Saturday, January 30, 2016

In The Dark

What is it about the dark? I think in one form or another, we all are affected by it at some point in our lives. This is a little memory my dad has, around the time he was in either 1st or 2nd grade. He knows he was in school at the time, but it was before the family moved, which was his 3rd grade year. And definitely not kindergarten, since he didn't attend school until the 1st grade! ~~Lori 

 I'm a product of rural Northern California, during the time of the great depression. Times were tough. We didn't have electricity, and we didn't have running water. The water for the house was pumped into a bucket by a Douglas pump, which was a hand pump dropped down a well. It was my job at the end of the night to go out and get a bucket of water for the next morning. I didn't like that job, because there were monsters out there.

The door to the kitchen was on the west side of the house. The well where we got water was on the east side of the house. Meaning, the last thing at night, I would get the bucket, (4-5 gallons maybe) go outside, down the steps, around the house, pump a bucket full of water, bring it back, up the steps, and put it on the drain board. That was our water for the next morning. The imagination of a kid that age runs wild in the dark. And remember, there were no outside lights. We couldn't even afford a flashlight. If I was real lucky, it was a full moon, and that way I could see the monster as he sneaked up on me. (I seem to remember that my youngest daughter insisted there were alligators in the hallway between the kids bedroom and ours. I checked many times, but I never did find an alligator, and I looked very carefully!) So, imagination runs rampant, and will scare the living daylights out of you.

I was always uncomfortable in, say the dark of the moon outside. Yet in later years up at camp fire camp, we used to have a midnight, or late night walk up to an area, and if it was a full moon and we timed it just right, we would be on the trail and could stop to watch the moon come up over the mountain. That's one of the finest sights in nature. By then of course, I had kids of my own, ranging from 8-12 or so. It was alot of fun then, but it sure wasn't fun when I was the little guy and I had to go get the water. To this day, I don't like water buckets, and I am very slightly uncomfortable in the dark. Not scared, but watching just in case. Of course, now we have flashlights, and probably enough outdoor lighting to scare any creature.

And, a little history lesson:
The Douglas pump spoken of in this story was from the company W & B Douglas in Middletown, Connecticut. W & B Douglas was founded by the brothers William and Benjamin Douglas.
William Douglas started work in the foundry business with his brother John in New Haven, CT. In 1832 he moved to Middletown, CT., and with W.H. Guild formed the company of Guild & Douglas, making steam engines and other machinery. His first patent was issued in August 1835 for a pump. At that time, he was 23.

Benjamin Douglas was apprenticed to a machinist in Middletown in 1832. In 1839, he and his brother William formed the company of W & B Douglas.
From 1839 to 1842 they were a foundry and machine shop. In 1842 they invented a revolving stand pump. They manufactured pumps and hydraulic rams.
Tools made by W & B Douglas: Grinding stone frames and lathes, hand & power pumps, hydrants, hydraulic rams, well fixtures, and garden engines. During World War 1 they made a lathe for boring shells.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Cigar Episode

Ahh, our first written story! I'm excited! This one is from my dad, Herb Puckett. 

The Cigar Episode

My dad normally did not smoke cigars because he could not afford them. He was a Bull Durham man. But he stopped the Bull Durham when he found alfalfa and mouse pills in the tobacco sack. Bull Durham was a little cloth sack of tobacco with a drawstring on it with the cigarette papers to build a cigarette glued to one side. Everything was all neat and put away in one package. So anyway, he comes home with a cigar. I was well under school age. I don't know [exactly] how old I was. So I looked at that and told my dad I wanted one too. Well, of course, mom freaked, says, oh my god, don't you do that! Well, my dad says let's let him do it, he'll get sick, and it won't have an attraction anymore. That sounded like a peachy keen good idea. So he got one out and lit it up. I puffed away on it. They kept watching me, no sign of a green face or anything. About then, it was dinnertime. So we both laid our cigars down in something that sufficed as an ash tray. Had dinner, lit up again. So Dad said ok, this is going to do it, this will get him. We'll finish this off.
So it came to pass that like so many of man's best plans that often go astray, I finished that cigar. I did not get sick. I announced that that was a pretty good deal. I was told that if I was ever caught doing that on my own, I wouldn't be able to sit down for awhile. That's all I remember about the cigar. Though at school, in later years, a couple of the guys used to call me Smokey Stover. It was a cartoon guy running around on a single wheeled device that went to the fires. So I was Smokey Stover for awhile. And so ends the episode of the cigar.

A little history lesson:
*At this time during The Depression, Bull Durham sold for 5 cents.
*Smokey Stover was the brain child of cartoonist William (Bill) Holman. (1903-1987) He wrote about Smokey's escapades along with his boss, Chief Cash U Nutt in over 150 leading newspapers.