The Life and Times, Page 9
As Told to Dan Reddell
and spent the night with my cousin, Hubert Self.
I took my new wife to the beach since she had never seen the ocean. She loved it. On the way back home through Bakersfield, I stopped to try and get a farmer that owed me some money to pay and he gave me a cow, so I borrowed a trailer and took old Bossy home to Sacramento.
I was out of work from November to March, but when work opened up in the canneries, we both got jobs. Dorothy only worked a few weeks before she became extremely ill and discovered she was pregnant.
She was sick nearly the whole nine months before our first son, Harve Eugene (Gene) was born. By then I had a job with Aflack Drug Store delivering medicine on a motorcycle, but I wasn't making enough money to break even. Still, we managed to buy a new refrigerator, which was a wonderful change from the old ice boxes.
Then I got a better job with a trucking company, making 75 cents and hour. Mom and Pop had moved out from Texas, and Pop asked me to go back to Texas and take over the farm. I told him, "Pop, I wouldn't leave California and go back to Texas if you were to give me the farm as a gift."
He just looked at me in astonishment. I told him I would rather live in California and go on welfare than stay on that farm with those sandstorms, rotten weather, poor crops, and no irrigation; I'd had a taste of irrigation in California.
I could go to a bank and borrow more money on my name to make a crop than Pop could borrow in Texas by putting up his farm as collateral.
Later on, he and I built a new house after I got a $1,200 loan, and then we built another house and soon I was helping Pop build houses to sell.
In 1935, we went to Wasco to visit Gib and Lea Etta, and we all decided to go deep sea fishing in Avila Beach, near San Luis Obispo. Mom, Pop, Lea Etta, Gib, and their young
son, Ray, and Dorothy, I, and Gene all went. Dorothy was 5 months pregnant with Dale.
We missed the turnoff to Avila. A cop stopped us, and when we told him what had happened, he told us how to get to Avila and we turned around. He was real nice. We rented a small motel on the beach, and we got up at about 5:00 a.m. to get ready to go deep sea fishing.
We took a boat out, but after it stopped, my stomach kept going. We threw our lines out and I pulled in the biggest fish caught that day, but Pop and I got seasick like you wouldn't believe. I had a cup of coffee that morning, and that was the first thing I tasted after I got sick. Everyone else played on the beach while we fished, but fortunately we came back around noon.
Pop got so sick he thought he was going to die. There was an old lady fishing on the boat and every time Pop threw up, she would yell, "Anything come up with hair on it, swallow it back down." That was the first time I ever heard a woman talk like that. Pop offered the Captain $10.00 to bring us back in, but he just laughed.
I visited another beach town called Morro Bay about this time. It had a huge rock just off the beach, and I tied a hook to a chalk line, put on some bait and threw it out in the Bay. I caught a big stingray, and had quite a time getting it in.
Thirty-one years later, I would be living in that town.
Our second son, Dale, was born at home, and I always kidded our other children, saying Dale was the only one of our kids that I knew for sure was ours. I would joke that the others had been born in hospitals and could have been switched.
I built a little house on the back of our lot and rented it out, but after a while, I quit the trucking company because I was down in the back.
The last load I hauled had 700 sacks of flour that weighed 100 lbs. each and I had to unload the whole load by myself. It hurt my back.