As I Remember, Chapter 22

This entry is part 22 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 22

      A lot of things happened in our years there at the sand plant. It is hard to recall them in the order that they happened. So if I get the horse before the cart at times, forgive me. I am writing all this strictly from memory. No diary or notes to refer to. As the things happened, drift into my head, I set them down to my type writer and get busy. Don’t even keep any penciled notes. So now I will proceed.

      During this era, Sister Jenny died. M.S., that deadly killer. And brother Bob, who was now a school teacher had also contracted it. He was doomed to a short life. He and his wife separated. Mother gave Bob a deed to the Bollinger place and both of them moved in there. Ray was now in his big, new house.

      Then, Bertie met Lorin Lee. Later they would be married. Also Gertrude met Stanley Harwell. They were engaged.

      Dell and I decided to build a big new sand plant with all new machinery. We spent months designing the thing. We had learned how to control the dust. Giant suction fans and a bag house. We would put in a big washer and a stacker. A big rod mill for grinding. Also magnetic separators to remove any iron. We were now after the glass market. This was the biggest of all. Doing this was going to take a lot of money. A lot more than we could raise. But by now, we knew that sand was among the best in the country. And there was a big market for it and would get larger as time passed. We had staked mineral claims on all of that big mountain. Sixteen hundred acres in all. This alone was worth a fortune. We talked with our banker, Mister Fikken. We told him our intentions. Finally we come to a decision. We would the new plant. The bank would finance us for a six month period. Then we would get a long term government loan. The banker assured us that this would be a cinch. Our company had such a good record. But there was one clause. The bank would only loan a certain percent. We had to put up the rest. We thought we had enough money, so we started building. Before we were finished, we found out that it was going to cost quite a bit more than we had figured. To solve this problem, our lawyer advised us to sell a little of our stock in the company. So we formed a corporation. The Gem Silica, Inc. Then we sold some stock. Fifteen thousand dollars worth. Brother Ray bought five of it. I guess we thought his money was as good as any one’s. Hetherington Electric bought five also Chauncey Payne, another local fellow. Finally, the big new plant was finished. We now had a much greater capacity. I was on the road steady. Setting up new dealers all over the west. I traveled day and night.

      It was somewhere in this area that I began to realize that my marriage to Helen was beginning to fall apart. Now for the last several years, I had spent most of my time on the road. First the Dent Removers, then the sand. I guess Helen wasn’t the kind of woman to be left home alone. For that matter, who is? Joe and Sandy were now in school. She was home alone most of the time. And I guess she decided to do something about that. She spent most of her time on a bar stool in Pop’s Cigar store, a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other. When school was over, Joe and Sandy knew just where to find her. Sometimes they would pace up and down that sidewalk for hours, waiting for her to come out. When ever I would as much as suggest that she don’t go in there quite so much, she would get angry and tell me to shut up. Now, I was no angel. Usually after work, I would have a couple of drinks myself. But I can honestly say and I guess that goes up until right now, I have never missed a days work on account of drinking.

      I thought maybe if she had a job, she would be more content. We gave her one at the Sand Plant. She would be our new bookkeeper. Before noon the first day, she sent one of the guys to town for a six pack. She worked only a couple of days. I should of known that she wasn’t the kind of person that could sit behind a desk all day. Helen liked company. She liked to have someone to talk to. Some one to visit with.

      But we had our moments. After Bertie and Lorin were married, we took a big , long road trip together. I had a new Hudson. The four of us got in it and took a long trip to Canada. We went up through Calgary and clear on north to Edmonton. We come back through Bamph and Waterton. Helen had relatives all over Canada. We had a great time.

      Helen and I were both great fight fans. Harry (kid) Matthews from Seattle, originally from Emmett, was a contender for the heavy-weight championship. We took in most of his fights here in the west. Now back to the sand plant.

      We still had not got our government loan. Our payment and interest at the bank was really high. If we didn’t do something about it pretty soon, they would foreclose. Dell and I decided that we would put all our eggs in one basket. We traded our contract with M.K. and the royalty to the bank for part of the debt. With this much paid off, it would be a cinch to get that government loan. At least, that is what we thought. Ray and the other two stockholders had been very unhappy. So far, they had received no dividend. Getting this loan would solve all our problems.

      Then we had everything all ready. The government man was coming in from Washington D.C. Our banker assured us that he would recommend us highly. First he met with the guy. They were both all smiles. Then the final meeting down at our office. And of course, brother Ray come along. The guy laid all the papers down on the table. “Everything seems to be in order.” he said. “There is just a couple of questions that I would like to ask.” Ray’s big mouth took over. “Sure, ask us anything.” The guy sort of grinned. “I know that this sounds foolish, but I must ask.” From Ray. “Go ahead and ask.” “Well here goes. This by any chance, wouldn’t be a bail out loan. Now would it?” There was a big grin on brother Ray’s face. “Mister, that is exactly what it is.” The guy looked amazed. “Then I will have to refuse your loan.” Dell and I exchanged glances. We were speechless. I think Ray began to realize just what he had done. But he made no effort to correct this statement. The guy gathered up the papers and walked out the door. I took Dell by the arm and led him out of there. From the looks on his face, he could of strangled brother Ray to death. And I couldn’t of blamed him one bit! Every dime that Dell and me had was invested in this thing. Including our royalties from the limestone project in Durkee Oregon. This alone, would have kept the both of us for the rest of our lives. Then that night, brother Dell got drunk. The first and only time I had ever seen him that way.

      I stayed with him for a while. We were both quite upset to say the least. Our big bubble had burst. I stayed with him for a while, then went home and crawled in bed. About one o’clock in the morning, our phone rang. It was Lillian. “Get over here quick.” she said. “Dell is drunk and he took our shot gun and some shells. I think he is going to kill Ray.” I guess I knew Dell better than anyone else. I knew what the sand business meant to him. Knew how he felt about a lot of things. As soon as she hung up, I called Ray. I told him. “Dell is drunk and has a loaded shot gun. You had better keep hid out until I can get a hold of him.” I hung up.

      It was only a short distance to Dell’s house. I got there just as he was getting in the car. The old double barrel was in his hands. Lillian was crying, trying to reason with him. I told him to put the damn gun away. We had had enough trouble already. Then suddenly big tears come to his eyes. He handed me the gun. “Take it, before I change my mind.” I don’t know if Ray ever realized how close to death he was that night. And I wonder if he ever bothered to find out what the phrase, bail out means. Even a rat leaving a sinking ship knows that.

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