Stories & Queries

  • Updated March 1, 2015 0:18 AM

    From: Larry Wilcox
    - click here for photos of Larry and his family.

    Age 4 to 5 years

    I recall several incidents while living in the east end of the old depot building. I was somewhere around four years old at this time.

    The first incident that comes to mind has to do with my fascination at the time with fire. I was disciplined several times for playing with kitchen matches. I recall vividly on a nice sunny spring day my mother was out back of the depot near an old stock pond. I am not sure why she was there. I seem to recall that we had a pen of pigs there. Anyway, I thought wow, now is my chance to play with fire. I took the wrappers off of two or three old P&G bars of soap and made a nice little pile in the middle of the bedroom floor. Then I struck a match and lit the pile of wrappers. Then as the paper began to burn, I heard my mother coming into the house. I quickly stamped out the fire and swept the charred remains under the bed.

    Later my mother found the partially burned P&G soap wrappers and called me to her. I don't recall her words, but I am sure they were along the line of: "Haven't we discussed this before and you are not to play with matches". Then to my surprise and pain, my mother struck a kitchen match and stuck it to my leg on the side near the kneecap. I still have a tiny scar there to remind me that playing with matches can be painful.

    Years later I used to tease my mom by showing her the scar and try to elicit some remorse from her for doing such a dastardly thing to a four year old child. Her response was always, "Well you stopped playing with matches didn't you?". Indeed, it worked! I now wonder in our current day and age what a social worker would do if she/he heard about such a thing.

    The next incident I recalled that happened while living in the east end of the old depot follows.

    Incidentally, if you were wondering what was in the west end of the depot, I'll tell you. There were several rooms in the middle that was used for storage but the two end rooms on the west side was used for grinding feed. In the west most room was a large hammer mill that was belt powered by a tractor that sat outside. Workers, we called them hands, would drive up on the north side and scoop corn and other cow feed into a hopper that ran into the mill. There was also plenty of room for material to be stored in the room with the mill. As the material was ground by the hammer mill, it was blown into another room where it either piled up and was scooped into a wagon or truck to be hauled away and fed to the cows. Or, several men would catch the ground material into toe sacks (burlap bags) and sew the tops of the filled sacks with binder twine. The reason I remember the details of this grinding facility is because ten to fifteen years later I would spend many hours working in this extremely dusty environment.

    To the south of the old depot about two city blocks (of course this was in the country and there were no city blocks) was the headquarters where men reported for work every morning. There was fuel, oil and supplies for the farm vehicles. I recall one day being near the headquarters when my father called to me. I was playing with my brother Thomas and my friend Wayne Easterwood. We went to see what dad wanted. He had two small watermelons that he wanted Thomas and me to carry to the house. Well when we started for the house, Wayne wanted to carry one of the watermelons. I didn't want him to carry mine, so I took Thomas' watermelon and gave it to Wayne to carry. Well, this upset Thomas very much and he ran crying to dad. I looked up and here came my father running toward me. I could tell that I was in trouble. So, I laid down my watermelon and ran for the house for I knew I was going to get a "lickin". I recall running up to the screen door and it was latched. Banging on the door I screamed for mother to let me in. She ran to open the door not knowing what was happening. I dashed in and dove under the bed. By this time my father has pulled off his belt and told me to get out from under the bed. I knew what would happen if I did, so I refused. Then my dad would try to hit me under the bed with his belt. Each time he would swing I would roll to the other side of the bed out of reach of the belt. He would then go to the other side of the bed and try again. Finally, he gave up swishing on each side of the bed and went back to work. I do not recall anymore about this incident.

    The final memory I have of living in the old depot was actually our last day there. Somehow dad had gotten us permission to move to a new place. It was called "The ole Doggit Place". I understand it was once owned by a family named Doggit. Dad had borrowed one of the farms trucks to move us. I recall we were all loaded up and ready to go. My brother Thomas and I had a kitten each. We were sitting on the back of the truck holding our kittens and just before dad got into the truck's cab, he advised us to be sure and hold onto the kittens because when the truck's engine started and we started moving, they would be scared and try to get away. Sure enough, the kittens started squalling and scratching. Tom held onto his kitten but I let my get away. My little brother was tougher than I. Needless to say, my kitten didn't make it to our new home.

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