Sunday, February 10, 2008


Click on the pictures to enlarge.
This is a picture of my Grampa Bill by his gas station. Grampa is on the left, The little girl is Mom, The woman is a renter, she and her husband rented the upstairs of the main house.
This is a picture of my Mom and her dog Buster. You can see the gas station in the background. They tell me that the dog and my mother were inseperable. It must have been hell to be an only childs dog. She had it trained to sit, and wear a hat.
Mom and buster doing what, I don't know.
Grampa Bill loved to garden. This was a little raised bed vegetable garden that he had on the south side of the gas station. He would work in it between fill-ups.
New shipment of Fisk tires.
Grampa, the renter and Buster,he was a very popular dog because he new so many "tricks".
Another picture of Mom and her dog, it was just so cute that I had to put it in! Mom's eighty-five years old now, but if you look hard you can still see that sweet little face on her.
This is how you got legal alcohol during prohibition. I think the hippies call it a 215 card.

When I was a kid growing up in Laytonville, there was nothing that I would rather have done than sit around and listen to the old-folks talk. They used to tell lots of Indian stories, and they would almost always end up talking about prohibition. Alcohol was outlawed from 1920 to 1933. The old timers would still talk about who made the best “hooch”. I never heard it called “Moonshine”. But, every now and then it would come up that, out at my Grampa Bills Service Station, he had “special bottle” marked battery water. The old batteries used to use lots of water, the new ones that we have today are Maintenance free and they don’t use water. Grampa Bill had a whole row of Distilled Battery Water, but I guess one of those Five gallon glass jugs was pure white hooch.

On hot summer evenings they would all gather around Grampa Bills El Primero gas station. They would set up a card table and some chairs in a room behind the office and they would sip hooch and play cards until the cows came home. Grampa dearly loved to play cards. Also he dearly loved his hooch. My mother said that she remembers the card games in the back office but she doesn’t remember the drinking. But, I’ve heard too many stories to ignore.

Grampa’s gas station was unique in that he sold three kinds of gas, Shell, Richfield, and Associated (Flying A). He Sold Fisk Tires, and he always had a good supply. He had a "Loudspeaker" on the service station that could play music to most of the valley.... But that's another post.


Kym said...

I didn't know liquor '215's' existed! Wow!

Your mom and her dog are pretty cute!

suzy blah blah said...

thnx Dr Earnie LOL, i printed teh card out --havin thats gonna help me alot whan i wanna have a glass of red wine on teh astral plane --and it says 'original' rihgt on it, who can argue with a truth like that.?
cheers (hic)

Carol said...

Great photos! I had no idea that there were permits for hooch back during prohibition. Very interesting. Your mom really trained her pet dog well. Did she also train you, Ernie, to sit in a chair and wear a hat when you were a little boy? (Just kidding, Ernie)


EkoVox said...

Shades of the Baldwin sisters on the Waltons. Your Grandpa was kind of the Ike Godsey of his era.

robin shelley said...

Wonder if you could post a picture of the back of the "liquor prescription"... I would love to see it!
Or, if you'd rather, you can get my e-mail from Jimmy & send it to me that way.

Carson Park Ranger said...

These photos are priceless. Thanks for providing the larger versions.


Anonymous said...

HOOCH. Hmmm, I have a book somewhere that tells of the origin of the word 'hooch. I'm sure it was in Alaska. When I saw the title of this blog it caught my attention, limited as it is.
Where I came from it was known as potato whiskey. Just think, that area could have had been known as the Tater Triangle.


Ren said...

I really like the pictures and stories. I definitely recognize your mom as that child.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ern. You blew me away with the photographs, great job - but what you didn't mention was that your grandfather's service station was the first station in Laytonville?
Bill Rathjens was German and he taught all of the children on the ranch to sing "Silent Night" in German.