Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oil Truck

About halfway down the north side of Kehoe Beach, the buckskin colored cliffs of Laird Sandstone rise directly out of the beach. The formation is named for the Laird Brothers who dairied there in the 19th century. Kehoe is a favorite geology class field trip destination with its dramatic and easily definable formations. Geology teachers we have talked to at Kehoe tell us the Laird formation was laid down in the Miocene in shallow water flood plains and relatively quickly, so the rock is soft as a result. "I was here" graffiti scratched into the rock face is commonplace. Granite beds lace the formation giving a hold for the sandstone and you can easily find fossils of barnacles and oysters. Because the cliffs are perpendicular to the beach, wind shapes a dune 10 feet away. There is a quiet space out of the weather and it's a good place to find plastic washed up long ago. There is a kind of churning effect that unearths the long buried.

Digging into the sand, Judith found a green truck, the remains fairly intact but missing wheels and crusted with crude oil in places. It’s been long in the elements but still pretty well recognizable. In a book from the local library about plastic toys, there's the exact thing. Turns out it was a gas truck made by the Ideal Toy Company sometime between 1946 and 1949. Plastic Toys: Dimestore Dreams of the 40s & 50s. Here it is sixty years later—plastic is forever.

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