Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Few of My Early Days

This was our old farm house that we lived in.
This picture was taken years after the event. 

A Few of Early Days

The family included my parents, my three brothers, myself and a baby sister
 moved from Oklahoma to Colorado during the Depression because it was getting so difficult making ends meet with our farming. My maternal grandparents lived in Colorado and encouraged us to move there. It was decided my father could probably find work there. It was 1935, work was in short supply. We had a sale and sold farm equipment and livestock, and only God knows what else, but we got rid of it. Grandpa didn’t want to go or maybe he wouldn’t fit in the car so he stayed home to tend to the dog.

I was a kid so don’t expect me to remember exactly how this went, but I think it was prearranged that my Uncle Vincent, who lived in another city would come and get Gramps and the dog, and take them home to live with him because that is what ended up happening. Except Uncle Vincent didn’t want a dog in his life so the dog was left there to starve to death. Yes, I know it’s cold, barbaric and cruel, but it’s exactly what happened, and I never got over it. A neighbor later told us about hearing the dog howling for days until it finally died from starvation. The neighbor didn't want a dog either.

One day we loaded up the 192? Model A sedan with the crank hole in the front 
of it, and attached a four wheel trailer behind, loaded to the hilt. Mama, Daddy and baby girl were in the front seat, and me and three brothers on the back seat. I say ‘on’ because we were on the edge of the seat because this trip had been planned and talked about for months. We were expecting something truly exciting and breath-taking. 
We went cruising down the highway without a care in the world. Mama and Daddy both liked to sing, so they sang for the first 20 miles or so. You would have thought we were going on a million mile trip, but when you can get to the Panhandle of Oklahoma, it’s just across the fence.

We made occasional stops along the way to get gas or we stopped in a town to buy bread and lunch meat for sandwiches because we ate our meals out of the car. Sometimes we just stopped so Daddy could stretch his legs as he was the only driver. Everyone jumped out of the car to stretch their legs. Daddy always reminded us to get back in the car because we needed to keep the wheels rolling if we were ever going to get there. The scenery was mostly fence posts, blackjack trees, farm houses, and an occasional red muddy pond near the road. We had to stop at least once to stay overnight in the motel. The Motel was a little white cabin with two beds, one for adults and one for kids. There was a separate one room cabin with a shower only. You paid extra for the shower.The next morning we were up early and on the road again.

We finally arrived at our Uncle Loy and Aunt Edith’s place. It was in Colorado, I don’t recall the name of the town. This was daddy’s brother. They also lived on a farm. We stayed there for a few days until the visiting was caught up on, then we loaded up in the car again. Off to greener pastures. We were now headed for Del North. One of Mama’s sisters was married and lived in that town. Her name was Murl and she worked at the Del Monte cannery, canning tomatoes. They had one kid, a daughter, my age. Her name was Yuba. I was so weird in those days, and so was she. We just sat there and listened to the adults talk. Once in awhile we’d glance at each other. I guess we were both too shy to talk. No one can accuse me of that now. Meal time was a big production. It was just a tiny little apartment with a kitchen, living room and one bedroom. A big meal was cooked and as it was very wonderful after our sandwich diet. We didn’t stay overnight there because there just was no extra room for us. We traveled on down the highway for a few miles until we found another one of those country motels, the cabin with the beds in it.

We have almost reached our destination. Grandma and Grandpa knew we were coming and they were prepared for us. All kinds of desserts were made, and a feast to enjoy. They had a large family with three boys and five girls. Two boys and two girls were still living at home so they also had a crowded house, but we soon found another place to live.
It was a dark dreary place among a bunch of overgrown trees, and scary as all get out.
We spent the rest of the summer there and Daddy found a job helping on a road crew. We kids started to a school that seemed huge to me. The room I was in was so overcrowded; I only got a glimpse of the teacher about every third day. I didn’t learn a thing the entire time I attended that school. The area we lived in smelled like tar. It must have been from the road work. Summer finally arrived and the job ran out about the same time winter ran out so we resumed our adventure.
Now it was beginning to become fun. We found a place by the Rio Grande River, and set up housekeeping among the big pine trees, and the nearby river roared day and night.
We bought a tent and set it up. It was large enough for our two mattresses we hauled around in the trailer. We hauled a lot of household items in the trailer. We had a table and some old ugly kitchen chairs. Mom had her pots and pans, dishes and silverware. We even had a couple of those old galvanized tubs. We took our weekly bath in one of those tubs. The water would be heated on the bonfire, and chairs would be set around the tub with blankets draped over them for privacy. We had a white granite chamber pot to use during the night. This area may have been part of a park because there were a couple of outhouses nearby which we used during the day.
Mama’s family would come and visit us in our riverside home. We would go for long walks and enjoy the scenery. One day we were hiking down a rather steep hill and I slipped and fell. I began to roll down the hill. It was awful, I couldn’t stop and I seemed to be rolling faster and faster. I finally reached the bottom. Girls only wore dresses in those days, and my legs were scratched and scraped raw, but otherwise I didn’t break anything and my head was still intact. At least it was still there, not sure how it was working. It took awhile to get rid of those abrasions, but they finally healed. My uncle said maybe it would slow me down the next time. I told him it didn’t take me all day to get to the bottom of a hill. He thought it was funny.
Another time when we were on one of our excursions we were walking along when all of a sudden we heard a very loud, nearby growl from a wild animal. We thought it was a wildcat, but we never saw it. We moved on out of there as quietly and swiftly as possible.It was the last time we went hiking.  

 I've written a book  and this is just a chapter out of my long lifetime.
The Rio Grande River

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