Is it possible that sometimes the Internet is wrong? That the World Wide Web has allowed an error? That somebody on eBay has made a mistake in their listing???
As much as it chills my old bones to consider these horrible things, I'm beginning to think there must be a crack in the space-time continuum. And it's all because of this simple, black-and-white postcard of a gas station.
One of my readers — oh, God bless all 20 of you! — recently sent me this postcard showing what appears to be an Esso station operated by a fellow named Paxton.
I jumped to those conclusions because I can see an Esso sign in the photo, and above the entrance is the name "Paxton's" so what else am I to make of that?
But the problem is: My beloved reader purchased this postcard on eBay, and it was identified as a "Memphis gas station." And so she turned to Vance — that would be me, you understand — to tell her precisely where this establishment was located.
And I have been unable to do so. The Lauderdale Time Machine has been out of commission for seconds — though it seems like days or weeks; it's hard to say, exactly, with a time machine. So my only recourse was to search through old city directories from the 1940s and 1950s, which seems to be the approximate time period depicted in the photo/postcard. Heck, I even checked the 1960s, just in case that car in the picture was somebody's old jalopy.
But nothing turns up. "Paxton" isn't a very common name, but the few Paxtons who lived in Memphis over the years never seemed to own, operate, or have anything at all to do with a gas station, Esso or otherwise.
So I'm stumped. If anybody recognizes this place, or knows a Paxton who might have put his (or her) name on it, please let me know.