i A Time and a Place...: A Time and a Place...Remembering When...

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Time and a Place...Remembering When...

...we lived at Bear Creek Camp.

This is an excerpt from my Journal. This was around 1940-I was about four years old.

My family lived in a couple of farmworkers cabins at a place called,” Bear Creek Camp.” It was situated on Bear Creek, an estuary of the Merced River. We had a Jersey milk cow and a 1931 Buick car (Betsy Buick) that ran pretty well. We must have been there for a while because I remember a lot of things that happened there.

At one point the cow got loose and ran away toward the creek and we all had to chase her until she got tired to catch her. She had a huge bag and gave a lot of milk. No one ever got sick from drinking the raw milk. (I may have this Jersey Cow incident location mixed up-this might have happened at California Lands)

Mom was Fearless

Dad worked for a turkey farmer. When payday came, Dad, Mom and I went to the farmhouse to collect Dad’s pay. When Dad got out of the car and started to open the gate to go into the yard, a huge German Police dog ran at him barking and snarling with bared teeth. He wanted to eat my Dad. Dad wouldn’t go into the yard, even after Mom told him the dog wouldn’t bite him. Finally she said to get out of the way, she’d get the check, and she walked into the yard and told the dog to shut up and to go and lay down, so he did. She was fearless. She got the check.

The Bues-our future step family

The Bues were Vernon, the Dad, (who would later become my stepfather) Delia, the Mother, three boys, James, Bobby and Floyd, and two girls, Betty Jo and Joyce. Later we would call James Bue,’Big James,’ and me, ‘Little James,’ because he was older than I was.

Christmas came when we lived there. Christmas was never much about gift giving in those days. Money was too hard to come by to spend much on anything more than necessities. Floyd Bue and I were about a year apart in age, with him the oldest. We got a cap pistol and a box of caps each for a present. I recall we played together for hours with them-until the caps ran out! We would climb on top of the cabins and jump from one to another trying to catch or get away from each other. I remember we played mostly detective games, cops and robbers because the guns were of an automatic type and not revolvers used by cowboys.

One time the big boys made a pair of stilts out of two 2 by 4s and some blocks of wood and straps. Everyone wanted to walk on them but Big James made them so he got to walk on them first. When he got up on the blocks with the ends of the 2 by 4s under his arms, one of the straps broke and he fell with his armpit onto the end of one of the boards and tore the underside of his arm up. Mother put some Merthiolate on it with a bandage. It was still sore when they left.

When the Bues left, we all gathered around their car that had a trailer hooked on the back with their belongings in it. We were saying goodbye when the car pulled out. Buddy was standing near the right back seat of the car and when it pulled away, his foot went forward and went under the trailer and the trailer tire ran over his foot. It didn’t break any bones but it surely flattened his foot! We moved away shortly after that.

While we were there, my folks traded our Buick for a Star car and a sow and nine pigs. We ate very well for a while.



Blogger bigwhitehat said...

I love it when you write stuff like this.

10:11 PM  
Blogger CA said...

Thanks for the comment. This is an excerpt from my Journal-life story. Sometimes when I read it over, it's like reading about someone else. I'm considering publishing the entire thing on a new site as, "Jim's Journal," so my family can read it if they wish to. I'm up to age 24 so far with 184 pages. I'll bet you could write a good one!

6:57 AM  

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