Thursday, July 14, 2016

Transportation - EV Melotte

Gotta thank Clark for the vid - that was one that we watched also and was awesome.  Oddly I was like that with Santana.  We went to a concert to see Rusted Root who was opening for Santana and they were GREAT - then Santana came on the stage and while I had always appreciated Santana's music they were not really on my radar . . . . . UNTIL I saw them live.

WOW - for 2 hours we never sat down.  Any band with 4 percussionists has my attention.  DJ was like that with Pink Floyd.  I had seen them six times but when we met (21 years ago) she was really only familiar with their radio hits like "Money".  Then she saw them in concert and an entire new world opened up to her.

Live music ROCKS!!


REAL heat is coming. Not this weekend but late next week with highs in the middle 90s and dew points near 70. Make plans. And if you are going north for camping make sure roads are . . . THERE.  a lot of wash outs and one guy has to take a 120 mile detour to get to work every day.  a LOT of roads are just gone.

Some reports from a few days ago from CoCoRahas

Ashland 5.01 inches of rain
Mellen 6.24 inches
Barnes 7.55 inches
Grantsburg 4.41inches

We (meaning DJ) have started to condense all of moms writings into a digital format.  We have a good amount of stories that are type written but we need to get them into digital (somehow).  

Anyway a few of the handwritten things are coming into focus and since I really have nothing to say at the moment here is one things she wrote about Transportation in the 1930s.  it's not the most riveting but a Snapshot of what it was like so long ago.  She has a LOT of writings we are digging through . . A LOT  and the plan is to make another book in the "Snapshot series". Not sure this will make the cut but . . . .   



The first car I remember was old, square and dull black.  I don’t know if it was painted flat black or had become that way through neglect.  I’m said to have a good imagination but I can’t imagine Pa ever washing or polishing a car.  Appearance was of no importance to him.  Function was all he asked.

My eldest half-brother Don once told me that when the tires on that car became so thin that they punctured on every sharp pebble, Pa had covered them with even older tires to protect them, and kept on driving.  I don’t know how he managed that, but it sounds like something Pa would do.

I must have ridden in that car.  We must at least have gone to the school Christmas programs in it, but I have no available memories of it.

My Aunt Ruth once drove up from Palmyra to visit us.  I was flabbergasted.  It had never entered my mind that women could drive cars.  I wouldn’t have been more astounded if the neighbor’s collie dog had come driving up to the house.

Then for a while there was no car.  Don and Gilbert were gone by then.  My father walked or hitchhiked.  My mother stayed at home.  If we needed groceries, or something heavy or awkward from town, or if Pa was taking me to the dentist, we would catch a ride to Medford in the milk truck.  He’d take me to the dentist, and then deliver me to the public library to wallow in the wealth of books until he found us a ride home.

We had a car again to move to Holway.  I have no memory of that one at all.  I can’t even picture it parked in the clearing.  My brother Wayne tells me he was so ashamed of it if he absolutely had to ride in it he scrunched way down in the back seat so nobody would see him.  

On the other hand, I remember the Amish horses and buggies and sleds very well.  I never had a ride in a buggy, but they all looked spotlessly clean and brand new, even though most of them had been passed down through many generations.  Their wheels sang and the horses clip-clopped and the harnesses jingled, and all the Amish horses looked well groomed and well fed and self-satisfied.

I rode in the sleds often, to and from school in bad winter weather.  They were rectangular wooded boxes, probably about eight feet long, five feet wide, and five feet high.  There was a single step at the back and a door with a small glass window.  Inside, a straight kitchen chair held the driver.  He had a small glass window; below it were two round holes for the reins to pass through.  There were narrow benches on each long side, and another small window above each bench.  In the middle there was a merrily crackling little wood stove, not more than eight inches in diameter, and a three-inch wide stovepipe went straight up through the roof.  It was the neatest, coziest little room imaginable, and I always felt that if I could just have one of them to live in all by myself, I would be completely happy.

The Holway car took us to Iowa a year later, pulling a homemade trailer covered with a tarp to protect all of our worldly possessions.  It also covered Wayne who refused to be seen by anybody while he was associated with such a makeshift outfit.

I think the car just barely made it.  We seemed to stop at every service station on the way so Pa could raise the hood and tinker with the engine.  I don’t know what was wrong with it.  I had a more urgent problem of my own.  I had never heard of a “bashful bladder syndrome.”  I assumed that I was the only person on earth who absolutely could not “let loose” in a restroom when I could clearly hear every word, every sniff, every move, almost every breath of the men just inches away on the other side of the paper-thin walls.

If I had told my parents I know Pa would have stopped in some wooded area while I went off into the trees, but I was much to inhibited to say anything.  It was a might uncomfortable trip.

After we got to Iowa Pa bought a different car.  Of that one, I can tell you it was dark green with black trim, it was shiny, and had some gleaming chrome on it somewhere, and it wasn’t a Ford or Chevy.  It was by no means new, but I don’t remember Pa ever having to tinker with it.

Two years later that car took us, just three of us then, to Whitewater.  We were pulling the same homemade trailer.  Once, when we were going down a steep hill, entirely too fast, I suspect, we were startled to be passed on the right by a speeding wheel which whizzed along the gravel shoulder, bounced into the ditch and disappeared into the woods.  Pa took the name of the Lord in vain and yelled “Watch where it goes!”  I knew where it had gone in, but it traveled a long way after that and it took us a long time to find it.  It took longer still to get it back on the trailer.  And it took much longer to reach Whitewater because we didn’t dare go over about twenty miles per hour after that.

After Pa left us, taking the car, getting from anywhere to anywhere else was a matter of walking.  Motor vehicles just sort of disappeared from my personal life for the duration of the war.  It didn’t bother me much.  Cars had never been an important part of my life and I enjoyed walking.

My girlfriend and I used to dream and plan that someday we would walk across America.  Like most teenage dreams that came to nothing, but I still think it would have been a great adventure.

I’m afraid I’ve never had the really proper American attitude about cars.  


I have an art fair this Saturday in Lake Mills - just sayin.  This photo is an Antillean Crested Hummingbird that I took on St. John USVI


One last thing - Elwood and I will be at the water tower wall Sunday after noon so don't call the cops.  I swear every time we are there someone as called them about two ne'er do wells doing something sketchy on the wall.   YEA - like taking garbage out of the crevices - actually we have found very very little garbage and weeds are not a huge problem IN the wall - only on top and below.

The plan is to fill the wall with sedium and then once it's filled add veins of color in the next few years.  We're like doing the basement and then once it's filled add the nuances!


  1. Wow! That's all I can say. Your mother was a beautiful writer and she could spell. You lucky to have her work.

  2. I agree with knowitall. Your mom wrote with charm. It's easy to imagine someone holding forth with these words, as if she wrote how she spoke. Was she a storyteller too, or did she prefer to write it all down?

  3. More from your mother, dude. She has a gift.