While writing down the previous part of my life, I find one thing leads to another and things that I haven't thought of since they happened suddenly come to mind. In my haste to be sure and get everything written as it happened, I seem to have forgotten my immediate family.
Lynne was born on September 26, 1943 while I was at Ft. Crook, Nebraska, prior
to my going overseas. So, it was
quite a while before I could come home and be a real father.
When I did get discharged from regular service I was so anxious to be a
civilian and do good at providing a living that I feel I may have shortchanged
my family as well as myself for not applying myself more to promoting a more
close family life. We were living
in an old house at 8750 Phinney on a hill above the Greenwood shopping area.
The house was old with simulated brick asbestos siding on the outside and
a septic tank made of wood. For
heat we had a circulating oil heater in the living room that was hooked up to a
55 gallon oil drum on some posts outside. In
the kitchen, we had a ten dollar tin stove for burning paper.
I installed wall switches in the two bed rooms.
The floor had no support beams but was just one and a half inch planks
eighteen inches wide on blocks which made the floor wavy and uneven.
Our second daughter Suzi Jeanne had now arrived on July 15, 1946.
Madge's sister Ina had married Neal Olsen and they moved in with us until
they could get a place. One time
our only toilet stool started leaning and
was about to fall through the
floor. I crawled under the house to
place some posts and patched the floor as best as I could. There was no garage
but there was a little shack six feet x six feet and eight feet high full of
junk, which I tore down. Dad helped
me build a garage attached to the house. One
August 12th, 1947 Madge went to the hospital.
The next thing I knew I am holding my breath while the doctor is
motioning me to come forward while he said, "Got you a big boy, this
time." He was to become
We had a vacant corner lot next to us that was about to give us trouble when one day while I was the part manager at Westlake Chevrolet downtown, Madge called and would only say, "Come on home" She seemed to be crying and would say no more. What was the matter? I told the boys I would have to go home. When I got there a big bulldozer was working in the vacant corner lot. There were what looked like, some twisted water pipes of ours up in the air and an older lady was directing the dozer to knock down a plum tree of ours. They were going to build a house and from the construction they started, I could tell they thought their property extended way into mine. I called the county engineering department to find out what I could do but they said they were swampped and could not help us for at least two to three months. Until then the only thing I might do would be to sue the couple! That Sunday I painted some stakes white and drove them in the ground where I thought the line was. Monday morning while eating breakfast I saw the old lady out there pulling out all of my stakes and throwing them in the street. The south wall of their house was going up eighteen inches into our property and their septic tank was going in our garden. Some months went by and their house was finished. Then one day the county engineers came to survey and put in stakes. The stakes I had put in couldn't have been off more than half an inch. The old lady was pretty feisty and awfully mouthy, but her husband said very little. The day after the survey before I left for work in the morning, there was a knock at the back door. The couple were there but this time the man did the talking while his wife was mute. He said, "the surveyors were here yesterday." I said, "I know." He said that the way his house was constructed he didn't think it could be moved back. I told him that he would have to remove his septic tank from our garden so that it would be like it was before. As for his house, he could fight it out with the new owners of our place as we were almost positive it was sold because we were moving to Tacoma.
We moved but the house didn't sell as we thought. We rented it to Johnny Mitchell and his wife. He was a parts man at Westlake Chevrolet. Prior to this time I can recall that in '49 we had quite a snowstorm and when I got home there was a big drift of snow against the back door. Madge had all three little ones in the kitchen with all doors shut and blankets against the door bottoms trying to keep out the drafts to get warm. Also in the street in front of our house was a ditch about eighteen feet deep all winter waiting for the sewer. Our neighborly neighbors were the Bill Boitanos, the Butlers, and the Norman Neals. Before the house sold we had to get rid of the Mitchells because they were behind in their rent besides being heavy drinkers.
We now bought a new home at 7430 South Montgomery in South Tacoma, directly north of the McChord Field Runway. It was in a brand new addition and had 925 square feet with three bedrooms and an attached one car garage. We planted a lawn around the house, built a fence, installed a permanent outdoor clothesline, and installed window awnings on the outside to match the house color. I built a stairway in the garage going up to a small loft. The North Pacific Bank gave us free checking as it and South Tacoma Motors was owned by the same family.
Our neighbors were the Loomis's, the Baddeley's, the Dague's, and the
Brassfield's. Lyle had bought
acreage out north about 176th and Fremont.
He was clearing the trees about to build a large modern home.
My folks had bought a cabin at Spring Beach on Vashon Island from a Judge
Branchflower in Tacoma. It was 1950
and we took a vacation to Bridgelake, British Columbia.
We went the same place two more times.
The resort was run by the Graf family, formerly of Munich Germany.
The family consisted of Mama, Popa, Joe, Mike, and daughter. They had build all the cabins of logs. They shot a deer every three days but the meat was only good
for three days even in their ice house. The
fishing was fantastic with Lake Trout and Kamloops. You didn't have to work hard at catching them but you did to
clean all those fish. While there I
helped build a smokehouse. We were
invited to eat evening meals with the Graf family in their ranch house.
The first time we did this Mr. Graf told his son Joe to please pass the
meat to Mr. Hansen. It was a large
platter with big slices. After
cutting my big slice into smaller pieces, I proceeded to put some in my mouth
and brought my jaws together, It
had a very wild taste and I said, "Mr. Graf, what kind of meat is
this?" He glanced quickly at
his family and said, "Dats beef!"
I realized it was venison. They
would shoot a deer about dusk from back of the barn. Well, we had been there nine days and had a boat with a
motor, a cabin, and evening meals
furnished. I figured I had better
settle the bill. So I went to see
Mrs. Graf. She had an old fashioned
adding machine with a big handle that she moved every time she pushed some
buttons. I began to worry because
she was at this machine for at least twenty minutes.
She finally said that my total bill came to $31.67.
I gave her a ten dollar tip and said that we would be leaving early in
the morning. She said that was fine
and she would have breakfast for all of us.
I told her no because we were leaving early.
She asked how early was early. I
said "6:00 AM." She said
breakfast would be at 6:00. I
believe we went up there two more seasons.
The last time Gus Bastrom, his wife, and son Lynn went with us.
This time the Grafs had built more cabins and had more customers from
Oregon, California, etc.
On this trip we had been enjoying ourselves for a couple of days when Mr. Graf
wanted to ask a favor. He wanted me
to take a look at a 200 pound pig that he had bought to butcher in the fall.
It was a boar with fat testicles in the back about four inches long.
They would have to be removed, but Mr. Graf said he didn't know how to
take care of something like this beings he was a city boy from Munich. So I volunteered even though I had never castrated a pig.
I had watched my dad and grandpa do it hundreds of times.
Mr. Graf said he guessed I must be kidding.
I told him to let me know when. I
would need two or three helpers, a sharp knife, and some Lysol mixed with a
little water in a coffee can with a rag. I
saw him occasionally the next day or two and his remark was always, "You
must be kidding." One morning
he came by our cabin and said he was ready.
He had a man from Medford, Gus Bastrom, and himself.
The pig was in a triangular pen of long 2 x 12 planks. I jumped in the
pen to grab a hind leg to flip it on its back but I was alone.
Finally Gus jumped in and then he and Mr. Graf sat on the pig to hold him
down. He was a pretty strong husky
critter. They handed me the knife
and I started to work. Whoever
sharpened the knife must have been thinking of
cutting butter. The pig was
squirming and Mr. Graf was yelling, "Are you about finished?"
I was struggling and had barely gotten started.
Finally, I had removed one big testicle and threw it outside of the pen.
The man from Medford with the coffee can turned pale and took off.
Eventually the operation was completed.
Every other day some tourist would tease me by saying Mr. Graf's pig had
died. The next February while in
Spokane during a heavy snow who should I run into but Mr. Graf at Harms-Rofinot
Chevrolet. I asked what had
happened to his pig and he said they had eaten it.
He and his wife had come to Spokane for the winter as they couldn't stand
the caribou country cold. The last time we were at Bridge Lake was when Stan
Sayres Slo-Motion won the Gold Cup. We
came home with a load of smoked fish in the trunk.
Back in Tacoma, Curley
Treadway and his buddy were running a Texaco station twenty four hours a day,
seven days a week on South Tacoma way. They
were making a little money with very little sleep and no time off.
Down the street a little farther on Fred Hoiland from Enumclaw had a used
car lot. Our new house had a chimney furnace which was an oil burner
in the chimney fed by gravity with a blower in the attic.
Talk about a fire hazard! Onetime
when I came home Madge was scared of the washing machine which was supposed to
be in one end of the kitchen nook. She
said it had chased her and in so doing had dislodged the plug.
She had put the wrong thing in to be washed and caused it to be off
balance. Another time I came home
late Friday after being gone all week to find our one and only toilet completely
stopped up. In sheer desperation, I
unbolted the toilet bowl from the floor, took it out of the house, and threw it
on the lawn. A ball fell out of it.
About this time, Suzi who had a little round face anyway, got the mumps.
She was always afraid of toilets. Flushing
one of them just made her frantic.
dealer in Aberdeen had taken me out to Oyehut, now Ocean Shores, to show me how
to dig razor clams. I really liked
them and couldn't get enough. One
Sunday morning while the family was all asleep I got up at 5:00 AM, put my new
clam shovel in the car, and headed for Roosevelt Beach which was just north of
Moclips. In just fifteen minutes I
had twenty four big fat Razor Clams that I had gotten from a small two square
yard area. I drove on back to
Tacoma, set the bucket of clams in the garage, and went back to bed as it was
only about 8:30. The family didn't
know that I had been gone. About
9:30 Madge came to wake me up because she wanted me to check on a queer noise
that was coming from the garage. The
clams were squirting and every time they did, it sounded like a squish.
They were still building the second Narrows Bridge and you had to take a Ferry. Also the Canal Bridge hadn't been built and you had to take a
little thing they called the "Shine" Ferry. For several years I would go fishing inside the Columbia
River from the mouth to Chinook, back and forth, over the Labor Day weekend.
The last time dad went with me, I caught a 50 lb. King on an old brass
Canadian spoon. Dad remarked that this kind of fishing was too much like
this time some of the parts managers had become personal friends:
Gus Bastrom at South Tacoma Motors, Earl Hickcox at Walker Chevrolet,
Dick Schultz at Capitol Chevrolet in Olympia, Dick May at Willapa Harbor Motors
in Raymond, "Mack" at Mell Chevrolet in Shelton, "Mack" at
Davies Chevrolet in Seattle, and Frank Dale at University Chevrolet to name a
few. It was sometime in 1952 and
our Portland zone manager was Jim Rice. He
was supposedly a hatchet man hired to straighten up the division office as well
as the dealers and he certainly acted the part. We held meetings in the Multnomah Hotel in Portland for two
days every month. We were in a room
up on the mezzanine one Monday morning when Mr. Rice called the meeting to order
promptly at 8:00 AM. He spoke
clearly and very loudly when the situation required.
We had noticed one of our members was absent. He said, "So there will be no misunderstanding, as of
right now, the district manager in Boise has been fired and his wife is nothing
but a god dammed whore!" As I
recall I jumped from those words. We
later found out that the Boise District Manager would not let the dealers in his
district have any new cars unless they also bought a percentage of Frigidaire
Appliances from a business he owned. He
had also farmed out his wife as an incentive.
Even with this kind of environment, I enjoyed my work and looked forward
to conventions in San Francisco every six months and Detroit once a year besides
May-June campaign party pay offs in places like Acapulco, Sun Valley, White
Sulphur Springs, etc. I had
thirty-eight dealer meetings in a hotel or theater we would put on quite a show
and had to rehearse for two or three days in advance. I always liked the Fairmont at the top of the hill in San
Francisco. They always had twelve
raw blue point oysters on the half shell on the menu. It also had the Pago Pago room which was an indoor lake with
a floating roofed restaurant in the center that you entered by walking across a
gang plank. If you had dinner there
in the evening they would make it thunder and lightening and rain.