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Alameda Mosquitoes and Other Tales

By Jeff Clark

I received the below story from Junior Jacobs, remembering some times past from the Alameda Community in the 1930s and 1940s - Jeff Clark

Memories about a place close to my heart. They were rough times but with a family that was made up of Willie, Eula, Gerry, Billie, Bonnie, Junior, Tommy, June, and Jo, we made the best of it.

In 1939 our family moved to a house on hill of a farm owned by the Harts. Dad worked for the Harts cutting post and doing other odd jobs. He stuck a mesquite thorn in his thumb - he did suffer. I remember a Watkins product peddler drove up one day. He said, "boys, do you think your mother has an old dominique hen she might trade for some vanilla flavor or spices?"

Dad came home one day after cutting mesquite post in the river bottom. He said Carter and Glen Hart came down where he was cutting mesquite post. Carter said "Willie, you need to be careful down here by yourself. As Glen and I walked down we heard a racket and looked through the bushes and watched two mosquitoes finished eating two horses. They were laid back agin' a log. One was picking its beak with a wagon tongue, the other combing its feathers with broken wagon wheel. Heard one say, "now if we had taken them horses back to the bigger mosquitoes we would have got nothing to eat." Glen said, "you better watch it Willie".

Later the family moved to another house on the Hart place. It was on a hill and off the road. The well went dry on the place and we carried water from a cow pond, boiled it, so we could drink it. Mom made a deal with the Baird's bread man. She would swap eggs for bread and a newspaper. Dad dropped a rock on his toes while helping build a new Alameda school building, crushed them bad, did not go to doctor. Mom would apply petroleum jelly and wrap them so he could go to work. He cut the toe out of his shoe and he did not miss a day.

The next year the family moved to a farm that later become know as the Nursery place. That year Dad started raising peanuts and black-eyed peas. He had two horses to plow with. We picked and shelled peas to sell during the heat of day and spent the rest of the day using a hoe to get grass out of between peanut plants. A lot of grass we just had to use our fingers and pull it out.

That fall other families and ours went together and harvested peanuts. They would plow the peanuts up and then women, children and men would pick the vines up and shake the dirt off and place the vines in piles. After the vines dried seven or eight days my uncle Bud Wisdom brought his peanut thrasher into our field. Several of our neighbors helped thrash the nuts off and bailed the hay with a horse-powered hay bailer. The horse walked around in a circle and this through gears moved a plunger back and forth to compress the hay. I remember Roy Watson was tying the hay with wire. He would say "down and block" when the bale was long enough. My cousin Jay C. Lee would put a wood block in and then start on next bale. Note - the families that went together in the fall and plowed up and thrashed the peanuts did it for every family. Our school even shut down while the peanuts were harvested.

To contribute stories or photos to the Alameda - Cheaney Project, please email Jeff Clark - Thank you to Mr. Jacobs for his contribution.

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