One Last Chapter
Letter sent to Joe Dewey, April 30, 1985
Kingman, AZ 86401
Joe… Got your nice letter just before I left Yuma, about a month
I am now at Kingman, which is about half way to the Utah border.
Am just a little over two hundred miles from Lorin and Bertie.
As I grow older, I miss the family more, I guess a person is almost a kid again when they get to be my age.
It is nice to know that at least one member of the family, is interested in my stories. And if anything should happen to cause this old guy to pass on, I think you are the one that should take over.
Keep this letter, and if something did happen to me, get in touch with Bertie and Lorin. I have made out a handwritten will and it is on my dresser. I have made Bertie the administrator. She is the oldest; also lives closer than any of the rest of the kids.
Whether or not these yarns are of commercial value, I do not know. But this, is for certain… Along the way, many of my friends and people that I have met have read them; and most all agree, that they are far more interesting, than most novels. Probably not as well written, but they hold the interest of the reader, right down to the last line.
With only an eighth grade education and no lessons in typing, also I never attempted to write a yarn of any kind, until I was past sixty years of age. Tends to prove one thing… There is a lot of difference between an educated writer, and an author. I will give you an illustration.. A true one.
After your mother and I split up, I moved to Boise. Brother Dell and I had lost control of the Silica plant at Emmett, also the Limestone mountain at Durkee Oregon, We went looking for something else to get into; mining, preferred. We ended up in the mountains near Stanley Basin, which, at one time, there were many rich gold mines.
There was an old newspaper office there, that had been in business for a long time. They had copies of news items that dated back to the gold rush days. One yarn that interested us more than the rest, was the closing of the old Charles Dickens mine.
This was one of the richest mines in that area. Ore that was so rich, that some of the outcroppings were almost solid gold. After the Hi-grade was removed, a horse drawn arrasta, was installed to grind the remaining ore, It was a mighty slow process.
The mine was finally abandoned. The fortune hunters, moved on to new strikes. Leaving the thousands of tons of unmined ore.
There should be a fortune left. We concluded. With modern machinery and a little luck, we should make millions… At least, we had a prospect…
We were short on money. We had to sell stock in this venture to make it work. We would need something to excite the investor. A good yarn about those good-old-days, just might do the trick, we decided.
Neither of us had any experience in this sort of thing, but somehow I got elected to do the job… So, this was my first story….
“Those Good Old Days.”
That is what I decided to called my yarn. I used a combination of fiction and non fiction. I quoted many of the old news items I had read in the old newspapers. I told about the rich gold strike at the Charles Dickens, and more. I told about the big snow slide, that almost wiped out the city, I told about the bar-room brawls, also the many women that appeared on the scene.
Of course I did all this in plain handwriting. I knew a lady in Boise that was a typist. I turned the thing over to her.
Down on the creek just below the mine was an old abandoned gold dredge. It had taken millions in gold from the creek and rivers below. It had followed the gold trail, right up to the rich Charles Dickens mine – THE MOTHER LODE! At least that is what I wrote in my story….
Now I am about to get to where something happened to make me realize that there was a big difference between an author, and a writer.
I was alone, Sitting at the controls of the old dredge, reading the manuscript that that the lady had just typed out for me, I had just finished the last page, when suddenly I realized, that I was not alone. I heard a man clear his throat, and he was standing just back of me. I turned and looked up at him.
“Howdy… I didn’t hear you come up here,” I said.
He smiled, a friendly smile… “Didn’t mean to slip up on you. Didn’t know anyone was up here.”
I looked the guy over. He was an elderly guy that could sure use a shave, I thought. He looked vaguely familiar.
“You live around here?” I asked.
He nodded, “Yes, I got a shack down at Ketchum, just out of Sun Valley.”
“What inspired you to come up here today?” I asked*
“Was just driving by and thought I saw some movement up here. Just curious, I guess… And may I ask, just what the Hell are you doing up here?”
I looked down at the dozen or so sheets of paper in front of me. Then back to the guy with the whiskers. “Just finished writing a short story about the by-gone days of this neighborhood.” I told him. “Nice and quiet, up here.”
The guy raised an eyebrow, “A writer, eh? Mind if I take a look?”
I felt flattered. Maybe he had some money to invest. I handed him the manuscript. “Here.” I told him* “Read it. It will only take you a few minutes, I’ll go take a leak.” I headed for the rear of the dredge.
About ten minutes later I returned to the control station. The man laid down the last page and looked up at me. There was a twinkle in his eye,
“How long have you been writing?” he asked.
“I am a miner.” I told him, “Just decided to write a bit about the by-gone days of this part of the country, What do you think?”
“Would you like an honest opinion?”
“I sure would… This is my first yarn..”
For a moment, the man stood there, his eyes half closed. Suddenly he smiled.
I will never forget those words that he spoke:
“Mister, you are a piss poor writer… But, you are one hell of a Story Teller. Keep up the good work..” He laid a small white card down by the manuscript and walked slowly away. Out of curiosity I picked up the card.,
I about fell of the dredge.. The man was, ERNEST HEMMINGWAY.
It was only a few years after this, that this great writer killed himself. I guess he and Gary Cooper had a bet on who would be the first to go. Ernest Hemingway won the bet… The twelve gage shotgun he pointed at his head and pulled the trigger with his toe,
Why? The man was dying of cancer. He left a note to Gary Cooper. It read: “I’ll beat you to the barn.” All this happened at his beautiful home at Ketchum.
So, after all these years, I have never forgotten that great writer’s words; “You are a piss- pore writer, but one hell of a story teller.”
This is the conclusion I have come to. I had a natural gift at telling the story, but putting it down on paper was another thing. I had a lot of learning to do. As a kid I received all my learning from a one room country school house, which had only one teacher for all eighth grades.
Actually I only attended school for six seasons. Made the third and fourth in one winter. The sixth and seventh in another. So. I was only-twelve when I graduated from the Mountain View School. Whatever I have learned since then was because I was my own teacher.
It was back in nineteen sixty, that I decided to write another story.
I had just returned from my first trip to Central America and my head was buzzing with ideas. Dell and I had met the Somosa family. They had taken us in like long lost brothers, told us we could bring down dredges to mine the gold and many other things. There was only one little item…
Whatever we went, or whatever we did one member of the family would-get a share of the profit. In turn, we would have access to the army, and also there would be no taxes.
When we returned to the States, we landed in Los Angeles. I got a job in El Monte, working for Glacier Mfg. Co. They built beverage cooling equipment, including all the famous A&W Root Beer mixers and coolers.
Brother Dell returned to Idaho. He would sell enough stock in our new Corporation to build a small Gold Dredge. When it was finished, the plan was to take it down and we would mine the gold.
This was when I decided to write another story, It would be about my trip down there and the new world that I had discovered. I would name the yarn, THEY, ALWAYS SMILE,
Why this title? Several reasons: one, life is cheap down there. A guy will cut your heart out, and the smile will never leave his face.
Two… There are about twelve women to every man, in the City of Managua. And boy, some of them lookers! And stacked…
The City is full of side-walk cafes. Park yourself at one of the tables and watch the girls go by. But be careful… A smile is an invitation. If you smile at a girl and she returns with one of her own, she is yours. And, THEY ALWAYS SMILE.
So that is how I arrived at the name.
I wrote it as a first Person story… I did this, and I did that.. etc. Then I found a lady that would type it out for me. She didn’t know much about typing novels, but at least it was in print.
I let several friends read the thing… Everyone loved the story, but, they all agreed, that it could stand some editing. Yes, I was a great story teller, but a Piss Poor Writer!
I decided I had better find someone that know something about writing, to take a look at the darn thing, I finally went to the library and borrowed a WRITERS MARKET, book. Also bought their magazine that was on the open market.
From these I got the name, KATHERYN BEEMIS WILSON,
This lady. for many years, had been writing stories. Mostly continued novels that appeared in, The Saturday Evening Post, Canadian Star Weekly, and many more, She lived in a big mansion, up in the Hollywood Hills*
I guess she had made a pile of dough, She had quit writing, and now was devoting her spare time to new writers that were just getting started.
One week-end, I grabbed my manuscript and drove out to her fancy home.
She was very nice, She took one quick look at my manuscript, then, once more, I got told off., She said, “I can’t do anything with this, the way it is. Have you girl retype it on eight and one half inches by eleven, bond paper, double spaced. Understand?”
“Then bring it back to me and I will give it a going over.”
She gave me a lot more good advice, Such as, “on every sheet put your last name in the upper left hand corner. On the right, the number of the page. Also on the first page, print the number of words in the story.”
When my typist got through with the yarn, I had to admit that it looked much better, Once more I took it out to Katheryn.
“Much better.” she said. “I will see what I can do with it* Come back next week,”
This I did. When I picked it up she charged me fifty bucks and handed me the manuscript.
“Have your girl re-type this,.” she said, “Then bring it back, Maybe I can find you a publisher.”
Boy, was I in for a surprise. When I got home and looked over my lovely manuscript all I saw was a tremendous mess. About every line on each page, had been corrected. You’d have to see it to appreciate how I felt.
After I studied the thing for awhile, all the scribbling began to make a lot of sense. Now I could see why the thing must be double spaced, Also, just a whole lot of minor changes, would certainly make the thing look a lot more professional. I finally decided to head for my typist.
Once more, she typed the story and made a carbon copy. Once more I went to see Katheryn. She said everything was OK and she would send it to a publisher in New York. She would let me know when she got an answer.
Finally it came, and the manuscript was returned… with a rejection slip.
I was disappointed, but there was one consolation… On the reject slip was a notation. It read… “A well written story, Sorry, not exactly our type,”
Well there was one thing for sure, I had graduated from being a piss poor writer, and that was something,
Now here is a little notation I will put down here. If you are writing a story or a novel, take your time. Pick up any good novel and study several chapters very carefully. Study the many ways that you can substitute the word “said.” “He said,” “She said,” etc. This is for the amateur.
Also study the punctuation. The beginning of A new paragraph… The spelling of many words, And a lot of other things. And keep this in mind.. This book is well written, and has been edited by professionals.
If I had done a bit of this, maybe I wouldn’t of been out that fifty I gave Katheryn; also, the many bucks I gave the typist.
Oh well, you got to live and learn, but I suppose I am still a long way from being a good professional writer.
Anyhow, this is how all this got started,
I called the next story I wrote, WHEN THE HONEYMOON IS OVER.
I was in El Monte at the time, It is a first person story. So
far I had not attempted to go the other route.
Most of this story takes place in Emmett Idaho. There is drama, mystery, love, sex, and a lot of entertainment in this yarn. And probably as you read the thing you will understand why I could and did, write a story like this. At least I had a brother that inspired me. Read the story and you will know which one,
Once more I went down to Central America. We took the gold dredge up north and east of Managua, to a spot on the Rio Coco. It was near the town of Quilali. It was here that I met the Judge of Quilali. And on my return to the States, I wrote the story, THE, JUDGE OF QUILALI. It was a real thriller.
Last summer, I dug out a copy of the yarn and really enjoyed reading it. If it weren’t a first person story, it would be a real good novel, I thought. So, I got out my old typewriter and rewrote the thing. Also changed the name. It is now, BEYOND THE, BEND IN THE RIVER.
This is a real thriller diller. A young Arizonian goes to Nicaragua in search of relatives that live there, He ends up down in no mans land, the Rio Coco, which is the border between Honduras and Nicaragua. There’s lots of action and the most beautiful girl in the world, in this one.
While I was in El Monte, I met a young lady. She was from my home state and had come to Hollywood. She had dreams of becoming a star. She was really something. She was ambitious, but got mixed up with the wrong crowd.
She inspired me to write my next novel, THE BEAUTY AND A BEAST. The story of a beautiful young girl, who marries for money. The man she marries, is a wealthy old Wop from Chicago. A real gangster. He has a couple of gambling joints in Nevada, and is truly the West Coast King of the Mafia,
After she bears him a son she realizes her mistake and decides to pull out. Take the kid and vanish.
So, it is one pretty little lady, against the gang. Lots of action in this one.
So now, I had two yarns that were written in the second person. At least I had graduated from that old, “I did this,” and “I did that.” Maybe I was learning… but I was still a lousy speller.
Occasionally I would get back to Emmett and I would always I would go down and visit my mother and brother Bob. This dear brother of mine, had recently been stricken by the terrible, incurable diseases Multiple Sclerosis. He was in a wheel chair and would never walk again.
Mother was getting quite old and had a bad heart, She needed, help. So until Bob and Mother both passed away, I spent a lot of time with them.
Ray and his dear son Don, had gone into the business of picking up dead or worthless animals and selling the hides and meat to the canneries for dog food.
Boy, what a stinking place! And it was close! Just above the orchard. In fact, it was where everyone used to bring their dead or worthless animals, DEAD HORSE GULCH was what it was called many years ago. In fact when I was a kid, I caught many a Coyote and Badger there using the carcass’s of the dead animals for bait,
Almost every evening the stench of Dead Horse Gulch, would come drifting down to my open bed-room window. It was awful. I had to do something about it.
And I did! I wrote another book! The title I gave it, was; THE GIRL FROM DEAD HORSE GULCH,
Back in the good old days, when the horse was the only power the farmer had, there were many of them. I guess there was a dead horse gulch in most every neighborhood,
I was sure there would of been a burial ground up close to High Valley, Ola, and Cascades
I loved the country up there, so that is where I set the stage for the story.
I spent a lot of time on the story. It is one of my favorites* But there was one thing I didn’t like and that was, the name, so I did something about it. I gave it a new one: JUST A LITTLE BIT CRAZY
This is a true modern Western. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the word “true.” Anyhow, it is truly western. A great young hero that drives a Jeep, and the beautiful blonde girl, daughter of the rotten family, who live in Dead Horse Gulch, is really a character… And, she is JUST A LITTLE BIT CRAZY!
Or is she? Anyhow, now you know what inspired me to write this yarn,
In the summers I spent a lot of time up in the mountains, around Cascade, The fishing was great and there were deer and Elk. I always managed to get my share. Yes, I loved those mountains. And when I am dead and gone, I want my ashes sprinkled around, up there.
Brother Dell was now living in Boise. It had began to look like our interests in Central Americas were not turning out so good, but I won’t go into that.
To say the least, Brother Dell was a dreamer. And he almost made a lot of them come true… He was a great guy.
One day he looked me up, and he was really excited. “Ted, there is a million in Gold Nuggets and dust, for sale in Boise, I think the stuff was stolen years ago, when all the dredges were working up around Idaho City, No doubt the stuff is hot, and I hear it can be bought for far less than the market price. We could make a bundle.”
That summer we were really chasing rainbows, Looking for that pot of gold. That story really got around.
We were not the only ones, looking for it. Even the guys who didn’t have a dime to their name, were searching for the owners. Also, many were looking for someone with a lot of loot, who would finance the deal. Yes, everyone wanted to get a cut.
We spent a lot of time, running down leads. We also, wanted to get a cut, Well, we never found what we were looking for, but we had a lot of fun trying and, I was inspired to write another Book, which I gave the title, I WANT MY CUT,
In this yarn, I didn’t write it the way it happened to me and my dear brother, But,.. I wrote it the way I thought it should of happened.. And I think I hit upon a lot of the truth, at least, some of it.
Of course I put in a couple of beautiful girls, The Carter Sisters, May and June who were Twins. Our heroes had a hard time telling them apart, and frequently get them all mixed up.
There’s lots of drama, mystery, and love making in this one.
It was somewhere about this time, that I bought my first typewriter, Finding a woman that could type and correct my mistakes,, wasn’t easy.
There are lots of men and women that make a business out of preying on the sucker that has just written a book and thinks it should be published, Some of them even charge for reading the manuscript,
Yes, I got took. A lady in Yuma Arizona, was one of them that got to me,
I got her name and address out of a Writers Magazine. She was a published writer, also was acting as an agent; so her ad stated,
I was spending the winter there, I drove out to her house.
“I have just finished writing a story about the old Yuma
Territorial Prison,” I told her. “the title is, DIAMONDS IN HELL.”
I left the manuscript with her, Boy, that was a mistake! She told me: “I have read your story, It is very good and real interesting; however it needs a lot of work. I have already made most of the corrections. My fee is fifty cents a page and I charge the regular ten percent of whatever I can get from the publisher. That is the standard fee,”
That old gal really screwed up my manuscript. Pencil marks all over every page, and none of them made any sense whatever. One of these days, I will get around to re-writing the story.
Oh yes. I found out later, that she had sold a couple of short poems to some children’s magazine. So, she was a published writer.. And also, she had no connections with any other publisher.. Oh well’, Live and learn.
Yes, there are a lot of would be agents and typists who make a living preying off the sucker that has a story that isn’t worth a damn to anyone, and they know it…
Both mother and Bob had passed on, and I was living in a travel trailer. Drawing my Social Security… Spending my summers in Idaho and my winters in Arizona, and writing more stories.
By using the HUNT & PECK system, I could now type out my own stories. So, I kept right on writing more novels. I think my next one was, A MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB.
I never write about a place that I have never been. And there is a lot of truth in every story and a lot of the real Ted Dewey, in each one.
This yarn, starts over in the Los Angeles area, right on Skid row, on second and Los Angeles Street, then to El Monte, then over to, Las Vegas Nevada, where I usually spent a month or sot coming and going each spring and fall.
Next it moves on to Apache Junction. Here I spent several winters. This winter resort, is right to the foot of the famous, SUPERSTITION MOUNTAINS. The home of the famous, LOST DUTCHMAN, gold mine. It is here, that the story comes to a dramatic ending.
It is a story about a young man, recently retired from the U.S. air force. He has saved his money and invests it in a small dinner club and gambling joint in Las Vegas Nevada.
He marries a beautiful girl, hires a handsome friend to manage the place. He discovers he has bit off more than he can chew. He takes an overseas job with a big construction company flying choppers. In about a year, he would make enough to pay off his debts. He leaves his friend and wife to manage the club and takes off.
For one full year, he lives on his expense account, sending his salary home, Then he returns…
He discovers that his beautiful wife and his friend the manager, had been shacking up, since the first week that he had taken off.
His wife accuses him of being a deserter. His manager hires a couple of thugs to beat him half to death. He leaves, a bitter broken young man.
He goes to L.A. and gets a job tending bar in a club on skid row. He makes a new friend. A heavy-weight fighter, who is also, down on his luck. And broke, but has a beautiful singing voice.
The club manager is a nasty, mean and ornery guy. He treats our hero like a tramp as well as the big fighter, who is working as a bouncer and clean-up man.
One rainy morning, our hero is walking to work. A covered Van hits a big chuck-hole in the pavement, and something falls out the back end, and comes floating down the swollen gutter.
Later that evening in his room, he opens the package. It is full of old unmarked currency, that was being sent to the mint to be exchanged for new, good spendable money…
What a change! All of a sudden he and his buddy the fighter, throw the mean and nasty manager out of his own club, grab a couple of good-looking gals and take off for Las Vegas, He has a mountain to climb.
Yes, after some good brawls and a blooming love affair, he once more gains control over the dinner club in Las Vegas.
Then in a hidden compartment, in a used trailer that he had bought, he and his lady friend, find a sack full of gold nuggets and a map….
They believe they have discovered the way in to the famous Lost Dutchman gold mine, in the Superstition mountains of Arizona*
They leave the singing prize fighter and his lady to manage the club, and they take off. MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB… This is the title of the story.
Everyone should enjoy this one. Lots of excitement, drama and mystery.
As the years passed, I quit going back to Idaho, and would follow the climate around in Arizona. On thing about this state, you can find most any climate, summer or winter.
One of my favorite hangouts for the summer, was Prescott. Pronounced, Pres’kett. This mile high city, had nice cool summers, and something is always going on. They celebrate every red-letter day on the calendar, and then some.
For instance, every spring they have what they call, The Old-Timers Auto Show. Everyone who has an ancient car comes to town. There is a big parade, lots of prizes and dancing on the streets.
In one of these parades was an old model T Ford, a 1910 model. Years ago when I had the garage and welding shop in Pratum Oregon, I had one just like it. Brass radiator, carbide lights, and the works. When we moved back to Idaho during W.W. Two, I gave the thing to the football team in Salem. They wanted it for a mascot.
Seeing this one in the parade, and looking it over and kicking all the tires, brought back a lot of memories… Yes, it sure did,
Everyone of the old timers, also kicked the tires and one of them commented, “Boy! If this old girl could only talk, what a story she could tell! This was her first home, and she has sure been around. If only old Lizzy, could talk! What a story…”
That night I couldn’t sleep. I kept dreaming of my old 1910 Lizzy. If only she, could talk, What a story she could tell…
The next morning, I started the story.,. A new novel. The name, THE TIN LIZZY.
There is a lady in Yuma, where I spend most of my winters, who has read most of my stories. This was her opinion.
“I like this one better than any of the rest. So true to life.. Sure brings back a lot of memories. Also the younger generation should really get a kick out of it. Yes, your Tin Lizzy, could teach them a lot about what went on back in those good old days.”
So much, for The Tin Lizzy. This is the title of the story.
While I was in Nicaragua prospecting, the gravel bars of the Jaciro and the Coco rivers, many strange things happened. Down there, is really a world of its own. Everything from Witch Doctors, to Love Potions, the women feed their men, to keep them from running away. And this, is the truth.
And I know it works….Don’t ask me to explain, just read the book.
THE LOVE POTION. I wrote it a couple of years ago in Yuma, where I was spending the winter.
The root of this pretty flower that grows in the jungle, looks very much like garlic. Many small pieces in a flimsy wrapper. But for sure, it does not have the flavor or aroma of garlic, In fact, it is practically tasteless, maybe a bit of Ginger scent.
While Dell and I were down there, our old friend from Boise, come down
To see what was going on. His name was Clyde Flory.
Clyde was quite a wealthy guy and I thought he might be interested in investing some money down there,
Clyde didn’t have any kids, but this elderly guy that had a beautiful wife in Boise, a string of apartment houses and a big bank account.
Although Clyde was about Sixty five, he was still as ornery as a Texas toad… And it didn’t take him long to find a beautiful young thing to keep him company. Now I am sure that Clyde didn’t know it at the time, but this pretty young thing was putting this Love Potion, in his food and drink.
Then it was almost Christmas, Clyde decided to return to Boise. We had access to a small chopper so he was flown to the City. Here he had to wait five days, before he could get a return Visa,
The Little Girl, he left behind (as he called her) wanted to go along, but Clyde said no. His wife Alice, surely wouldn’t approve.
But the Little Girl kept smiling. “He will be back for me,” she kept telling us. “Maybe tomorrow.” She went ahead and packed her bags.
Three days later, the chopper and Clyde returned, picked up the girl and took off.
Months later when we returned to Boise, we learned that Clyde and Alice were divorced. He had given his wife most everything and took off with the little girl and headed for California,
Now every word I have told you is true. This is what inspired me to write the story, The Love Potion.
So, the first part of the story is almost true. From there on, I used my imagination… And it was working pretty good.
I guess this is the sexiest yarn, I have ever written, Of course the old body could use a bit of this potion, but the mind is still working.
In this yarn, an old guy like Clyde, dies and leaves his two sons a hothouse full of love potion bulbs and a pretty housekeeper. Also he tells his two sons, who he hasn’t seen since they were little kids that the bulbs and seed are worth millions. They were the fountain of youth!
Does this stuff really work? Read the story and see. Anyhow I think it makes a very interesting story, And it moves right along…
I have been through a couple of bloody revolutions in Central America. I hate fighting. I think it is about time that mankind wakes up and begins a new phase of this life. Forget about power and greed. This we know, is the root of all evil. Now, everyone is living in fear of being wiped out at any moment, There will be no warning.
Big bomb shelters and Sanctuaries are springing up all over the world. People grasping at straws. Hoping to be one of the few who might survive. This is one of the things that inspired me to write the novel, THE SANCTUARY. I will explain a bit about that.
All my life I have been sort of a genius. I built a power plant
in the drain ditch which ran by our house, giving us all the power we
I have built Wind Chargers and have drawn energy from the sun. I
hate Atomic power, and it will soon destroy us all. if we don’t do something
Huge monopolies and the filthy rich control all the energy. They own all the oil and the Atomic Power. But there is one thing that progress has stayed away from and that is the wind.
At one time it was the greatest source of power. It sailed all our ships, spun all the windmills that pumped water for us and our livestock.
Why was not this gear power followed up and developed? Simply because, there was no way to put a harness on this great power and monopolize it, It was most everywhere and free for the taking, This giant is miles tall and covers the face of the earth. In a few minutes it can turn our mighty oceans from a sea of tranquility, to a raging mass of angry waters….
To accomplish this with Atomic Power, it would take more than man has developed, all together. And the wind can do this every day of the week, and without even taking a deep breath.
For many years, I have studied this great power. Finally the answer dawned on me. And it was so simple. I guess it wasn’t complicated enough for the modern educated mind,
A few summers ago in Prescott, I built a miniature model. Of course, it worked like a charm. I went to see a lawyer that I knew, to see about getting a patent.
This lawyer, had read a few of my stories and we were good friends. He told me, “Ted, getting a patent on this thing, would take years, also a small fortune to finance the thing. Now I am going to make a suggestion… You have a great talent for writing. Now for sure, you have a great subject. Put in a little fiction along with the facts, and you could come up with a great novel. You could give the whole world a new outlook on energy. The book could make millions.
So, that is what inspired me to write the story, The Sanctuary. And I believe I have come up with enough facts, to start the ball rolling in this direction. We will GO WITH THE WILD WIND.
After I finished this story I decided to follow up with another. I named this one, WHO PULLED THE TRIGGER.
I would use the same characters and the beautiful new City and the Sanctuary that was high in the mountains of Arizona. Also, I would come up with some fresh new characters.
On the opening page of this story, the bombs are dropping… The beginning of the end, or is it?
Anyhow, everyone heads for the shelters, everyone for themselves.
There are one hundred families holed up in their big underground shelter. With enough food to last for twenty years. Also all the other necessities of life. And a big library that contains the secrets of mankind. Everything but how to split the atom. From now on, this will be a no no.
How do you write an interesting story about a group of people holed up in a big cavern? It is not easy, but I think I finally made it. Read it and judge for yourself.
A few years ago, I got so fed up on watching the crazy shows on TV that I created a new series of my own and wrote three one half hour shows.
No flaming cars jumping high into the air on this one. No big explosions and no shoot outs.
It seems to me, that over the period of the last several years, everything is based on violence, brain washing everyone.. Especially the kids… Getting them all ready for another big bloody war.. Actually promoting the thing. Don’t you think that HE MAN and SKELATOR makes a lovely program for children?
Anyhow, I created a new series, which I gave the title, THE CONSULTANTS. These are thoughts I had in mind, as I wrote the script.
Make it a true to life, comedy, a simple setting, only three regular stars and a program that all ages will enjoy.
Today, the divorce rate is about fifty percent. And for damn sure, the other half don’t get by without having their troubles. Personally I think quarreling and squabbling is stupid, and I am sure that if most married couples could hear how ridiculous they sound they would be more compatible.
So, I made my three stars, all in one family. They are, a middle age couple and a pretty boy-struck teen age daughter. The setting, is a middle class home in the Los Angeles area. A plaque hung on the wall beside the door, reads; THE GORDONS, MARRIAGE CONSULTANTS.
This couple have come up with a scheme… To subsidize their pension, they will solve other peoples marriage problems. After all, they have been fighting with each other for over twenty years and are still living together … And, they think they can come up with an answer to any marriage problem.
They run ads in the local news papers. The daughter is the receptionist, and answers the phone. Also entertains the customers and sends customers back to the office, one at a time.
As the Gordons hear each side of their troubles one at a time, it is really amazing the difference in their point of view.
The first episodes I named; SNORE SENOR. A young couple have just returned from their honeymoon in Mexico. Which lasted only one night. She tells her side of the story, and why she pulled out on him in the middle of the first night.
Then his story… Quite a difference….
Anyhow the awful snoring of his wrecked the marriage. Now the Gordons must find a solution.
Note: I know that snoring has been the cause of a good many divorces. At least, one Hell of a lot of fights. Don’t you agree? Personally, I am not a snorer, and can’t stand being around anyone that does.
I called the second episode, THE SLEEP WALKER.
Lots of people walk in their sleep. Some even cuss and swear… Others talk, and the next morning remember nothing.
In this episode, a middle age couple are the customers. The lady, Mrs. Smith, is quite worried, Her husband has suddenly taken up sleep-walking. Goes around with his arms stretched out in front of him, walking around…
She is afraid to awaken him. Never awaken a sleep-walker.
Of course when you hear Mr. Smith’s side of the story, you can easily see why this gentleman slips around in the dark.
Episode three, I called, TOO MANY PETS.
This middle age couple is really in trouble. Mr. Honeyfunkle, complains about his wife having too many pets… Her big new vicious dog, has just bit a piece out of his leg. She has a Coon, and a talking Minor bird. A frog that she keeps in the refrigerator and a catfish in the swimming pool that bit him on the hand… And now, she wants a horse!
But, wait till you hear, Mrs. Honeyfunkle ‘s side of the story.
Also, the solution.
The title to the next one I was going to write, is; YOU KNOW.. YOU KNOW…
So many people any more can’t carry on a conversation, without using this awful phrase, with every other breath. Even my darling daughter Alberta, picked up the habit somewhere along the way. Every other breath, would be a you know… you know,
And do you know something? She didn’t even know she was doing it.. And I guess the habit grew so gradually that even Lorin didn’t realize what she was saying.
A year ago last summer when I stayed up there, I had a good long talk with that sweet lady. She didn’t realize what she was saying, until I began using the phrase every time she did. She couldn’t believe what she was doing… But when she did, she realized how ridiculous it sounded. Before I left there saying this was a no no… I hope she hasn’t picked it up again.
I made up a long list of titles that I thought would make a good episode. With a bunch of these, after reading, seeing, or directing the three I wrote, most any good writer could keep up the good work for years. And least I know I could, and I would also bet that you could do the same.
Outside of a few short stories, this about covers everything I have written.
Haven’t written anything new for the last two years. But I have been busy.
I decided that I was as good a writer as I ever would be, so instead of composing something new, I would go over the old and see what I could do with it.
I have put in many hundreds of hours, in these last two years, going over and over these novels. Re-writing most of them altogether, and making corrections on most every page of the rest, Then I had a Photo copy made of everything. At least most everything… So not only have I spent a lot of time on them, but also quite a bit of loot… At least about as much as I could afford. Living on my S.S. isn’t a life of luxury.
Now I have suitcases full of the stuff under my bed. Maybe I am still a piss poor writer, but it is about the best I can do.
You told me up in Idaho, then again in your last letter, that if anything should happen to me, you would like to have my stories and if you should sell them, you would share with the rest of the clan.
It is very difficult for me, to act as my own agent. Living in a trailer and moving around all the different seasons, and having no permanent address, makes it almost impossible. Most publishers usually take two or three months to give you an answer… Several years ago, I sent of a couple of manuscripts to publishers, and they were never returned. Got lost in the mail, or, their answers. Don’t know which… Your mail just can’t keep up to you, when you are moving around like I do.
I guess your address in Boise, is quite permanent. Correct? Would you like to act as my agent? Would you like to read a few of the finished product?
If you would like to act as my agent, I will appoint you to this position. Making everything all legal. So if I should happen to kick off some dark night, you could go right ahead and promote the stories. If they turn out to be worthless on the market, my kids and grand-kids, and so on down the line, can at least read the stories and say… “He was a Piss Poor writer, but one Hell of a story teller.”
As I have been teaching myself how to write, I have also made a study of how agents operate. Maybe I will be able to help you a lot.
Many publishers will not deal direct with a writer, but only through a dependable agent. They and what they print and pay, are all listed in the book, THE WRITERS MARKET. ,
They cost about twenty bucks.. I have bought a new one each year, for at least the last six or seven years. Didn’t get a new one since eighty three. I could send it too you… It’s a big book and has most of the information that you will need.
Most every agent, charges a ten percent fee. Five more for foreign jobs. There are lots of them listed in the book. Also, in the magazine, WRITER’S MARKET.
To get this show on the road, I think the first sale we make, you and I should split right down the middle, At least the down payment, which is usually several thousand dollars.
Just work on this in your spare time. Don’t count any chickens, etc.
I think the first to offer, is, THE SANCTUARY, and WHO PULLED THE TRIGGER?
These stories are right in tune with the times. They could be sold as one book, part one and part two… Either that, or sell them separately. The publisher could also, come out with, THE SANCTUARY, then follow up with, WHO PULLED THE TRIGGER? They should know which is best. Also two for one, should give them a break.
I think I had better call it a day, for now. Write and give me your ideas about this. Maybe we can get the show on the road.
BYE BYE, for now
It is a hot, windy day here at Hurricane. I made it through the winter, but it sure was a long one. Growing old, is sure not something to look forward to. Now don’t get me wrong. Lots of people think they are old after they pass the age of sixty. This is wrong, and some of my best years were between sixty and eighty.. Going to a lot of dances, parties and just playing around with people near your own age, is a lot of fun. Next January 5th, I will be eighty three. Yes, I am getting right up there. These old feet and legs of mine have sure been around. And as far as I’m concerned, they show more wear than any other part of my body. Pardon me, there is another part, but let’s not get into that.
Like an old set of worn tires on an automobile, reminds me of, my feet and legs. The first part of this, was broken and fallen arches. This started years ago and gradually gets worse. I have tried all the medical cures, but like everything else that gets old and worn out, the expensive medical cures, are worthless.
Yes, carrying around about one hundred and seventy five pounds for eighty three years, takes it’s toll. And now for the latest.
Last fall, for no special reason, everything below my knees, would give me Hell all night long. My feet felt like they were full of cactus thorns and my legs, the stump of an old dead tree. I found me a good doctor. His name is Carter. After running a bunch of tests, this is what he told me. “This is just a part of getting old. The arteries in your legs, are not letting the blood circulate.” He prescribed me pills to take with each meal. He then put me on a strict diet and that has been over six months ago. I guess there is no cure for getting old and I sure understand why a lot of people bring their miserable life to an end.
And this old bad back of mine, still gives me trouble. For about sixty years now, I have worn a steel brace, and am wearing it right now. Like a fat old woman, I get a new one every few years. Enough about this Sad Sack, With the Bad Back… Now, I have something else on my mind. My boy Bill, is getting married!
Last fall, Bill and his girl friend, came up from LA and paid us a visit. He introduced us to his lovely lady, Hilde. They had been going together for quite a while, and planned on getting married next spring. We wished them well and they said we would be invited to the wedding. And they did. The date is July 26.
Last Sunday, (Father’s Day) Bertie and Lorin invited me over to their place for dinner. Then after we ate, Bertie presented me with a special Father’s Day gift. She pointed at the telephone. “We want you to call all of your kids. Talk as long as you like, and we pay the bill.” She sure made my day. I talked to everyone but Bill and his lady. We sure wanted to talk to them. There were a lot of questions about the wedding. But the only thing we got, was the answering service. They were gone for the day, but leave a message.
For the first time since I have been here, I wished I had a phone of my own. And if I did, I would call Bill and Hilde down in LA
Bertie and Lorin have been up in Salt Lake all this week. He is getting a new set of false teeth.
And now just a couple of days ago, I got another letter from Bill and Hilde. They told me, that being as how I was The Best Man at the wedding, I must wear a Tux. Well, for sure, I don’t have a Tux. I have lots of dress clothes. Jackets and trousers of most every color. Dress shoes to fit most any occasion. And at least fifty shirts to go with them. Yes, I can put on a different costume for every day in the year. But, NO TUX. Bill said to go to a Tux Rental here and get my measurements. Send them to him and he will rent the Tux. This, I can not do. To begin with, there is no such thing as a Tux renter, in this one horse town. Also, for several weeks, old age has once more did it’s thing. Everything below my knees, has given me Hell!
It is the first day of march and I am in my trailer. It is nine o’clock in the morning and the sun is shining and it is about seventy degrees and it will be in the upper eighties before the day is over. I am in a nice trailer court, just off Avenue C. Sunny Acres, it is called. It is a real nice place. The fee for parking my trailer is one hundred dollars a month, plus the utilities.
I have been here in Yuma this winter since the first of October. I come down from Tombstone where I spent most of the summer. When I arrived here, it was still quite hot and not many of the winter visitors had arrived. There is about 50,000 of them. Anyhow, I kept busy. I had plans. Here is what I did.
As you know, for years, I have been writing stories, novels. Most of them are over two hundred pages, such as this one. Usually about 70,000 words. I guess all of you know that I only went as far as the eight grade in school and what I have learned since then, I did it all by myself. I was sixty five before I wrote my first story and did that one on a tape recorder while I was alone in Nicaragua. Later I copied it off in long hand and turned it over to a typist. This is the one I named, THEY ALWAYS SMILE. And part of it is a true story. The reason I give it this name, is because… There in the city of Managua, the women out number the men, at least ten to one. And some of them are beauties. If you see one you like, give her a big smile. If she returns the smile, this means she is yours.. And THEY ALWAYS SMILE.
Anyhow, that was my first novel.
I did not intend or try to get the thing published. I knew I was a long ways from being a finished product. But I would keep trying. The next story I wrote, was, I WANT MY CUT. (Or, A Piece of the Pie.) Although this story is fiction, it is based upon these facts. There was a story going around, that there was a lot of raw gold for sale, in or around Boise. Brother Dell and myself made several tries at locating the stuff. We never found what we were looking for, but Dell did find a lot of gold in another area. On this, he managed to come up with his (cut) which was quite a bundle.
I kept trying to locate this gold, but always ended up with nothing. I hated to see all my efforts go to waste, so I wrote the story in the manner that I thought was somewhere near the truth. Anyhow, I think it makes an interesting story. Read it.
I think the next one I wrote, was JUST A LITTLE BIT CRAZY. I was still writing in long hand and would hire a typist to put them in print. Although they didn’t know any more about writing than I did, at least it could be read.
This story, JUST A LITTLE BIT CRAZY, Is pure fiction. But there is still a lot of truth in the thing. Such as… Most every location back in those days, had a DEAD HORSE GULCH. In fact, just southwest of the Dewey Orchards, was a big one, back when I was young, for miles around, everyone dragged their dead and worthless critters up there for the Coyotes and Badgers to feed on. The place I describe in the story, is much like this place. Also, in many other areas, were the same sort of burial ground for dead animals.
Also in the story, the girl is so beautiful. There used to be a family that lived in our neighborhood, that was very much like the people I write about in the story. They were a cruddy bunch, but they sure had one beautiful daughter. No one could quite figure out how she could be one of them. Anyhow, I think it makes an interesting story. Even if she is, JUST A LITTLE BIT CRAZY…
I think the next story I wrote, is…WHEN THE HONEYMOON IS OVER. In between trips to Central America, I would spend a lot of time at Al Monte California. I worked for a company called Glacier Manufacturing Co. They built all kinds of refrigeration, such as: beer coolers, A&W root beer equipment, etc. Some times I would take off and come home to Emmett. I liked to come back there and spend some time with Mother and Bob and I also had a lot of friends around there.
One time when I come home to visit, I went out to see a couple of dear friends, Barett and Gertrude Dick. I let them read the stories I had finished. They really liked them. Then Gertrude asked me. “Ted, why don’t you write a story about Emmett.” “Not much around here.” I told her. Then she said, “Write about your trip up here and use your imagination a bit, and I am sure you will come up with something.” About a week later, I handed her the story. It was in long hand, but she sure got a kick out of the story.
I guess it was not long after this, that I got my first typewriter. Yes, I use the Hunt & Peck system. Never had as much as one lesson, but I am sure it is a lot better than my handwriting.
I guess the next story I wrote was, THE JUDGE OF QUILILI, I called it. I wrote it as a first person story. I pecked it out after I had returned from a long stay in Nicaragua. I wrote about the people there and the places where I spent most of my time. I added a bit of fiction and come up with quite a yarn. This winter, I rewrote the story and changed it to a regular second party yarn. Also changed the name to BEYOND THE BEND IN THE RIVER. That was one of my projects for this winter. Now, I think it is quite a yarn. Read it.
Las summer while I was over at Tombstone, I had a lot of time on my hands. I wondered if I should write another story. Then I dug out the suitcases under my bed and began reading the yarns I had written many years ago. Some of them dating back almost twenty years. In fact so many years ago, that some of them were really interesting. I wondered if I had really written all this. I guess over this period of time, I had managed to learn a bit about writing. I could find lots of errors that need attention. So at Tombstone last summer, I decided to go over all my yarns and rewrite a lot of the pages.
I was a long ways from finished when I come to Yuma last fall. Oct. 1. But I had made up my mind that I would go over all these yarns and make a new photo copy of each of them. Boy did I take on a job. All through Oct. and Dec, I worked on the manuscripts. I am sure I put in at least eight hours a day on this project, plus a lot of dollars getting a photo copy of each. Along about Christmas, I was about finished. I was real proud of all my stories and was going to try and get an agent to see if some of them could be sold to a publisher. At least it would be worth a try. Then I got sick.
Maybe I had sat too long at my typewriter too many days. I felt sick to my stomach and I was all bloated up like a poisoned pup. I was really sick on my birthday, January, 5. I was 75. And do you know something? There has been a lot of water under the bridge! All during January and up to the middle of February, I was in and out of the hospital many times. Lots of x-rays. I took piles of pills and was on a strict diet. Then I began to feel better. There was no cancer. Nothing that will kill me in a hurry. But for the rest of my days, I will be on a strict diet. If I behave, I have many years to go. At least the Doc says so.
And another thing. Like most people my age, I am sure getting absent minded. Forgetful. But I guess this goes along with old age. And I guess I shouldn’t kick. It’s been a long time since I have been to see a doctor. I mean before this time. Now that I am feeling better, I began to make plans for the summer. I will probably end up over in Tombstone, or in that area. The altitude is much higher there, about 4,000 ft. A lot cooler in the summer. Probably I will head that way about the first of April.
Now back to my stories. A MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB. Was the next one I wrote. It is a yarn about a young fellow that attempts to make a come back, after he finds himself at the bottom of the ladder. He fights his way back with the help of a dear friend and a lovely girl. They are successful and they go in search of the Lost Dutchman gold mine, which is in the Superstition Mountains, located just out of Apache Junction Arizona. Lots of drama and suspense in this one. I wrote this story as I moved my trailer south for the winter. Finished it at Apache Junction, where the story ends. I even painted a picture of the mountain in oil. It is hanging on the wall beside me.
I have spent several summers in the city of Prescott Arizona. The mile high city, they call it. It is nice there in the summer. That is one place where they celebrate every red letter day on the calendar. Lots of big art shows, where I have sold many of my paintings. Also, they have an old time auto show. Real old timers and a big parade. Several years ago a bunch of old timers like myself, gathered around an old 1910 Model T Ford that looked like new. And it had been the first car to come to that fair city. A guy from California had brought it there for the show. All the old timers, like myself, walked around the thing and kicked all the tires and spun the crank. (Many years ago, I had owned one just like it.)
A few of the old guys remembered the old car and her first owner. A blacksmith by the name of Andy Anderson. They had been quite well known many years ago. The old timers patted the old car, grinned and remarked. “If this old girl could only talk, what a story she could tell.” This gave me an idea. I would be the voice. I would tell her story. Some of it would be true, the rest fiction. So I wrote the yarn, THE TIN LIZZY. This story brings back a lot of memories to the old timers. Of course the young people of today are in for a lot of surprises. It is an interesting story. A treasure of memories.
A few years ago here in Yuma, I wrote the story, THE LOVE POTION. This novel is about an old geezer about like myself, returns to the States after spending many years in Nicaragua. The old man has brought back from that country, seed bulbs that when taken with drink or food, does strange things to people of whatever happens to partake. To human beings, it is like drinking from the fountain of youth. It is really a LOVE POTION. Women in Central America, feed it to their men. Never will they wander astray. Also it has a great affect on the women themselves. This man has a whole hot house and more of the stuff and is going to make millions. Then he discovers he is dying of Cancer. He calls his two boys home. They are twins that he hasn’t seen for years and turns the project over to them, then dies. Yes, there is such a product in that country. I know. I was there. Even reading the story helps.
Several years ago, I wrote another yarn, which I called GO WITH THE WILD WIND. I guess you know that I have always been somewhat of an inventor. Also a good mechanic, machinist, welder and all around handy man. I have built power plants that get their energy from the wind, the water and the sun. Nothing big, but something to use when there is nothing else available. I have never been interested in atomic power. Some day, it will blow everything to hell.
Big companies, cooperatives, countries, dictators, gangs and even churches try and corner the market on everything. Get a monopoly on whatever they have for sale and make everyone pay through the nose. Brainwash the public, that their way is the only way. Put the fear of God in them, then they will pay through the nose. Anyhow, that is the conclusion I have come to. For instance, the oil companies. The human race got by for a long time before they changed our method of living. I know, I was there. There is a limited supply of gas and oil, so these greedy, money hungry varmints went all out to corner the market. Also, make everyone believe that this is the only way. Yes, they did away with the wind. One of the greatest powers on this earth. Man had just began to harness a bit of this huge friendly, free, source of energy. When the oil magnets took over. This, they could control and monopolize. Which they did.
About five or six years ago, I was living in Prescott Arizona. (I spent six or seven summers there.) This was about the time that the oil companies created the big shortage. Brain washed most everyone into thinking that the oil supply was running out. Here, is one old man that didn’t swallow their line of BS What did I do? I got busy. I went back about fifty years in my thinking. Back to the days when I built a wind generator that supplied all the power we could use and it was free. I got busy and designed a power plant that could easily be the beginning of a design that could supply all the power that man will ever need. I made a bunch of drawings of the thing and took them to a lawyer that I had become aquatinted with. I wondered if the thing could be patented. He took them to a Patent Attorney in Phoenix. Also to some engineers in that city. Here is what they come up with; “To build a working model, make drawings for a patent, and all the other things that were necessary, would cost quite a pile of dough.” This I did not have, neither did my friend. I had let him read several of my stories. He thought they were great. He come up with this suggestion. “Write a book about the darn thing. Tell how to build it, also make it an interesting novel. This won’t cost a lot of dough and it could make you plenty. At least give it a try.” So, I got busy. I wrote the story and give it the name, GO WITH THE WILD WIND. Later, I changed it to THE SANCTUARY. The lawyer read the story and thought it was great. So, the next winter when I got settled in Yuma, I sent the thing to a publisher in New York. One of the big ones. All winter long, I waited for an answer. None come. Nothing. I finally sent them telegrams and nasty letters. Finally, I got an answer. They had not received the manuscript. I went to the post office and raised hell. Finally, they found the thing. The publisher had built a new building and had a new address. The manuscript had not been forwarded. It was returned to me. Oh well, there were more publishers, I would try again. And I did. This time I would send it to a publisher in California, I decided. Listed in the Writer’s Market was one that looked good. I sent them my only good copy. Along with a letter, of which I have the copy right here in front of me. It is as follows;
681 Market St. #775
San Francisco, CA.
The date on the letter is April 28, 1982. They must have really loved the thing. They still have it and refuse to return my copy. I have written them letters, called them on the phone and give them hell. The only thing I can figure out is, they are trying to steal it and it’s contents. I guess I should sue the hell out of the ……
Anyhow, I have had a very sad affair with a couple of publishers. Oh yes, this winter, I rewrote it and gave it another name. THE SANCTUARY. In this novel, I have the inventor of all this wind power hook up with a group of millionaires who are building a sanctuary far back in the mountains of Arizona. One hundred of them form the club and each put up the sum of one million dollars to build an underground shelter. Also, a huge library that will hold all the good things in life. Including wind machines. They are convinced, that soon, atomic bombs will come raining down. The Valley of Hope, the place is called. They hope to survive. Of course the Mafia tries to get in on this deal. But are turned down. They get a real gang war going. It’s an interesting yarn. I have enough action in this one that I don’t let the bombs and missiles come raining down. But look out for the next one. I call it WHO PULLED THE TRIGGER? It was last summer over at Tombstone, that I dug out the old carbon copy of the story that I sent to San Francisco. It wasn’t much. But I went to work on the thing and come up with another copy that is about as good as I can do. Then I decided that I would write the one I call, WHO PULLED THE TRIGGER? This is a separate novel, but could easily be called, part two of THE SANCTUARY. It takes place at the same location and I use a lot of the same characters. When the bombs start dropping, everyone heads for shelter. This old world is really a mad house. Then, life underground, it leaves a lot to be desired. I think it is a good story.
Among my piles of literature, is several short stories. Also there is one of them that I might rewrite it and make a full length novel out of it. I call it, DIAMONDS IN HELL. There is one thing more I would like to mention. Several years ago, I decided to write, or at least create, a TV show. Something to make people laugh. Something true to life. Something that would interest most everyone. I guess everyone has marriage problems. Couples argue and fight over the damnedest things. Or nothing at all. So I create a couple, just retired, that have fought and argued all through their married life. They believe they have all the answers and can solve most any matrimonial problem. Now to subsidize their income, in sunny Los Angeles, they hang a sign by the doorway. MARRIAGE CONSULTANTS. Plus their name. They run ads in all the papers such as, DON’T LET YOU MARRIAGE GO TO PIECES… CALL FOR APPOINTMENT. There is lots of material here. People fight over the damnedest things. I wrote three half hour shows and for damn sure, it don’t have a lot of squealing tires, or cars going up in flames. Not even a bunch of killings. Wouldn’t that be something? Yes, I went through them this winter and had photo copies made. I really think a show like this would be a big hit and might even stop some of the family brawls. And it would be easy to write, plus a small regular cast. Husband and wife, plus their teenage daughter, who is the receptionist. Surely there is a way to get this one to the producers. For damn sure, it is a lot better than what they got now and it won’t need that horrible laugh machine they turn on after someone says something that is supposed to be funny.
Well, I don’t know if this is very interesting to you my dear kids, but at least it is something. At least once a year I will send you a few pages. So bye bye for now and much love to you and our families.
As I Remember…
Aug. 20, 1984
Books and Poems;
Just a little addition to the story of my life. Hope you find it interesting. To begin with, I will tell you a little about some of the poems I memorized when I was just a kid. Back in those days, there was no such thing as radio or TV However, we had other forms of entertainment. For instance, my Uncle George, Dad’s brother, was really great at reciting dramatic poems. When he would do THE FACE ON THE BAR ROOM FLOOR. he would get great applause. Some of the women would faint. I wasn’t so bad at this sort of thing myself. However, I went in for comedy rather than dramatics. The School Teacher’s Friday Night Dream was one of my favorites. And sixty some years after I learned the thing, it is still vivid in my memory. So just for kicks, I will type it out for you. Also, I will put down one that I used as an encore. I have forgotten the title. I guess I will never get over liking poems. In recent years, I have memorized or come up with a few that seem proper in my old age. I hope you like them.
Also I have been busy writing novels. Got about a dozen completed. One of these days, I will try and get some of them published. The title of the last one, which I just completed, is; WHO PULLED THE TRIGGER. We are in an atomic war and no one knows why. And speaking of books, I have two old rare books that are quite valuable. I keep them hid out close together here in my trailer. The title of one is; When Knighthood was in Flower. The love story of Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor, who is the sister of King Henry the eighth, by Edwin Caskoden. It is a very famous English novel and in almost perfect condition. Pictures and all, it is almost a hundred years old. So if I happen to get struck by lightening or get shot, look for these two books. The other one is; The complete works of Robert Service.
The School Teacher’s Friday Night Dream
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of Lady Clara, Vere De Vere.
It was the eighteenth of April in seventy five
Hardly a man is now alive, who remembers that
famous day and year.
At midnight in his guarded tent,
The Turk was dreaming of the hour.
When Greece her knee in supplence bent,
Would tremble at his power.
As he was dreaming an Angel song,
Awakened our little boy blue.
The years are long, the years are many.
Oh Douglas, Douglas, tender true.
The Judge rode slowly down the lane,
Stroking his horse’s chestnut mane.
He drew his bridle into the shade,
Of the apple tree to greet the maid, then asked;
Did you ever hear of the wonderful one hoss shay,
That was built in such a logical way?
It run a hundred years to the day.
I’ll tell you what happened without delay.
The boy stood on the burning deck,
From whence all but him had fled.
The flames rolled on, he would not go.
And this is what he said!
Oh Father I see a gleaming light,
Oh say what can it be?
But the father answered nary a word,
For a frozen corpse was he.
Up rose old Barbara Fletchery then,
Bowed with her four score years and ten.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy flax.
Her cheeks like the dawn of the day.
And I would that my tongue could utter
These words to him, she did say.
I am sorry that I spelt the word,
I hate to go above you.
Because the brown eyes lower fell,
Because you see I Love You!
A hush of sadness, a flush of shame.
Over the face of the leader came.
For of all the sad words of tongue and pen,
But the saddest are these. It might have been!
Then up rose brave Horatious,
And told the freeman at the gate.
To every man upon this earth,
Death…Death… Cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better,
Than facing fearful odd.
For I am Queen of the May Mother.
Winken, Blinken and Nod!
So those stately ships go on,
To have their haven under the hill.
But oh for the touch of that vanished hand,
And the sound of the voice that is still!
P.S. When I was a kid, the school teacher taught all of the eight grades. Poetry was taught to all. In the first grade, you learned the words of Little Boy Blue. By the time you reached the seventh, you had mastered Longfellow and were well into Shakespeare. So it was no wonder that the School Teacher’s Friday Night Dream got a little mixed up!
It was midnight on the ocean,
Not a street car was in sight.
The sun was shining brightly
And it rained all day that night!
T’was a summer night in winter,
The rain was snowing fast!
A bare foot boy with shoes on,
Stood sitting in the grass.
As the organ peeled potatoes,
Grease was rendered by the choir.
Holy Smoke! The Preacher shouted,
As someone set the church on fire.
In the rain he lost his hair.
Now his head resembles Heaven,
For there is no parting there!
These two poems, I learned when I was just a kid. I learned them so I would have something to recite at the parties. And they did get quite a lot of laughs. Maybe some of the kids, grandkids or great grand kids, will get a kick out of them.
I still love my poetry. Especially something with a sense of humor. And as I grow older, colder and bolder, I find a couple that sort of goes along with the times. And like the two oldies that I typed from memory, and added a touch of my own, I will attempt to put them down for you. So here goes…
OLD AGE IS HELL
The body gets stiff, you get cramps in your legs.
There is corns on your feet, as big as hen’s eggs.
There is gas in your stomach, elimination is poor.
You take Ex-Lax at night, then you are not sure.
You soak in the tub, or the body will smell.
Just like I told you, OLD AGE IS HELL!
Your teeth are decaying, eyesight is poor.
Hair falling out, all over the floor.
Your sex life is shot, it’s a thing of the past.
Don’t kid yourself my friend, even THAT doesn’t last!
You don’t go to parties, don’t dance anymore.
Just putting it mildly, you are one Hell of a bore!
Liquor is out, you can’t take a chance.
The bladder is so weak, you might pee your pants!
So you got nothing to plan for, nothing to expect.
Only the mail man, with your security check!
So get your affairs in order, and your will made out right,
Or on your way to the grave, there will be one Hell of a fight!
So listen my friend, if you feel fairly well.
Thank God you are alive, although OLD AGE IS HELL!
There is a lot of truth in this one!
P.S. This winter, I finished the novel, THE LOVE POTION. This is a story about an elderly gent that has returned from Central America and brings with him a beautiful gal and many seeds of, THE LOVE POTION. Just a couple of swallows from a drink made of this herb, LOOK OUT! This story takes place in Yuma, and I was there…
Just a Little Bit Mixed Up
Just a line to say I’m still living,
And not among the dead.
Although I’m getting very forgetful,
And mixed up in my head.
And there’s times I can’t remember,
As I stand in front of the stairs.
Am I going up there for something?
Or did I just come down from there!
And as I stand in front of the fridge,
My mind gets filled with doubt.
Have I just put something away,
Or come to take it out?
Sometimes I awake in the dark,
With my nightcap on my head.
I don’t know if I’m retiring,
Or just getting out of bed!
So if it’s my turn to write you a letter,
I don’t want you to get sore.
I probably think I have written,
And don’t want to be a bore.
So remember that I love you,
And I wish that you were here.
And now that it is mail time,
I must say goodbye my dear.
So here I stand if front of the mail box,
And my face is so very red.
Instead of mailing you my letter,
I have just opened it instead!
P.S. Someday you will understand…
Sunday morning, Aug. 21,1983.
Bought myself a new typewriter yesterday. So guess I will give it a little work out. It is a bright and sunny morning. I am in the town of LaVerkin Utah. I am in my trailer, which is parked at the Gate Way Trailer Court. Space No.1. I guess the reason for this name, is because this is where the road turns off to Zion National Park. Which the entrance is only a few miles from here. I have been in Utah now for about four months. I come here the twenty fifth of May. It has sure been swell visiting my family. The kids have sure been great. Most every Sunday, after they get out of church, they have me over for dinner. Boy have I got a good looking bunch of grandkids. And great grandkids! And lots of them! There is sure not much going on around here, to entertain an old goat like me. Not even a movie, this side of Saint George, which is close to twenty miles from here. However, there are lots of churches. Mostly Mormons. I guess they devote all their spare time to going to church. Also this has been the off season for winter visitors I guess that when winter comes, lots of people from northern Utah, come to spend the cold winter months.
However, I have kept myself quite busy. Lorin and Bertie have taken me through the Zion National Park several times. The scenery is really fantastic. I got the urge to do some painting. So I got my brushes and went to work. So right now, the walls of my trailer, are literally covered with paintings. Going to have a sale one of these days. Either that, or give them away. Anyhow, this has helped me pass the time away.
Last fall, while I was in Prescott Arizona, I received a telephone call from my darling daughter, Sandra. She asked me to write the story of my life. Well, I did just that and sent her a copy. This summer, I gave Bertie my copy. She and Lorin read it. Also they are getting another made. Bertie had one comment about the yarn. “Daddy, you left out a lot of things that I remember. For instance, about the Mosaico. Yes, I guess I did leave out a lot. I only hit some of the highlights. But, I wanted to get her a story. Since I finished the thing, I recall so many different things that probably would have been in there. And Bertie thinks they should be. So in my spare time, I will sit down at my new typewriter and put things down as they come to my mind. And right now I will start with the MOSAICO PROJECT.
During the years I spent in Central America and my many trips through Old Mexico, I always admired the tile, which they called Mosaico. I don’t think I ever as much as walked on a wooden floor all the time I was down there. All of the floors were made of this colorful tile. Everything from the flimsy hut of the peasant, to the sky scraper buildings in the cities, were made of Mosaico. Even the sidewalks. There were hundreds of different designs. Everything from pretty red roses, to ancient Aztec designs. Many a time, I wondered why the stuff was never seen in the U.S.A. Surely there should be a market for it. So being a curious guy, I went to several places that made the tile. I watched them and asked a lot of questions. Writing down the answers.
On one of our many trips back and forth to Nicaragua, Dell and myself were coming home. We were driving a Chevy station wagon. About two hundred miles the other side of Mexico City, an axle bearing went out of the car. We were stranded. We finally got towed into a town with a garage. The guy had to go to the city for parts. We would be there for several days. We got us a hotel room and waited. I guess we were there for about a week. We really got aquatinted in that small Mexican town. One thing that really interested me, was the Mosaico plant. I spent a lot of time watching the guy. He was really an artist. When we finally got out of there, I was sure I had all the answers. I bought a couple of dozen of his best designs and loaded them in the car. Maybe we could build the stuff back home.
When we got to Idaho, I showed everyone the pretty tile I had brought back. Most everyone agreed that it was beautiful and it would make lovely patios and walk ways. Also cover ugly concrete floors. As I remember, Lorin and Bertie were visiting in Emmett. I showed them. Also Stanley and Gertrude the tile I had brought back. All of them fell in love with it. I showed them my notes and told them what I had learned about making the Mosaico. Which was a very simple process. About all it would take to start up in business was some molds and a fifty ton press. The molds could be bought in Guadalajara, Mexico. Also the press.
All the presses I had seen down there, were a mechanical device, powered by a man on a wooden handle about ten feet long. Most of the plants, didn’t even have electric power.
Lorin was working in Seattle. In his spare time, he had been building a new house. They had been really busy. There was still a lot to be done before it was finished. But as soon as it was complete, it would be for sale. The reason? Bertie’s health had been really poor lately. And I guess it was all blamed on the wet climate up there. They would like to sell out and go to California. Stanley and Gertrude were also looking for something different. So we decided on this. I would go to Seattle and help Lorin finish his house. Then the five of us would take a trip south.
Several months later, we took off. After shopping around down there, we finally agreed to settle in the town of Lodi. Here we would start the first Mosaico plant. Lorin had the idea that the thing could be made to be completely automatic. He and Stanley did a lot of work on the project. But I guess they never come up with all the answers. Finally Lorin went back to Seattle and bought a press. This we would need before we could do anything. And what a press he come home with. It was really a whopper! A five hundred tonner! It was slow, but mighty. Finally they decided to give up trying to figure out a way to make the stuff without buying the Mexican molds. I went to Mexico and come back with enough to get us started.
Now we had a press and some molds. We could go to work. Now it was my turn to do my thing. I mixed up a batch just like the man in Mexico. Put everything together, just like he had done. Everything went just great until I tried to remove the tile. The damn thing was stuck to the face of the mold and refused to let loose. Something wasn’t just right. Then I remembered. Before making each piece, the guy would take a brush and apply something to the face of the mold. “That’s the trouble,” I told them. “We got to have a parting agent.”
We went to the local concrete supplier. He sold us a bottle of stuff that he said would do the job. Back to the press and the same results. The darn things just wouldn’t come loose! I guess we tried everything we could think of. Still, the same results. Yes, I had brought back all the information, but the stuff they used to keep the tile from sticking. I felt like an ass. And of course, we didn’t know of anyone in the United States to call. We were up again a dead end. Then Lorin asked. “Aren’t there Mosaico plants in the border towns?” Lorin and Bertie had an almost new Volkswagen. Lorin suggested, “It is only a few hundred miles to the border. We can drive down in a day.” The next day, we took off. The following day, we spent in Old Mexico. The next day we returned with the formula. And what did it consist of? Two parts kerosene and one part raw linseed oil. Like everything else down there, the answer was very simple. But it did the job! But we had lots of other troubles. Both Lorin and Stanley thought that this method was far too slow. They worked day and night trying to design a faster way. Then one day, they come up with a guy that said he had all the answers. I have forgotten his name. But this I remember. He was a building contractor from Utah. And a Mormon. He had been south of the border many times and liked the idea of adobe houses. Which most of them are down there. Now, here in California, in one of the towns close by, he was building adobe houses and they were selling like mad. He invited us to go take a look at a couple that were under construction. Which we did. The houses were real nice. I thought. The adobe brick he and his crew made themselves. Painted inside and out, they looked great. “I thought Mosaico floors and patios would go good with them.” He said. “So I designed and built a machine that is almost automatic.” “I don’t see any Mosaico around here.” I told him. “I am not using it right now.” he said. “In fact, I don’t think I will ever use it again. These adobe houses without the Mosaico are selling as fast as I can build them. So why go to the additional expense?”
“Do you want to sell the machine?’ One of the boys asked him. This guy was pretty shrewd. I thought he would bear watching. Slowly he nodded. “Yes, I guess I would sell it.” “How much are you asking?” one of asked. “Being as how I don’t figure on using the darn thing, I will let you have it for just what I have paid out to get it going.” “And how much is that?” I asked him. As I remember, he didn’t come up with an exact price, but I think it was somewhere around two or three thousand dollars. “And it is all set and ready to go?” One of us asked. “Well, not quite. I had it going real good. Made a whole bunch of tile. It is partly dismantled right now. But I will show you just how to get the darn thing going.” “Where is it?” we asked. “It is over in my shop. “We will drive over there and I will show it to you.” The thing was really something. He had several home made moulds fastened to a revolving chain. Several bins to hold the material was across from where a person would stand. At the end, was a cross belt to carry the tile away after the moulds had dumped the contents on it. I think I can best describe the thing by saying. “It looks like something that Major Whoople would build.” Maybe you don’t remember Major Whoople. Where the thing dumped the tile on the belt, or was supposed to, sat an empty metal barrel. I should say almost empty. I took a quick peek inside and saw the remains of several tile that had been scraped off the moulds. I had just one question for the guy. “What do you use to keep the tile from sticking to the mould?” He had all the answers. All but the right one. He grinned. “Most any kind of parting agent will do that.” It looked to me that the guy was trying to unload a bunch of worthless junk. I don’t think the boys were really impressed. Anyhow, we didn’t buy the damn thing. But I guess it gave them some new ideas to fool around with. I had begun to wonder if we would ever make and sell any of the pretty Mexican Mosaico tile.
While the boys were working on the new automatic model they intended to build, I wished them a lot of luck and went ahead and made up several hundred tile. Each a foot square. For a beginner, I think they looked pretty good. I wondered what the public would think. Stan and Gertrude had rented a house. Lorin and Bertie had sold their house in Seattle. Their next move was to buy an acreage here. It had a nice house on it and the land was covered with all kinds of grape vines. A real nice vineyard.
As for me, I was staying in a rooming house and eating in cafes. Right across from where I was staying, was a nice one. It also had a bar. Two brothers owned and operated the thing and served very good food at a reasonable price. It was called THE WOODBRIDGE INN. I ate there most of the time and got quite well aquatinted with the pair. I have forgotten their names. Anyhow, I took several of the tile and showed them to these two guys. Evidently they liked the looks of them and asked me what it would cost them to put them on the floor of both of the rest rooms. I measured them and gave them a price. I would lay them myself. Their answer was yes. So here, was our first job. Lorin and Stanley had a new project that they were working on. Stepping stones. Instead of foot square blocks, or tile these were much larger. Probably about thirty inches long and fifteen wide. And two or three times as thick.
I could never figure out why Lorin had bought such a huge hydraulic press. Instead of a fifty ton, which was recommended, this monster was about ten times that powerful. Also it was very slow. Sure wasn’t very practical for making the tile. I think this is why they decided to make these large stepping stones. It would take a lot of pressure to make one that large.
The new floors in the rest rooms of the Woodbridge Inn caused a lot of comment. And all of it good. The two brothers were very pleased and began making more plans. They wanted me to give them a price on all new sidewalks completely around the building. Also there was a nice park in the rear. Here they wanted new walkways. Also a big concrete table that was used for picnics, would be covered. And there was more. Many customers were asking where this beautiful tile could be bought.
Lorin and Stanley had finally finished the mould for the stepping stones. They made a few samples and took off with them as soon as the material was set up. I guess they called on a lot of different places. Mostly floral shops, I think. Anyhow, a few days later, they come back tickled pink. Most all the places they had called on would handle this product. They said. Immediately, they began building the big stepping stones. In the meantime, the boys at the Woodbridge Inn gave me the go ahead signal. I told Lorin and Stanley. “Boys,” I said. “I also have good news.” and I told them about the deal I had made with the guys at the Woodbridge Inn. I will never forget the exact words that Lorin told me. And here they are. “We are not going to do business with shitty places like that Woodbridge Inn!” Then he went on to explain. “About everyone I called on wants to put in a stock of these stepping stones. And they are all good reliable places. We don’t need to do business with a place like that.” I didn’t know what to say. As far as I was concerned, this was by far the best restaurant in town. And like most nice places in California, they also serve liquor. I didn’t know what to say. So I just kept my mouth shut. The boys had paid for all the equipment. Also the rent and other expenses. They were the boss. I only had a few hundred dollars in my pocket, when I come down here. And I still had enough money in the bank to get me back to Emmett. So I decided it was about time for me to take off. I wished the kids a lot of luck and headed for Idaho. So, that is my version of what happened in Lodi.
But that is not the end of the Mosaico story. There is more. So I guess I might just as well tell THE REST OF THE STORY. When I got back to Boise, my first stop was brother Dell. He and Shirley were renting a house there. They had an extra bedroom, so I moved in with them. Dell and Shirley had been down in Nicaragua operating the gold dredge that they had taken down to the Waki Was River. Which was one of our projects down there. “How goes the tile business?” Dell asked me. “I don’t think those guys intend to make any tile.” I told him. “They are more interested in developing a machine that will do the job. Maybe they will come up with something. If that Mosaico could be built cheap enough, there should be plenty of market for it.” I had brought back about ten dozed pieces of what I had made. I showed them to him. “And you made these?” he asked. I nodded. “Mind if I borrow a few of these?” “Go ahead and take them.” Boise Idaho is noted for it’s construction companies. Such as The Morrison Knudsen Co., Turtlings, J.H. Wise, Paul Wise and others. Some time later, Dell told me. “I showed those tile to Paul Wise. He is one of the biggest builders around and he would like to talk to you.” I went to see Paul. He was definitely interested. And he had a press. A sixty ton hydraulic and it was fast. Perfect for making the tile.
I got in contact with Lorin and Bertie. They were busy in their vineyard. And I guess they had closed the Mosaico plant. The stepping stones, hadn’t gone over as good as they as they expected. Of course, they weren’t using the Mexican moulds, so I asked them to send to Boise. Which they did. It took only a few days to get the thing going. In a couple of weeks, I had several thousand of the things made. Curing, submerged in water. Just like I had learned south of the border.
Paul was a very thorough guy. There was no guess work as far as he was concerned. When we took the first batch out of the curing tank, he looked them over very carefully. Showed them to a lot of prospects. Then he told me. “There is just one thing that bothers me.” “And what is that?” “Down in Mexico and Central America where they use this stuff, the weather is very moderate. No sub zero weather. Freezing and thawing might raise hell with this stuff. And I think that our market for it here will be for outside use. Such as patios, sidewalks, garage floors, etc.” “What do you suggest?” I asked. He had all the answers. “The college has a lab for testing just such things as this. They will give it the acid test. Freeze and thaw it thousands of times. They can tell us about what it will look like twenty years from now. Or a hundred years.” “And how long will that take.?” “About two or three months. So we hadn’t better make any more until we get the results of this test.” I agreed with him. And I could why a big business he operated couldn’t afford to take a chance.” “What will we do with those I have made?” I asked him. He grinned. “Why don’t you see if you can sell them? Just don’t mention my name.” I remembered the Woodbridge Inn in Lodi. They had been easy to sell. I gathered up a few samples and took off. I drove out to a bar on West State Street. I had been there a few times and had met the owner. I thought this would be a good place to start. I guess I am a natural born salesman. Anyhow, before the day was over, the guy had fell in love with the tile and would soon have new sidewalks around the building. Now there was nothing to do but wait for the returns from the lab. Or was there?
One day Dell come up with a bright idea. “These damn things.” he said. “Would sure make a pretty head marker for a grave. Why don’t you make them about twenty four inches and sell them for headstones?” “Are you kidding?” “Hell no. And I would buy one right now for ten bucks.” “I could make the stones alright. But they would have to be engraved.” “That limestone face should cut alright.” Dell remarked. I think Paul Wise has a pantograph. That should do the trick.” Well, I never thought I would make tombstones, but I decided I would give it a try.
The first thing I did was to make a mould. Which was much like the ones the boys had made for the stepping stones. It worked like a charm. I went ahead and made up a whole bunch of them and put them in water to cure. Wise told me. “Go ahead and see what you can do. Just don’t put my name on anything until those tests come back.” To that I agreed. The first stone I engraved, I put Dell’s name it. Also the day of his birth. All it needed was that last day. And to my great sorrow, it was only a short time later, that I put that on and put it to the head of his grave. Also, I made one for my father, John C. Dewey. Then later, one for brother Bob, Robert Gene Dewey. Two years ago while I was in Emmett, I went to the cemetery and took out a bunch of flowers. Those Mosaico headstones were still there. And in excellent condition. Now back to the story. At that time, I had a cousin that lived in Boise. He name was Dewey Cline. He was a swell guy. Several years younger than myself and out of a job. I showed him the head markers and told him my plan. Which was something like this.
I would make up about fifty of the stones. The surface would look like pure marble. On each one, I would engrave the name, Tom G. Jones. On the left side, would be the day and year of birth. On the other side, the final date. I didn’t really need Dewey to go along with me, but he would be good company on the road and he was a good salesman and out of a job. Being as how we didn’t know how the stones would stand this cold weather, we headed south, California.
There are usually two undertakers in each town. We would pick one from the telephone book and set up an appointment. Then one of us would call on him. Here was the pitch. Hand him the engraved stone that looked like pure marble, then give him the words. “This is manufactured marble that is called Mosaico. It has been used in Italy, Spain and all the Latin American countries for hundreds of years. We sell them only through the undertakers. And we are setting up one in each town as we pass through. These beautiful markers sell for the low sum of forty dollars. On each, you make twenty. Just send us the names and the dates. Plus twenty dollars. We mail the stones to the beloved ones.” By this time, the guy was usually sold. Undertakers never pass up an opportunity to grab an easy buck. The last thing is this. “Of course you will need a sample to show. You may have this one for the low wholesale price.” Usually it didn’t take over ten minutes and would walk out of there with a twenty in our pocket.
Now back in those days, twenty bucks was about like a hundred now. Gas, twenty five cents a gallon. A good meal for a buck. A nice motel for a fin. At least we had a good thing going, if we never so much as heard from these lovely undertakers. Soon, we were out of samples. We must return home. We were in grape country and there were lots of wineries. Dewey liked to stop at these and sample the wares. And he loved those big long wine cellars. In one of them, he found a wine that he really liked. He was a darn good cook as well as a salesman. He liked to use wine in some of his dishes. He bought a gallon of the stuff and put it in the back seat of the car. “I will cook you up something real good when we get home.” he said. We stopped at Las Vegas on the way back. Played the games and took in a few floor shows. We had a ball. Dewey Cline liked his drinks. Wasn’t the type that gets drunk but he could sure put away a lot of stuff and he seldom had a hangover.
It was Saturday afternoon when we hit the Nevada City. I was late Sunday afternoon at a small town in Utah. Got us a motel room, took a shower, then walked up town. It was a hot evening and a cold beer would taste mighty fine. We found a couple of stores but they were both closed. Then it dawned. This was Utah, Mormon country. Everything was locked up tight. Even the grocery stores. Sunday was church day. “It looks like we will have to settle for a drink of water.” I told him. Suddenly his face lit up. He was all smiles. “Don’t be so damn sure. I just happen to know where there is a whole gallon of wine.” So back to the car we went. I unlocked the right front door and swung it open. Dewey reached inside and pulled up the catch that locked the back door. Then took hold of the handle and swung the door wide open. The gallon of wine must have been sitting on something up against the door. Anyhow, as it opened, the bottle came tumbling out. It hit the concrete pavement with a crash. The gutter was running red. I will never forget the look on Dewey’s face as he looked up at me. These words I will never forget. “Did you ever see a grow man cry?” Dewey Cline is dead now. While fishing on the Payette River, between Banks and Garden Valley, he slipped while jumping from one rock to the other, and was drowned. He was one swell guy. He died just a few years ago.
Now back to the Mosaico. A couple of days later, we were back in Boise. There were no orders in from the undertakers yet. But this did not discourage us. I went ahead and built a bunch more. This time I loaded my Pontiac chuck full. All it would hold. This time, we took off for the Oregon Coast. My old stamping ground. The results were about the same. In a short time, we were back in Boise. This time, we expected to have a bunch of orders from our dealers in California, but to our surprise, there were none. I built another car load and once more headed for California. There was hundreds of prospects down there that we had not called on yet. We sold our load of samples and headed for home. I suggested that we stop at some of the first dealers we had set up and see why they were not sending us lots of orders. The first guy we asked, gave us this answer. “We showed the sample to the local granite guy. He says this stuff is nothing more than plastic and will fade out in a few months.” We called several more. Those granite boys certainly weren’t going to let us move in on their market. If they could help it! When we got home, there was still no orders. Those tombstone boys had sure been busy, we decided. Anyhow, we didn’t set up any more dealers.
Then one day, Paul Wise gave me a call. The tests on the tile had been completed. I went down to his office. I guess they had done everything in the world to punish those poor stones. They looked like hell. He handed me one. “This is what they will look like here, in ten years.” he said. “And this one, twenty. This one thirty.” This was hard to believe. “I think they are nuts.” I told him. This tile that had been made and laid hundreds of years ago, was still in good shape. And it was everywhere in Mexico and Central America. Anyhow, that was the end of our partnership. And do you know something? I was right! Two years ago when I was in Idaho, I went to that bar on State Street. The one I had put the tile on top of the concrete sidewalk, and believe it or not, it looked as pretty as the day it was put down. Also, I went to the cemetery. The headstones I had made for Dell, Bob and Dad were still in good shape.
But that was not the last of the story! Once more, lets go back about twenty years. Several years had passed. Dad had died. Also brother Dell. Bob was in a wheel chair with Multiple Sclerosis. He was staying with Mother and she was in poor condition. I decided they needed help, so I moved in with them. I went to work for Jack King. He was running the Dewey Orchards. I worked in the shop. Kept all the machinery and equipment going. Jack and I got along great. The harvest season was over and Jack and Donna decided to build on to their house. Their family was growing and the house was small. I still had a few Mosaico tiles that I had made in Boise. He thought they were beautiful. “I am going to build a fire place in the new house. I could lay it up with cinder blocks and cover it with these. It would be beautiful. Can you make up a bunch?” “All I need is a press.” I told him. “The moulds are over in Boise.” “Where could we get a press?” he asked. For a long time, I had been trying to figure out how to build one. A special Mosaico press. Something that was powerful and fast. Something light and inexpensive. In the back of my noggin, I thought I had all the answers. I told Jack. “If you will let me borrow the shop for a couple of weekends, I will build one.” Jack was all smiles. “Go ahead.” It didn’t take me long to build the darn thing and it was a dandy. There was an air compressor in the shop. I would use this for power. I would build it, air over hydraulic. Let the air drive an eight inch piston with a two inch hydraulic piston on the bottom. This two incher, would force the fluid into another eight inch cylinder. It was powerful and it was fast. All I needed now was the moulds.
I made a trip to Boise. Paul Wise had moved everything to a new location. He had bought a much larger piece of land just out of town. Everything was a mess. We couldn’t find the moulds anywhere. Couldn’t even find the press! In Emmett, there was a guy by the name of Dale Cooper. He was in insurance and real estate. He was a wheeler and dealer. Liked to get in on anything that would make money. Recently he had bought the Cannon Orchards. Every once in a while, he would come around and visit me.
One day he come in to the shop. He took a look at the press I had made. “What you got there?” he asked. I told him and showed him the tile I had made in Boise. “Beautiful stuff.” he said. “Any way I can get in on this deal?” I thought a minute, then told him. “The moulds have been misplaced or lost. There is none this side of Old Mexico. Probably the closest place would be the city of Monterey. “About how much will they cost?” “By the time a person drove clear down there and waited for them to be built, it would cost at least a couple thousand.” Dale grinned. “I just had a windfall the other day. So I got a few extra bucks. Also, I got an extra compressor. I will put up the money for the moulds, plus the compressor and we will be partners on them. o.k?”
I was getting itchy feet. I had been there at the ranch taking care of Mother and Bob. Also working every day. I decided it was time for me to take a good long trip. It had been a long time. I told him o.k. He slipped me a couple of grand. Jack said he would keep a close eye on Mother and Bob. I got in my Dodge sedan and took off. You will probably wonder why I chose the city of Monterey. I will tell you. Most of Mexico’s heavy industry was there. Big steel mills, etc. I was sure they would have everything in the way of Mosaico moulds. It would be a long trip. Almost across the U.S. Then cross the border at Brownsville Texas. Then around the horn of the Gulf of Mexico, almost to the Atlantic Ocean. Why did I go there instead of Guadalajara, where I got those other moulds? I will tell you. The moulds I bought there, were made in Monterey and I had to wait there about a week before they arrived. Besides, I had some very unpleasant memories about that place. I guess I had better tell about it. The moulds come in on Friday evening. I would leave by bus the next morning. I bought me a bus ticket to Nogales Mexico. From there, I would take a taxi across the border and then get me a ticket back to Lodi. I got a guy with a horse and buggy to pick up the moulds at the train depot. He would take them to the bus station.
The guy with the horse and buggy was late getting to the bus station. I was getting nervous. I counted my money. I barely had enough to eat on ‘til we got to the border. I wished he would hurry up and get there. But my luck held. The bus, was also late getting out of there. Finally the guy got there. We loaded the moulds in the freight compartment and we took off.
It was about noon on a Saturday when we pulled out. We would arrive in Nogales sometime Monday morning. The first stop for our bus was at the town of Tequila. Time for dinner. The bus stopped and everyone got out. This was the town where the famous drink was made from cactus and before the bus left, most everyone bought a bottle to take along. But not me. In fact, I didn’t even eat! When I sat down at the table, and felt for my wallet, it was gone! Someone had lifted it. Picked my pocket! Then I remembered, back at that bus station, just before we left, someone had bumped into me about knocking me down. Another guy had grabbed me and kept me from falling. No doubt, they were the ones that had got my wallet. I had less than a dollar in loose Mexican pesos in my pocket. I looked like a long dry spell for me. I had my check book in my suit case, but getting a U.S. check cashed there on a Saturday or Sunday would be impossible. Anyhow, I guess that is the reason I headed for Monterey. Anyhow, everything went great, until I reached the town of Brownsville Texas. Here, I would cross the border and head for Monterey. This was a short cut. A new road that wasn’t finished all the way. But it would save me several hundred miles. But something happened in Brownsville that I will never forget. The hurricane season was on and one hit that fair city. I don’t know if it had a name or was truly a real one. But in all my travels, I have never seen so much wind and rain.
I was driving down a narrow street, looking for a place to spend the night when storm hit. We have gully and flash floods in the west. Especially Arizona, but I had never seen anything like this. The wind was about to take me off the street when a wall of water come rushing down on me. Suddenly my car was floating. Going like a canoe on the high seas! Suddenly, the street made a bend. But the water didn’t. It kept right on going and me with it! Suddenly just ahead was a deep wash. An escape for the water I guess. Then head first, we were dumped right into the damn thing! The front of the car hit a big boulder and we come to a sudden stop. Water was running all around me. What a long night. It was late in the morning before someone come to my rescue. The storm had passed on and the sun was shining.
I stayed there a couple of days waiting for my car to be dried out and a few minor things fixed. Then I was on my way. There was very little travel on this new road and it went through a lot of high mountains. In places, I had to make long detours to avoid the road crews. I made one detour that I will never forget. The narrow winding road passed right by an old abandoned city. Outside of a few tourists, who were stopped to look it over, the place was deserted. No one seemed to be living there. Everywhere, there were rows of stone houses Up against the side of the mountain someone had uncovered a whole city that had been buried for thousands of years. This was probably some ancient dwelling built by the Aztec Indian.
I had a camera and some film in the glove compartment. I would take home some pictures of this, I decided. There were no roofs on any of the buildings. The stone walls were all that was left. Very likely they had used wood or grass to cover them. I got out the camera and snapped a few pictures. Then up just ahead of me, was a strange sight. A couple of goats were up on top of one of those high walls looking down at me. And close by was one of the houses with a grass roof on it. Someone was living there I decided. I stopped my car and got out. I focused the camera on the goats on the wall and snapped the picture. Suddenly out of the house with the roof on it, come a man. He was big and he looked mean and in his right hand, was a huge machete. Might just as well get a picture of him I thought. I rolled the film and raised the camera. Pointing it straight at him. Maybe he thought that I was holding some kind of weapon. I will never know, but he came straight at me, the machete raised high. I couldn’t understand the words he was bellowing, but I sure got the meaning. The engine was running on my car. I made a run for it! And I was just barely in time. I hit the throttle and got the hell out of there! And didn’t stop until I got to Monterey. I got me a room at a nice hotel. The price was very reasonable and there were many beautiful senioritis around and all of them available. I located the place that made the moulds. They would be ready in about a week. I was on my vacation and in no particular hurry. This was the third largest city in Mexico and the people were very friendly. I had a ball. A couple of weeks later, I was back in Idaho.
Mother and Bob had got along o.k. while I was gone. They were glad to see me back and it was good to get home. Jack and I went to work on his house. There was still a lot to be done. In my spare time, I made up a few hundred tile. One of the things that the lab had against the tile, it was too smooth. On it, people could slip and fall. Then Jack come up with a bright idea. String back an forth across the face a handful of coarse rock salt. While it was curing in water, the salt would melt away. A few passes with a wire brush should open up the cavities. And it worked like a charm. Not only did it roughen the surface enough, but also improved the looks. We made up a bunch and covered his huge fireplace. It looked great. I wondered if I could make a sale. I took a few samples and went to Emmett. I stopped at a place called Headquarters. A place that sold beer and mixed drinks. Wess Crayford owned the place. I set a few of the tiles on the bar and ordered a beer. “What you got there?” Wes asked. I told him what I was doing. Gave him the works. He walked around on my side of the bar and pointed down. “All along this bar where these stools are at, I have to put down new tile every few months. People sit here on these stools and keep digging their feet into the stuff. Guys with hob nail boots come in here. They seem to enjoy tearing up the floor while they drink. How long do you think this stuff will last?” “I’ll guarantee it for ten years.” I told him. His next question was. “When can you do the job?” I don’t think he even asked the price. Anyhow, the answer was yes.
Dale Cooper was tickled pink with the moulds and the tile I made. “We will get going on this thing one of these days.” he said. “Right now I got a project that I must finish.” We took the press and the moulds and stored them in the basement of the rooming house he owned. And I guess they are still sitting there.
Shortly after this Bob died. Not long after, Mother passed away. And I got the hell out of there! I guess that was the end of the Mosaico. Probably not very interesting and sure wasn’t a big success story for anyone. It was just one of those things that happened. There was one thing for sure. I could sure sell the stuff. Two years ago, eighteen years after I had laid the tile in the saloon in Emmett, I went to take a look. It was as pretty as the day it was laid!
Before Mother passed away, she handed me some papers that were clipped together. “This,” she said, “is a carbon copy of my last will and testament. Hang on to it, just in case something might happen to the other copy. This one I have signed just like the other one.” I took it and I still have it. It is lying right here beside me. Would you like to see a copy of some of the pages? Some that evidently got changed for others.? Any how the only thing I ever got out of her estate was what I sold at that auction sale. And I am sure that none of the other heirs got anything either. Brother Ray was administrator and ended up with everything. I could say a lot more about this but I think this is enough.
Oh yes, I started another book this summer. The Tin Lizzy is the title. It is the story of a 1910 model T Ford, that was in an old time auto show parade, this summer here at Prescott, Arizona. All the old timers here, gathered around the thing after the parade was over. Including me. We all walked around and kicked it’s tires, spun the crank and patted it gently. It sure brought back a lot of memories. One old boy made the remark. “If only that old baby could talk. What a story she could tell!” This gave me the idea. Of course a car can’t talk, but if this one could, it might go something like this…
Then I begin the Old Ford telling it’s own story. I am about half way through now. Will finish it when I get through with this.
You probably wonder why I don’t attempt to get some of these books published. I will tell you about that. Sometimes it takes months before you hear from a publisher. This last year, I decided to send off a couple. Thought I might be in one place long enough to get an answer. Last fall down in Yuma, I mailed one to one of the big publishers in New York. I waited for months and didn’t hear a word. Finally I called them on the phone. They said they had not received the manuscript. I went to the post office and had some tracers run on it. They finally located it and returned it to me. It was lost all winter. When I come up here this spring, I decided to send it to a publisher here on the west coast. I sent this story, Go With the Wild Wind, to Alchemy Books. 681 Market Suite-775. San Francisco.CA. 94105. They were supposed to report in three or four weeks. That has been over four months ago. I have wrote to them several times. Also called them on the phone. They admit that they have the story, but won’t make me an offer or return the manuscript. I think they are trying to steal it, or some of the ideas in the yarn. Maybe sooner or later, they will come up with something.
I will tell you a little bit about this story which I gave it the title, Go With the Wild Wind, or “The Sanctuary.” First I will tell you what inspired me to write this one. As you know, I have always been some sort of an inventor. Also a mechanic and welder. A few years ago, when gasoline prices began to soar, I got busy. We have been led down a primrose path. I thought. The oil and gas companies have got us so brainwashed that we thing there is no other great source of power. Back before they gained control, we relied greatly on the wind. All the ships that sailed the mighty oceans, were powered by it. And now, a lot of fishing boats are returning to wind power. Back in the early days, most every farm had a big windmill. Then later, along come the wind charger. Turning an electric generator and charging batteries. The development of wind power, had been stopped in it’s infancy. Why had we dropped this great source of power? I asked myself. The answer? There was no way the big companies could get a monopoly on the wind. It was free for the taking. For centuries, Holland had kept the mighty ocean from flooding their land by using windmills. And they still do. Then I come up with a brand new idea. Instead of big blades turning a generator, hook it up to an air compressor. Then, like a row of electric light poles, put up miles of them. Then along side down below, put a steel pipeline several feet in diameter. The bigger the pipe, the more storage. Now nothing is going to waste and there is no smog or fall-out. The wind spins the blades and goes merrily on it’s way. The blades turn the compressor, which in turn pumps air into the pipe below. Now, like a giant reservoir of water that has been dammed off, we now have one huge tank of compressed air. Air motors are very simple and efficient. Also light and trouble free. From this pipeline, we can easily generate all the electric power we need. And there are electric cars and trucks available. Also, I designed a car to run on compressed air. So instead of gas stations everywhere, there would be compressed air for sale at a very low price. Lots of people would have a compressor on their roof top and a tank buried in their back yard. This would not only supply all their electric power, but would also run their car and for practically nothing.
In this story, a group of millionaires take this inventor and his machines far back into the mountains of Arizona. Here, they build a sanctuary. A place that will survive the great atomic war that their computers say is sure to come. There is a hundred families that move in. And all the power they can use, is generated by the wind. In this story, I give all the details on just how to build everything. Including the Air Car. And if published, it could change the whole world. At least that is my opinion.
Now to get on to another subject. While I was south of the border, I learned to make things from plaster of paris, or molding plaster. I learned how to make my own patterns. Also the molds and how to use them. Also to take a pattern off anything that was on the market.
Living on just your social security check, leaves a lot to be desired. So I began making a lot of these things and putting them on the market. Most of them were banks. Gorilla bank, doggie banks, owls and many others. In the past six or seven years, I have made and sold hundreds of them and that extra money sure come in handy.
And now a few words about my paintings. There are probably more artists here in Prescott Arizona, than anywhere else in the United States, and I am one of them. And I will tell you how I got started. I guess it must have been about seven years ago. I was attending one of the big art shows that they hold here a couple of times each summer. And they are really something. One day at one of these show, I stood and watched an Indian paint a beautiful picture. He looked old, ugly and mean. Long braids and bare footed. He didn’t look like he had brains enough to pound sand into a rat hole. Right there, I decided that if he could do it, so could I.
In my day, I had painted lots of automobiles. Was an expert with a spray gun. But had never attempted anything like this. There are many artist supply stores here in town. I went to one of them and bought a beginner’s kit, complete with brushes. Also a beginner’s book to get you started. Also several canvas boards. I glanced through the book. I remember one thing it stressed. “Start by painting something easy, like an apple, or an orange. Later, to a vase or a pitcher or bowl.” Well you know me. I threw the damn book away and painted the Grand Canyon. One of the most difficult things in the world. Those ever changing shadows are really something. I was up to the North Rim for about a week. Before I left there, I sold a picture to a tourist for a good chunk of money. I took some snapshots of it, which I still have.
Kachinas, Hopi Indian spirits, were all the rage at that time. I painted dozens of them on leather. (I guess I was supposed to be different.) And they sold like hotcakes. I painted a golden eagle lighting on the rim of a canyon and sold it for two hundred bucks, also several others. Then I started painting portraits. I began by using poster board and a pencil for an outline. Then wax crayons and enamel paint in pressure cans to finish it off. Later, I switched over to oil and canvas. I painted quite a number of portraits. This last year, the demand for paintings has gone way down. I guess they are buying food with their money. Times are really tough in this area. There is very little building going on. Most all the copper mines have shut down. So to substitute my income, I took a job as a manager of this court. The Lazy G Trailer Court. It also has some furnished apartments. Yesterday, I gave the owner notice. I will be leaving in thirty days. Will probably end up in Yuma, at 2831 W. 5th St. 85364. The summers are beautiful here at Prescott. It is over a mile high. Yesterday it was 114 in Phoenix and eighty five here. Yuma is about like Phoenix. But it can get mighty cold here. And lots of snow. Not a good place to spend the winter in a trailer. Oh yes, a year ago last spring, Jo Martin and I were married in Boise Idaho. A lady that I have known for a good many years. We moved into a big new apartment house at Collister. This marriage was one big mistake. To begin with, she was a nocturnal. Like an owl or a bat, she liked to fly at night. Would never go to bed until toward morning. If there was nothing else to do, she would sit and listen to TV until all the stations went off the air. While me, a regular old country kid, I liked to turn in around ten pm and get up when the sun comes over the mountain. And this woman, when she would finally get up, she would drink coffee by the gallons. That and smoke cigarettes. It was no wonder that gal couldn’t sleep. Otherwise, she was a pretty nice girl. Anyhow after a couple of months, we called it off. I went to McCall for the summer and haven’t seen her since. This last spring, we were granted a divorce.
Here in Prescott, there is a lot going on in the summer. A dance somewhere, at least five nights a week. I usually take in a couple of them. There are about three widows to every man here and some of them are really hungry for a man. So I have really got to stay on guard, or I might get hooked again.
Anyhow, I am in good health and have a nice twenty one foot Biltmore trailer to live in. Also a Dodge Monaco to pull it with. I have plenty to eat and lots of good clothes and money in the bank. Let’s make it two banks. One here, the other in Yuma, at the Crescent Center office. I always have a will made out. It is on the dresser here in the trailer. So, just in case.
Probably years later, I will write more. But I think for right now, I will call it a day. With all my love,
I was now at the tender age of 63. I signed up to draw my Social Security. I hooked on to my trailer and headed for the mountains. It was early in the summer and the fishing should be good up there. I finally ended up in Donnelly. I caught a lot of fish an also worked in the club. I was the day bartender, also the fry cook. For the next several years, I spent the summers there. I was also spending my winters in Southern Arizona. Mostly at Yuma.
Now that I had a lot of time on my hands, I decided to do some more writing. I bought me a typewriter and began to practice. No need to take lessons at this age, I decided. I would use the Hunt and Peck system. The next story I wrote, was a full length novel. It was based on that ton of gold that was supposed to be floating around in Idaho years ago. The one that Dell was always looking for. The title; A Piece of the Pie. It was pure fiction. But the places in the story were all real. Most of the yarn takes place in the mountains around Cascade Idaho.
I believe the next one I wrote was; When the Honeymoon is Over. Again pure fiction. It is a story about a young man and his girlfriend. He is a native of Emmett Valley. He has been living in Southern California. He gets word that his father is dying. He brings his sweetheart with him and returns home. The old man, knowing that he is dying, has sold everything and turned it into cash. He puts this, divided equally in four envelopes and locks it in the safe. He tells his four sons, who are all there but one. “I have sold everything and the money is equally divided and in the safe. I figured this would save a lot of lawyer’s fees. After I am gone, it is all yours.” That night, the old man died. The next morning they open the safe. The money is all gone. Someone has gotten away with it. Who? Maybe what inspired me to write this one was remembering how a will can disappear or be changed. Anyhow I think it is an interesting story.
The next one, I believe, was The Judge of Quilali. Later I rewrote it and changed the name to; Beyond the Bend in the River. Again mostly fiction. But it is a story that could be true. It is a story about a young man from Arizona that goes deep into the jungles of Nicaragua in search of some long lost relatives. He gets himself into trouble with the law. He is accused of releasing a killer that has been sentenced to death. His passport and his money is taken away form him. The Judge tells him. “You turned the man loose, go after him. When you bring him back, I will return your money and your passport. You will be a free man.”
This is primitive country back there. It was here that I spent a lot of time searching for gold. On the Hiroco and Coco Rivers. Beyond every bend in the river, something happens in this story. It is a real thriller.
Then I wrote a few short stories. Snore Senior is one of them. I have always had a horror of people that just lay there and snore. Some of this story is fiction, but most of it is true.
Then I wrote a story about the old Yuma prison. The title, Diamonds in Hell. Most of it is true. I didn’t find the diamonds, but I think I know where they are at. However, in that cell where the diamonds were stashed, or supposed to be, I did find a beautiful bracelet. On a fine gold chain was three of the most beautiful stones I have ever seen. Three Jelly Opals. Over thirty three carats each. A hundred in all. I have shown these stones to many jewelers. There is a wide range of opinions about them. They have been appraised from everywhere from a few dollars each to priceless. I finally took them to one of the best geologists in the west. A guy that was supposed to really know his business. And he did come up with some answers. This is what he said. “That is the most beautiful opal I have ever seen. But it is not exactly what it appears to be.” “Please explain.” We went back to his lab. He poked the side of the stone in some putty, then put it under a powerful glass. “Take a look.” I did. The thing was a mass of rainbows. “Now,” he said. “Look closely along the bottom of the stone. There you will see a thin layer of what appears to be rose quartz. That is a hard substance and rose colored. It has been fitted and ground to fit the stone. Then glued on tight.” “But why?” I asked. “It acts like a mirror.” he said. “It turns the whole stone a dark pink. Here, I will show you what I mean.” He picked up the stone and placed it on a small piece of black velvet cloth. I stared in amazement. Now we had a black opal. “A lot of opals have a some sort of backing put on them. Usually, a thin piece of felt. It brings out the beauty in them.” “Does this make the opals worthless?” I asked. He shook his head. “Whoever did this job, sure knew what he was doing. I would say it makes this stone a lot more valuable.” “I have been thinking about having this put in a ring.” I told him. The girl up front showed me a beauty. Just fits my ring finger. What would you charge me to mount it for me.” The girl had showed him the mount. It was a beauty and cost about two hundred dollars. He slowly shook his head. “I will sell you the ring.” he said. “But I will not mount it. You can take it elsewhere.” “But why?” I was puzzled. “Because,” he said. “There is a chance that I might break the damn thing. And if I did, where in hell would I get one to replace it. If it were a diamond, I could get another.” “Then you must consider it quite valuable. How much is it worth?” I will never forget his answer. “About any damn thing you want to ask for it!” I just remembered. His name was Garland.
I have always been a great lover of music. While I was staying at Mother’s place, I bought a whole new entertainment center. I got the works. A new tape recorder, TV, record and tape player and a lot of records. We got a lot of enjoyment out of it. Mother kept it going most of the time. Then one night, both Mother and Bob were in bed. I was sitting up listening to a show on TV Suddenly from Bob’s bedroom, I could hear strange noises. I went in and took a look. His eyes were glassy. There was a rattle in his throat. I knew that he was dying. I got on the phone and called Ray. Taking care not to awaken Mother. Ray come down and took a look. He agreed that Bob was on his way out. “Call the undertaker in the morning.” he said. Then went home. I was all alone with Bob when he died. I pulled the sheet up over his face and sat by his bedside until morning. Bob was one sweet guy.
Every day Mother was getting weaker. I took care of her the best I could. She seemed to know that her days were numbered and she didn’t seem to care. She was ready. One night, Mother said to me, “Teddy Boy,” she always called me. “I will be leaving you soon and I want to thank you for all the things you have done for me and Bob. I don’t know what we would of done without you. Now listen closely. I am leaving a will. You Cecil, Afton.” Little Afton as we called her. “will all be remembered. You have done so much more than everyone else, so this place will be yours as long as you live. The house and everything in it. You deserve it, Teddy Boy. And let me tell you something else. You are the only one in all my family that hasn’t sometime or other come to me for money. And of course, none of them ever paid it back. My cash is running awful low. Those four big Peterbuilt trucks that Ray bought for Don, cost a lot of money. And that dog track that he financed in Ontario, plus all those greyhounds and the trainers, this all cost a small fortune. Now I have told Ray and everyone else, that this house and everything in it will be yours for as long as you live.” I thanked her and I also told her. “Mother, if you were to pass away and leave me here, Ray would think some excuse to get me out. Also, I don’t think I want to spend the rest of my life here.” There were tears in her eyes. “Yes, I think he would do that alright. But if you leave here, take everything with you. All the furniture, the bedding, the rugs and the drapes, I give to you. Be sure to take them all.” I shook my head. “I will be lucky to get out of here with what belongs to me. You know that.” Mother nodded. “Then there is only one way. I will give you a bill of sale for every item in this place. Then there is no way he can stop you. Everything belongs to me and it is all paid for.”
The next day, I went all through the house and the basement. I made a list of everything. I brought down a notary from Emmett and he made everything real legal. Then one day, Mother collapsed and we rushed her to the hospital in Emmett. In a few days, she died. She was close to ninety. She was a wonderful person.
I had bought me a trailer and had it parked back of the house. It was a nice one. A twenty four foot Terry. Then one day, Jack said to me. “I guess we are going to lay off some of the crew, and you are one of them.” I knew that the next thing that Ray would figure out was an excuse to get me out of that house. I would beat him to it, I decided. I would have an auction. Sell everything… Everything but my car and the trailer.
I took the list and got a hold of a couple good auctioneers. We had a lot of sale bills made up and run ads in all the papers. Then come the morning of the auction. I had most everything piled outside on the big lawn. Then a car drove up in front. It was a deputy sheriff. In his hands were a bunch of papers. He come walking over and handed them to me. “Ted.” he said. “I must serve these papers on you. The administrator of this estate, Ray Dewey, had them all fixed up real legal.” I looked the papers all over. I told the guy, and I was ready for him. “Listen, mister. These papers state that I cannot sell anything belonging to this estate. Correct?” “You are correct.” I took out the itemized, notarized bill of sale from my pocket and handed it to him. “Read that.” I said. There was a strange look on the fellow’s face. He handed the paper back to me. “Don’t look like you are selling anything that doesn’t belong to you. I wonder what in the world Ray is trying to pull.” “You had better ask him.” “But I have already served papers on the auctioneers.” Then I got really tough. “Then you had better unserve them. If you have a part in stopping this auction, you will get sued along with all the rest. Including the county attorney that made this thing out.” The guy took off in a hurry and he took the papers with him. In about an hour, the auctioneers showed up and later we had a good sale. And Brother Ray, never showed his face around there.
I guess that right now, would be as good a time as any to finish telling of our Nicaraguan adventure.
After Dell died, nothing seemed to be the same any more. It was worse than losing my right arm. The lust for adventure was growing dimmer every day. It was several years later before I decided to go down and see how the bus business was going. There could be a lot of money piled up down there. I got a new passport and headed down.
I had been living in my trailer in Yuma, Arizona. I had a good car so I decided to drive down. I believe that was the winter of 72. I didn’t get very far. Just a couple of days drive, I learned from my car radio that the city of Managua was completely destroyed by an earthquake. I turned around and headed back to Arizona. Later, I learned that all the busses went down with it. There was no need of going down there now. This was the end of that.
After we buried Dell, I went to the ranch and paid a visit to Mother and Bob. Bob was in bad shape. Couldn’t even feed himself. Also Mother was failing. She was getting along in years. They asked me if I would move in with them. They both needed my help. I was doing nothing at the time, so I did. Besides there was a few things over here that I wanted to clear up. Number one. Before Dad died, he got to where he couldn’t take care of himself. Brother Cecil got himself appointed guardian and put him in a rest home. There he was well taken care of until he died. Then, as there was no will, Cecil was also appointed the administrator of the estate. Several times, Dad had showed Dell and myself that will. But I guess he had never bothered to record it. He figured that big safe in his bedroom was all the protection it needed. I asked Cecil about that will. He said that when they finally got the safe opened, it was plumb empty.
I can still remember Dad’s words. “Because you two, (Me and Dell) built this for me, (the house). After I am gone, it will belong to the two of you. Along with a sixty foot frontage and a one hundred foot deep. All the rest, including the old house and the store and the rest of the buildings, will be equally divided among you kids.” But the will could not be found. It had completely vanished. Now, finally, the estate was about to be settled. There were bills to be paid. To accomplish this, Cecil decided to sell the new house. Which he did, along with a sixty foot frontage and one hundred foot deep. I often wondered how he happened to come up with these figures.
Anyhow a little later, I got a little money out of the estate. After I stayed with Mother and Bob for a while, I decided to build Bob something that would help all of us. It was hard to get him in and out of bed. That wheel chair Mother had been using, left a lot to be desired. I built one that I designed. It would lay down flat, over six feet long. By lifting the back up, it would make a comfortable chair. It could be lowered as low as a davino, or cranked up as high as a hospital bed and it also had a built in potty. It sure made things a lot easier around there for everyone and gave Bob a whole new outlook on life.
Jack King, Ray’s son in law, was now running the Dewey orchards. Ray, had talked the Mormon church into buying a five hundred acre apple orchard over on the bench. He was running that.
I liked both Jack and Donna. We got along great. When Jack learned that I could do most anything with mechanic tools and welders, he asked me to go to work in the shop. This I did. I stayed there for several years. I took care of both Mother and Bob, until both of them passed away. It wasn’t a very exciting life, but I was quite contented and Mother and Bob were being taken care of.
As usual , I drove a good car. I had an almost new Pontiac convertible. Jet black with red leather seats and what an engine. It would out run anything but a gas station. I loved that car, but it was my downfall. I was going with a cute, little widow in Emmett. Her name was Betty Talbot. It was on a Saturday and just a couple of days before Thanksgiving, Betty wanted me to take her to Ontario, Oregon, to see some friends, which I did.
It was about midnight when we got back to Emmett. There had been some snow on the ground, but it was all gone. At least I thought it was. The sun had been shining all day. Now it had turned off real cold. I had the heater going. I just turned off on to fourth street. Everything looked o.k. I stepped down on the gas. Suddenly, the car began to swerve. Started drifting back and forth. I had hit a sheet of black ice. Here the snow had melted, but the water had not yet dried. Now it was a thin sheet, hard and slick. I hit the brakes, but it didn’t do any good. The last thing that I remembered, I yelled for Betty to get down. We went sailing between two big oak trees and right into the front porch of a house. I can barely remember when the ambulance picked us up.
I was in intensive care for ten days. An oxygen mask on my face, all my ribs were broken in the front, also my collar bone and one leg. I was a mess. Betty had got off lucky. She had several teeth knocked out, a broken jaw, also one busted arm. They let her go home after the first day.
Later when I looked that car over, I wondered how I ever survived. The steering wheel was pushed clear through the windshield. No wonder I was all busted up. I was in the hospital for thirty-one days and most of them were really rough. Lots of spiders and snakes. But something good did come out of all that. Maybe it was all for the best. Since I was just a kid, I had a cigarette habit. Usually about two packs a day. Several times I had made an attempt to quit but hadn’t succeeded.
After I was in there a couple of weeks, I began to get a little better. I could now have visitors. Many of my friends come in and several of them brought me a carton of Winstons. I think that busted ribs, is about the most painful thing that can happen to a person. Especially when they are all broke. I can still hear them grate together every time I took a breath. But now let’s get back to this good part. I had been there about three weeks and was feeling a lot better. I was feeling so good that I wanted a cigarette in the worst way. It had been a long time. Betty was visiting me that day. I asked her for a cigarette and a light. I took a couple of puffs, then inhaled a big one. And that was the last puff I ever took. I began to cough. Every bone in my body felt like it was coming apart. The pain was so great, that I finally passed out. Now I know a sure way to make a person quit smoking.
I could barely get around on crutches when I finally got out of there. Oh yes, I had acquired a new title. THE HOUSE MOVER. The house that I had hit, belonged to a friend of mine, Chick Forria. His folks were living in it at the time. But thank goodness neither of them were hurt. But the house had suffered a lot of damage. Not only was my car in the living room, but the whole structure was six feet off the foundation and the plaster off all the walls.
I had good liability insurance. Soon the house was like new. But it would be quite a while before I would be the same. But I guess it takes a lot to get me down. I bought a two year old souped up Plymouth Fury from the police force. Another bomb. But it sure was a dandy to pull the
trailer around that I would soon buy. Anyhow, that’s how come I quit smoking.