Collegeport Articles

February 1937
 


THOUGHTS ABOUT THE ‘STRUCTION GIRL
By Harry Austin Clapp

Doris passed a sleepless night for just before retiring she allowed the hair brush to slip from her hand and it cracked the mirror above the dressing table. Morning broke without discovery and soon she was conducted to the dining room where she breakfasted on food she had never seen before. There was toasted buns about the size of mustard seed. Doris was compelled to scoop them up in her hand to secure a taste. On a plate was broiled leg of humming bird. It was a huge thing for little folk, but Doris ate it eagerly and asked for more. Frizzled fly wings were a real delicacy. Tiny mutton chops from the sheep which were only about two inches tall. Scrambled eggs from eggs half the size of that of a humming bird. Doris used four dozen. After breakfast she was invited to a boat party on the river and as she floated down the river of cranberry sauce, she witnessed some strange sights. The fish were a bright green and each had protruding from the head a little thread on the end of which was a tiny light. This was used by the fish to attract insects on which they fed. Passing an island covered with sweet green grass and many flowers, she saw a log partly submerged in the river water and on it sat twelve bullfrogs. They were green with yellow vests and eyes that bulged out as though they were frightened. They were not at all frightened. They were not at all frightened. They always looked that way when they began their nightly song and this is how it went, the first line sung by the bull frogs and the second by the little fellows:

“Ben Buck! Ben Buck! Ben Buck! (Big Frog)
If you meet him you are out of luck (Little Frogs)
He’ll reach down and pick you up (Little Frogs)
Watch out for Ben Buck. Ben Buck.” (Big Frogs)

Just here one frog became so excited that he fell from the log and swimming ashore he sat on the bank and sang Ben Buck! Ben Buck! Ben Buck.

Going on down the river the boat passed an island which was the amusement park of Crystalease. Here Doris saw all sorts of mechanical devices for pleasure. Slides of death which was thrilling, the Devil’s Cave, The Elephant’s Grunt, The Merry Go Round, about the size of a five-cent coin. But she was most interested in the band of one hundred and fifty musicians. The man who played the tuba was a very fat little man and was a vigorous player. His horn was of transparent glass and the funny thing about it was one could see the notes coming from the horn. Did you ever see musical notes? Well Doris did. Soon as they left the horn they changed into beautiful birds, with long flowing tails and flying to a nearby tree there they rested, each bird singing the note it uttered when leaving the horn. By the time the number was over the tree was covered with birds. It must have been a wonderful sight. Back in the Palace Doris thought she would take a rest but before doing so she (remembered she had broken the mirror) walked out on the little balcony in front of her room. The rail was of translucent glass, very slender and delicate and as Doris leaned on it, it gave way and crash, bang, what a clatter. In a moment the room was filled with soldiers and policemen and Doris was a prisoner bound with a thousand stout cords. She could not even struggle. Poor child. What a mess she was in. Taken before the King, banishment was ordered so she was carried to the edge of the city and literally thrown overboard. Down she went, head down, feet down, arms outstretched seeking support which never came. At last she landed with a thump. Where do she suppose she landed? Right in the home garden and the broken pitcher right in front of her. She cried and sobbed, “O, mamma I’ll never again be the ‘struction girl.” Looking up at hearing a slight noise, she saw a honey bee on the edge of a big yellow daisy.

When Mary Louise was a very little girl she used to sit on my lap and say, “Daddy tell about the ‘struction girl.” The story lasts for many episodes, but in this case I have for lack of space eliminated much of the adventures Doris experienced.

The other day rummaging through an old trunk I found a collection of toys Mary Louise played with. A set of dishes, a rolling pin, a stove that fired with wood, a kitchen cabinet, bed, in fact a complete kitchen outfit including a washboard. Mirth will probably have use for these toys next Christmas, providing Mary Louise is willing.

Thursday my fine friends Mr. and Mrs. Frank Ives of St. Louis drove here to see me but because of the impassable roads were obliged to give up the visit although they came within four blocks of our gate. How keen is my disappointment is beyond words. These people have been close to me for many years. Four blocks of mud and slime prevented this visit. The culvert in front of my gate, destroyed by the road draggers is still a menace to every car that attempts to drive in. I hope our commissioner will soon look it over and issue orders. Hey commissioner? Weather continues gray, gloomy, sticky, nasty and each time Mr. Sun tries to peep through, old man weather gives him a slap in the face and he hides again behind the heavy pall of clouds. Some day, no one knows when, the sun will shine, the flowers bloom, the grass will be waving its fresh and fragrant greenness in the breeze. Some day.

Mr. Frank Ives left with Vernon Hurd a Christmas gift to deliver. It came on Vernon’s shoulder. A big hamper filled with quite useful things like flour, corn meal, sugar, crackers, fruit, bacon, canned goods galore. A very useful and thoughtful gift. Such friends are sent by God.

A person with an ear—a musical ear—may with some practice acquire the ability to pick out and carry the story round which the [line left out]. The theme is usually a simple thing but it is like the king thread woven in a beautiful fabric. Simple, but always the key note in the elaboration of a classical musical number. This ability may be cultivated. Try it when next you listen to a classical rendition. It is interesting and adds to the pleasure of hearing an exquisite musical theme.

Mrs. Leo Duffy spent a happy hour with us Monday. Myrtle brought me some cake—a white cake all covered with snowy coconut shreds. Myrtle knows how to make delicious cake.

I doubt if finer, more luscious oysters are taken from the bay than those taken by Mr. Sutton from the bay right here at Collegeport. Many of them run fifteen to the pint. They are about 2 ½ to 3 inches long, fat and excellent flavor and when one buys a quart at forty cents, one receives full value. Mr. Sutton has no difficulty in selling all he takes and this community is congratulated on having such fine service. The day the oyster season closes, I’ll hang crepe on my right arm. Fishing is just not, as reported by John Shoemaker the king fisherman. He reports that the bay contains no fish. John has fished faithfully in the slough, the bay, red bank and all other places, spent several thousand dollars for bait and not a scale has he taken. Still he has courage and some day he will bring me that ten pound red or maybe six small trout.

The local Federal building has for a long time needed some new device for heating, not for the comfort of the people but for the postmaster and his corps (corpse might be a better word) of assistants. Our postmaster asked Mr. Farley for this equipment and he putting it up to the President a “must order” for transmission to congress. This body acting in its usual alert, rapid manner, passed the bill and I am informed that a steam heating plant will be installed about the middle of May. This will be comforting to our postmaster, who has shivered through the past winter.

The radio is a wonderful thing. Here at Homecroft it brings tears when we listen to a pathetic melody, the miserable wretch dances with dance renditions and laughs at the comics. She runs the scale of human emotions. Last night she came to bed with laughter which prevented my sleep. I gave her a biff behind the ear and had silence. Fine method and very effective to silence a woman. Try it sometimes when friend wife or any fellow’s wife keeps you awake.

Funny things happen in a print shop and here is one of them. My copy last week read “what a great wonderful world this would be when humanity from day to day tries to be more like Jesus.” A reader writes “I read in the paper that Arthur Brisbane used only thirty minutes to dictate the “Tomorrow and To-day copy. I wonder how you write Thoughts. Please tell me. Well here it is. Mr. Brisbane used only thirty minutes for his dictation but there was no dictator in his house. I am unable to dictate because there is a dictator in my house. Guess you know who she is, so further explanation is not necessary. That’s the difference between Arthur Brisbane and Harry Austin Clapp—I mean one difference—for there are other differences. He drew $250,000, while I draw a little less per annum.” Here is how it appeared in Monday’s Tribune, “What a great, wonderful world this would be when humanity from day to day tries to be more like was no dictation in his home. I am unable to dictate because there is a dictator in my home. Guess you know who she is, so further explanation is unnecessary. That’s the difference between Arthur Brisbane and Harry Austin, I mean one difference—for there are other differences. He drew $250,000 per annum while I draw the Savior of men. All that is required is to be more like Jesus.” What a mess. No proof was pulled. No proof read. Type just dumped on the slab and getthehell out of here. The new press was in no way to blame. I hope that God pities every fellow who tries to write a column. 99.4 per cent of them are just damnfool nuts. Left hand nuts at that.

Just here I’ll add for the benefit of some up north readers that Frank W. Ives is an Executive of The Missouri Structural Steel Works of St. Louis, Mo. and the firm has supplied structural steel for many Houston buildings. I have been his friend and he mine for twenty-five years. I hope I’ll live until next visit to the Sunny Southland. That’s joking but jokes are relished.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, February 4, 1937
 


THOUGHTS ABOUT “MY LORD AND I”
By Harry Austin Clapp

[Local information taken from longer article.]

This is the fifth day of the second month. The sun shines in lustrous, scintillating, dazzling brilliance, and the world takes on new and fresh beauty. The earth is in the pains of child birth, for all nature is alive to the coming of new life. New? Nay, the same life returning. The cycle repeats. There is no death. Well, anyway, we who are confined behind the walls welcome the promised release.

The thirtieth day of January and we have no fire, the front door is open, the sun shines and flowers and plants seem crazy to begin their annual life. Burr clover is covering the ground with its lovely brilliant green leaves and as they gently sway in the breeze, they say to me “I am the harbinger of Spring.” Like the roots of the plants which go down deep in the earth, so do the roots of folks, go down and fix, thus are our homes built. The love of home, a plot of ground with roots that refuse removal. January has been a long tedious month. Day after day of fogs, rains, winds, chills. Not once have I been outside the walls. Walls? Yes, indeed, for I am strictly confined as if behind walls of brick and steel. The M. W. looks after that.

And so I long for the glorious Spring when Nature awakens and puts on her fresh beautiful new garments. I am all ready for the good old summer time, for the good old summer time is good to me. Nancy Sutton brings me two big flounder. No finer fish swims the sea than the flounder. Much fine white tender flesh, few bones and it frys, broils or boils into tender flaky morsels of delectable gastronomic delights.

It is Sunday morning and we have just listened to the services of Emanu-El Temple of Dallas. So full of satisfaction that we turn the radio off for we have no wish to be disturbed. Peace, quiet is the theme of the hour.

Sausage Day broke with heavy clouds, mist, fine rain and temperature, O, say, round about 36. Of course on such a gloomy Sausage Day Mr. Ground Hog could not see his shadow and hence finer weather ahead. The U. S. weather man says this idea is just twiddle-twaffle and not believed by sane persons. But believe it or not, many folk watch for that day.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, February 11, 2009
 


THOUGHTS ABOUT A SWEET WEEK
By Harry Austin Clapp

During the many months of my confinement, I have often wondered what a prisoner thinks. I have wondered about his thoughts as he considered the end of his sentence or his chance for escape. I wondered how he planned and considered the ways and means. I valuated the first breath of fresh air free from prison and contamination. The first breath of freedom. Thinking these things, I wondered when and how I might escape from the walls behind which I have been held. And the way came. One day some good friend tossed a bunch of keys over the wall and among them was one which unlocked the main gate. As is usual in all successful escapes, a car with engine running was parked just outside. In it was my chief conspirator, Mrs. J. R. Wagner, but much to my delight and surprise along came that faithful priest, Reverend Paul Engle bringing me the Holy Communion for the beginning of Lent. After the service, he joined in with the efforts to take me away from prison walls and give me a breath of freedom. In a jiffy, I was out, staggering about, but closely followed and attended by the miserable wretch (my guard) and away we went. I with Reverend Paul Engle and the angel woman with the wife of the Miracle Man. Gosh, how sweet the air; how beautiful the signs of the coming of the sprig time; how wonderful the evidences of the birth of a new season; how sweet the songs of birds; how their wings glistened and flashed in the sunlight; the waters of the bay rippled in new splendor; fish leaped; porpoises played in the waves; Palacios glittering in its white dress. All these things I saw and soon I was deposited at the beautiful Wagner home where I received a red hot welcome and soon felt as though I owned the place. The Wagners, who used to operate sleeping cars years ago, were novices in their attempts to give real comfort to their guests. These today Wagners know all about hospitality. No sooner had we arrived, than I was taken to a barber shop to be relieved of my long, luxuriant locks, the crop of 1936, then the calling on of old friends, the Dismukes, who allowed me to touch that sacred thing called the “line-o-type” and promised to put me in the Beacon. I told them to put me in a box and sign thirty. My old friend Duncan Ruthven, one of the men I have loved for many, many years. He looked extra well fed, hale and hearty and still ready for his part in all progress endeavors. A grand young man. His wife. Boy you should see that girl. I use the term advisedly. She does not look a day over 27 or maybe 27 ¼. She has grown handsomer with the passing years. Bright, smiling, happy face and Duncan’s right hand and a goodly portion of his left. Mrs. Farwell that sweet, kindly soul, our good friend for more than a fourth of a century. What a delicious hour we spent with this sweet and alert woman. Then came that delightful two in one, the Homer Lewis family, for all call and an invitation to visit them at “The Doll House.”

Tuesday night the bridge club met with the Wagner klan. The evening entertainment began very properly with an elaborate dinner, the piece de resistance being a swell roast turkey, with all the usual and some unusual trimmings. Feeling quite at home, I asked as a favor that the left wing be placed on my plate and as ordered so was. Boy, that gravy, made in some mysterious manner of some recondite, occult, mystical product. O, boy, words fail me. To appreciate this delicious gravy, you should have dunked your head in its golden daintiness. I mean it was some gravy as only Luella knows how to prepare. This generous and satisfying dinner was topped with apple tart, smothered in whipped cream. The table where I was placed had for a centerpiece, a mirror for a lake and on it sailed two ships with silver wings. Gorgeous ensemble! How I hated to clean those turkey wing bones and how I longed to get at the right. But enough of this twaddle for let’s get on to the bridge. But here the miserable wretch butts in and informs me that I had forgotten the biscuits and that is not true for I was holding them there rolls tight in my fist fearing they would escape. Rolls so hot that it was necessary to serve them wrapped in napkins. Light as a feather from an angel’s wing; white as the breast of a young virgin; dainty as the first blush of morn; delicious as the offering of a princess; tender and sweet as a baby’s kiss. That’s a simple description of the biscuits that Luella makes. I am asking my Lord to keep me safe until I can toddle across the bay and once more dunk my biscuit in that gravy. Well, anyway, here we are at the bridge and there we met Dr. and Mrs. Wagner, George Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. Gus Sisson (Mrs. Sisson of the beautiful white hair), Mrs. Charles Luther, Mrs. Clark from Des Moines town, Mr. and Mrs. Glen Fabiun, Mr. and Mrs. C. L. de St. Aubin, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Key, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Austin Clapp. Mighty smart party I think. Read the list over again. Of course us farmers could not stay up all night so we made a sneak and sought the clover hay. It was the end of a redolent, balmy, delightful day.

But, what ho! Another day is coming with the rising sun. Came Mierceles and a visit to “The Doll House” occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, a cute, beautiful little palace built for two. Nifty refreshments some of it tickled my nose, for it was in tall glasses with cubes of ice floating about. I don’t know now what it was, but it was delicious. We had a swell time with the Lewis family and hope to go back some time and see the live stock which consists of a pony, twenty-four chickens and two pigs.

Dr. Wagner being my host and also president of the Rotary Club took me as his boy (it being a man and boy meeting) and so I had a seat near headquarters. Met a lot of fellows, some from Port Lavaca, Vance Porter, Carlton Crawford, George Gillespie and many other which gave me pleasure. What is in life, if one is denied the privilege of mingling with friends? The Pavilion Café is a sweet and dainty place, the service excellent food good quality and quantity. A very delightful place for hearty meals or light lunches. Service by well dressed and dainty maids. This place is entitled to hearty support. The luncheon consisted of a T-bone steak, mashed spuds, peas, salad, punkin pie (not pumpkin) coffee. Listened to several talks, some good, some rather tiresome as to longitude or maybe latitude, anyway too long for such an affair when one hour is the allotted time. All during this time, the MW was begin entertained in a wonderful way at the Sisson home (the one with the silver mop). Any woman who has hair like this woman has may be well proud of its beauty, its soft shimmering silkiness. It looks like my mother’s hair. About a dozen or fifteen ladies were present and a regular dinner was served with chicken pie as the article that tempted Eve to leave her Adam. I dallied in the Wagner sun room drinking soft gulps of tickling stuff which the Doctor said would relieve my difficulty in breathing. It did, so I took a second load. Then to the hay pile and snug sleep inside those soft gentle covers.

Thursday came my old friend Duncan Ruthven for a call and we enjoyed a pleasant half hour. One day George Harrison backed by a fellow named Billy went a deer hunting and at last brought down a buck with eight horns or prongs or maybe it was a horn with eight bucks. Anyway here comes George with a big roast of venison for us to carry home. We arrived back behind the walls that afternoon and was Jimmy glad to see me? He jumped and capered and talked, telling me all about it. And I was glad to see Jimmy. We had such a happy time in the Wagner home that it requires time to arrive back at the normal mark. Every moment was an extra drop of joy.

Mrs. Vernon Hurd, Gussie Slone, Mrs. Liggett all bringing belated visits and very welcome and enjoyable.

Every year since 1909 this community has given honor to George Washington by having a banquet. This year because of certain local conditions, there will be no banquet, but a dinner of chicken pie and certain extra delights and at a cost of just two bits, twenty-five cents. Every one is invited. By the way, do you know that George Washington was not our first president? It is true whether you believe it or not. Maybe some one will answer the question Monday night.

Sunday we heard the service of Emanu-El Temple, Dallas. Just as grand as always.

John and Lutie Shoemaker, in charge of the celebrated Ramsey Poultry Farm, preparing for another fishing trip.

With five derricks surrounding Collegeport hopes leap high. Every one is getting ready to spend the money they expect to receive from oil. Anticipation is a delight and most of us will enjoy anticipation to the fullest extent and then when the blow up occurs, we will be that much in the black.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, February 18, 1937
 


Collegeport 4-H Club News

Twenty-five young berry plants were put out at the home of Maud Lashbrook, farm fruit plot demonstrator, under the direction of Mrs. Leola Cox Sides when she met with the Collegeport 4-H Club girls Tuesday, Feb. 9.

The young berries were set about four feet apart and the soil was worked up so as it would be better for the growth of plants.

Later the girls met at the home of their sponsor, Mrs. D. Merck, where they enjoyed a style show exhibiting farm fruit plot tags.

Those present at this meeting were: Nancy Sutton, Ethel Nelson, Dora M. Emmert, Betty Lashbrook, Otha F. Mize, Mava Nee Harvey, Dorothy Miller, Dolores Guyer, Ella Guyer, Oneida Bullington, Marie Shows, Otha Lee Harvey, Mrs. D. Merck, Mrs. Leola Cox Sides, and Maud Lashbrook, club reporter.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, February 18, 1937
 


THOUGHTS ABOUT CENTRALIZATION
By Harry Austin Clapp

[Local information taken from longer article.]

In the early days of that period of this country, there existed local publications in several communities. The following towns printed very interesting papers: Matagorda, Markham, Blessing, Palacios, Collegeport and Bay City, seven publications in all. Where are they this day? Gone with the wind. Now we have two papers, the Daily Tribune at Bay City and the Beacon at Palacios. These two survive and they have served well and continued week after week to carry to the world the happenings of this imperial land.

One time we had banks in Matagorda, Wadsworth, three in Bay City, Markham, Midfield, Blessing, two in Palacios, and Collegeport. Eleven banks to serve less than fifteen thousand people. Total deposits sufficient for one institution. Today we have in the county just two banks, the First National Bank of Bay City and the Bay City Bank and Trust Company, with three and a half millions of deposits.

When Mr. Farley was requested to provide a steam heating plant for the local post office he assented but placed delivery the last of May. The unnecessary delay exposed our postmaster to the chills of winter and as a result he has been seriously ill from influenza the past week and confined to his bed. First Assistant General Hattie has been distributing the mails and also the males, during the illness of our P. M. Glad to report that he will soon be on hand shaking out the mail sacks and Mr. Farley may keep his old steam plant.

I received a cute little valentine from my “Vice” and from it had the idea that she had at last settled down but lo, to my surprise I find she has gone to New Orleans and taken on a milk route. I could hardly believe it, but I must believe my eyes, for she sent a foto showing the outfit. A two wheel cart, a bay horse, two big milk cans. It is a fine rig, the harness of the best, the cart beautifully painted with a top folded back, whip in socket and believe it or not just as you wish, but there sat my “Vice” all dolled up with a new sunbonnet and dealing out the milk. Dogburn me, I hope she hangs onto this job for a few weeks, for then I’ll know where the cute little rascal is.

Our local fisherman, John Shoemaker, wet his line in the slough back of our place and pulled out a fish that was something less than fifteen inches long and weighed less than twelve pounds. Jon was filled with delight and I am sure Lutie was pleased when John brought in this big bundle of meat.

Mrs. Hester Hendricks has been accorded a seat on the local school board and I am suspecting that she will make a good board member. She has one of the qualifications. She is the mother of school pupils.

Two little girls sent me a Valentine in which they wrote, “Dear Mr. Clapp, I hope you are feeling well. I wish we could see you and Mrs. Clapp. Let us know how you both are and remember that we still love you both worlds and worlds. Your girls.” Pretty sweet and nifty I’ll say. Mirth would give his strong right arm to receive such a letter from two such girls and for that reason I do not publish the names.

The usual Valentine party sponsored by the Collegeport Woman’s Club was held Valentine night. Admission requirement was a coin or a book. Result, eight depreciated dollars in coin (silver for gold is not legal) and eighteen books. Light refreshments were served each item calling for another coin. The club is richer in cash and books. Mrs. Hurd was the chief criminal with Mrs. Liggett. Mrs. Nelson and two or three others drawing lighter sentences. This burg would be dead (almost now) and buried several feet deep were it not for a half dozen women. The men? Well they just don’t give a goldarn whether she floats and sinks.

Mrs. Patricia Martyn, our county health nurse, here Thursday with the Puppet Show handled by two young folk from the State Board of Health. The object of the show is to teach the importance of clean teeth. Besides the school about fifteen of our interested mothers were present.

Coming from the show Wednesday a little Negro girl was instantly killed while they were discharging pupils at the home destination. Had the State law which requires an auto to come to a full stop when school children are being discharged or taken on this would not have happened.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, February 25, 1937
 

 

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Nov. 20, 2009
 
Updated
Nov. 20, 2009
   

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