i A Time and a Place...: October 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Small World, Ain't it...

Some time back I wrote about Chester Smith, a local Modesto celebrity who once had a disk jockey job on local radio station KTRB, Modesto, and about the time he sponsored Hank Williams at the Riverbank Clubhouse, a big barn in Riverbank that had been converted to a dance hall. It's a small world.

A short while back I received a note from a fellow who grew up in the small town of Hilmar, near Modesto who was at the dance the night I had a drink with Hank Williams at the Riverbank Clubhouse. What a small world!

And the time I went to see Hank Thompson at the California Ballroom! After the dance, Hank wanted to know if anyone knew any girls in the area. My friend, Donald, who was quite the ladies man told him about a girl he knew in Stockton. Hank was interested and the two of them headed for Stockton. Don came right back and we never knew how long Hank stayed! And I doubt he'd tell!

And, talk about coincidences, Tony, (I won't mention his last name) who lives now in Tennessee, is a retired truck driver, same as me!

Tony spent time at the Uptown Ballroom, a dance hall in downtown Modesto. I went there a few times after I got older. Tony is a few years older than me so I probably didn't see him there. My brother, Bobby, trained as a boxer in the gym in the same building.

It's great, the way hearing from someone from my youthful days can evoke long, almost forgotten, memories of better times; times of my youth when the only thing I had to worry about was finding someone of age to buy me beer or Seagram 7 or getting caught coming home too late.
Them was the good old days!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Been a While...

I was poring over my journal (Jim's Journal) and I came across this little adventure. It's been a while since I wrote it and it seems like it's about someone else. I hope you enjoy it.

... we got to Modesto in the covered wagon. We went to a place under the 9th Street Bridge. Later it was called Ingalls Auto Camp. I remember spreading my pallet on the ground and going to sleep and being awakened in the middle of the night and told to move my pallet. The river had risen and we were almost in the water. We moved our pallet and weren’t swept away. We weren’t at the camp for long.

The next thing I remember is living in a small upstairs apartment over Pate’s store, a small market. Daddy, Buddy and Eva were somewhere else; I don’t know where or why. That left Mom, Mickey, Joan and me. I started to school at Washington Elementary School, in the second or third grade, I don’t remember which.

The war was on (WWII) and cigarettes were at a premium. Along with Lucky Strikes, Camels and Chesterfields were new cheaper brands like, Alligators, Dominos and some others. Mickey was sneaking around to smoke and once in a while Mom would catch her and raise Cain with her and order her to stop smoking. Mickey didn’t stop smoking though; she just got smarter about hiding her cigarettes and chewing gum to hide her smoke breath. Then Viceroy came out with the first filtered cigarette and Mickey showed it to Mother and Mother said she could smoke if she only smoked Viceroy. That ended the battle about smoking. At least for Mickey.

I think Mother went to work at the Hedley Hospital while we lived above Pate’s Store. I passed to the third grade while we were there.

The highlight of that part of town was the 9th Street Bridge. It was the main thoroughfare through Modesto from the south and it was unique. It was of average width and two lane (one in each direction) and about four hundred yards long. So far, so ordinary!
But, what made it unique were two very large Lion statues at each end of the bridge; one on each side of the bridge entrance, both north and south! I rode those lions at least to Africa and back a hundred times; that is, when someone else wasn’t riding them! Remnants of them are still there. And the Railroad Bridge that ran parallel to the bridge was a source of adventure for us kids.

Underneath the railroad bridge was a narrow catwalk. We had to be very skillful acrobats and athletes to get onto that catwalk from the end and it was really an adventure to climb over the side of the bridge and down to get to the catwalk. And we had to be very careful not to be caught by the train while crossing the bridge or climbing over the edge. As an added attraction, it was about a mile to the river below! At that time it was the highest RR Bridge in the world! Now it is a lot shorter distance from the bridge to the river below. I don’t know what happened to cause that.
The Modesto City Limit sign was at the bridge. The population was 17,000.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Yard Sale...

Mi Espousa (a little Mex lingo there for 'my wife')and I decided to have a yard sale. Well, as it goes, living in an adult mobile park, we can't have one here (even if we could, the old people who live here couldn't afford to buy anything) so we asked ourselves, "Selves, why not clean out all the junk from our two storage sheds and the spare bedroom, load it all up in our 3/4 ton (four door) short bed Turbo Charged, Cummins Powered,(with a jake brake) five speed transmissioned Dodge Ram Pickup Truck and haul the whole mess down to Modesto and let the kids have one there?"
And that's what we did.

It's amazing how much stuff can accumulate over the years. I remember thirteen years ago when we lived in Orland and I was driving a truck for a living, we (mi espousa, La Senora Donna and me) ((a bit more Mex lingo here)) decided to clean house. We had a storage shed and part of the two car garage and all the space above the rafters in the garage full of good stuff we 'couldn't do without'. (I know we couldn't do without that good stuff because we had tried to sell it two and three and six years earlier and decided to keep it because we'd probably need it someday soon)

Anyhow, before we moved from our house in Orland when I retired from my truck driving job, we did have a yard sale and did sell a bunch of stuff and made about three hundred bucks off it. The stuff we didn't sell went into our two sheds at our new home in this adult mobile park. The accumulation of more stuff in the storage space under the front porch of our new home and in the spare bedroom is another story.

Anyhow, (I really like that word) for two days we unloaded stuff from the storage sheds and the spare bedroom. A lot of stuff that was in the carport was just junk so we separated it from the 'good' stuff and I hauled it off to the dump.

Then the next day we loaded up all of yard sale stuff and my brother, Buddy, into the pickup truck and went to Modesto.

When we arrived at the home of a daughter, she and her husband and another daughter and her daughter were waiting for us with bated breath. My son-in-law had mentioned to me by telephone the day before that his computer wasn't working just right and asked if I'd take a look at it. Being a dedicated computer person, I agreed. So, while the women unloaded the truck, Mike and I repaired to the computer room and I immediately became absorbed in some heavy duty computering.

Things are a bit fuzzy after that. I really get absorbed when I become absorbed in computering. I know the truck got unloaded because it was empty when we went on to my sisters' house and, later, to another daughters' house to regale her 79 year old neighbor and his lady friend with songs and witty stories and spend the night.(this is all another story)

So, we got the stuff to Modesto all right and visited with our daughters and their families and my sister and her family. All in all, it was a very nice trip and visit and I'm happy we finally cleaned out the sheds (which, oddly enough, are almost full again)and the spare bedroom. Now we're waiting anxiously for news about the yard sale the kids planned on having. We're supposed to split whatever money is made from the sale. (yeah.., sure!)

Anyhow, I guess I should end this story and vacuum the bathroom rug, the one I always clean with the smaller, very efficient, light and easy to use, like brand new vacuum cleaner that we just took to Modesto; the one that is so good that one of the kids will probably keep rather than sell and I'll see it and wish I had it back every time we visit there. Bummer. I hope we get enough money from the yard sale to pay for the fuel we used going to and coming back from Modesto. (yeah..,sure,- again)

I need to transfer some pictures from my cell phone to the computer except I can't seem to find the usb connection for the phone. ...I wonder...hmm...
I guess we won't poach eggs anymore...Now where in heck is that weed killer sprayer..ummmm?