As I Remember, Chapter 30

This entry is part 30 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 30

      The back seat of all our busses, was reserved for two armed guards. Two soldiers with machine guns. Whenever we passed from one country to another, we would change guards. A new pair from the country we were entering would move in. The others get out. These soldiers not only protected our passengers, but also speeded up the process of passing from one country to another.

      For instance; You could get on one of our busses in Guatemala and go clear through to Panama without bothering to get visas for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua or Costa Rica. Getting permits from all these countries, took a lot of time. We could never of accomplished this without the help of the Nicaraguan government.

      Then Bill Gardner went home and I was all alone in that big house. I got mighty lonesome. Always my mind was drifting back to my family at home. I sure missed my kids. I would dream about them. I wondered about Joe. How was he coming along with the big telescope that Dell and I had bought him. How was his hand? He had blown the fingers off the right one while trying to put some device up into orbit. And sweet, little Sandy. By now, she would be quite grown up..

      By now, I felt like everything was under control. We had ticket offices in all the big towns or cities that we passed through and of course, the main one was in Managua. A fellow by the name of Brown, one of the Somoza bunch, was in charge. He also ran the travel agency. We now had plenty of drivers and some to spare. I decided I would go home for a while. I dropped Del a card and got in the station wagon and took off. In about two weeks, I was back in Idaho.

      There was some bad news. Dad had passed away a few months ago. But there was good news. I had a good visit with my kids. Also, my many friends. It sure seemed good to get back. Somehow or other, that country down there had lost a lot of its charm.

      Brother Bob was now in bad shape. The M.S. had taken it’s toll. In a few years, he would join sister Jennie. He and Mother were living together in the Bollinger place. Ray had bought a half interest in the Bollinger place. And of course, Mother owned a half interest in the whole thing.

      I guess Ray planned on owning everything. Somehow or other, he would get it. This is how he got half interest in the Bollinger place. He made a deal with brother Bob. It went something like this. They would look after each other until one of them died. When this happened, the remaining one would take over. It seems like everyone that has this terrible disease never gives up. Right to the last minute, they think that they will get well. Someone will find a cure… And Bob was no different.

      I had rented an apartment in Boise. I stayed there for a while, doing nothing but loaf. Then one day, Dell and Shirley come home. Boy was I glad to see them. We had a lot to talk about. They still had their house in Boise. I moved in with them.

      I reported to him about the bus business. Then it was his turn. The gold mine had fizzled out. So he had got busy on the plantation. Had staked out several ten acre plots and headed for the states. Armed with a bunch of pictures, he would sell them for winter homes to the rich who liked to go south for the winter. But he had almost got into trouble. Selling land is not like selling shares in a mining claim. He found out… This land would have to be appraised and approved by whatever state it would be sold in. If he didn’t do this, he could end up in jail. So for the moment, everything was at a standstill. For a while we didn’t do anything.

      Things were happening in my family. Sandy married her long-time boyfriend, Lynn Bunch. They made a lovely couple. Joe had been sent on a Mormon mission to England.

      I guess Dell still had the gold fever. A guy by the name of Frank Shinn, a real estate dealer in Boise, had a mining claim up by the old mining town of Pearl. He had driven a tunnel back into that mountain. Instead of finding quartz, he had run into a mixture of minerals that contained fine free gold. It would not even need to be crushed.

      So once again, Del had a machine built for recovering gold. He mounted it at the base of that mountain. There was plenty of water in the creek below. A pump was installed and was piped up to the machine. The top of the hill was covered with overburden. It would have to be removed. He rented a big bulldozer and went to work. Not only would he remove the overburden, but also make a deep cut. This way, he would know exactly what was in that mountain. He and Shirley had bought a trailer and moved it close to where he was working. There was just the two of them there.

      Mary and I were once more going together. We were having a ball. We would go up to the mine once in a while and take a look. Somehow or other, I didn’t like the set up. I didn’t want anything to do with it. I had just about had my fill of gold mining. Then one morning, I was still staying at Dell’s house, the telephone rang. It was a friend calling from the hospital in Emmett. He said I had better come over. Dell had been badly hurt and wanted me. In minutes, I was on my way.

      Here is what happened. That deep cut across that hillside, had slid in. Covering him and the tractor with dirt and rocks. He had been trapped in there for several hours before Shirley finally found him. She ran for help. His body was badly crushed. I think that almost every bone was broken. Either Shirley or myself was at his bedside until he passed away. That was a couple of days later.

      This morning, Aug. 27, 1982, as I sit here alone in my trailer in Prescott, Arizona, I try and put all this down on paper with my typewriter…

      There is a lot more I could say, but I must quit for now. My eyes are so blinded with the tears, that I can no longer see.

      He was one hell of a man!

As I Remember, Chapter 29

This entry is part 29 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 29

      I could write several books, on what took place down there. In fact I did write a couple more. Not about my life, but others and about those country’s. The first one is “Beyond The Bend In The River”. I wrote it first as a first party story. Then changed it a lot and turned it into a second party yarn. I originally named it “The Judge Of Quilali. Now, I think it is a good story.

      Then just here recently, I wrote another, “The Love Potion”. It is a yarn about a bulb that is raised down in that country. It does strange things to people.

      But as I think back, there are a few more things that I will tell about that happened down there.

Dell, discovered that there was a large plantation for sale near where he was mining. A large banana acreage, owned by the United Fruit Company. They had got rust in the bananas and would be forced to spray for years to come. They had decided to move to Costa Rica. Here, they would not be bothered by this infection. They had over fifty thousand acres for sale, and could be bought for two dollars and fifty cents an acre. This sounded like a real bargain.

      “We can make millions.” Del said. “When we get back to the states we will sell it ten acres at a time. A lot of people that don’t like the could winters up there, would pay a lot to own their own winter haven.”

      Dell did the buying, we made a down payment and got an option on the rest.

      Enough on that subject for right now.

      Remember I told you that I was always afraid of getting up high in the air? Airplanes terrified me. Whenever I was forced to ride on one, I would keep my eyes closed until I got to my destination.

      Then I got on that maiden flight of The Ann Gauntlit. The big D.C. ten, was coming from Guatemala City, and I was on it. I was the only first class passenger aboard. I got a bottle of rum and prepared my nerves for this long ride. It would make one stop on its way to Los Angeles. I would re-fuel at El Paso Texas. And that is one trip that I will never forget. We were just twelve hours late, when we finally arrived. We were right on schedule, when we stopped to re-fuel. Minutes later, we were once more on our way.

      I think I was on my second quart of nerve tonic, when suddenly I couldn’t get my breath, neither could anyone else on that plane. We were thirty thousand feet in the air, and had lost our oxygen. The girls were busy slapping oxygen masks on the passengers. The pilot put the thing in a dive, and down we went. At twelve thousand they opened some windows. Once more, we could breathe. We turned around and headed back to El Paso.

      It took several hours to get the thing fixed, but I stayed right on board and got some nerve medicine. Then once more, we took off. By this time I was getting well aquatinted with the crew. Also, I was feeling no pain. Then the pilot made a grave discovery. Where there should o been a green light, there was a red one. This indicated that the landing gear had not retracted properly. We could be in grave trouble.

      We turned around and headed back to El Paso. The landing strip was sprayed with foam. If those wheels didn’t come down, we would come sliding in. But Lady Luck or the Good Lord was on our side. We made a perfect landing. They had found the trouble and fixed it. Just a short in the wiring. Nothing serious. Then once more, we were on our way to LA By now it was almost daylight and guess what. The airport was fogged in. We were advised not to land.

      For hours we circled up there. I was sure going to be late for Christmas if we didn’t get down soon. Then a voice come over the loud speaker. “Fasten your safety belts. We are about to land.” Someone yelled. “El Paso, I bet.” But we weren’t back in El Paso. And we were not in LA We had landed about fifty miles south of the town of Riverside. There was a Greyhound bus waiting for what was left of the second class passengers and a taxi for me. After that trip, I am no longer afraid of getting up in the air.

As I Remember, Chapter 28

This entry is part 28 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 28

      All the events in this story, all happened in about one year. For the next five years, we were really busy. We were issued a card from that government. We were now citizens of Nicaragua, plus our own United States. So many things happened down there, that I will tell about some. Just hit some of the high spots.

      We discovered more gold clear across the continent. We come back and built another gold dredge. Hauled it to New Orleans from Portland, Oregon by truck, then by boat the rest of the way. It was put to work on the Wakie-Was river. Then we started a bus line. We got a franchise through Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and down to Panama City. We bought six used Greyhound busses from that company. They were all in excellent shape. Completely reconditioned. At that time Greyhound was converting to large cruisers. Those big double deckers. We bought a couple of them in Portland, two in San Francisco and two in Los Angeles. Greyhound loaned us one of their drivers, also a mechanic, then we took off down through Mexico.

      I could write several chapters on that trip alone. But I won’t. But I will say one thing. By the time we got down there, we were all expert drivers. It was a trip that I will never forget.

      When we finally reached Managua, we were greeted by big bands. We were paraded up and down all the streets. That next day we made the headlines of all the papers. The radio was busy. Connie whose real name was, Adailia Mendez welcomed me back by dedicating a song to me… Sabor A Mi. My favorite. Up until this time, I had spent most of my time at the Gran Hotel. At least while I was in the city. But now that we were in big business with the government and internationally known, the brass thought we should have a nice home. A place that we could entertain. Then they found us one that had just recently become vacant. One of the big shots had lived there for a long time. Then he had gone to Mexico City for his health, to a higher altitude. The Refuge, this place was called. It was about eight miles out of the city. Up a steep winding road to the top of the mountain.

      The estate consisted of about five acres surrounded completely by a high, steel fence. There was a big gate that was always locked. In a little shack beside it, for twenty four hours of the day, stood two armed guards. Soldiers furnished by the army. Also down by the front and rear entrance to the house was another pair. The place was a regular mansion, surrounded by a tropical forest. It had eight or ten bedrooms, several baths, one large enough for several to get in at the same time. Back of the place, was the servants quarters, several small houses, a housekeeper, two maids and gardener went with the place. Looking to the west of us, we could see the Pacific ocean far in the distance. There was always a cool breeze coming from that direction. It was a beautiful sight. And we had quite distinguished neighbors on both sides of us. On our right, was the ambassador from Great Britain. On our left, the Vice President of Nicaragua. Another member of the family.

      We had brought down a Chevy station wagon. We made good use of it. Most every day we went down to the city. Dell and Shirley stayed only for a short time. They wanted to get back to the gold dredge over on the east coast. Bill Gardner, one of our friends that had driven down one of the busses, stayed with me for quite a while. I had brought along my tape recorder and lots of tapes. And boy oh boy did we have some parties at that big house. We got aquatinted with our neighbors on both sides of us. That is the men folks. We never met their women. Don’t know for sure if they had any. But one thing for sure, they liked to play. So did my friend Bill. And it didn’t take him long to find his way around. When we thought it was about time for a party, I would send a note with one of the guards, to both my neighbors. In turn they would invite their friends. Men only. Bill and one of the guys would go to town and pick up a bus load of girls from the city and we would throw a party. Nicaraguan style. One to remember. There are about twelve women to every man in that big city and most of them lookers.

      But it wasn’t all play. We had plenty of troubles. Breaking in drivers that could handle those busses was a problem. A lot of those people could only drive an ox cart. Then that big volcano in Costa Rica blew up. It would make that one in the state of Washington look like some kind of a toy. Down there is volcano country. Also many earthquakes. There is nothing like a good earthquake to get them going.

      Back in the thirties, Managua was completely destroyed when old MOMBO TOMBO blew up and poured molten lava all over it. Usually from any high position, you can see at least four or five of them smoking away. Just waiting for something to get them going. This big one in Costa Rica, was putting down a couple of inches of ash on the city of San Jose every twenty four hours and had been doing this for some time and no relief in sight. Our busses run into that city twice a week. The ash was falling so fast that we had to run with our lights on. Keeping the mess cleaned up was quite a problem. Bull-dozers scraped the stuff off the streets and highways. The water and sewer systems in the city were plugged and contaminated. For miles around the coffee trees were covered completely. It looked like the city was doomed. Also the country. People were leaving by the thousands.

      We wouldn’t have many passengers going in but sure had a full load coming out. And there was lots of looting going on. One day I decided I would go along and take a look for myself. I sat up beside the driver and we took off. We kept those busses real neat and clean. Instead of a big Greyhound on each side, we had a big jaguar. El Tigre lines. We called ourselves. It was late in the evening when we arrived at that once beautiful city. Now it was really a mess. I got me a room at a nearby hotel and went looking for a restaurant. We would be here all night and return tomorrow. I had a couple of drinks and a good meal. Then I headed for my hotel. As I walked slowly down that street through that falling ash I kept looking over my shoulder. A small taxi was creeping up slowly behind me. Then I was in front of my hotel. The big iron sliding gates were closed. I could see the clerk inside. I grabbed those steel bars and rattled the thing. The clerk got up and started toward me. But he was not in time. Three guys jumped out of that taxi and come at me on the run. In the hand of one was a big knife. It was him that I concentrated on. I hit him square in the mouth. He dropped the knife and staggered back. Then fell flat on the cement. Then the other two were on my back. They grabbed my arms and pinned them behind me. Then one reached into my pocket and pulled out my pocket book. The one on the pavement got up and the three of them took off on the run. The taxi had disappeared. And in it’s place, drove up a police car. Two policemen got out and come walking over. The clerk inside had called them. “What’s the trouble?” one of them asked. I told them what had happened. I had been robbed. “Did you see where they went?” one asked. “And can you describe them?” I pointed down the street. “They ran down that way. I am not sure, but I think they went into that last door at the end of the block. They were three young guys. And right now, one of them has a mighty sore mouth. I landed one good one.” The guys nodded. “I think we know where to find them. That place you pointed out down the street, is a hangout for such trash. So if you will come along and identify them, we will put them under arrest.”

      We walked up a long narrow stairway and into a large room. It was bar and several people were standing there. Several painted women, also my three attackers. What made me certain, was the one that had blood all over the front of his shirt and also had a very large set of puffed lips. I pointed to them, “There is the ones.” They were put under arrest and searched. My pocket book which had contained about fifty dollars, was not there. Naturally, they had got rid of it.

      Up at the restaurant, I had just cashed a fifty dollar traveler check to Costa Rican money. This and a little change was what they had got away with. And this was just about the amount of money they had on hand. Equally divided among the three of them. But they had overlooked one thing. My book of traveler checks. It was still be able to pay my way. The two cops took the four of us up to the police station. The sergeant or whatever he was, fingerprinted us all. Then he pushed a paper in front of me. “If you will sign this complaint, we will put them in jail and hold them until they are tried.” I signed the paper. I guess I shouldn’t have. The next thing I knew those three bastards signed a complaint against me, for false arrest. And so, we all ended up in jail. Two or three days later, I was offered a deal. Drop the charges, and the others would do the same. Then we would all be released. I was sure glad to get out of there. It made me appreciate just how much it meant to live in the good old U.S.A.

As I Remember, Chapter 27

This entry is part 27 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 27

      It was shortly after this, that Helen and I decided to call it quits. I won’t go into any of the details, this is something that I don’t like to remember. I think that summer working outside taught her something. She decided to find herself a job and go to work. And this she did. She got a job working at the Ore Ida plant in Ontario Oregon. Several other women from this area worked there. They took turns driving. Helen joined up with them. She rented the Fisher place at Letha. Her and Joe and Sandy moved in there. And another thing, Helen quit drinking, also smoking and also started going to church. For this, I was glad and very thankful. I moved over to Boise and rented a small house and began to look around. I must figure out something to do.

      Early that next spring, I went into business for myself. I understood irrigation. I went into the lawn sprinkling business. I had been called many things. But this one, I tacked on to myself. THE RAIN MAKER. I would put in underground sprinkling systems. A lot of them completely automatic. I hired a young fellow with a strong back. I did all the selling and the supervising. We kept mighty busy. And I was making nothing but money.

      That summer I met Mary Bower. A pretty grass widow, who worked at Albertson’s big store at 16th and State. She was a checker. She had three children. A boy and a girl that had just recently married and a young boy about eight years old, Little Johnny. Mary was a great fisherman. Every weekend, we would take off for the mountains. We had lots of fun together.

      Dell had sold his new house in Boise and had built another. It was a nice place on Greenbriar. Dell and Lillian were also having family trouble. It always seemed to me that when you pass forty, this is a very dangerous age. I guess people just sort of get tired of each other. Wonder what it would be like to go to bed with someone else. There is an old saying, Life begins at forty. For sure, a new life for a lot of people. Including myself. I hadn’t wanted it that way but that was the way it turned out.

      Lately, brother Dell had shown a lot of prosperity. He had a big brand new Olds and had bought one for his new girlfriend, Shirley. It seemed like he had money to burn. One day he come to me. “Ted.” he said. “I got something going. And I want to let you in on it. We have always been partners.” Then he told me quite a yarn. There was supposed to be a ton of gold floating around somewhere. And it could be bought for about twenty dollars an ounce. Leaving a net profit of twelve dollars an ounce. I had heard this story many times. It was supposedly stolen gold. A lot of people were looking for it. A ton of gold was worth a lot of money. Even at thirty two and ounce, it was worth around a million dollars. I asked Dell. “And have you located the ton of gold?” He grinned and shook his head. “No, I haven’t located it yet. But I have been running down a lot of leads. I got some guys that will put up the money to buy it. After I get it located.” Then he went on. “I have followed every lead that I have heard of. I have been from Butte Montana, all of Idaho, Nevada and Utah. I haven’t located it yet but I did find something else.” “And what was that?” He grinned. “I found a couple of guys that have some gold for sale. It is a heavy concentrate mixed with other heavy material. These guys have very important positions in one of the big refineries and don’t want to sell it themselves.” His grin got bigger. “They say they might be accused of stealing it.” I laughed. “And how much have you got rid of already?” “About twenty thousand dollars worth. I get half.” Now I understood all this recent prosperity. “How much of it have they got left?” “I don’t know. They only give me so much at a time. They let me have it on consignment. But they say there is plenty more.” “And why are you telling me all this?” I asked. Then Dell told me his plan. “Gold is gold. And can only be traced by the impurities in it. This that they consign to me, can be traced back to where it come from by the other elements in the concentrate.” “So what do you do about that?” “Pan it down to where there is mostly gold left. Then mix in some black sand that is entirely different. Then it can’t be traced.” “Why are you telling me all this?” “Because.” he said. “To play it safe, I got to have a mine. A place that it could of come from. Make it sound real legal. Also pay income on the stuff. I don’t want to get the government after me. All you got to do, is oversee the mine and work it a bit. Pan the gold, get rid of most of the concentrate and add the new. I will do the rest. We split the profit. Do you want in?” Well right now, I think I have said enough about this. For most of the rest of this story, you can use your imagination. You will probably come up the right conclusions. Anyhow, for the next few years, I made quite a lot of money. I added a new title to my company, The Bench Dredge and Sprinkler Co. I took Dell in as a full partner.

      All of that upper Boise bench, was up for bids to install an underground sewer system. M.K. Co. Put in all the main lines. We did most of the hook-ups. We were real busy. Then Dell and Lillian got a divorce. Shortly after, Dell and Shirley were married. Now there was one sweet gal. One in a million, that is for sure.

      In the spring of 1960, we finished putting the sewer. Then Dell got a wild brainstorm and got in his car and headed for Central America. And didn’t stop until he was in the city of Managua Nicaragua. He was gone for over a month. Mary and I were still going together. She didn’t like standing behind a check stand all day and wanted something of her own. So after her trying a few other things, I built her a child care center just out of Vista. Also I painted her house real pretty. Then Dell come back from south of the border. Yes, about four thousand miles south. He had quite a story to tell. I will cut it as short as I can. It went like this”

      The new Pan American Highway, was just being completed through those Central American countries. A car could now be driven clear through to Panama. Since the beginning of our American history, those countries were noted for having lots of gold. The Spaniards had sent boat loads of it back to Spain. And now for the first time in history, these countries were being opened up to the machine age. Time for the gold dredge to go in. Those natives had only used gold pans and sluice boxes. Most of the gold was still for the taking.

      Dell was never one to start at the bottom. He went right to the Presidential Palace in Managua Nicaragua. To the Somoza family themselves. He told them he would like to bring down a gold dredge. They took him in like a long, lost brother. He was like one of the family.

      “The deal is all set up.” Del said. “You fly down there and find a good spot to set up a small dredge. I will have one built.” Then he grinned. “It will take a lot of money to get going. I will raise what I can.” So we would both be busy. I got a bottle of nerve tonic, got on a plane and took off. I was gone about six weeks. Six memorable weeks. But I had found a spot to set up the small suction dredge. I reported to Dell what I had found. He was all smiles. We bought a new motor home. A Sport King. A beautiful job mounted on a Chevy truck chassis. Down there, we would be the King of Sports. We called it, The Palace. Then we made more plans. We would find someone to go with me, and I would drive it down there. This would assure me of a nice place to live while I was south of the border. When the dredge was completed, Dell would come down and join me. It was being built in Portland Oregon. From there, it would be brought down by a steam ship line. Mary wanted to go along. She liked the pretty new motor home, and she loved to travel. She told me. “Take me with you. I can do all the cooking.” I didn’t think she would be happy down there. I told her no. “You give me something to work with, then pull out. If you really cared for me, you would take me along.” I should of known by now, pretty women don’t like to be left alone. I told her, if everything went well, I would either send for her or come and get her. I thought that it was for the best. We found a guy that wanted to go down with me. A young fellow from Nampa. His name was Chuck Saltz. We got all our medical shots, our passports and we were on our way.

      Several months later, when I returned home for a visit, I wrote my first story. I called it, THEY ALWAYS SMILE. I had kept a diary. From this, I wrote the story. I changed our names from Dewey to Parker. Mary to Maria. And our residence from Boise to Reno Nevada. I was advised to do this by an attorney. “You would be sticking your neck out.” he said. “If you don’t do this, you might get the thing published. You would be leaving yourself wide open.” I took his advice. At that time, I didn’t know one key from another on a typewriter. I got a professional typist to put the thing on paper. I never tried to get it published. Every once in a while, I dig out a copy and read it. It sure brings back a lot of memories. So basically, the story is all true. Taken from my diary. So that part of my life down there, I will not write about. I have already done that. Maybe in places, I did flower it up a bit. And in others, I toned it down. But the story itself, is true. So if you happen to have a copy of the yarn, it would fit right in here.

As I Remember, Chapter 26

This entry is part 26 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 26

      We stayed in Boise for a year or so. I spent one of those summers up at Granger Washington, working for a logging company that was cutting cottonwood on the river. I worked as a mechanic and welder, taking care of all their equipment. It was hard to find a job for me in the winter time. A bad back is sure one big handicap. The last winter we were there, I went on the road selling advertising. It didn’t work out so good.

      I had sold my Golden Hawk and was driving an old Pontiac. It caused me a lot of trouble. The sand plant over at Emmett had sure gone to pot. Their sales were way down. They sold a lot more stock in the company, then finally sold out to Del Monte. For Dell and my share, we ended up with only a few thousand dollars. But I guess we were lucky to get anything. We were on the right track alright. That plant today, plus that mountain of sand, is worth millions.

      We moved back to the Emmett Valley. There was an extra little house at the Harwell ranch. We moved into that. At least we would be close to Stan and Gertrude. Brother Cecil and his brother in law Vern Leighty had just planted a young cherry orchard. I told them. “I will take care of your orchard this summer, for the use of the land between the rows. I will keep it cultivated and irrigated. I will raise watermelons and cantaloupes in between.” It sounded like a good deal for both of us. This was something that I could handle. I planted it all. About fifteen acres. We had a beautiful crop coming on. Helen did most of the irrigating, I did the cultivating. She loved to work outside. She was the kind of a woman that needed something to do.

      Then one day along toward the end of July, disaster struck. We were just about to begin to harvest the crop, when Cecil and Vern dusted their prune orchard, which was on the west side of this field. The prunes had got mites on them and they dusted with sulfur. A breeze was blowing from the west that day and the melons also got dusted. That next day, they were a sad looking sight. The vines were curling up. The whole patch would be dead in a few days. I began to look around for the cause of this. Then I picked up one of those sulfur sacks that was lying on the ground. And right there in front of my eyes was the answer. CAUTION, it said. DO NOT DUST AROUND CUCURBITS. Then there was more. This stuff would kill the vines of any of the cucumber or melon vine. And it took very little of it.

      Helen and I were surely disappointed to say the least. We showed the patch to Cecil and Vern, also the empty sack and the warning. I guess they realized what they had done. Cecil said, “We carry insurance. I guess it’s about time that we found out whether or not it is any good.” They called their insurance man. He come and took a look. He shook his head. “A lot of different things could cause this.” he said. Then refused to pay any damage.

      Both Cecil and I went to different lawyers. We both got the same answers. Cecil and Vern were well protected. But I would have to file suit and take it to court. Cecil and I both understood. We shook hands and said. “See you in court.” I began to strengthen my case. I called the county agent and had him look the patch over. He knew what this dust would do. I found another fellow that had killed his own patch by dusting trees close by. I found a neighbor that had a small patch of melons. We dusted a few vines and waited. The next day, they began to wither and die. When the thing finally come to court, the jury wasn’t out five minutes. I won the case. But the insurance company still wouldn’t pay off. They stalled. They said that they would take it to a higher court. Finally we offered to settle for less money than we had been awarded. We didn’t come out with as much as we would have made if the patch hadn’t got ruined, but after the

lawyer got his cut, we still had a pretty good chunk of cash.

As I Remember, Chapter 25

This entry is part 25 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 25

      The new Kitty Kat factory would be in Mountain Home. A small town about forty miles south of Boise. We turned the deal over to them completely. Let one of them be called this awful name. I preferred the old one that had been tacked on me. THE SAD SACK, WITH THE BAD BACK.

      There are a few more things that come to my mind that I should tell about before I move on with the story. Some more things that happened back in Emmett.

      Before we left there, Gertrude and Stanley were married. They were very much in love and I was sure they would go a long ways together. They made a lovely couple. Our boy Bill has always been a hard one for me to figure out. He always was and still is, an independent cuss. Wants to live his own life.

      When he was sixteen, he joined the Paratroopers. Forged his birth certificate to eighteen and in he went. After about a year or so, he got tired of that branch of the service. He decided he wanted out. Finally he made it. Proved that he was still only seventeen. After he become eighteen, he once more went back into the armed service. This time a different branch. He and Dell’s boy Phil, were great buddies. They made quite a pair. I don’t think they fought any more after that time back on Pumpkin Ridge. They were full of mischief. Back when they were in grade school over in Emmett, they pulled one that I will never forget. I will tell about it.

      There was an old boy by the name of Katz that lived close to the big canal. He was real old and I guess he was alone and had nothing to live for. He decided to end it all. He wrote a suicide note. Took off all his clothes, laid his pocket book and false teeth on the ditch bank and jumped in. On their way to school, Bill and Phil, found the things that he had left. I don’t think they bothered to read the note, they just divided up the spoils. Mainly the pocket book with a few dollars in it and the false teeth. I never learned exactly how they decided who got what, but Bill ended up with the money and Phil, with the false teeth. Phil gave the choppers a good scrubbing with the ditch water and sand, then tried them in his mouth over his own teeth. I guess he really looked horrible. With these, he would have a lot of fun. That day in school, whenever the teacher would turn her back, Phil would slip the teeth in his mouth and grin at the rest of the class. Some of the girls would scream. He got by with this for a while, then the teacher caught him. She took the teeth and threw them into the incinerator. Phil confessed as to what happened. He and Bill were sent to the principal’s office. He called Dell and me. And poor old Katz was buried without his teeth.

As I Remember, Chapter 24

This entry is part 24 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 24

      All my life, I had always driven a nice car. For the last several years, it was Hudsons. A new one every couple of years. I put a lot of miles on them. They were great cars. The last one I had was a Hudson Hornet. At the same time, we had a Jet. A cute, little car. Helen drove it a lot. Then in the spring of 56, I traded in the Hornet and bought a brand new Golden Hawk, Studebaker. In it was a big souped up Packard engine. It was advertised as the world’s fastest stock car. And I guess it was. The speedometer registered up to one hundred and sixty. Just exactly a hundred over the state speed limit.

      Of course our few stock holders would growl about every time Dell or me bought anything. Compared to us, they only had a few bucks invested. But they sure could complain. I guess we finally got fed up. We handed in our resignation to our secretary. “Give them a copy each.” We told her. “Let them run it for a while.” Besides, I was getting sick of this town. We found a nice little house over in South Boise. We rented a truck and moved over. Dell did likewise and started building a house of his own, out on the Boise bench. Our marriage had not been a very happy one lately. I was in hopes that it would improve. At least I would get my wife out of Pop’s cigar in Emmett. But, I didn’t know it until after we had moved in. Around the corner and down the street about a half a block was an old street car that had been built over into a beer joint. The place was called The Trolley. Before the sun set that first day, Helen had found it and moved in. I guess she just plain liked places like that.

      I immediately began working on our new project. The Kitty Kat Sand Kit, was the name we finally settled on. A few blocks from where we lived was a railroad siding. Off to one side was a cinder block factory. Here, they made white cinder blocks. They looked like concrete but much lighter. These white crushed cinders were bought in by the car load. I stopped at the factory and picked up a sample. I wondered how they would work instead of sand. In the Kitty Kat box. This material weighed about a third as much as sand . It was like a crushed sponge and very absorbent. And the cats loved it. Not only would it cost about a third the price of sand. It was like a crushed sponge and very absorbent. And the cats loved it. Not only would it cost about a third the price of sand but our shipping costs would go way down. We still had a lot of empty boxes left. We would give this pumice or cinders a good try. They worked out better than sand. We were tickled pink. Someone suggested that we put in some sort of a deodorant. Something that would keep the smell down. Dell knew a druggist in town. We went to him for advice.

      It didn’t take him long to come up with an answer. He handed us a big box of powder. “This,” he said “will not only do the job but it is very inexpensive. Chlorine, used in purifying water. Kills all the germs. A table spoon of this in a quart of water, will make a product equal to Clorox. I would suggest about a teaspoonful to each of your boxes.” Well that problem was solved. We thought.

      We ordered a truck load of cinders delivered to a building we had rented. We boxed up a bunch of the stuff and went to many of the local grocery stores. Also the pet shops. Most all of them said that they would give it try. We would were now confident. We ordered ten thousand boxes with a master crate that held twelve of them. It took only about a week to box the material and put it in the master crates. Then by truck, we would send it to Portland Oregon. Our stamping ground. No need of starting in a little place like Boise. Think Big. We contacted a truck line and sent all of it to a bonded warehouse in Portland. In a few days I would follow up in my Golden Hawk. I would start the ball rolling.

      About a week later, I arrived in Portland. I was as usual, alone. I rented a room in nice motel and went down to the warehouse and picked up several cases of the product. The next morning, I would get busy. The following morning I had breakfast and started out. My first destination was a large pet shop on Burnside. I pulled up in front of it and stopped. I would just take in one sample box I decided. I opened one of the cases, then pulled one out. I couldn’t believe my own eyes. Instead of a bright yellow box, with a big black cat on it and gay colored trimmings, I was holding a faded thing with only the faint outline of the big cat. I dumped the rest of them out on the seat. They were all alike. Then the odor of chlorine filled the air. That deodorizer was also a very good bleach. And those ten thousand boxes in storage, absolutely worthless. That afternoon, I hired a truck to haul them to the city dump and headed for home.

      Weeks later, we turned the deal over to a group of men who wanted to give it a try. From each package, we would receive a royalty. As far as I was concerned, no longer would I be The Cat Shit Kid. Which was the name all my friends called me. I had had enough of this. Us putting chlorine in those boxes, was about as stupid as brother Ray agreeing that that was a BAIL OUT LOAN. Well, you can’t win them all.

As I Remember, Chapter 23

This entry is part 23 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 23

      We hung on for a couple more years. If we had got that loan, we would of been sitting pretty for life. But that is past history now. We never able to make the grade for glass sand. It still contained just a little bit of iron. Too much to make crystal glass. It would take a few thousand more dollars of equipment and that we didn’t have. Our big debt at the bank plus their high rate of interest was about all we could handle. There seemed to be only one way out. Sell the place. We had taken most of Del Monte’s business away from them. They would be a good prospect. Besides, this company was owned by the same company as the other ones that had the famous golf course. Pebble Beach. The seventeen mile drive. Some of the big stockholders was Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and the list went on and on. I don’t think they ever run short of money.

      During all this time, my back was getting much better. I began to think that I was completely recovered. One day, one of our men didn’t show up. I took his place and handled those hundred pound sacks. That night, in great pain, I was taken to the hospital. I was there for about a month. I would never try anything like that again.

      Then one day, I got another brain storm. What started this, was the many people that would come to the plant and want to buy a few pounds of this nice white clean sand. And what was it to be used for? Kitty Litter. To go into the cat’s sand box.

      I went to work and designed a box. Made it of corrugated cardboard. It was a foot square and four inches deep. The only thing different about this was the fact that it would fold in the middle and close like a book. It was now a package four inches square and a foot long. And inside this neat package, was a sack of sand. Enough to fill the box about a third full. Also another thing. It was easy to dispose of. Just fold it shut and throw it in the trash barrel. I took my box to a firm in Portland. They looked it over and gave me a knocked down price by the thousand. It would take only a staple gun to put them together.

      I had also sketched a label for the thing. On all four sides of the package, was a big cat standing in one of our boxes. He was looking down into the thing and he was saying; WOW! INSIDE PLUMBING! Their artist went to work on the thing. When finished, the big cat looked a lot like Felix. The cat in the Disney cartoons. I showed the thing to Dell. He agreed that it looked like a winner. I had ordered a thousand boxes. We began experimenting. Every person that we knew that had a cat, we gave one. Then waited to hear the results. In every case, the results were; Good… Great… Just what we have been waiting for.

As I Remember, Chapter 22

This entry is part 22 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 22

      A lot of things happened in our years there at the sand plant. It is hard to recall them in the order that they happened. So if I get the horse before the cart at times, forgive me. I am writing all this strictly from memory. No diary or notes to refer to. As the things happened, drift into my head, I set them down to my type writer and get busy. Don’t even keep any penciled notes. So now I will proceed.

      During this era, Sister Jenny died. M.S., that deadly killer. And brother Bob, who was now a school teacher had also contracted it. He was doomed to a short life. He and his wife separated. Mother gave Bob a deed to the Bollinger place and both of them moved in there. Ray was now in his big, new house.

      Then, Bertie met Lorin Lee. Later they would be married. Also Gertrude met Stanley Harwell. They were engaged.

      Dell and I decided to build a big new sand plant with all new machinery. We spent months designing the thing. We had learned how to control the dust. Giant suction fans and a bag house. We would put in a big washer and a stacker. A big rod mill for grinding. Also magnetic separators to remove any iron. We were now after the glass market. This was the biggest of all. Doing this was going to take a lot of money. A lot more than we could raise. But by now, we knew that sand was among the best in the country. And there was a big market for it and would get larger as time passed. We had staked mineral claims on all of that big mountain. Sixteen hundred acres in all. This alone was worth a fortune. We talked with our banker, Mister Fikken. We told him our intentions. Finally we come to a decision. We would the new plant. The bank would finance us for a six month period. Then we would get a long term government loan. The banker assured us that this would be a cinch. Our company had such a good record. But there was one clause. The bank would only loan a certain percent. We had to put up the rest. We thought we had enough money, so we started building. Before we were finished, we found out that it was going to cost quite a bit more than we had figured. To solve this problem, our lawyer advised us to sell a little of our stock in the company. So we formed a corporation. The Gem Silica, Inc. Then we sold some stock. Fifteen thousand dollars worth. Brother Ray bought five of it. I guess we thought his money was as good as any one’s. Hetherington Electric bought five also Chauncey Payne, another local fellow. Finally, the big new plant was finished. We now had a much greater capacity. I was on the road steady. Setting up new dealers all over the west. I traveled day and night.

      It was somewhere in this area that I began to realize that my marriage to Helen was beginning to fall apart. Now for the last several years, I had spent most of my time on the road. First the Dent Removers, then the sand. I guess Helen wasn’t the kind of woman to be left home alone. For that matter, who is? Joe and Sandy were now in school. She was home alone most of the time. And I guess she decided to do something about that. She spent most of her time on a bar stool in Pop’s Cigar store, a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other. When school was over, Joe and Sandy knew just where to find her. Sometimes they would pace up and down that sidewalk for hours, waiting for her to come out. When ever I would as much as suggest that she don’t go in there quite so much, she would get angry and tell me to shut up. Now, I was no angel. Usually after work, I would have a couple of drinks myself. But I can honestly say and I guess that goes up until right now, I have never missed a days work on account of drinking.

      I thought maybe if she had a job, she would be more content. We gave her one at the Sand Plant. She would be our new bookkeeper. Before noon the first day, she sent one of the guys to town for a six pack. She worked only a couple of days. I should of known that she wasn’t the kind of person that could sit behind a desk all day. Helen liked company. She liked to have someone to talk to. Some one to visit with.

      But we had our moments. After Bertie and Lorin were married, we took a big , long road trip together. I had a new Hudson. The four of us got in it and took a long trip to Canada. We went up through Calgary and clear on north to Edmonton. We come back through Bamph and Waterton. Helen had relatives all over Canada. We had a great time.

      Helen and I were both great fight fans. Harry (kid) Matthews from Seattle, originally from Emmett, was a contender for the heavy-weight championship. We took in most of his fights here in the west. Now back to the sand plant.

      We still had not got our government loan. Our payment and interest at the bank was really high. If we didn’t do something about it pretty soon, they would foreclose. Dell and I decided that we would put all our eggs in one basket. We traded our contract with M.K. and the royalty to the bank for part of the debt. With this much paid off, it would be a cinch to get that government loan. At least, that is what we thought. Ray and the other two stockholders had been very unhappy. So far, they had received no dividend. Getting this loan would solve all our problems.

      Then we had everything all ready. The government man was coming in from Washington D.C. Our banker assured us that he would recommend us highly. First he met with the guy. They were both all smiles. Then the final meeting down at our office. And of course, brother Ray come along. The guy laid all the papers down on the table. “Everything seems to be in order.” he said. “There is just a couple of questions that I would like to ask.” Ray’s big mouth took over. “Sure, ask us anything.” The guy sort of grinned. “I know that this sounds foolish, but I must ask.” From Ray. “Go ahead and ask.” “Well here goes. This by any chance, wouldn’t be a bail out loan. Now would it?” There was a big grin on brother Ray’s face. “Mister, that is exactly what it is.” The guy looked amazed. “Then I will have to refuse your loan.” Dell and I exchanged glances. We were speechless. I think Ray began to realize just what he had done. But he made no effort to correct this statement. The guy gathered up the papers and walked out the door. I took Dell by the arm and led him out of there. From the looks on his face, he could of strangled brother Ray to death. And I couldn’t of blamed him one bit! Every dime that Dell and me had was invested in this thing. Including our royalties from the limestone project in Durkee Oregon. This alone, would have kept the both of us for the rest of our lives. Then that night, brother Dell got drunk. The first and only time I had ever seen him that way.

      I stayed with him for a while. We were both quite upset to say the least. Our big bubble had burst. I stayed with him for a while, then went home and crawled in bed. About one o’clock in the morning, our phone rang. It was Lillian. “Get over here quick.” she said. “Dell is drunk and he took our shot gun and some shells. I think he is going to kill Ray.” I guess I knew Dell better than anyone else. I knew what the sand business meant to him. Knew how he felt about a lot of things. As soon as she hung up, I called Ray. I told him. “Dell is drunk and has a loaded shot gun. You had better keep hid out until I can get a hold of him.” I hung up.

      It was only a short distance to Dell’s house. I got there just as he was getting in the car. The old double barrel was in his hands. Lillian was crying, trying to reason with him. I told him to put the damn gun away. We had had enough trouble already. Then suddenly big tears come to his eyes. He handed me the gun. “Take it, before I change my mind.” I don’t know if Ray ever realized how close to death he was that night. And I wonder if he ever bothered to find out what the phrase, bail out means. Even a rat leaving a sinking ship knows that.

As I Remember, Chapter 21

This entry is part 21 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 21

      After I returned home, I went right to work experimenting on Freezeout Hill, sand. There was one thing for sure, there was enough of it. Probably one of the largest deposits in the world. Most everyone discouraged me. “It’s not worth a damn for anything.” They would say. “It won’t even make concrete or plaster. “In a few years, it falls apart.” I took a shovel and a wash tub and brought a couple of hundred pounds of it down to the house. I gave it a thorough inspection. I got a hold of a set of testing screens. I made sure the material was good and dry, then I started sifting. I come up with about ninety percent pure white sand and ten percent just plain old clay. It was easy to see why it wouldn’t make good concrete. That fine bauxite clay would dilute the cement. Make it rot away in a few years. And, the sand was far too course for the many things it would be used for. It would have to be crushed. I went back to the hill and brought back a pickup load of the stuff. I sifted out all the clay and put it in some used paper sugar bags. Then I looked around for a crusher.

      One of my neighbors, Walt Smith, had a hammer mill. He did custom grinding. I talked him into running this batch through his hammer mill. At first, we had the thing going too fast. It was turning everything to dust. But after a bit, we found the right speed and salvaged most of the sand. Boy, it was now sure pretty and white. The stuff looked like table salt. I had brought back samples of Ottawa sand. I compared them the best I could. They looked quite a bit alike but the Ottawa sand was round like bird shot. This, was jagged and sharp.

      Brother Dell and I always confided in each other. We shared with each other, like brothers should. He was building an apartment house in Boise. I went to see him. I told him about what I had done and showed him the sand. There was a fellow in Boise that was a professional sand blaster. His name was Ben Stadler. We went to see him. I had a small bottle of twenty mesh in my pocket. I handed it to him. He poured out some in the palm of his hand and looked it over carefully. “Sure is sharp.” he said. “Boy, I’ll bet that would sure cut. And if the price is anywhere near what I have been paying, I could use a hundred ton right now.” I helped Dell finish the building and we took off for Portland. The west coast was where the big market would be, we decided.

      At that time, wall board was not allowed in that area. Maybe not even yet. It would draw moisture and fall apart in that damp climate. We contacted Pacific Building Material co. The largest in that area. We had brought along several bags of thirty mesh. This was the size best suited for the finish coat. George Erwin, the manager, took one look and said. “One of our best plaster contractors is working on a building right down the street. We will let him give it a try.” We held our breath as we watched the guy finish one room with our sand. When he was through, there was a big smile on his face.

      “Boy, “ he said. “That is the best sand that I have ever used. And it goes about twice as fast as that Del Monte sand from California. It isn’t round and doesn’t roll under the trowel like that beach sand. No chicken tracks.” “And you would use it if it were available?” “Sure. And so would every other plasterer in this area.” We explained to George that we weren’t quite ready yet. But as soon as we were, we would get in touch with him. He gave us some good advice. “Some low cost items carry a special freight rate. And sand is one of them. Go to the railroad and apply for the same mile rate as Del Monte and Ottawa and you will be sitting pretty. You are much closer than either one of them.” We thanked him and took off for home. Then we designed and built that first sand plant. No one else was involved. Just Dell and myself. We had a lot to learn about processing that sand. And no one to teach us. Naturally, we made mistakes. Controlling the dust was a big problem. And there were other things. One of them was, we had run out of money before we got going. But we borrowed from the bank and finally made it.

      Dell run the plant. And I was on the road again. Selling sand. From the day that we started up that plant, we never shut down for a single day. I sold all the sand that it could produce. But we had lots of trouble. The old power shovel that we had bought to load the sand was old and kept breaking down. The trucks that hauled the sand were also about worn out. And everyone was yelling that we should be shut down on account of the dust and the noise. We sure shouldn’t of built that close to town. But we were learning the business. And our sand was in big demand. We were shipping from one to two car loads a day. Fifty to a hundred ton.

      Again, I could write a whole book about our experiences in those years that followed. But I will cut it as short as I can. We could see that we had a great thing going but we were in need of a new plant. This little pilot plant, had served it’s purpose. Also we needed a new shovel and trucks. And a lot more things. Oh yes. There is something else that I must bring up. I made a lot of trips to Portland, Spokane, Seattle and other cities in the Northwest. I usually went through Baker and LaGrande. And of course, right through the town of Durkee Oregon. In this town, was a huge Cement plant. Oregon Portland Cement. They had been there a good many years and their mountain of limestone was about gone. The word was out that they were going to move.

      I was aquatinted with one of the fellows that worked at the plant. One day, I was stopped at the restaurant having lunch and he come walking in. We talked a while, then I asked him. “I hear you are going to move?” He nodded. “I guess so. We are about out of limestone.” Then I asked him. “How about the mountain up the canyon about a mile. The one across the road?” “The one all covered with brush and juniper?” “That’s the one.” “Our company hired some engineers to look the thing over. I guess down underneath all that overburden, is solid granite. Anyhow, that was their report. Anyhow, a couple of old boys has mining claims filed on it. I guess they think there is something valuable under there.”

      One day when I had just returned home, I told Dell. “You haven’t been away from here for a long time. I think you need a vacation. Take your wife and go up to Durkee. Then I told him what I knew. Also what I suspected. They took off. Well, I certainly didn’t send a boy to do a man’s job. About a week later, Dell returned. And with a handful of contracts. A guy by the name of Ivan Thompson and another guy had staked out that big mountain. They had dug some holes and found limestone. Dell had told them how we had started the sand plant in Emmett. He convinced them that we could help them. They signed a contract. What ever he could sell that mountain for, they would get half. The other half would be ours.

      By this time, those two Dewey Bros., Ted and Dell, were getting quite will known. They had the reputation of being a couple of goers. I told Dell to finish up what he had started. He jumped in his car and went to Boise. The home of the famous contracting co. Morrison & Knudsen. He sure didn’t start at the bottom. He made a good sales pitch. The cement co. was running out of limestone. All the sugar companies would need a new source. And the many paper companies in the north west would be out of limestone. The thing was right on the railroad and all it would take to find out if it was there, was a drilling crew for a couple of weeks. The next week they started core drilling that mountain. In about a month’s time, they had proven over ten million tons of pure limestone. And for sure, there were millions more. They put in a railroad siding and giant crushers on the mountain. Soon they were shipping from twenty to thirty car loads a day. We and the old prospectors at Durkee divided twenty five cents a ton royalty. Thanks to brother Dell, we had done this one in a hurry.