28 & 29 Gulf Radiator & Sandlins Radiators
GULF RADIATOR. Ironic that it is called Eddie's now as I spent a lot of time there, mostly riding bike under the metal tin roof on Doss side. There was, probably still is a cement anthill thing sticking up from cement next to sewer, if you hit it just right with bike, could go airborne. Amazing Gulf Radiator still around. Nice people worked here, and nicest of them all was a really tall fellow named Mister Pena. I can't put that little wavy thing above the N so bear with me. He was a tall fellow with graveled face. Nice smile. To all us kids in the neighborhood he was a god. Inside Gulf radiator was a big pool of stinky water, maybe 10 feet by 10 feet. They would fix radiators, seal them, then dip them in this old water to look for leaks, also to cool the damned things off after they welded them. The smell of sauder 50+ years later can close eyes and see this wonderful gentleman standing there with goggles on fixing things. Well, if he had time, he would take our bike tires and pump them with air, and drop in water to see where leak. He fixed many a tire for the poor kids in neighborhood, myself included. Not that my dad could not do that, which he did, it is just Mister Pena had big stinky pool with stagnant murky mystery water! What else was in there? Snakes? Monsters? Chupacabras??!!?? Bottom line he also did some of our bikes, WELDED them, or customized them when he had time, boss said it was fine as a number of parents were also customers. A good man with a smirky type smile, I will say a prayer for Mister Pena tonight in Houston, may God Bless you, world would be better place with more Mister Penas. There is a old iron pipe next to fireplug still standing as a solemn reminder of 50 years ago in 2019, the pipe used to have a Gulf Radiator sign that hung out over curb into Leopard. Was funny to be dropped off if I caught bus, as bus would swerve around it.
SANDLINS: The iconic blue building used to be white. The diamonds still there at top either side, we never did find out if real diamonds. In the barrio, ghetto, whatever you wish to call it, rumors and gossip can spread quickly. Sometimes too quickly. Someone one day in 1960s these were real diamonds, so parents and kids alike would walk over to look up. Sandlin's somehow was related to whoever owned Gulf Radiator back in the day. Nice guys, sort of cowboy guys. You walk in, the place sold nothing by new radiators: Daniels; also radiators I am familiar with like Blackstone & Modine of which a number of my classic AMC cars STILL have originals in them. Not from Sandlin's but from factory in Kenosha. This place had a really neat little water cooler with big bottle upside down, and when you pushed button to fill your little cone pyramid cup, big bubbles BLORT, BLORT! to the top of clear bottle. Cold water, we knew all in the neighborhood where to find cold water whether fountains or these bottles.
They also had penny gumball machine, cheaper than Beils across street, sometimes stale but penny. Between Sandlin's & Gulf Radiator there is a driveway. If you followed it straight back, you ended up in Mondo's driveway & both rabago family. Walk thru both oyster shell driveways, and at back of fence there was some boards you could peel back, and end up in MY backyard.
There were two cool houses, behind Sandlin's, I thinjk one of the owners lived there, mayb both. Small duplex, probably both 2 bedroom efficiencies.
At the back of Sandlin's was a "Y" shaped drain for roof, you could toss oranges in it and thump, thump, they come out at bottom like 10 foot gumball machine. But if you missed tossing it in top, they go on top of roof of Sandlin's and never seen again.Photo #1. Gulf Radiator with Sandlin's next to it in background. I lived with family at end of lonely Doss street in right. The pole I mentioned that hung into traffic for busses to swerve around still there, it is one next to fireplug, if you drive by, wave at it for me.
Photo #2 Sandlin's used to be white, now blue. To the left was filled to brim with Coca Cola trucks loaded with new sodas ready for delivery. Now some sort of scrap yard. Nice little building has withstood test of time and hurricanes.
Photo #3 Between Sandlin's & Gulf Radiator this was our shortcut. No one ever bitched about us cutting thru either in 1960s/70s. There was oyster shell and at back you simply walked to right where driveway ended, under tree and in Rabago's back yard basically! There was a pretty blonde lady with all her teeth that that lived in one of the two small apartments or whatever you call them back there. Farrah type smile!