I didn’t get to spend too much quality time with my father. The most time I got to spend with him was in a car. Around town the trips were short as the town was small. When we went to visit the trips were longer. Other than his brothers and sisters the rest of his people were located in the rural areas around Springfield and Nixa in Missouri which were sixty-five miles or more away. Carthage our home town was a very small place when we left in 1956 the population was just breaking 2,200 souls. Other than the local fair each summer there was not much to do there. A trip to Springfield was a occasion and a all day trip as sixty-five miles was a long way in cars that averaged forty miles a hour. If we were lucky we might get to visit the zoo, which was very small compared to what you see in L A. I remember the Lion cage held only one old male and was just a small cage. about the size of a small bedroom today, but the beast looked gigantic to a nine year old kid. Maybe we would drive up for the fourth of July fireworks show at the big city park.
After my mother died and my father remaried we would drive fifty-two miles south to my Granddad Christmans farm more often. This trip was a adventure on single lane each way highways. At Neoshoe we would pass Camp Chrowder which housed what everyone called war prisoners, now I know it was a Japaneeseinterment camp from WWII. Then came Andersonville where there was a tourist Cave with tours, we never stopped because we were coming or going all the time over that big hill we came to the bluff areas. The road ran next to mile after mile of bluffs some over hanging the road which made us kids nervous to drive under. At one place there was a steady trickle of water that would splash your windshield and drum on the roof of the car. After that we soon ran in sight of a good sized river for most of the way. The town that Grandpa Christman lived close to was Noel, Missouri just three mile from the Arkansas state line. The high way here ran under a series of large bluff’s next to Elk river. The water here was a pretty shade of green and was a tourist attraction in its self. A bridge crossed the river into Noel. The town was one long and one short city block long. There was one grocery, one general and several feed and grain stores, a small car dealership which delt mostly in used trucks and a large garage and a couple of gas stations. A couple of gas stations and a number of tourist traps and a movie house completed the town plus the churches. The town boasted a population of five-hundred, but I never saw that many people even with tourist Granddad lived a mile out on the paved road and a couple more on the dirt road. It was here that I spent some of the happiest days recounted under the blog Granddad Christman. The trip home was always in the dark of the early evening and us kids usually drifted of to happy slumber listening to the car radio. My Dad’s favorite car was a 1939 Pontiac. It had a inefficent heater so in the winter time we were bundled up in blankets with our comic books but if it was really cold dad would put a kerosene heater back there tied in place to keep it from tipping over. Lord the danger we were in and did not know it.
The move to California in 1955 was in June and we made it in a 55Ford my parents three sisters and me. We had luggage on the roof and stacked on the deck lid and the floor well of the back seat. Us kids had to lay or prop ourselfs up in a reclining position from Missouri to California on old Highway Route 66. I was sixteen, my sisters ten, four and two. The girls rotated around the front seat but I was stuck in the back all the way.
We were raising a hundred chickens when the decision was made to move to California. The final weeks were spent with me helping my step-mother kill scald and pluck those damn chickens most were sold to a place in town but my mother fried up a bunch and put them into quart fruit jars which were then sealed upside down with a small layer of grease to preserve them. This was what we dined on most of the way to good old cal. It is just recently that I have started eating chicken after all these years, only at the urging of my wife for my healths sake. Just the thought of chicken turned my stomach.
Well thanks for riding along on this memory train. ramblingbob