Friday, July 23, 2010

Our Aunt lived on 21st Street between "N" and "O" Streets. At the time, 21st Street was an unimpressive crushed stone street. We walked to school at "Central", a red brick building on 16Th Street between "N" and "O". During the spring and summer of 1926, 21st was paved with concrete. The grading was done with pick and shovel. The excess dirt was shoveled into a box (approximately one yard capacity) on the back of a stripped down Model T Ford. They dumped this dirt around my Aunt's basement walls. The house was street level but due to the slope of the land, most of the walls were exposed. The concrete mix, sand, and crushed stone was shoveled from the back of one of the small trucks into a hopper on the ground then winched up and dumped into a rotating drum, turned by a gas engine, where water was added. Then the mixture was dumped on the street where it was leveled off by a crew using hand tools. The foreman took a liking to some of us kids, or maybe he felt sorry for us, but everyday he would take us to the store on Washington Avenue and let us pick out a few cents worth of candy. Another thing I remember about this summer is that the New Dixie Highway (State Road 37) Bridge was opened.

Sometime in the fall of 1926, dad returned from Florida, and got a job on a painting crew in New Castle, Indiana. At this time, New Castle was a booming auto (Chrysler) steel milling town and work was plentiful. It seems like every place dad went, the union was on his heels. In just a couple years or so they were striking Chrysler and the steel mill and scabbing dad's work. During the four years we lived in New Castle, I learned the town pretty well. I collected junk to sell, had a paper route, sold magazines and Cloverine salve house to house. I remember selling "Extra" papers on the street when Charles Lindberg crossed the Atlantic and again when Louie Meyer won the Indianapolis 500 race.

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