As I Remember, Chapter 17

This entry is part 17 of 39 in the series Ted Bio


      Our strawberry crop that summer, didn’t amount to much. After a few years, weevil get in them and that is the beginning of the end. A couple of months went by. I was getting around a little with my crutches. The doctors had fixed me up with a corset. Much like what my mother used to wear. If I cinched this thing up real tight in the morning, and kept it that way all day, it would help keep down the terrible pain that would shoot down my right leg. It was like a tooth-ache, only the tooth was as large as a leg. I guess I have gone through hell already. Then gradually, the worst was over. The pain was not quite so bad. I threw away the crutches. But poor brother Dell. That bug in his joints was sure giving him hell. His legs looked like stove pipes.

      Then one day, one of his doctors told him; “I think that if you would move to a hot, dry climate and lay out in the sun a lot, you might get over this.” One morning Dell said to me. “Ted, Lillian and I have talked it over and we are going back to Emmett. We have bothered you enough. Poor Helen is about worn out.” Then he grinned. “We will put our feet under our folk’s table for awhile.” I will never forget that morning when they all got into their car and were ready to go. It took Dell quite awhile to get in and get under that steering wheel. Dell had lots of guts. But somehow, I didn’t think he would ever make it. Lillian was also in bad shape. I turned to Helen. “I’m going with them.” There were tears in her eyes. “Oh Ted, I am so glad.” I walked over to the door of the car. “Get over.” I told Dell. “I am going to drive.”

      It took us three days to get down there. Then I returned by bus. I knew that my hard working days were over with. No more sawmill work, no wood cutting. At least for a long time. I knew that I must get to doing something. I was a good mechanic and welder. If I only had a little shop of my own and had it paid for, surely I could make a living. We decided to sell the ranch. There seemed to be quite a lot of buyers around. Also, I began looking for a little spot to go in business.

      Finally we accomplished both. We sold the ranch on Pumpkin Ridge and moved over to a little town called Pratum. It was about five miles out of Salem. Between Salem and Silverton. It was just a small town. One general store, a big feed store, and what had been another store and filling station. Also there was a nice apartment upstairs. We paid all cash for the place and moved in.

      I went to work and put large garage doors on the front of the place. It was big enough for two cars plus all my welders and other tools. I painted a sign above the door; PRATUM GARAGE…WELDING. I told Helen. “We got a little money left and I am going to take it easy. Won’t do any advertising for awhile. Maybe a few will come in. And they did. For miles around they come. Soon I was working from daylight to dark. I even hired a helper. A young man by the name of Frank Woodzwoda.

      Our oldest daughter, Bertie, was now in school. One day she said to me. “Daddy, buy me a piano. I want to learn to play the piano….Please.” Unlike my dad, when I wanted to learn to play the violin, I told her, “sure, we will get you one. A good one.” Helen and I went shopping and found a beautiful up-right Grand, a Baldwin. It was solid oak and looked like it weighed a ton. We bought it under the conditions that they take it upstairs to our apartment. And that they did and Bertie began taking lessons. And at the same time, she was passing on what she had learned to her sister Gerty.

      My back was getting a lot better. But I would wear that corset for many a year. Anyhow, we were making a good living and we were a very happy family. At least I was.

      Then we had another blessed event. Little Joe was born. I was about a nervous wreck before this was over with. Helen had got the warning signals and I took her to the hospital in Silverton. This was in the middle of the night. I come home and tried to get some sleep. But there was no use trying. I kept calling the hospital every few hours. Nothing. I drove over there and took a look for myself. Helen seemed to be o.k. But there was something that wasn’t just right. It wasn’t until late in the afternoon of her second day there, that our little boy was born. Little Joe. Named after my buddy Joe Woodzwoda. The guy that baby sat me during this trying ordeal.

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