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Farm use of the Personal Automobile

Below, Photo from Loren Book: In this late spring of 1948 scene, Don Book, who lived on the east side of section 15, is loading a pair of 30 dozen egg cases into the trunk of his reasonably new 1946 Ford coupe to be taken to town for actual trading for groceries. It was very common for farmers to, almost unbelievable now, walk out of the grocery store with more money than when they went in-- plus have the week's supply of groceries ready to put back in the car. Many a farmer and his wife have said they absolutely did not know how they would have survived if it weren't for the egg money. Many farmers had a laying hen flock of about 100 to 150 birds.

Left: Loyd Hughes `56, left, and Dennis Book `62N stand by the rear end of Loyd's famous or infamous `56 Chevy. Note the white "T" shirts and the "Levi"s with the cuffs stylishly rolled up which was the real "Vogue" of teenage dress. Picture taken at the Hughes garage looking east and most likely from the early summer of 1958.

Don believed in yard lights and had four, perhaps five, in place around his farm. I lived, at the time, the first place north of the Book family and, on more than one occasion had visitors after dark ask, "What town is that down there? I didn't know you lived so close to any town!" As I recall, he left them, at least two or three, on all night long.

Don was among the earliest to get a good new car after the War when they were at such a premium. When a new car was finally, at last, able to be purchased, everyone hopped in and one drove over to many neighbors and let others smell the newness and go for a ride in the fine new automobile. The 1946 Ford was a good car to obtain because it looked new for, at least a couple more years as it was almost impossible to tell a `46 from a `47 from a `48. Then in `49 there was a major change of body styles. More about the Book family on page270.

Another of the details of this scene involves the use of a "new" automobile in the day to day operation of the farm, of transporting the products of the farm to the market place. Before the War it was rather common to see a little trailer being pulled behind the family car. As was very common at the time, cars were not washed too often and here can be seen the result of driving on the wet gravel roads of rural Iowa. The road to Nevada, or Roland, or Ames was not paved until roughly a decade later. Note; Don was one of the first college graduates to farm in Milford Twp.

Don Book, with his nice family car, loads 60 dozen eggs in the trunk for the trip to town. Notice in the background of this scene, looking to the north, the large barn, over 100 feet east west and 60 feet north south, that was on the Rex Hughes farm. This barn was torn down later in that summer and a new smaller round-roof barn was constructed. Also notice the highline pole with no insulators in place. This was the time period when this east west highline was being put in place across Milford Twp.

Dennis Book, 62N, writes a couple-a-three stories of his experiences in Milford Twp as a young man just out of High School. He paints a glimpse into the times and adventures of the early sixties when, if the mood hit a young man, he and his buddies could sim- ply up and drive 7-800 miles away- to see a friend- and not be overly concerned about money or trouble. There are folks who might wander if - was it the times or it is the advantage of youth?

The Dayton Park Curve

Maybe some of the elderly statesmen of Milford Twp could shed some light on what was at Dayton Park* in the early days. It might have been a dance hall, maybe a trading post. I don't know. All I remember is the curve. Some of the Milford boys would see how fast they could run the curve. *See page 45.

Wilbert Hadley `56, the "Wild Willie" in Dennis's story. His nickname is rather missleading at this time as he was a considerate, very mild-mannered fellow.

Loyd Hughes had a (I think) 1963 Chevy Corvette Sting Ray, a pretty hot little sports car. Loyd thought that it was pretty good. He was telling Wild Willie Hadley and me the story of how he took that curve at 50 mph.

Wild Willie had a maybe 1950-'53 Cadolac. It was big and heavy and build like a battle wagon. Willie always drove old cars be- cause he could fix anything.

Although he was a little embarrassed when one of his many girl friends stuck her foot through the floor board. It wasn't time to get a new car; it was time to get a new patch. Wild Willie had an old car but a pocket full of money.

Willie never was one to brag but he did say, "I took that curve at 52 mph the other night with my old Caddie."

Three Little Skunks

Father Jack Strother had been mowing some soil bank east across the road from the Strother homestead.. He saw 3 baby skunks. I think it was Gene Roberts, Dennis Book and son Bruce that he told the story to. We three boys kind of looked at each other. And said to each other, but not to Jack-- Lets go drown them out.

We didn't tell Jack what we had in mind but a baby skunk would really impress the girls. A lot more than a puppy.

So we hooked up the sprayer and filled it full of water and went to the field on the top of the hill.

As the story comes back to me, I think when Jack was mowing, the mother skunk got run over so we wanted to save the babies

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Page 316 of 354

© 2012 Mark Christian
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