By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article.]
Ben R. Mowery, our postmaster, placed in each box the day before Christmas a card much to the delight of boxholders until they found the card read "Box Rent Due." Hot thing for a P. M. to put out the day before Christmas.
Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Chapin drove down from San Antonio for a few days visit with old friends. Mrs. Chapin at one time was Collegeport's Guinea Pig Queen and accumulated the fortune that enabled her to move to San Antonio. Oscar invited me to visit him soon as the breweries opened up.
Mr. William Schubring, who I am informed is now a minister of the Methodist faith, conducted services in the local church Sunday evening and preached a fine sermon. Six people en-route to Corpus Christi country, drove to the end of the "nine foot sidewalk" planning to cross the viaduct and hit the Hug the Coast. Imagine their consternation, astonishment, horror, when they found no viaduct and were obliged to drive 32.6 miles before they could proceed on their journey. Also imagine the language. This is a daily occurrence. If the Highway Commission would only designate the continuation of the Hug the Coast they would not only provide we, meaning I and the miserable wretch, with opportunity to walk to service at St. John's chapel but would at same time decrease the use of profanity. There are other reasons for building the viaduct.
Well, anyway, the next day Hugo Kundinger with her father and mother drove out of their way 32.6 miles en-route to Aransas Pass for a visit with Mrs. Fay DeWald and family. This is a daily occurrence, but we will never accustom ourselves to the inconvenience.
The past week was a ring around the rosie of pleasure, joy and happiness for Mary Louise came home and spent ten days. Every day was a day of beauty except Thursday the day she had her party and that was a day of rain and mist and mud.
Right here I charge that day to the Democratic party. For four years everything from fleas on the dog to the hungry man on the streets has been laid at the president's door. The time has arrived to begin charging the other fellow and I am doing it.
Friday opened with blue skies, but the day of the party, O, me! O, my! But eighteen of the thirty invited came and we had a glorious time with bridge, conversation and refreshments. It was an affair "muy sympatico." Louise Walter won out on the first prize, a neckband of gold, while little red headed Elizabeth had to be content with a diminutive deck of playing cards. Well anyway every one went away happy so that brought sunshine to our hearts. Some where to go every night and some one to go with, but Saturday night when the clock tolled the death of 1932, I heard voices and I raised up from my bed of hay. Hay? You bet. I used to sleep on cotton, but cotton is worth one hundred dollars per ton while hay may be had for four bones per ton so I use hay for bedding the new year. Well, any way, I raised up from my bed of corn husks. Corn husks? Sure I changed from hay to husks for they are cheaper. The depression has forced this on me and in my opinion, I'll be glad to have husks four years hence, for have no idea that Franklin and John will enable me to rescue the use of cotton. Well, any way I heard the voices of Stanley Wright, Louise Walter, Frances Eisel and Mary Louise so raising from my bed of husks, I called a cheery Happy New Year to them.
We had a fine back log in the fire place and reinforced it with four foot wood and planned for Mary Louise to start the fire.
"And on this hearth of heart's desire
She ignited a flame of glowing fire,
And as it in weird shapes burned
Something in our hearts turned.
Time stopped and flew back.
For a moment our thoughts turned alack
Time had not stopped, the clock ticked on
But in our hearts it beat a song.
A song of the days gone past.
The happy days that always last.
A long last look at that flame of fire
And we ask the past to retire.
For into the tomorrow we wish to peep
And gather fresh joys in our hearts to keep
Come to-morrow, come, bring joys o true.
Bring cloudless skies of rarest blue,
Bring us "descanso" our heart's desire
As we look into the flaming fire."
--Fragments from Hack.
Saturday being the last day of the year, our people assembled for the twenty-fourth New Year's Community dinner. Last week I invited the County Court to be present so they might for a few hours enjoy living at the end of the road. I suspect that some of our folk knowing this, staid away, fearing the court might arrest them. This no doubt caused the small attendance. Generally on such a pleasant day, at least one hundred and fifty would be present, but on this occasion only seventy-five. The tables, as usual, were loaded with food from turkey to pie and the aroma of coffee made by the noodle girl was pleasant to sniff. So long a time had elapsed since I tasted noodles that it was some time before I found them, but when my eyes lighted on that platter of the Famous Carrie Nelson Noodles, I at once took on a full load and hunted a place where I could eat in peace. When W. H. Boeker asked blessing, he did not take time to tell God all about past troubles and worries, the meantime keeping a hungry crowd from the table, but in a few well chosen words, God was thanked for the good things of the past, asked to continue them for the tomorrow and for His blessings on those present. It was a fine prayer. Now we are ready for the year 1933 and we hope it means surcease from many things that have been hard to bear. We shall see.
A friend whom I have never seen or spoken to, sends me a poem thinking I might use it as a pattern when I feel poesy. I call this one a friend, because he plays the slide trombone an instrument I admire. The poem was written by the Japanese poet T. S. Nakano.
"A young scientist
Says to me
Is the certain elements
Only his knowledge
How about over knowledge?
They use only a magnetic power."
Almost good enough to find a place in "My Tapestry," except it is not worthy to nestle with such beautiful thoughts.
Tomorrow will be the first day of January 1933 and I shall try and think a few "Thoughts" for the good readers of the good things in the good Tribune. "Thoughts" will be better in 1933 for I find myself more thoughtful.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, January 3, 1933
By Harry Austin Clapp
My dictionary informs me that a chronicle is "to record in a history" and a chronicler is "the writer of a chronicle." Shakespeare, to relieve his mind, writes "Such an honest chronicler as Griffith." I did not know Griffith, but he must have been nearly all right for Shake to put the O. K. on him. So this is just a chronicle and I am a chronicler.
Sunday, the first day of the new year, broke in a burst of glorious sunshine with a fleckless sky of azure. I trust it was a harbinger of what is in store for us this year. Well, anyway, came George Harrison and his four sweet girls and boy, Billie. Mrs. Lena at home in bed with the influenza. Along came Chester A. Boren from Springfield, Ills., and Mrs. Lutie R. Ramsey, returning to her seaside home. Then Gustave Franzen and Gustave Jr., to wish us a happy new year. When we were through with that turkey it was a complete wreck and not enough left for soup. Other things were demolished in like manner. Great day for us Homecrofters.
Came this, "I am in the railway mail service and handled some of your Christmas cards and when I saw the word 'Jesus' I was reminded that I had not been very intimate with Him of late and made myself a promise that this year I would remember what Jesus means to me."
From Doctor T. O. Walton, president of the Texas A. & M. College came these fine words "Dear friends: May I thank you for the Christmas greeting you sent. It is good to know that our friends think of us from time to time and I especially appreciate the type of greeting you sent out. I trust that all goes well with you and yours and that 1933 may bring you life's richest blessing. Sincerely yours, T. O. Walton." Well I guess you are right I state that it all adds to our joys.
Monday Mary Louise left us so she might be ready to tap the keys Tuesday morning. Mary Louise had a happy vacation and our joy was added to hers so we had a most glorious time.
"Every song I hear
Brings to me a tear
Just because you are not here.
All I know is I love you
My heart beats to you true
That's all the matter with me.
Now what would you say
If I should write some day
Tomorrow I'll be in S. A.?"
--Fragments from Hack
Tuesday promised a day of rest and recuperation from the follies of the past week, but with S. W. Corse, justice of the seventh judicial precinct, we journey to a dinner party at Palacios the guests of Mrs. Patricia Martyn. An oyster feast with trimmings a plenty and so gorged to repletion...[line missing]...home, and to bed only to be aroused from our virtuous slumbers by my fine friend Mary Ellen after her bridge tables so she might entertain at bridge a party of friends and then once more to the couch.
A woman called and said she was planning a party and wished to serve cocktails and asked for some liquor. I informed her that I was neither a brewer or a distiller and was therefore unable to provide the material. I then suggested that she serve oyster cocktails and she replied, that they had no kick. "Oh!" said I "an oyster cocktail does have a kick provided you use live ones." Now I wonder what she served as a kicker and a chaser.
A fellow feels fine when some other fellow seconds his motion. Charles Rutherford wrote a letter from Nevada, Mo. to the Beacon and writes "When Clapp gets that viaduct across the bay, it will be the garden spot of Texas. Here's hoping he soon gets it, then Palacios and Collegeport will be the Cities By The Sea. They will be like Minneapolis and St. Paul--twin cities and it sure should be in the near future. This is hoping Clapp and I will soon see it come to pass." I want it to come to pass so that we, meaning I and the miserable wretch, may pass over it to service at St. John's Chapel.
Mirth is again urging every one to buy it in Bay City. I wish he would stop being so provincial, stop being a small town fellow and tell 'em to Buy U. S. A. Buying in Bay City will not help conditions.
When spring arrived in 1931, a big goose, which had escaped gunfire while it lived in the southland, winged its way back to the Arctic regions, where it mated, made a nest and hatched a brood of geeslings. Among them was one lusty fellow which grew to be his mamma's pride. He was strong and vigorous, had brilliant plumage and was the envy of his family. This fall, he tried out his pinions and started on the long hike to Texas. At last, he arrived at the Collegeport rice fields, but did not know that nestling among the tules along a marshy land was Cary Miller, with her sure fire 16 gauge shot gun, waiting patiently to keep her date with this grand bird. To make a long story short, Cary fired. He fell and Wednesday all brown and juicy he graced our table and Mrs. Lutie Ramsey being present, we had a goose story. Cary knows how to pick the big, fat, tender birds and so we are now waiting.
From Michigan comes this "I was glad to get your Christmas card. Should judge that you had joined the Salvation Army."
As I write these lines, comes the news that Calvin Coolidge has passed away. He was one of America's greatest men, trusted by and beloved by all men. They all believed in his integrity and honesty of purpose. He should have [had] twenty-five years of more service to his fellow Americans, but he died alone at the age of sixty. Truly death loves to pluck the fairest flower and devour the ripest and richest fruit. The death of Calvin Coolidge is an irreparable loss to our country. What was the reward for a life of public service? Death at 60, the time of matured youth.
The following will interest some of the people:
January 4, 1933
Finance Docket No. 9615
Application St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway Company for permission to abandon the branch line between Buckeye and Collegeport, Texas.
The above entitled proceeding is assigned for hearing on February 1, 1933 ten o'clock a.m., standard time, at the Federal Building, Bay City, Texas, before Examiner T. F. Sullivan. By the Commission, George E. McGinty, Secretary.
This hearing is the result of a protest filed several months ago by the Collegeport Industrial League, the protestor in the case. Interested citizens, farmers, cattle men, dairymen, in fact, all who are interested in retaining rail service are urged to be present and if necessary act as witnesses.
The Woman's Union met Thursday with Mrs. Rena Wright. Most of the members were present as well as several guests. After routine business was transacted, the usual religious service was rendered followed with refreshments prepared by the hostess.
Friday night the high school pupils held a party in a vacant room next to the Crane grocery. Stunts and games filled the evening and dainty refined, fastidious, refreshments were served by the girl members. The principle stunt was the breaking of the large glass in the front door, but as that was a part of the program, enough said is just enough. Anyway, it is reported that a fine time was had by those present.
Mr. Austin Oberwetter, one of our old timers, came in Saturday night and will take the right side of the engine cab when the Portsmouth Limited pulls out Monday morning. He used to be on this run before the war and then served his time in France as an engineer.
Milford Liggett has gone into the cattle business having purchased some she stock which he plans to develop into a big spread. Any cows with a M-Lazy L belongs to Milford Liggett.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, January 12, 1933
The Interstate Commerce Commission has set 10 o'clock a.m. February 1, 1933 at the Federal Building (post office) for a hearing of the application of the St. Louis Brownsville and Mexico Railway Company for permission to abandon its branch line between Buckeye and Collegeport.
This entire line is in the county and, if abandoned, will be the second line in the county to go, the Southern Pacific having abandoned its Van Vleck-Hawkinsville branch some time back.
The abandonment of the Collegeport road will create quite an interest
and there will probably be many from that section to attend the meeting.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, January 12, 1933
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article.]
I am informed that our school will begin teaching astronomy. This will be a grand thing for the pupils when they are out in the world trying to make their living. Much better than teaching some valuable craft like housekeeping, a trade a boy might follow. I know that astronomy was valuable to me when I left school. Isn't it wonderful the way our schools prepare the pupils fer life's work. Some of the girls asked me to teach them the stars. I love to watch the stars in a girl's eyes. I am unable to teach more than one at a time so if any one sees a girl on the bay shore with her head resting on a man's shoulder that will be me and my pupil learning all about the stars. Yoo-Hoo, Girls! Who will be the first?
Sad news came to us Thursday announcing the death of our dear friend Mrs. Gertrude Williams of Cleveland, Ohio. Gertrude was a beautiful woman in form and face. A large woman built on generous lines for her great heart could not beat in a small body. Sweet disposition, always seeing the good in other folk, never seeing evil, she was one of God's choicest flowers. She was even at the approach of death planning on making us a visit.
What I wrote last week about Mirth's "Buy in Bay City" campaign sure stirred Mirthful up and he came back on me in impetuous language. No use to get all het up about it. A Trades Day is a legitimate method of attracting business and I am strong for it, but at the same time "Buy it in Bay City" means that the City Twenty Miles From the Sea is all the time nibbling on the merchants at Palacios, Wadsworth, Matagorda, Blessing and other towns in the county that Bay City may prosper. The devil take the hindmost so long as one burg may grab the trade. No town in the county can live by itself. Houston in turn nibbles on Bay City, El Campo, Wharton, Victoria and in turn larger towns knaw [gnaw] away at Houston. Buy U. S. A. means buying American made goods. After that let prices tell the tale and secure the trade. Wonder how many stores in Bay City have for sale rubber boots made in Japan and laid down on our soil at thirty-nine cents per pair. How many sell table ware made by cheap labor in a foreign country and in spite of our high tariff wall competes with and puts out of business American labor. Let the merchants quit buying these cheap labor made foreign goods and buy U. S. A. and conditions will change. Chain store methods have revolutionized Bay City merchants systems and for the better, both for dealer and customer. Out of it has evolved a new type of merchant. A merchant of service to his trade. The two great mail order houses have won the respect and confidence of their trade by their straight manner of conducting their business. A buyer knows that he must be satisfied or money back and no questions and in addition all transportation charges. Until quite recently, returned goods met with a chilly reception from a local dealer. All right, let our merchants Buy U. S. A. and then let us induce our folk to Buy Bay City or Buy Palacios, but let us stop nibbling away other merchants opportunities until most of the towns in Matagorda County are so dead that they stink. All right, Mirth, be our Mirthful self once more. Fair discussion is good for all.
The Woman's Club met Thursday at Homecroft, the first meeting of the year and for the election of officers for the coming biennial. Eighteen were present. The annual report of the treasurer showed that during the year, the club had collected about two hundred and eight dollars all of which except a balance of twelve dollars expended from community work. The report of the secretary was of equal interest especially that which included the library work. Mrs. King, the retiring president, called the meeting to order and after routine business was dispatched, ordered the election to proceed. This resulted in the election of Mrs. L. E. Liggett, president; Mrs. Roy Nelson, vice president; Mrs. H. A. Clapp, secretary; Mrs. Frank King, treasurer. Six members paid their dues to the club starts the new years with a balance of about fifteen dollars. As I heard the reports read and listened to the business transacted, I thought with sorrow that our men should bow their heads in shame. The women are doing things in this community, not the men. Assisted by Miss Roberta Liggett, the hostess served refreshments of sandwiches, pecan and raisin cookies and coffee. Only two males were present, the writer of this column and Eugene Corporon. Looks as though all had a very delightful afternoon and went away well pleased with the club's work under Mrs. King.
Friday evening came Judge and Mrs. Holman and Andy for a visit with us Homecrofters and we had a happy hour or two and with regret we watched these fine friends of so many years depart. Judge Holman presented me with a bundle of seegars and Andy was kind enough to leave a can of Sir Walter Raleigh. I am smoking it, but when I desire solace, comfort, consolation, I seek R. J. R. It is cheaper, smells farther, burns quicker.
Graydon Morris came down from Houston to have a hunt with Austin Oberwetter. First day took sixteen quail which is good. It appears that Austin hides and then gives an imitation of a cranberry which causes the birds to stretch their necks in curiosity. While doing this, Graydon sneaks up and pulls the trigger.
The other night they coached Mrs. Vernon King Hurd a floundering to go and she went as a good sport should and when she came back to the house she had five big flounders which weighed an average of fifteen or less pounds. Mrs. Hurd says that she never realized that floundering was such a pleasant and enjoyable sport and is ready for another expedition.
Because of the wonderful success of Mrs. Hurd in spearing flounders, I shall adopt as my slogan "Flounder in Collegeport." Pretty slick. I'll say. Eh wot? Well, folks, I must stop writing such silly stuff and brush up on astronomy for the coming week I'll be teaching my pupils how to see stars. I have three applicants, one a red head, one a brown head and one a yellow head. I don't know which will be my first pupil, but one thing is sure, and that is after the first lesson, they will know all about stars. I think astronomy, Latin and algebra, are essential for a boy or girl to make a living these days. Business demands a knowledge of such studies and they are useful on the farm and shop and no girl can successfully bake bread or fry pork chops without them. So watch us star gazers this week.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, January 19, 1933
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article.]
Well the week started off with a bang. Sunday a turkey dinner in honor of Capt. E. M. Hill of Marshall, Texas, who was accompanied by the Eisel family except Frances and Harry Lewis, Sr., both being at home sick. With this exception, we had a grand time, judging from the way Cap Hill indulged his appetite for turk. Monday we were glad to be able to serve cocktails (keep it quiet) although they were made with very live oysters, sliced cold breast of turkey, potato au grautin, salad, pecan cookies, cafe just because we had Commissioners E. C. Baker and Geo. Harrison and Mrs. Lena Harrison for guests. O, yes, I almost forgot that Mrs. Lutie Ramsey, owner of the famous Ramsey farm, was present as well. Wish balance of the court had been present, for when they were well stuffed, I believe it would have been possible to get immediate action on our viaduct and then we, meaning I and the miserable wretch, could walk to service at St. John's Chapel.
Tuesday I looked over the fine garden that Mrs. Carl Boeker is planting in rear of the Boeker Grocery Emporium. Out of a wilderness of jungle of grass, weeds, rubbish, she has spaded, raked and planted a garden that any one would be proud to own. Onions, lettuce, cabbage, all in rows and making fast and thrifty growth. Sure is a beauty spot and damned be the man who will allow roaming cattle bring destruction to it.
Thursday came my old friend of many years, Gus Franzen, with a beautiful bouquet for us. A center piece of sweet potatoes, fine yellow yams and about it arranged gorgeous beet greens interspersed with turnips and lettuce. This sort of bouquet is beautiful because from it, may be made that stimulating and satisfying drink known to gourmands as pot likker. Florists advise "tell it with flowers," but it may just as well be told with vegetables and kind words.
Friday, the King's Daughters met at the home of Mrs. Helen Holsworth for the annual election. Mrs. Anna D. Crane was retained as president, Mrs. Carrie Nelson, the girl who makes those famous Carrie Nelson Noodles, was chosen as vice president. I suppose they gave her this honor so she would continue to bring noodles to the monthly feed. Mrs. Emily Hurd was selected as secretary and Mrs. Rena Wright will handle the exchequer. Looks as though the business was in safe hands for the year. No use giving details of the luncheon or rather banquet they always serve, but it was generous in quantity and quality. The usual religious service was observed and considerable business transacted.
For the benefit of our northern readers, will state that we have enjoyed summer temperatures ever since the first day of this month, eighty degrees being common. None of us are obliged to go a visiting to save fuel, as one of my readers is doing.
Miss Cary Miller, out with her 16-gauge Sunday, saw five big geese coming. They were headed by a wise old gander and she pulled down on him and he dropped, but the strange thing was that the other four appeared to stop in the air and for a moment Cry thought she had bagged the entire bunch. The goose weighed, O, maybe twenty pounds or less. This closed the season in these parts.
The Collegeport Palatial Pharmacy is having such a run on yeast that it appears that many crocks are bubbling with foamy home brew. When one buys yeast, one must state whether one desires bread yeast or beer yeast. Both same price and cut from the same block and either one will make good beer. Home brewing will soon cease for some enterprising fellow will no doubt start a legal brewery so that thirsts may be satisfied. Always thought I would like to own a brewery.
Saturday, the Emmitt Chiles family moved across the bay to the Palacios side. Because there was no viaduct, it meant a fifteen-mile trek. We will miss this family for they were fine friends and neighbors.
Oscar Odd says "the finest muffler circling my neck suggests a discarded sock strangling a sick cat." A muffler is not necessary to make him look like a sick cat.
Our post master is always pleased to assist the patrons of this office, but sometimes he goes a bit too far. For instance, the other day he kissed a stamp for a lady patron. Better watch out Benny.
Every night when I walk home with my daily letter, cars pass me at a speed of not less than ninety miles an hour. Makes me nervous.
I don't think Louie Walter looks anything like Gus Franzen.
Hope Tootsie Chiles took her riding breeches with her.
I take no pleasure looking at pig feet in glass. Makes me think of hospital specimens.
A rat gnawing at night causes the miserable wretch to raise up and listen. Wish she could put her head back and go to sleep.
E. C. Baker, commissioner from Matagorda, is still in my opinion, the sweet sugar ladies man. I ought to know for have observed a few of his sweet entangling tricks. A popular man with me is George Harrison.
North Cable is still predicting cold weather for February. If I don't come North better buy a South Cable.
The Boeker store is selling R. J. R. at ten cents the sack.
Mary Ellen coming after the mail and looking sweeter than ever. Her smile is a trade drawer.
Just heard that Doc. Scott will be health officer for 1933. The Lord sure looks after His children. Doc is going to be busy from now on examining school children's heads for nits and incidentally a few other things.
The fellows who are spreading gossip about the work of shelling our local roads are simply uttering cacophony. Most of them are suffering from an aggravated attack of ergophobia.
Some folk thinks George Washington looks like John B. Heisey. Neither one ever told a lie.
Mrs. Austin Oberwetter drove down from Houston with Graydon Morris to spend the week-end with papa. Myrtle is the salt of the earth for when God made her he sweetened the salt.
Wednesday, Feb. 1, 1933, Examiner Sullivan of the Interstate Commerce Commission will listen to our protest against the abandonment of the branch line.
From the office of the Texas attorney general, I get the tip, that if we succeed it will be because the people living in the district show by their presence that they are interested in the continued operation of the line. It is, therefore, hoped that a big delegation of our farmers, cattle men and shippers be present at ten o'clock in the forenoon ready to give aid in our case.
A fellow told me the other day that Col. Tom Fulcher looked enough like Franklin D. Roosevelt to be a twin brother. It is possible that all of us Democrats in our confusion voted for the wrong man?
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, January 26, 1933
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