and Mr. Brown...
by Ed Rosek
Mr. Brown in the A&W Drive-In
I have many fond memories of the A&W drive-in, as well as Brown's Electric.
I always loved the curly fries at A&W and the Root Beer was the best!
Not only that, but I remember the lions very well.
It's sad to think they were confined to that small den and the hundreds of times people parked there and looked at them, sometimes with their headlights on at night (I was guilty, too). It was a different time then, and hopefully the lions are in a better place now (Lion Heaven, that is).
As for Brown's Electric, I have great memories of that place as well.
Here's my short story about that:
As teens, we did everything we could to make money.
One day my friend Alan told me that Brown's would buy copper. So, we would go everywhere we could to find copper wiring and pipe. Brown's would buy it from us for a few bucks… just enough to go get a burger and fries next door at A&W.
Then we found out Brown's would buy scrap steel.
Alan and his brother Wade's father had an old Ford pickup with a stand-up winch in the back; probably for lifting motors or such. Well, we used that truck and winch to go collect every kind of steel we could find. Including motor blocks, rear axles and various other discarded steel we could find in the Mt. View area from where we lived on Irwin street at McPhee.
We were in the big time now!
We got much more money than we got for the small amount of copper we'd found, though it took lots of hard work to do it. I think, if memory recalls, that we were getting about $10 a load for our steel. Good money for kids in 1968-69.
Then came the big bonanza.
Living next to Elmendorf Air Force base, we spent those young teen years running around in the forest south of the base from Ship Creek to where it abuts Mt. View (no fences back then).
Well, one day we crossed Ship Creek and found a military vehicle dump area.
It was full of World War II leftovers. Some Jeeps, trucks and what we figured must have been armored personnel carriers. So, being kids, of course we played in and around them.
One of us, I don't remember who, noticed that the inside radiators were made of copper! Well, THAT was the big bonanza.
Next visit to the dump, we brought wrenches and easily removed one of them. They were huge and weighed a lot, so it was a struggle to get them back up to Mt. View, and over to Brown's Electric.
I don't remember who worked there when we brought them in, but it was probably Mr. Brown himself.
I distinctly remember him asking where we got the huge copper radiator and that we told him we'd found it close to our home in Mt. View. We didn't want to let on, of course, that it was from the equipment junkyard on Elmendorf.
He weighed it, and we were shocked: “I can give you $20 for this radiator” he said.
We had just hit a gold mine!
I think he paid us 50¢ a pound, which probably meant the radiators weighed about forty pounds, give or take. They sure were heavy to lug around.
Well, we never let on where we got the radiators–and we went back there over and over, and took them all. I believe we sold Mr. Brown seven or eight of them.
Those were some great times, and now, fantastic memories.
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