Thursday, October 1, 2009
Many of you responded about my Father so I thought you might like to get to know him a little better. Before modern-day refrigeration was discovered, ice was actually cut out of frozen rivers during the winter months, transported to ice houses where they were stored (surrounded by straw) underground. This ice was delivered by wagons to homes that were fortunate enough to have 'ice boxes'. My Father worked for Schull Hardware in Riverton, Iowa at the time (in the very late 1920's and early 1930's). This is one of their crews cutting the ice from the Missouri River (my Father is in the foreground). As I said before, his life was filled with disappointment and hard labor. Throughout it all he remained always able to smile.
The ice tongs he is using to lift the blocks of ice I still have. While they are old and rusted, I couldn't let them go. My youngest son, Chris, has them and will hand them down to his son, Benjamin.
After working for Schull's, my Father went to work as a heavy equipment operator for Fremont County, Iowa. He built culverts and roadways and over the years the engineers remarked that he could lay out a roadway without the assistance of the surveyors and they would be perfect. He was proud of his abilities. Remarkably, he worked this job for fifty-seven years, just imagine doing that today. In the winter months when he couldn't build roads he worked with his catapiller at the county quarry. There he would break out rock and shale for building road bases the next year. While working at the quarry he unearthed the remains of Mammoth Elephants and Sabre Tooth Tigers among other prehistoric relics. These remains were placed in museums in Nebraska and Iowa.
Above is the mainstreet of Riverton, Iowa. One of the vehicles from that era. If you look closely you will see that it is actually a school bus. My how things have changed. The top photos show my Father on his catapiller (laying out a road) and one of the county crews he worked on. He is standing a bit to the right of the center, I believe he is 7th from the left.
Well, that's enough for today. There's so much more to tell, but I'll save it for another time.