Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wyoming Country Roads -- Circa 1930's

On one of our “short trips” we drove north to Wellington. We have passed the Cemetery there many times over the years but had never turned in. Because cemeteries are one of our favorite places we decided to do just that. It was the usual cemetery tour, seeing how the folks in this area remember their loved ones.

At any rate, as we left the cemetery I took the road that went behind the cemetery and through a farm yard. John said, “You had better turn around and go back.” I said, “Oh no, it will lead us out of here, it has to, these folks have to get to town don’t they?” These were my famous last words for the day as the road turned more primitive the further we drove. Finally I admitted defeat as there was only deep ruts and it had rained and it was muddy. Ok, I like to practice my backing up skills once in awhile, so back we went until we could finally turn around and go forward. At the spot I decided to call it quits I said, “This must look like the old country roads in Cowley and Lovell.” This prompted a story ----- and that is what I want to share. This is John’s story for the day:

“In the late 1930’s Uncle Bruce returned to Lovell from the school for the deaf. He was fortunate to be able to go there and learn a trade and how to communicate, and he was home for a break and to see his folks and family. Because we lived in Lovell, our house is where family came when they got off the train or bus. There was no service to Cowley and usually they could find a ride from Lovell to get home to the Eyre farm.

As usual, Mom was glad to see her younger brother and gave him a big hug when he appeared at the door. Jim and I were excited to have company, especially an older and special uncle. Mom assured Bruce that Dad would be glad to take him home after supper. We spent the afternoon waiting for Dad to get home from work.

When Dad did get home he wasn’t in a very good mood and finding Bruce there just about tipped the scales into the danger zone. He ranted and raved as Mom tried to calm him down and finally he admitted that there was no other option but to take Bruce out to the farm.

It’s hard to tell how Bruce felt about this, but we were used to it. We knew Mom would prevail and calm the storm. We just saw the opportunity for a ride in the country. Kids can usually see the silver lining in things.

Finally, after supper, we started out in Dad’s 1930 Ford Model A. Jim, Bruce and I sat in the rumble seat and Mom sat up front with dad. We were actually glad we could be in the back and away from the “@/#!!%$@!!” language we knew was going on up front. Mom sat patiently in the passenger seat and listened to this all the way out to the farm. She was an expert at it by now. By the time the old Model A cackled up the primitive road and across the creaky old bridge Dad had simmered down. Grandma and Grandpa were so glad to see their son, and we had a good visit with them.

The ride home was a lot more peaceful than the ride out there.

Dad finally traded the Model A for a 1934 Chevy. That was bigger and we could all sit inside together. It could go 60 miles per hour and I couldn’t get over watching the telephone poles whiz by as we went out to the farm. I had never gone so fast in my life!

On one trip, when brother Bob was just a baby, we all went to Yellowstone Park with Mom’s sister Lois and her husband, Lawrence Cozzens. The car was packed with kids, grownups, and a baby that wasn’t the least bit happy. I think Bob cried continuously from Lovell to Yellowstone. The men were neither one the patient type and grumbled, “Can’t you keep that baby quiet?” Mom and Lois tried everything to quiet him but nothing worked.

When we finally got to Fishing Bridge, Dad and Lawrence decide that was just for tourists, so they decided rent a row boat and go out on the lake and fish. I remember it was 75¢ an hour to rent the boat, and unfortunately, I was ordered to go along. I was absolutely terrified as the two men were not the best sailors and the boat wasn’t that secure and the lake was very deep. They also rowed the boat under the Fishing Bridge, which meant I had to duck lures and hooks and fishing line as we passed under it.

Finally we it made out further into the lake and they caught a couple of fish and were satisfied. At long last the harrowing trip was over as we landed back at the shore.

That 1930 Ford Model A and 1934 Chevy saw many fun and some not so fun times.”

But getting back to the roads --- yes that road outside of Wellington sure brought back memories. It’s amazing to me how just a mile off the Interstate you can be in a completely different world. I still don’t know how those folks get to town from that farm – unless they go through the cemetery or drive their tractor to town.

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