in 1960s, and a lot of folks don't now.
Photo #3. The little firehouse on Leopard not upstairs/downstairs, so none of the stuff you see on television where guys run, hit the pole slide down to firetruck coats and boots on. No, was one floor, rather sparse, and well, sort of no privacy unless you went to kitchen or bathroom. Place was always spic and span just like shiny Corpus Christi firetruck! I didn't mention that in the kitchen, it was sort of oversize with large table enough to seat ten, but this place I recall had 3-6 guys any given time.
Photo #4. The firetruck that called this small station home looked like this. I do not know my fire trucks, I do know my vintage cars and REALLY know my AMC cars. But not firetrucks, this is a Seagraves unit, and the firetruck had these type shiny horns, sirens, and sport lights, and only one big red cherry on top. And as I recall, was open top.
Photo #5. Over FIFTY YEARS later I still like firemen and not uncommon for me to step in front of one in Houston restaurants and buy their meal! And know a number of The Villages crew, hey, they parked their fire truck near my classic 1968 American Motors convertible Machine, not other way around. All of them are big old car fans and have seen a number of my classic cars. Damn, those guys can eat, sometimes I joke about what all in their baskets inside the HEB at I-10 & Bunker Hill but they let me know they shop most times.. for the week. And they know over 50 years ago I would run to Beil's in Corpus Christi with quarter tightly I hand to buy saltine 19 cent crackers for fireman. They probably have heard damned story dozen times.
At a later date found out after 50 years this was Fire