Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Big Ol' Yard of Junk: Home Sweet Home

What can you see in these two pictures? Find anything unusual? Bet you do!

-Just by looking at the front, you wonder "What the hell is this place?! A bright sunny yellow wrecking ball sitting in the garden? A prescription sign? A barrel? A thingy from a boat? What gives!?"

-Well, just behind this gate lies a land of awe, amazement, wonder & inspiration (& loads of junk). I spent most of my life here. The Rockman was born here. My WDCC sculptures are kept here. I draw here, work here, sleep here & relax here all at the same time. This is Freeport Auto Parts & Wrecking (FAW for short), my father's business, & my second home.

-On the other side of the first gate is a gallery of license plates. One from every state & even a few foreign ones (Thailand, Germany, China, etc.)

-Signs galore! & this is only a few. We got literally dozens upon dozens of signs. New ones come in every week. In fact, a Quizzno's sign just came in the other day.

-Talk about being driven up the walls!

-Whattaya know? Random crap hanging around! An old Pepsi machine, a 1-Hour photo sign, an old Coke machine, a payphone, a hook, a pulley, a rooster & dozens of road signs.

-Hey, it's a lot better than looking at bare tractor trailers & containers. This place used to look like an abandoned boat yard years ago, but thanks to friends, dumpers & the miracle that is eBay, it now looks like either the Sunset Strip in Las Vegas or a poorly decorated Christmas set-up.

-In fact, these containers contain (get it?) thousands of car parts, all neatly organized & tagged for selling. From starter motors & AC compressors to windshield wiper fluid bottles & gas tanks. Everything under the sun can be found here, automotive or not.

-A better view of the first two containers. The bottom container is filled with batteries. Inside the top container you can see milk crates upon milk crates, each filled to the brim with car switches, knobs, handles, levers & buttons.

-Here's an interesting piece of work. There's nothing worse than a nuclear sub disobeying traffic laws.

-Don't worry, that torpedo is a DUD, clean empty. Well, not entirely. Instead of being filled with high explosive, there is now a family of birds nesting inside there, with newly-born baby chicks inside.

-OK, check out this piece of work. It's like playing 'I Spy'. You know what... before we continue on with of the tour, let's play 'I Spy', shall we? Can you see what I see? What can you find? A toilet? An old-fashioned washing machine? A traffic light? A wind vane? A gas pump?
-How'd you do?
-I bet none of those items I listed caught your eye first, right? What got your attention here? The huge Jeweler's sign/clock? The giant stuffed Santa Claus? Maybe it was the BAR sign? Could've been the basketball hoop (we've got the best team in 4 counties). Or it might've been that giant yellow ice cream cone.
-My favorite piece in this pic happens to be that mangled JFK airport sign. A few years ago, that sign stood on a corner, right behind a runway. One day, that sign was ripped apart by the massive thrust from the engines of a 747 that got a little too close. Cool, huh? I'm glad it finally made it's home here instead of the scrap heap. It fit's in pretty well here, I think.
-Here's a better view of the container in the last pic. A huge "Hershey's" ice cream shoppe sign... some Evinrude outboard motors... Santa Claus... again... sitting on the crapper... hanging there...
-Now in this picture, forget about Santa & check out that nifty bar sign with a few "less than mint" sport trophies standing on top.
-A piece of my grandpa's old boat...
-The great thing about this place is just seeing the looks on people's faces when they see this place. They're like Alice stepping into Wonderland. They look completely lost. They don't know whether they're coming or going around here. It's hilarious!
-Funny story... once we had this guy come in getting his car worked on in the shop & he saw a sign that said "E & N Coffee Shop" hanging up down the yard. He said to our mechanic "I'll be right back, I'm just gonna go get myself a cup a' coffee.", then walks down the lane towards the sign, & stops with a "Hey, what the...!" look on his face, looking for that coffee shop. Just standing there... lost... with no coffee in sight. Poor misguided people... they put on such a great show!

-Now here's the inside of our little establishment. It's like 'I Spy' all over again. Old baby buggies, bicycles, a stuffed marlin, a high chair, a beauty salon sign, a stretcher for medics out in war, pieces of a piano... & this is just the view when you look into the shop. Above the door there's NY lotto signs, spotlights, chandeliers, rusty old instruments (musical or otherwise), an accordion, plus enough signs, props, doodads, & doohickeys to fill a landfill.

-I mean, where else are you going to find a clown head, a sombrero, a mock Statue of Liberty, sleds, scooters, an airplane, a store mannequin & a gumball machine sitting inside a giant Easter basket? Where?

-& that's only a small section of the place. There's still another 2/3's of property. But most of it are car parts, scrap metal, cars, a body shop, forklifts, a trailer & the payloader (the big machine that turns cars into metal pancakes). It's like my dad's own little Disneyland. He's always expanding, building, working on new projects.... looking ahead, never backwards.
-So as we leave FAW as the sun sets in the west, we look back & see the silhouette of that old ice cream cone in the distance, we can say...

"What in the hell did I just see!?"
'til next time!


Anonymous said...

Hey Man,
I've been to the site but haven't had time to post. This has gotta be one of the coolest places I've seen. Have you ever considered painting part of it? Come to think of it I recall you saying that Steve-O is an inventor, is that aspect of his personality inspired from this in the sense that he comes across everyday items or unusual things he finds in the street (or a junk yard etc.) and makes cool inventions out of them? That would explain the jet powered garbage can in your poster. How's the comic coming along?

Your Fan,
David Spector

Michael J. Ruocco said...

Hey David!

In fact, the idea of Steve-O being an inventor was partially inspired from the shop & my dad. It's creative thinking, trying to figure out how to make a specific machine with a specific purpose out of garbage, scrap & junk lying around. I'm putting one of his contraptions near the end of this storyline.

Speaking of which, I'm almost done with the comic. I finished sketching it last night & I'm gonna finish inking & coloring it tonight. I'm gonna have to post it either tomorrow night or Monday because I'm on the final stretch of Rockman work tomorrow. It's about 99.6% complete.

Thanks again & I apologize for the lateness of the comic.