As I Remember, Chapter 8

This entry is part 8 of 39 in the series Ted Bio


      In the year of 1928, there was a big change in automobiles. There were big bill-boards everywhere with screaming headlines. WAIT FOR THE NEW FORD. The days of the model T had come to an end. Next would be the model A. Other cars were also coming out new models. Durant, the company that made the Star, also made a big change. I fell in love with a brand new model that was in the showroom in Emmett. It was a two tone green, four door sedan. Genuine leather upholstery and four wheel brakes. Also the engine had a lot more power. Dad also looked it over and drooled. Then we made a deal. We traded in both our old cars and bought the thing. I dug into my bank account and paid for half. He did likewise. That was the year Helen moved in with her Grandfather, Old man Woodruff, we called him.

      We started going together. She was the girl of my dreams. And before summer was over, we were engaged. She was sixteen and I was eighteen. We began making plans. We realized that we were too young to think of getting married. Her mother was living in Nelson BC Canada and wanted her to come there. Which she did. I promised that the next fall after harvest, that I would come and see her.

      The following year, I made a lot of boxes. My best year. I saved my money. I wanted to make a home for my bride. When the year passed and the harvest was over, I was ready to take that trip to Canada. There was only one problem, we had only one car. The partnership Durant. But Dad told me to go ahead and take it. He and Feldman had just bought a new International truck. He assured me that they could get by with that until I returned. Then suddenly, brother Ray wanted to go along. It would be a long trip all by myself, so I told him yes.

      Helen had some friends in Spokane, Washington. She wanted to pay them a visit. I was to meet her at the Davenport Hotel. Then we would go on to Nelson together. And this we did. It was only a days drive up to this city. It was a very enjoyable trip, and we had a good visit. I met Helen’s mother and the rest of the family. They treated me very nice. There was just one thing that happened that could have spoiled everything. And it almost did. One morning at the breakfast table, we had just finished eating and Helen’s mother was reading the paper. Suddenly she laid it down and glared at Helen and me. “Why didn’t you tell me.” she asked. I looked at Helen. We both shook our heads. “About what?” Helen asked. Slowly she handed over a sheet from the paper. “Read that!” Helen read out loud. “A quiet, but pretty wedding took place last Sunday at the Davenport hotel in Spokane. Veril Edward Dewey, of Emmett, Idaho and Helen May Woodruff of Nelson Exchanged wedding vows.” Helen’s eyes were big and round. I couldn’t believe my own. And there was more. Much more. Brother Ray excused himself and went outside. The rest of us just sat there staring at each other. Not knowing what to say. I guess I recovered first. I took Helen by the arm. “Do you know where this paper is printed?” I asked her. She nodded. “Sure. The Nelson News. Let’s get going.” We got in the car and drove down to the newspaper office. We walked in together. There sitting at a desk was a man. In front of him was a plaque which read, EDITOR. I laid down the piece of paper. “Just where did you get this information?” I asked. He looked down at the paper then back at us. There was a big grin on his face. “Was it supposed to have been kept a secret?” I glared at him. “You had better give me some straight answers!” He turned a little pale. “Sure, Sure, it is no secret. The brother to the groom, Ray Dewey, gave us the story.” I couldn’t believe my own ears. Just why would he pull a dirty trick like this? I will never know and I don’t think he will either. But that is not the end of the story. When we returned to Emmett, the news had got here far ahead of us. He had mailed several copies home and the news had spread. I could of and I guess I should of, killed the guy! My popularity sure went to pot with all the local girls. Who wants to chase around with a married man? And Helen, she went through the same thing. Of course she would deny that she was married, but who would believe us after reading all about it in the paper?

      Anyhow, I wasn’t looking for another girl. And we had made plans to be married sometime in the fall of the next year. This all happened in the fall of twenty nine. The winter of the beginning of the great depression. Here in Idaho, we couldn’t see much difference. Life seemed to go on just the same. But back east, times were getting really tough. I was keeping my eyes open. Looking for a place for me and my bride to be. Then one day, I found something that looked good. And it was something I could handle. The forty acres across the road from the house, could be bought. New dams had been built up the river and now more water was available for about forty five dollars an acre. I had the money and I went to see about it. There was one catch. They wouldn’t sell it to me because I was under age. You had to be a citizen and twenty one before you could get in on this deal. Then I got an idea. I went to Dad. I asked him if he would buy the place if I gave him the money. Then later he would give me the deed. He said it sounded like a good deal and he would go along. The place was all in sagebrush. It was virgin land. Also there were no buildings or fences. My work was really cut out for me.

      That fall and winter I worked like a dog. I cleared, fenced, leveled and plowed ten acres. Next spring, it would be ready to plant. And what did I plant? Ten acres of apricot trees with watermelons in between. And boy did I have a crop of melons. This new ground really produced. When the melons were about ready to harvest, I made a down payment on a new Chevy truck. A 1930 ton job. I figured out later, that I harvested and sold an average of twenty ton to the acre. And had received an average price of about one cent a pound. All together about four thousand bucks! That fall, I paid for the truck and went right on clearing the brush from the rest of the place. Also fencing and leveling the land. My next project would be to build a house. I guess I didn’t have time to do everything but I was still set on getting married. Then one day I got a lucky break. Sam Bollinger and his wife, my next door neighbor, was moving to New Plymouth for the winter. There he run the apple drier for F.H. Hogue. This guy always liked me I guess. And said we could move into his house for the winter. I took him up on it.

Mel Vickery and Helen Whitely also were planning on getting married. The four of us got together and we decided to have a double wedding. There was over four hundred people there that night. There was a big dance after the ceremony. It was held at the old Mormon church at Letha. After the wedding dance, we moved into the Bollinger house. A few days later, we took a trip to Salt Lake City. Once more we exchanged wedding vows in the Mormon temple. We were a very happy couple.

      About the time that we were married, brother Ray was courting Violet. He got her in the family way and they got married. He was only eighteen. I think she was about twenty. Cousin Mina was staying with the folks and I guess the bedrooms in the house were all full. I guess it was quite a problem to figure out where to put the newly weds. There was only one place left that was big enough to hold a bed. It was the little building that was used as the office for the ranch. It was about ten feet square. Into this, moved Ray and Violet. The following spring, I built a small house on the forty. It wasn’t anything fancy but it was bought and paid for. It was as I remember, twelve by twenty four. Just the right size, for a garage. We planned to turn it in to one, when we would later build a big new house. Anyhow that was our plans.

      It was somewhere along about this time that the ranch had paid out. Dad bought him a new Studebaker car. A four door sedan with six wire wheels. It was a fancy one. He had traded in the Durant. Nothing was never mentioned about my half. Ray had suddenly taken up going to church. Mother had not learned to drive. He would haul her around where ever she wished to go. I went on clearing brush and improving the place. I planted another ten acres of watermelons. The great depression had been on now for about a year. We began to feel it here. Prices were getting lower, jobs were hard to find. Watermelons were worth half what they were the year before. Helen and I both worked hard that summer. But we were happy. When fall come, we had a pretty good chunk of money in the bank.

      Violet was getting bigger every day. I don’t see how they ever managed to stay in that tiny space. I sure felt sorry for them. But Ray’s mind was busy. He was determined to find a way. I didn’t know it at the time, but he had been working on Dad and Mother. “Ted has everything.” he told them. “And I am entitled to that forty acres just as much as he is. I have stayed home here and worked for nothing. Besides he has had use of the land for the last two years.” I had a feeling that something was the matter. And I thought it was about time I had a talk with Dad.

      I had the money to pay last year’s water assessment, also the taxes. I told him. “Dad, I have the money for the water and taxes. But before they are paid, I want my deed.” Dad had his answer already. He said. “I will give you a deed to the lower twenty where you built your house. Ray must have a place to stay. I will give him the other twenty and we will build him a house up there.” I couldn’t believe my own ears. Dad, giving away half my place. Dad had his speech well rehearsed. “While you have been working out making a lot of money, Ray has stayed here and worked on the ranch. He deserves that forty acres just as much as you do.” I remembered how Ray had worked. The wet shirt and the shovel trick. If he had ever done any work, I couldn’t remember when it was. I started to argue with Dad. “But the place is mine and I paid for it.” Dad’s words were final. “Your Mother and me has talked this all over. And we have come to this decision.” Then he got tough. “There is not a damn thing you can do about it. And if you don’t like my decision, you can just get your ass off there!” I went back to the house and talked things over with Helen. The next day, we loaded up our furniture in the truck and pulled. The day after that, Ray and Violet moved in. He had made his first big step in gaining complete control of the great Dewey Orchards.

Series NavigationAs I Remember, Chapter 7As I Remember, Chapter 9

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