Chapter 7

The Browning Place

compiled by Larry REA

(Ed) After Omar (REA) made that trip back East to St. Louis he and I decided to go over to Idaho and work in the harvest fields. So we caught a train and went over there. That was my first trip riding the rails. I caught the train over there two or three times after that to go work in the harvest.

The railroad was hauling rock to build the south jetty. The train would come back with its flatcars empty. I would catch it and ride to Portland, then I would catch a freight headed for Boise. I would get off in Nampa, that was closer to where I wanted to go.

One time I was trying to catch a train in The Dalles. I was headed for Portland. The train was going too fast and when I grabbed the step of the ladder on the side of the boxcar, it just jerked out of my hands. I hit the street, just sliding up the street. The box on the end of the axle shaft evidently hit me on my boot and punched a hole through the boot. I vowed never to ride the train again. I walked from the Dalles to Hood River. That was enough of that, I couldn’t hitch a ride so I caught a freight train out of Hood River.

I was riding the freights one time, we stopped at Weiser, Idaho. We were riding on a flat car loaded with poles. A kid was sitting on the end of the poles, up on top. He was nice and warm sitting in the sun. He fell asleep and fell off the train. Plowed a big gash in his forehead.

Omar and Milford (KELLAR) caught the freight train going to Idaho once. They were going to work in the harvest. Somewhere in Idaho they got off the train. They found a haystack and crawled in to get some sleep. Milford woke up during the night walking down the road. He was walking in his sleep and didn’t have any idea where in the world he was. That shook him up a little.

He turned around and walked back the way he was coming from. He finally came to a haystack so he crawled in. Luckily it was the same haystack he and Omar had crawled into earlier.

(Lex) One time Ed had been out on the bum, riding the freight trains, and he came into Ernie’s place in Portland. When you ride freight trains you end up pretty near black from the soot, back in the steam locomotive days. Ed hadn’t slept for a couple of days so he took a bath and went to bed. He slept all night and they couldn’t get him awake the next morning. Ernie had an old stem winder telephone magneto so he put a wire around one of Ed’s toes and gave it a crank. That got Ed up !

(Ed) When (Uncle) Carl (MYSINGER) and Olive (COLLINGE) first started going together he brought her down to the Wilder Place. Mom was churning butter and Olive was fascinated by that. She didn’t know that’s how butter was made. We enjoyed playing tricks on her. She was one of those people who would believe anything she was told.

Carl worked for Portland Electric when he and Olive got married (They were married 6 June 1931). Olive still lives in Portland. Her maiden name was COLLINGE. They were from England originally.

(Myrtle) Olive had red hair. Her son Bob had red hair and was a big, broad shouldered kid, a very intelligent person.

(Lex) Olive COLLINGE, she had English parents and she was an only child. She would believe anything she was told. Omar was living over by Sheridan, he bought a piece of ground and he built a little house. He dug a well by hand. Then he built a woodshed over the top of the well.

Carl and Olive came out to visit, she said, ” I thought you said you had a well. ” Omar said, ” I did, but I moved it into the shed for the winter.” She believed it !

(Lee) She was a city girl, she lived in Portland all her life. We forget that we grew up on the farm.

(Ed) When we lived on the Wilder place I used to walk to Rainier to see a show. That’s six miles down and twelve miles back.

(Ed) People did things differently in those days. We didn’t think much about walking when we had to go somewhere. Orville got a bicycle and Ernie lived in Oregon City. Orville rode to Oregon City to visit Ernie. Ernie brought him home. That was about 65 miles one way. Orville did that in one day.

(Ed) When we lived at the Wilder place Omar and I were going out hunting in back of the Bennet place. I had an old rifle I got some place and Omar had a rifle called the “Urfort”. He and I traded rifles, he told me to be careful of the safety on that thing because when you took it off safety the gun goes off. I said, ” You mean like this ? ” and I took the safety off. Bang she went! I shot a hole in the ground right at Omar’s feet. I was 16 or 17 then.

(Ed) Omar and I started for town one day in the Model T Ford. We started up the Dwyer Hill and a grouse flew up from the road. Omar reached out to grab the grouse and the wind smacked his arm back against the side of the car. He didn’t realize the wind would blow his arm back like that.[Wilder place]

Ed: I was working in the apples at the Star Orchards. We finished up so I decided to go over to Drybuck and visit my uncle, Joe [Marshall Josiah] Mysinger. Joe was working in the mill up there.

My cousin Clyde [Bowers] took me down to Nampa to catch the train. The train went up the Payette River by Horseshoe Bend, then I had a seven mile walk up over the hill to Drybuck. I missed the train at Nampa, it was already gone, so I started to walk from Nampa to Montour to Sweet and on up to Drybuck. It was fifty or sixty miles, it took me two days. When I got hungry I would stop at a farm house and do some work for a meal. I spent the night in a haystack and the next morning started on toward Drybuck. I looked back and saw a wagon coming, I thought, Oh boy, I’ll get to ride. I must have walked ten miles before the wagon caught up with me.

When I got to Drybuck they had six feet of snow on the ground.

I ran out of smoking tobacco so I walked to Banks, nine miles down and nine miles back. They wouldn’t sell me any tobacco because I wasn’t old enough. When I got back to Drybuck Uncle Joe said, “What’s the matter with you, Ed ?” I said, “I’m out of smokes.” He went to his store room and came out with a whole carton of Prince Albert and tossed it to me. He worked a little sawmill there and he kept a stock of provisions in the store room.

(Ed) At Drybuck Uncle Joe took a fifty gallon drum and rigged it with heat coils connected to the kitchen stove, a wood stove, so we had hot water. We boys filled that drum with water every morning. We had a couple buckets for drinking water. Then we went out to the woodyard. They had dragged in logs during the Fall, dry stuff, so we would saw off two or three blocks of wood, whatever it would take to fill up the place on the porch where they put wood. Those were our chores for every day, pack water and fill up the wood box. We had the rest of the day to do whatever we wanted to do. Of course we put together a lot of jigsaw puzzles and read a lot of books. We played cards.

Joe had a root house to store food but it wasn’t insulated. It was dug into the bank and they figured on getting a heavy snow before the freeze came. They depended on the snow to provide insulation.

One year it froze before it snowed so they put smudge pots in the root house to keep the food from freezing. Anything you wanted to eat, like apples or potatoes, you had to bring it in and wash it before it was fit to eat. We had to wash all the food before we ate it, it was black with smoke.

They picked beans and put them in gunny sacks. They hung them in the rafters to dry. Then in bad weather we would sit around the stove and shell beans. We opened the door of the stove, we shelled the beans and threw the shells in the fire. I think we had beans on the table for every meal.

(Myrtle) It was Joe that was on the trapline over in Idaho. He carried a pistol in a shoulder holster and when he stooped over it fell out and fired. The bullet hit a rib or it might have killed him.

(Ed) He caught a magpie in one of his traps and when he bent over to release the magpie the pistol fell out of the holster. It hit a rock and fired. If the bullet had been a little higher or lower so it would have gone through the ribs, he would have been a dead man. That’s one of the cases where you shouldn’t have a loaded cartridge under the firing pin.

Joe worked in the little mill at Drybuck. He worked on the chain in those little mills around there. I don’t remember when they came to Rainier. Dad was working in the mill in West Rainier and staying in a float house there by the mill. They moved in with him for a while. Then your Mom and I moved to Longview and they lived out here (Fern Hill) for a while. (1939 ?)

(Lee) Uncle Joe used to say they would eat rotten apples all winter. They put in a lot of apples and as they started to spoil they picked out the ones with spots on them to eat first, so they spent all winter eating rotten apples !

(Ed) When I was a kid at home, if we worked out, getting paid for it, then we paid board. If we didn’t have a job, we had a place to stay, we stayed home and it didn’t cost us anything but we did chores.

(Orville) Right, I wasn’t working so you know who did chores.

Dad and Mom moved a lot after that.

(Larry) So there were lots of chores ?

(Orville) Yeah, wood stove cooking, pack water, work in the garden. We cleared a lot of land.

(Ed) The whole family went to Ontario (OR), the Owyhee Country and worked in the harvest one summer.

When we were in Ontario, Doris walked in her sleep. She went up the street and fell into an irrigation ditch. That woke her up.

(Ed) I bought the Durant at Emmett, Idaho. We were at Ontario, Oregon working in the hay and the harvest. Buck and I went over to Emmett and I found the Durant and bought it. He and I took it up into the hills. We were in second gear and I couldn’t get it to shift. Buck reached over and got a hold of the gear shift and it shifted. We found out if you pushed the gear shift clear over it shifted easy, otherwise it was locked in gear. We were told it was made that way for hills. You could put it in second and drive for miles.

I brought it back to Rainier. It was a touring car and I cut the back end off of it and made it into a pickup. Omar decided he could make a lot of money out at Canaan’s cutting wood so he used it to haul wood. He left it sit by the road near the Lentz place. I finally went over and got it and brought it here. (Fernhill)

When we came back from Ontario Buck and I went to Hood River (OR) to pick apples.

(Ed) Bucko (Guy Rea) and I went to Parkdale to pick apples. Bucko said he could do anything I could do. I would go out and pick a hundred boxes of apples and go back to camp. Buck would pick fifty boxes and go back to camp. He wasn’t a very good apple picker.

We finished that job and we came back to Rainier. We were living on the Wilder place then.

We went to Portland to buy clothes. We had about thirty dollars to spend. We saw a sign that said San Francisco – four dollars. So we bought tickets and caught the bus to Frisco.

Riding freights in California—— See chapter.

(Ed) We came back to Rainier. We weren’t here very long and Bucko went back to Parkdale to see Effie. He went to work in the woods up there.

(Ed) I stayed home that winter. Then I went to work at Bradwood.

see chapter on logging——-

(Larry) That was Ed’s first real job, Bradwood.

(Orville) Yeah, he used to go down and stay in the camp. They made their lunches, they had beef sandwiches, all that good stuff we didn’t have at home, that just made my mouth water.

(Ed) Bucko had been up at Parkdale about a year. One evening he came driving in, he was carrying a little baby and he had Effie (PIERCE) with him. He handed Mom the baby and said, “Here’s your grandson, like it or not.” That was Mickey.

(Kenneth “Mickey” Arthur REA) born 6 Jun 1934

(Larry) What was Effie doing in Parkdale ?

(Ed) Her dad worked there. Effie and her sister, Tommy, were staying with him.

End of Chapter 7

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