As I Remember, Chapter 1

This entry is part 1 of 39 in the series Ted Bio





      The following story, I dedicate to my kids. It will be a brief history of my past life. As I will be writing from memory only, It will be impossible to remember all the correct dates. Also, the events in the order of which they happened. Most of this happened a long time ago. I will just try and cover the high-lights. So if I leave out something that you think should be there, please forgive me.

      I know that writing this will bring back a lot of memories. Most of them good, some them sad. What inspired me to write this was a telephone message I received from my daughter Sandra a few days ago. She asked me to write the story of my life. So here at Prescot Arizona, on the fifth day of July 1982, I begin this story. Without any notes I will start back as far as I can remember and just cover the high spots. I will not go back and edit it or look for miss-spelled words. Which there will probably be a good many. If you would like to correct them, go ahead. So now I will begin…

Sept. 3, 1982.

      Just finished the story this morning. At least for now. Hope all of you enjoy it.


Chapter 1

      It was a cold winter day that January 5th, 1910, when my mother gave birth to me at Grandpa and Grandma’s place in Emmett, Idaho. Of course this I don’t remember. But my dear mother told me about it many times.

           I was about two years old when Dad and Mother took up a one hundred and sixty acre homestead in the desert between Caldwell and New Plymouth. They built a one room shack on it and stayed there for two years. When we moved on to this place covered with nothing but sage brush, there was just three of us kids and one on the way. Brother Cecil was the oldest. About two and a half years younger was sister Afton. Then come myself and brother Ray was in the making. Later would come Del, Jennie and Bob.

      During those years that we stayed there, a couple of events are still vivid in my mind. Even though I was only three or four years old, I will tell about them. The first one first.

      We had gone to Emmett to visit Grandpa and Grandma. It was early in the spring of the year and still quite cold. Dad and Mother was riding up in the high seat of the big freight wagon. Us kids were in the back. We were almost home. It had been raining and most of the snow had melted. Up just ahead of us was a large, shallow pond of water. Dad yelled whoa to the horses and stopped the wagon. Everyone was on their feet. There was no way around. We would ford the water, then go on.

      Then suddenly, just across the pond, appeared a big Coyote. He just stood there looking at us. Dad responded quickly. The twenty two rifle, which he always took along, was in his hands. Then the report of gun… The bullet missed, but the Coyote just stood there.

      It was a Winchester pump action rifle. He attempted to throw another shell into the barrel, but the gun jammed. The fired shell was stuck in the chamber. Dad swore. That Coyote pelt was worth money. Once more he tried and failed. Then the Coyote laughed. Did you ever hear a Coyote laugh? Well, this one did. This was too much for Dad. He jumped into the seat, swung the gun around his head a few times, then hurled it at the laughing Coyote. It landed out in the middle of the pond with a big splash. The Coyote chuckled once more and went on his way. Dad was a very angry man as he waded out into that little lake to retrieve his rifle.

      There was one more incident that I will never forget. Brother Cecil was eight or nine years old. There were lots of badger holes around and in some of them were real live badgers. Dad had several steel traps; he decided to catch some of them. I went along and watched.      

      Cecil had learned from Dad and I would learn from him. When we would come to a fresh badger hole, he would set the trap and slide it down into the hole. He would then wire the trap

chain to the nearest sage brush, then go on looking for another hole.

      After watching him set several of the traps, I decided to set some of my own. I couldn’t press down the springs of these that he was using. I would just have to figure out something else. And I did. Now don’t laugh. After all, I was only three or four years old. I went back to the house and found what I thought would get the job done. A half dozen old mason fruit jar rubbers. Also a ball of twine and an old pair of scissors. When I would come to a fresh badger hole, I would tie one end of the string around the rubber and push it down the hole. Then I would cut it off and tie it to the nearest sage brush. I didn’t catch any badgers but I had a lot of fun trying. Just last summer, brother Cecil and I were talking about old times. I told him about these two experiences as I remembered them. He listened, then slowly nodded his head. His only remark was, “Well I’ll be damned.”


Here are links to Ted’s other books which are free online:
They Always Smile
Beyond the Bend in the River
Just A Little Bit Crazy

As I Remember, Chapter 2

This entry is part 2 of 39 in the series Ted Bio


      In 1914, World War I began. I guess lots of the men were joining the army. There were to jobs to be had. Dad and Mother moved us all over into the Emmett Valley. Dad went to work for Smith and Feldman. A couple of men that had just planted a lot of fruit orchards in the sandy slopes of the south side. For two years we stayed at what is now known as, The Earp Place.

      We were only about ten miles out of Emmett. Grandpa Dewey had bought himself a car. A two seated Flanders. About once a week, he and Grandma would come driving down with big, long, bamboo fish poles strapped to the side of the car. He also had a big sign for catching the fish that wouldn’t bite. How I loved those wonderful people. There wasn’t a fishing hole in the country that we didn’t try.

      As the years passed, Mother gave birth to more children: Ray, Dell, Jennie and Bob.

      Smith and Feldman, the owners of the orchards couldn’t get along and split up. They divided the orchards. Feldman, a rich Jew from Boise, built a new house up close to the hill. We moved in and Dad went to work for him.

      Dad had bought himself a new model T Ford. So had everyone else around the valley.

      I was now going to school at the one room school house, Mountain View. It had one teacher who taught all eight grades. There were about twenty pupils in all.

      Dad wasn’t happy just working for wages there on the ranch. He decided to go into something different. He traded the model T in on a new Maxwell truck. It was a one toner and had all hard rubber tires. One day, he and Mother took off for Boise. When they come back, they had great news. Dad had got a job with the Boise, Payette Lumber Co. delivering firewood. He would get paid a dollar a load.

      They had also bought a house. It was close to the mill at 307 South Third. We would move over right away. It took several trips with the truck to get us moved over. We even took along a cow. After her, there was one more load. Cecil and me were still at the ranch house gathering up the last remaining things. Such as; the chickens and the rabbits. Mother had left the house in tip-top condition. The floors all scrubbed and the windows washed. So that whoever moved in would have nothing to complain about.

      We had a lot of tame rabbits of may different colors. Some of them were in pens but most of them run loose. Living wherever they could find shelter. Catching them was going to be a problem. Then Cecil came up with a bright idea. We would leave the barn door open and put a lot of feed inside. While they were eating, we would close the door. Then they would be easily caught. As far as the chickens were concerned, when they went to roost, they would be easily captured.

      Everything went along great. We caught all the rabbits and put them in crates. Likewise,

the chickens. We had nailed slats on the tops of old picking boxes to make enough crates for everything. We crammed them in and waited. Early the next morning the phone rang. It was Dad. He had called to tell us that something had come up and he wouldn’t be over for a couple of days. We told him that there was still plenty to eat here and not to worry.

      The next morning, we looked at the chickens and rabbits jammed tight in those boxes. It would be impossible for them to eat and drink. We must do something about this we decided. There seemed to be only one sensible answer. Turn the chickens loose in the living room and the rabbits in the remaining ones. We could throw in a bale of hay for the rabbits and open a sack of wheat for the chickens. Leave plenty of water and everything should be lovely. Penned up in here, they would be easily caught when the truck arrived. Besides, the water had just been turned off in the farmers ditch and the fishing would be great.

      P.S. It wasn’t until about a year later that we returned. Mother could never figure out how she had acquired the reputation of being such a filthy house keeper.

As I Remember, Chapter 3

This entry is part 3 of 39 in the series Ted Bio


      It was late in the fall of the year when we finally got settled in Boise. Dad immediately went to work hauling wood. Us kids didn’t start school for a few days after we arrived. This gave me an opportunity to look the neighborhood over. Across the street and down a block, lived Aunt Mamie, Dad’s sister. The number was 410 South Third. So we weren’t alone. She had three daughters and two boys. She worked for the governor. Hawley was his name. She did cooking and housework. Quite a gal Aunt Mamie was.

      That first day out, I made a great discovery. We were about only three blocks from the beautiful Julia Davis Park. Winding through the park was a part of the Boise River. The water was clear and cool. I took off my shoes and wading. Then to my amazement, darting out from behind most every rock, was a beautiful trout. I could hardly believe my eyes. Never before had I seen anything like this! I put on my shoes and ran home. I found a shovel, went out in the back yard and began to dig for worms.

      They were plentiful and in a short time, I had a can full of night crawlers. I found some fish line and some hooks. My pocket knife was good and sharp. I headed to the park. I had no pole but there was plenty of willows growing along the creek bank. I pulled out my knife and went to work. My old Granddad had taught me well. The first hook that I tossed into the water was hit by a big one! I drug him in and run a branch of a forked willow through the gill and out the mouth. I laid him down in the water and put on a fresh worm. Time was wasting!

      A crowd began to gather around. They seemed to get a kick out of watching me catch fish after fish. I wondered why they didn’t join me. It wasn’t long until I found out why. A great, big guy wearing a badge walked up to me and grabbed the pole out of my hand. “Just what the hell do you think you are doing?” he yelled. I was startled, to say the least. “Just fishing…” I told him. He pulled the string of fish out of the water and looked them over. “Too far gone to put back.” he muttered. He turned to me. “Don’t you know that it’s against the law to fish in here?” I shook my head. “I don’t see any signs.” The guy slowly shook his head. “I didn’t think we needed any. Are you new around here?” He asked. “Yes.” I told him. “We just moved over here from the ranch below Emmett.” As I think back, this guy must of been a kid once himself. He handed me the string of fish. “Young man.” he said. “Take these and get the hell out of here. And don’t you let me catch you fishing in here again.” Anyhow, that evening, we had fish for supper.

      I guess we were country hicks alright but we caught on fast. We got started in school and I got myself a job selling newspapers. The Evening Capitol News was the name of the paper. It come out after school was let out. All us newsboys would line up in front of the window and buy any amount you wished. You got two for a nickel and sold them for five cents a piece.

      At first, I didn’t do very well. All the good corners were taken up. In front of every hotel was a newsboy. I got quite discouraged. One evening, I asked the fellow that sold us the papers.

“How does a person go about getting a good spot in this town? They seem to be all taken up.” The guy grinned at me. “Find a spot you want and move on. You might have to whip a couple of kids.” I thought this over. I could hold my own with most any kid over in the old Mountain View school house in Emmett Valley. I got a few black eyes and a bloody nose, but in a short time I was holding down the best corner in the city. The one in front of the IDANHA hotel.

      There was headlines on the paper telling the latest news of the war. I would stand there

and yell until I was sold out. I didn’t get rich on this job, but it sure kept me in spending money. At the same time, I was really learning to use my fists.

      One evening, after I had sold my papers, I come home sick. And I mean I was really sick. I was burning up with fever and black spots were dancing in front of my eyes. Mother told me to go to bed. Then she took my temperature. It was 104 and going up. When Dad come home, he looked me over and decided that I would be alright. A little thing like one of his kids getting sick didn’t bother him much.

      I put in one hell of a night. Little, red spiders were crawling everywhere. They were coming out of the walls… I yelled and screamed. Somehow I made it through the night. Mother left the light on and took my temperature every hour or so. Then she would shake her head and go for the ice box. Chop up some ice and put it on my forehead. When morning finally come, Dad and Mother held a conference. I remember him saying. “You had better call a doctor.” We didn’t have a phone but Aunt Mamie did. Mother took off on the run.

      About the only place that Mother ever went, was to church. There, she had met a young doctor. She called him. Also, she called the Bishop and told him to send over a couple of the Elders. Then she come back home. Now I know my darling mother meant well, and she did what she thought was best. Soon she come running home and told me. “You are going to be just fine now. The doctor will soon be here.” Then the doctor come walking in. He didn’t have a black bag. Just himself. He was a young man just out of school and just starting up in business. Not an M.D. But one of those bone poppers and neck twisters. Not much for credentials, but he was a good Mormon.

      I will say one thing for the guy, he wasn’t stupid. After taking my temperature, he popped all my vertebras. Then twisted my neck and gave me a good rub down. Then he turned to Mother and said; “This boy is coming down with the Measles. A new kind that has been brought over from Germany. They are very dangerous.” Then he gave her a bunch of directions. “Keep this room dark. Don’t turn on the light. Pull down all the window blinds, the light can cause permanent damage to his eyes.” And there was more. “If we can just get him to break out, the big danger will be over.” The doctor left and the Elders come. They promised me that I would live. And of course I did. For years, my eyes were weak, but I did survive. In a couple of weeks, I was back on my corner selling my newspapers.

      Then one evening, I broke all my previous records. The big four inch headlines read…

GERMAN GOVERNMENT OVERTHROWN! Everyone went crazy. A big parade come marching down the street. Everyone joined in. The Governor stood up on the balcony of the hotel and dumped sacks of flour and sugar on the screaming crowd below. For the last couple of years, these items had been rationed. No longer would they be. The big war was over.

      Shortly after this, Dad come home one evening and there was a big smile on his face. He had been seeing a lot of Mister Feldman lately. The man that owned the fruit ranch in Emmett Valley. Feldman also owned a pawn shop and loan office here in Boise. Things hadn’t been going so good at the ranch. The guy that he had hired to take care of the place, was drunk all the time. His last name was Ray. Vanilla Ray, the neighbors called him. Back in those days of prohibition, there were many sources of obtaining alcohol. One of the easiest was the Watkins and the Raleigh man. Peddlers that called on most everyone about twice a month. Two of their biggest selling items was lemon and vanilla extract. They contained about eighty percent pure alcohol.

      Feldman wanted Dad to move back on the ranch. Here, there would be work for all of us. That time Dad really used his head. We would move back alright, but under only certain conditions. Feldman must sell him half interest in the ranch. Finally they come to an agreement. Feldman would sell him half interest. Every month Dad would draw a salary of seventy five dollars a month. At the end of each year, he would receive a lump sum of five hundred dollars. This would be a bonus for the work that us kids would do. They agreed on a total price. Half of the profit each year would go as payment for Dad’s share. There was no way that we could lose. We would keep the truck. It would be needed at the ranch. This would be the only down payment.

      Now that the war was over, real estate was booming. In a short time, Dad sold the house in Boise and we were on our way back to the ranch. And I am sure that we were all in favor of this move and would be glad to be on our way back to where we called home.

      As I write this story, I think of the many things that I could tell about. But it would take a lot of time and paper to put it all down. So if I happen to miss something that you think I should of mentioned, please forgive me.

As I Remember, Chapter 4

This entry is part 4 of 39 in the series Ted Bio


      And now, back to the ranch.

      Dad’s seventy five dollars a month was barely enough to keep us going. He and Feldman come up with a solution to this problem. They bought about ten head of milk cows. Cecil and I turned out to be the milk maids..

      The days were always long. Even in the winter time. We would get up long before daybreak. Mother would cook breakfast while us kids milked the cows and separated the milk from the cream. The skimmed milk, we would feed to the pigs.

      It was over a mile to the school house. We would bundle up with sweaters and overcoats, woolen socks and overshoes and take off. Those were the happy days, those school days and I was sorry to see them come to an end.

      When I was twelve years old, I graduated from the eighth grade. Which was as far as I went in school. Cecil and Afton were both going to High school in Emmett. I would be the next one, or should have been. But it didn’t turn out that way. The folks couldn’t afford to send another kid to high school… So they said, I was needed at home.

      I was always a great lover of music. I didn’t have a good singing voice, but there was nothing wrong with my ears. So one day, I come up with what I thought would be a solution to this problem. I told my folks, “If you can’t afford to send me to school, I could get myself a violin and take music lessons. That way I could stay here all the time.” Both Dad and Mother said that this sounded like a great idea. So, I forgot all about going to high school. But I didn’t have a violin and they cost money. Dad refused to put up any. But I was determined.

      All that winter, in my spare time, I trapped musk rats and mink. Also some badgers and a weasel or two. Along about Christmas time, I sold my pelts and bought me a good violin. I inquired around and found a guy that would give me lessons. One lesson a week, and the cost would be five dollars a month. Once again Dad balked. “Five bucks was a lot of money.” he said. Then he added, “If you have any talent, you will learn to play the darn thing yourself. After all the first guy that learned to play one didn’t have any lessons.”

      I tried. I guess the racket I made was hard on everyone. One day Dad told me, “If you are going to practice on that damn thing, get the hell out of here. Go at least a half mile up the road.” Then as an afterthought he added, “And make it a mile if the wind is blowing toward the house!” Shortly after that, as you kids know, I really learned to play. Anyhow, I never got to go to high school.    

      I was determined that I was going to make something of myself. As the years passed, I tried a lot of things. I even studied to be a magician. Took a full correspondence course. Although I never made a career of this, I have no regrets. I have entertained many people with my magic. Making coins disappear in front of their eyes. Many different card tricks and last but not

least, how to operate the old shell game. I still have a trio that I bring out once in a while.    

      I was always sort of a scrawny kid. Not very husky. A lot of kids my age could take me down and sit on me. Then, I took up boxing. I bought a book on How To Box. Written by Terry McGovern, former middle weight champion. This guy was a terrific boxer. Also he knew how to put it into words.     

      We always had a couple of punching bags hung up in the trees around the house. Also a set of boxing gloves. Kids for miles around would come up to our big, shady lawn and put on the gloves. Cecil and his pals did a lot of training. One time, at a dance in Letha, Cecil boxed Floyd Hunter and knocked him cold. Brother Cecil was considered one of the best in the neighborhood. And he sure could and did , knock me around. But I was a determined young man. I kept reading the book and learning all the right moves.

      Also, I learned something else. I become a box maker. I learned this trade from a fellow by the name of Frank Noise. For years, he had been making all our boxes. It was fascinating to watch the guy. Everything in those days were put in boxes or crates and all of them had to be nailed together by hand.

      Each year the trees on the ranch were getting bigger, bearing more fruit. Also new ones were coming into bearing each year. Whenever I got a chance, like at lunch while Frank was eating, I would go to his bench and practice. Also in the evenings after he had gone home. It was a tricky business and hard to learn. I could write pages on the subject but I won’t. But I kept at it. When I was fifteen years old, I could make a prune suitcase, we called them, in forty seconds flat. I would drive those twenty five penny cement coated nails with my eyes closed.

      When I was fifteen, I made part of the boxes for the ranch. From then on until I left there, I made them all. I think my biggest year was in 1928. That year we shipped over fifty car loads of prunes and twenty car loads of peaches. And each car, (box car) railroad cars, each holding over twelve hundred crates. Now that was one hell of a lot boxes. And I was paid one cent each for making them. Of course it took me all summer long, but when fall finally come, I had them all made and ready to go. For my summers work, I think that I was the highest paid worker in the valley year.

As I Remember, Chapter 5

This entry is part 5 of 39 in the series Ted Bio


      Everything wasn’t always a bed of roses for me. It seemed like I was always getting sick. Bringing home something to the rest of the family. Like in Boise, when I had come down with the measles. Yes, there were other times, and I will tell about a few.

      I was just fifteen when I bought my first car. A 1923 Baby Overland Roadster. THE PUDDLE JUMPER, I called it. About that time, I started courting some of the young girls. I always had plenty of money to spend, also a good car to drive. I guess I was quite popular. Every year in Emmett, during the peak of the harvest, they have what is known as THE CHERRY FESTIVAL. Emmett is known for it’s cherries. Also it’s beautiful girls. Every year the cream of the crop runs for ‘Miss Cherry Queen.’ One of the girls, her name I will not mention, was running for this honored title. She was very popular and later became the winner. She had been going with one of the high school Seniors. He was a star football player and very popular. Something happened to break them up and I moved in. Then come the night of the crowning of the queen. I was very proud to be her escort. Her former boyfriend was also a good friend of mine. Also, I will not mention his name. Anyhow, after the crowning was a big dance. One that I will never forget.

      I had just got through dancing with the pretty, little Queen. Someone else had just taken her away and I was just standing there watching. Then, someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was the Queen’s ex-boyfriend. He stood there staring at me. “Hi.” I said, “How are you tonight?” The trace of a grin passed over his face. “Alright, I guess.” Then he walked over close to me and put his arm on my shoulder. “Ted.” he whispered. “You and I have been friends for a long time, right?” I nodded. I wondered what was coming next. He motioned toward the girl with the crown on her head. “We went together for quite awhile. I guess you know that.” I nodded. “And Ted, there is something you should know.” I was all ears. But I sure wasn’t ready for what was coming next. “And what is that?” His voice was low. “The whole damn family.” he whispered. “Has the seven year itch!” I was speechless, to say the least. I couldn’t say a word. But I couldn’t help but notice as he walked away, he reached down with his right hand and scratched where the legs come together. It was my last date with this little chick. A few days later, I was scratching all over. In about a weeks time, everyone in the family was scratching. It took gallons of sulfur and lard before we were cured.

      I guess I caught everything that come along. In those days small pox was a very dreaded disease. And of course, I was the one to get it and bring it home to the rest of the family. At first I had terrible head aches and a high fever. For several days I almost died. Then one morning, Mother come into my bedside to take a look. One was enough. She let out a scream and ran for Dad. I guess I must of been a terrible looking sight. I was broke out in big blisters from head to toe. Mother and Dad rounded up the rest of the family and headed for Emmett. There, all of them were vaccinated.

      I made it through this ordeal alright but I still bear many scars. And there were more. The chicken pox, mumps, I had them all. But there is one more that I would like to tell about. As I recall, it was in the fall of 1926. I was sixteen. After the fruit harvest, I began to feel lousy. Every afternoon, I got a headache. I lost my appetite. I was sick to my stomach. I didn’t feel like doing anything. I just laid around the bunk house. Finally one day Dad come in and looked me over. “Get up.” he said. “I am going to take you in to the doctor.” Old Doc Reynolds was the family doctor.” That afternoon, Dad took me up to his office, which was in the old Russell hotel. He was a rough, plain spoken guy. But I guess he was a pretty fair doctor. Dad told him. “Something is the matter with this kid. Can’t get any work out of him at all.” The Doc stared at me for a minute, then grunted. “Disrobe.” “What?” I didn’t understand. “Take off your clothes.” he said roughly. “And lie down there on that couch!” There was just the three of us there. I guess he didn’t have a nurse. I took off my clothes and hung them over a chair and laid down. He got out his stethoscope and listened to my heart. He thumped on my ribs and my stomach. Then he took my temperature. I didn’t like the way he kept shaking his head. I was scared. Then he said. “Get up.” I stood up and just stood there, waiting. He walked over to the cupboard and pulled out a small bottle about the size of a salt shaker and handed it to me. He then pointed to a door and said. “Go in there and bring me back a specimen.” “What?” I didn’t understand what he meant. I just stood there. Then Dad spoke up. “Do as he says!” I was sick and nervous. I walked over to the door, opened it and stepped inside. I was in a toilet. I still didn’t know what the Doc wanted me to do. But, I thought. “Being as how I am in here, I might just as well take a leak.” I did, then stepped back into the room. The empty bottle still in my hand. The Doc stared at it for a moment, then snarled. “Where is my specimen?” I looked down at the thing in my hand. “I don’t know what you want me to do.” The Doc didn’t hesitate. “Piss in it!” he shouted. Dad guffawed. I felt mighty embarrassed. But thank God I still had enough left for a sample. Soon we were out of there.

      A couple of days later, the telephone rang. It was the Doc. Both Mother and Dad talked to him. When they were finished, I got the verdict. I had typhoid fever. There were a couple of different types the doc explained. And the one that I had was the bad one. The killer. Under doctor’s orders, I was immediately put to bed. And until my fever broke, if it ever did, I could eat nothing but liquids. For over a month, I lie there in bed. Every afternoon, my fever would rise well up above the one hundred mark. Each day, I grew weaker. I could hardly turn over in bed. But my mind was busy. All kinds of animals come to visit and entertain me. Giant spiders were crawling all over. The doc come by a couple of times and looked me over. He would always warn mother. “What ever you do, don’t feed him anything solid. His stomach is practically eaten up by the bug. It would kill him for sure.”

      Every day, Mother would give me a sponge bath, brush my teeth and comb my hair. And speaking of hair. And speaking of hair, mine was coming out every day by the handful. Soon I would be as bald as a doorknob. I thought. Then one morning I woke up. For the first time since I had got sick, I had enjoyed a good night’s sleep. No animals and no spiders. My fever had broken. My head was as clear as a bell. But I was a long ways from being well. It would take months for my stomach to heal. It took a couple of weeks for me to learn to walk again. I was little more that a skeleton. My body was shrunken and withered. But every day I got a little stronger. A couple of weeks passed and I could get around by myself. Then along came Thanksgiving. As usual, we went to visit Grandpa and Grandma Dewey in Emmett. I will never forget that day. I was still on a soft diet. But my appetite had sure returned. I stood there drooling, as I watched Grandmother and Mother set the table. It had been months since I had sunk my teeth into anything harder than a bowl full of Jell-O. Mother walked over and put an arm around my shoulders. “Are you hungry, dear?” she asked. I nodded. “Starved is the word.” I answered. Mother walked over to the phone and called Doc. Reynolds. “Is it alright if Ted eats a regular dinner today?” she asked. And Doc’s answer? “Sure, sure, give him all he wants. If you want to kill him!”

As I Remember, Chapter 6

This entry is part 6 of 39 in the series Ted Bio


      I could write for hours, about those days on the farm. But I won’t. There is just a few more things that comes to my mind, then I will move on. Brother Cecil didn’t hang around too long. He took off with the Pittman boys and headed for Seattle. Later, he would return and marry his sweetheart, Minnie Bork.

Everett Harvey, from Kaysville, Utah come to town. He was a brother to Dee Harvey. Who had married Dad’s sister, Aunt Ree. He had just returned from a Mormon mission, down in the Southern States. He was a walking bible and a fast talker. Oh yes, he had come in on a stolen motorcycle. But he could hold everyone breathless in church. All the old women set their daughters on him. Thinking that he would be a great catch. One of them was my mother. Yes, he was the dirty skunk that married my sweet sister, Afton. He didn’t have a job and no place to take her.

      At the Doc Darrah ranch, the big new house was empty. Doc, a wealthy guy, had got tired of ranch life and moved to the city of Boise. Through Dad, who was a friend of the Doc, they leased this ranch. Everett and Afton moved in. There was one room in the big house that was locked up tight. Everett was to stay out of there. It was Doc’s private wine cellar. A little thing like a lock, didn’t bother this guy. Before the sun went down, he was inside that forbidden room. How do I know? I was there with him. I had helped him and Afton move in.

      There was lots of equipment on the place. Including horses and harnesses. All this guy had to do was get busy and raise a crop. He made and attempt to plow some the land. When he would start out in the morning, a jug of the Doc’s wine was hanging on the harness of one of the horses. He didn’t get much plowing done. In fact, he was there for a year and raised exactly nothing. Maybe I shouldn’t say that. Afton was pregnant and would soon bear his child.

      I made boxes all that summer. I averaged about ten dollars a day. That doesn’t sound like much now but considering that the going was twenty to twenty five cents an hour, it wasn’t too bad. I was only sixteen years old, and making as much as four or five grown men.

      Harvey always managed to get himself and Afton to church on Sunday. Usually, he would preach a sermon. He was good at that. I don’t think he ever took Afton to a doctor for an examination. When the labor pains started, he called the folks and an old doctor out of New Plymouth. Afton and I were always very close. I also went down and waited. The doctor was there for several hours. A baby girl was born and she was alright. But Afton was in bad trouble. The old doc didn’t seem to know what to do. Dad got on the telephone and called one in Boise and told him to come over. Mother called the Bishop and he sent over a couple of the Elders. I was by her bedside when they gave her a blessing. I heard them say. “And you will live to raise many sons and daughters.” I crawled up in the big hay loft back of the house and cried and prayed. I stayed there for three days. No one knew where I had gone. Then Afton died. I come out of hiding and cleaned up for the funeral. Which was a big one. Everyone loved that girl. I was a very disillusioned young man. I began to wonder about a lot of things that I had taken for granted. But I guess that is just a part of growing up. Mother took baby Afton home with her. She raised her just like she was her own child. Afton hadn’t been buried a week, when Harvey was chasing the wild widows of the community. He was having a ball. It wasn’t long until he was married again. I think he was the most worthless guy I have ever known.

As I Remember, Chapter 7

This entry is part 7 of 39 in the series Ted Bio


      Although I never went to school after I was twelve years old, I did learn a few things. There was an old, retired barber that worked on the ranch. His name was Walt Woodvine. Every Saturday afternoon, he would cut all our hair. This fascinated me. I watched him closely. I had just begun to shave. I had bought a new razor and strap, also a hone. I learned to keep my razor sharp. Then one day, Woodvine went away and didn’t come back. All our hair began to grow long and shaggy. I decided to do something about it. I bought a full set of barber tools. I was ready. I think it was Dell that I tackled first. And as amazing as it may seem, I did a pretty fair job. From then on, it was a cinch. I not only cut all the family’s hair, but many of the neighbor’s. I never went into this as a profession, but always have and still do have a set of barber tools and now and then cut someone’s hair.

      But I also learned another trade. And in later years, this one really did me a lot of good.. Cars and gasoline engines of any kind fascinated me. There were very few good mechanics in those days. The average person didn’t even know what made a car run. I will give you this illustration. For instance, let’s take a model T Ford. Most everyone owned one of them. The lever on the right of the steering wheel was there to regulate the amount of gas that the carburetor let into the engine. The farther it was pulled down, the more gas. The lever on the left regulated the timing. When pushed to the top, the spark was retarded. Firing after the piston had passed over dead center. When the lever was pulled down, this would advance the timing, giving the engine more power. The average didn’t understand this at all. He thought that pulling the lever down, gave the engine MORE spark. And the more spark you gave the thing, the harder it would kick when you cranked it.

      My Baby Overland, The Puddle Jumper, I called it. I took this apart from one end to the other many times. By doing this, I learned exactly what made a car run. And what to do in case it didn’t. After I had it a couple of years, I traded it off and got me a 1923 Star Coupe. This was quite a classy little car. And there were many improvements. As time passed, I was getting to be quite a good mechanic. I did almost all the work for everyone on the ranch. I bought me a good set of tools to work with. Also many books on the gasoline engine.

      There was a big blacksmith shop at Letha. A German from the old country operated it. His name was Henry Bower. In my spare time, I hung around his shop. He taught me how to weld. Time passed quickly. All us kids were growing up. Brother Ray who was about two and half years younger than myself, was as big as me. Del, who was always sort of a runt, suddenly began to shoot straight up and didn’t quit until he was six foot two. Jennie was turning into a beautiful young lady, Brother Bob was trailing along behind.

      As much as I hate to, I guess I had better say a few words about brother Ray. Later, he would make a lot of changes in my life. As a kid, he was quite a problem child. For one thing, he had sticky fingers. He thought that everything he touched belonged to him. He had a mean streak. Every time Mother would attempt to punish him for something he had done, he would kick her on the shins and run. One day he had done something that Mother considered real bad. She took after him with a switch. To escape, he run down the stairs and into the cellar, which was under the house. He slammed the door and locked it from the inside. Mother’s patience had about come to an end. There was also a lock on the outside. She snapped it shut and I heard her say. “I guess two can play at this game.” She laid down her switch and walked away. I guess she left him in there for several hours. And I bet she never did that again. The place was a total wreck. Fruit jars were smashed. The whole thing was literally turned upside down. One of the worst things that he had done was to drain all the oil out the cream separator and pour in a quart of varnish, which was on a shelf. We thought we would never get it to run again. Mother used to say. “There is a devil in that boy!”

      I don’t think that Ray ever learned how to do anything with his hands. Work was a nasty word to that guy. But he was a good pretender. Almost every Sunday, Dad’s partner, Mr. Feldman, would come over from Boise. He would get to the ranch real early. An hour or so before Mother and us kids took off for church. I never could understand why, but Ray was doing everything he could to make a good impression on this rich Jew. Here was one of his favorite tricks; When he would spot Feldman’s big Mitchell coming down the road, he would grab a shovel and run out into the orchard. He would take off his shirt and dip the top part of it in the water. Then put it back on again and wait. When the opportunity was just right, he would splash some water on his face, then come marching in. Right past Mr. Feldman, of course, with the shovel on his shoulder. And how he loved those flattering remarks made by the Jew. Such as: “Now there is a boy.”

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.

As I Remember, Chapter 9

This entry is part 9 of 39 in the series Ted Bio


We moved over to Caldwell, rented a nice little two room house and moved in. There was a service station in town that was for lease. The Texaco on the corner of Cleveland and Kimball. A guy by the name of Stewart Mackey was running the place. I bought the stock on hand, including the gas and oil and took over. There was a fellow by the name of Homer Brooks that worked for him. I would need one man, so I kept him on. I sold my truck and bought a cheap car, an old Star coupe. As the winter of thirty one approached, times really got tough. Every day business was dropping off. The only ones that stopped in for gas, didn’t have any money.

Homer Brooks knew a lot of people in town. All his friends run up a big gas bill. I began running low on money. And, Helen was pregnant. But we were sure tickled pink when our first little girl was born. We named her Alberta, after Alberta Canada, Alberta Lorina Dewey. We thought she was the cutest, sweetest, prettiest, little thing that ever lived. But there was one thing the matter. She had day and night turned around. A regular nocturnal. All day long, she would sleep. But when night time come around, she was wide awake. Helen and I got very little sleep. We were getting worn to a frazzle. But didn’t know what to do. Then one morning, after we had all been awake all night, I told Helen. “Why don’t you take the day off and go shopping. I am not working today. I will stay here and baby-sit. But don’t come back until dark tonight.” There was a puzzled look on her face. “And just what do you think you are going to do?” I pointed at down at that sweet little thing in her crib. “I am going to get this little girl straightened out. She has day and night turned around.” “What are you going to do about it?” “Very simple. Just keep her awake all day!” I think that this was one of the most trying days of my life. But my mind was made up. U stayed right there. A few times I had to sprinkle a little cold water in her face, I paddled her little butt with a sheet of paper, I tickled her feet, but when nightfall come, we were both still awake. That night after Helen had nursed this little rascal, she fell sound asleep. And didn’t wake up until morning. And so, neither did I.

As I Remember, Chapter 10

This entry is part 10 of 39 in the series Ted Bio


      By spring, our money was all gone. Our President, Herbert Hoover kept telling us, “Prosperity is just around the corner.” But he didn’t say around which corner. Soup lines were established in most every big town in the United States. Crime, was on the up swing. Al Capone was running Chicago. Speak easies were springing up everywhere. Every day, jobs were getting harder to find. Service stations were going broke by the thousand. Even at twenty cents a gallon, it seemed too high. Lots of people that were working, were making less than ten cents an hour. I knew that I must do something. I started looking around.

      We took a trip back to Emmett Valley. I knew that I must find something to do. I was much better aquatinted over here. Maybe I could find something. There was an old couple that lived down below the enterprise ditch. Their name was Feaster. The Misses had just died and he was going to California. I rented the house, farm and all, eighty acres for the sum of ten dollars a month. I paid him a year in advance. We went back to Caldwell, locked up the service station and moved over. As I look back and recall that winter in Caldwell, I remember one great thing that happened. We had gained a beautiful daughter.

      Before we were married, Helen had lost the fingers of her right hand while working in a plywood factory. The insurance company had made a settlement. She would receive twenty dollars a month for the next twenty years. That is in Canadian dollars. We sure made good use of that money. I don’t know what we would of done without it. Even if that twenty was only worth thirteen in U.S. money.

      I did all kinds of odd jobs. Anything to make a buck. I was still a fast box maker. But disaster had struck this trade. No longer did the growers ship their fruit in boxes. Those thin bushel and half bushel baskets made of redwood took their place. No one would buy furs. Trapping come to a standstill. I knew that I must do something. There was another baby on the way and I wouldn’t see them starve.

      In those days, home brew was a favorite for those that liked to drink. There was the malt, the sugar and the yeast for sale in most every store. There was more beer drank in those days per. capita, than now. At least that is what the statistics say. Dad always had a batch brewing in the cellar. I guess he made a pretty fair brew and moonshine whiskey. There were bootleggers at every dance. Dad always liked to keep a gallon or so around. “Just in case of snake bite.” he would say.

      One of our neighbors, his name was Emmett Parks, made a lot of the stuff. One day when I was up to the ranch, Dad bought a gallon from him and hid it in the big grape vine just back of the house. Mother wouldn’t allow him to keep it in the home. Ray who was always snooping around, witnessed the transaction. (Later Ray bragged about it.) He had run in the house and got Mother. He had lifted out the jug and showed it to her. Then he had poured most of it out and filled it up with water out of the irrigation ditch. Naturally, Mother approved. Ray was now her fair haired boy. Always taking her to church, defending her against all evil, even his own father. He must have read somewhere, divide and conquer. He had got rid of me, Dad was next on his list.

      Feldman, Dad’s partner, also liked a little nip at the end of the day. At harvest time, when he was there, he always kept a bottle around. Then one day, Feldman come up with a new Son in Law. His name was Frank, Buddy Frank. As a dowry, the old Jew had sold him the loan office or pawn shop at a very low price and he had just taken over. I liked Buddy and we become friends. He liked to fish and hunt. Many times we went together. One day Buddy told me. “Ted, I got a problem.” “Anything I can do to help?” “I don’t know. But answer me this. Do you know how to make whiskey?” I shook my head. “Why do you ask?” He grinned. “As you probably know, us Jews stick together. We help each other whenever we can.” “So?” “There was one in Boise that for years supplied all the others with a good brand of whiskey. Sometimes it was moonshine and sometimes it was imported from Canada. This old boy died awhile back. Now, they are looking for another.” “And you could get the job if you could supply the stuff?” “Yes. But it would have to be good.” “How much of it are we talking about?” He pulled a notebook from his pocket. “Last year,” he said, “they bought over five hundred gallons. Got it form a guy over in Jordan Valley Oregon.” “And how much,” I asked him, “did they pay for it?” He looked down at the book in his hand. “The guy that made it,” he said, “got six bucks a gallon. and it was all in ten gallon, charred, white oak kegs. And it was ninety proof.” “Holy smoke! That is three thousand bucks!” “Any ideas?” he asked. I grinned at him. “Let me think about it. I will let you know.”