Friday, September 25, 2015

Union Pacific R.R. Wyoming to N.Y, September 20, 1933. Wednesday

Left camp at 8 a.m. sharp on trucks to West Yellowstone. Arrived at Station 11 o'clock. After looking town over for a few hours, we were given eats and put on the train, and given our berths. And we were ready to take off. We pulled out at 2:45 Mountain Time. Went through towns of Big Springs at 3:30, later through Truckee. All very small towns also Island Park and Eccles and Pine View, another small town called Warm River. Then into Ashton Idaho a pretty nice town at 4:50 o'clock.  Chester, Twin Groves and St Anthony. And then we stopped at a town called Pocatello . Please stop there for a few hours. A swell town. We had plenty of fun there with some girls and almost missed our train. We then fixed our berths and went to bed. We woke up at 6:30 in a town call Rawlins, a nice size town. Stopped there for water and on our way again through deserts, and all we could see was sand and sage brush. And then we went through lots of small towns such as Fort Steele, Wolcott, Hannah, Medicine Bow, Rock River, Lookout, Laramie , Hermosa, Sherman, Buford, Borie, Corlet Junction. We then came to a town called Cheyenne which was the capital and a large city. We walked around awhile etc. Archer, Hillsdale, Burns, Potter Connor, Sidney, Chappe, Julesburg, Colorda, a nice town Big Springs, Ogalalla, Buxton, Sutherland or follows Hershey. Ofallons, North Platte. We raise more hell and nearly missed the train.

Sugar City
Idaho Falls

The Last Days in Yellowstone

I got a new position as a chauffeur, which was another racket driving boys to and from work and also going to town for supplies and excursion trips which were 100 miles at least and over. And driving in those mountains was no cinch: narrow roads on top of mountains which means death if you make a mistake.

September 1st to 3rd I was in the hospital and I certainly enjoyed it.  I had some trouble with my throat. There I met some pretty nurses and we used to sit out on the porch at night and tell stories. Finally they got wise to me and sent me back to camp. I was sorry to leave and they was sorry to see me go, as so they said.

One day we took another trip to Gardner and raised hell. Most of the boys got drunk on beer and we're going wild stealing horses and making plenty of trouble. Finally after a few of them were locked up. The rest of them got on the trucks and we started back to camp. When we arrived we got a bawling out as usual but nothing was done about it, our captain being one of the best army officers in the US Army and a good sport. We all chipped in and got him a swell gift, and he was certainly glad to get it from us. Snow was coming down regular but it used to melt in a day or so. Bear fights were very common especially black and brown against Grizzlies which ended in murders among them. And they hollered to make your blood chill.

We finally got news that we were going to leave on September 20th. The boys went wild. Nobody could sleep for a few nights, breaking beds, hanging them on trees was a hobby. And another fire broke out again a few days before we were going to leave. We fought like hell to get it out. We didn't want to get stuck out in the fire for the 20th. I got a truck one day and took a bunch of the boys out for a tour of the park for the last time. Everything seemed as interesting as the first time I seen them. I hated to leave the park. It was a beautiful place and I enjoyed myself while I was there immensely.

August 21, 1933

Finally, one day, August 21, it started to snow and we were sent back to camp. It snowed all day long. It was a pleasure to get back and sleep in our bed again after sleeping under the stars with nothing over us but three blankets and sleeping on a bunch of pine boughs. It was some experience; the sky was beautiful. After I got back to camp I got a bunch of mail from my friends and from home. My sister wrote and told me that I old sweetheart Nettie Parinello has been over the house and looking for me. I was greatly surprised. I answered all my mail including some from Jim Cala who sent me some photographs of himself, Mary, and Sue and a large one of Mae West who he knows is my favorite actress and a letter that made me go hysterical with laughter. As usual he was a corker at writing letters.

After a good night's rest I took another trip to California with the girlfriend of mine and stayed over for a few days. I also found out from her that she was very serious about me staying up there for good and living with her folks. Right then and there, I stated to her that I had no intention of staying there after my term and that made her very unhappy. But she got over it before we got back to Wyoming, thank God.

One night we went to a dance at Fishing Bridge Hotel we were all dressed up in civilian clothes. We were having a nice time. All evening, the women were sociable. About 11 o'clock one of the boys asked a girl for dance and her escort passed a remark and asked him if he was a CCC man. The fellow said yes and the girls escort said that no CC man could dance with his girl. Where upon, an argument started and the place was in an uproar. We all started to fight. The Rangers were summoned and we had to jump out of windows and porches in order to get away from getting locked up. After that night we all were barred from going to the dance. What a break for us.

Another Fire

One night we got another notice to go to another fire. I at once said to myself: another few days of hell. We were told to bring our blankets and working clothes and axes and shovels. We started out on trucks. After an hour of truck riding we arrived at the lower base camp of the fire. We were fed and given food and started hiking up the mountain. It was starting to get dark and we were walking through woods and jumping over ditches and mud holes. Finally it got dark and we couldn't see a thing. We only had one lantern and the guides on the horse had it. We couldn't keep up with him and we didn't have no light. We were struggling over everything. We couldn't even see trees in front of us. Everybody was hollering for the guy to slow down. He did but we always lost him after a few minutes. Everybody was full of mud and water. I fell in a mud hole and had to get help to get out. It was real torture but I got a great kick out of it.  Watching everybody swearing and falling down every foot of the way. Some of the boys wanted to stop for the night and camp, but the guide said we had a few more miles to go so we kept going. We finally arrived at the fire base. It was another site to see the whole mountain all lit up by fire. It was after 1 o'clock so we were told to lay down and sleep until 5 o'clock to start fighting. That day plenty of food came up there thank God. And we ate plenty and we had good food for all the time we were there. We were there for five days and nights. We had the fire under control but we had to stay and see that it did not start again. We found out that there was nine different fires in the park at this time and all the camps were taking part in the fires.

July 14, 1933

Things went along pretty nicely for a few weeks. I got mail regularly, went to Fishing Bridge quite often, met girls, and had nice times. I was made foreman of a work gang which was not so easy, but I got along with the boys alright.

On Friday, July 14, the priest came to camp and we received Holy Communion which made me pretty good for the day. That night I received mail from friends & Marie G. Her letter was pretty sad and made me feel bad about it.

Things went along pretty nicely for the next 4 or 5 days. I received Holy Communion the following week also.

Then one night we were called out to go and fight a forest fire. Everybody was excited & everyone wanted to go, thinking it would be easy. But we found out different. We got there about 6 o'clock. The trucks couldn't go any further. We all got off & then the fun began. The fire was on a peak of a mountain called Pelican Peak. We started to climb hills and mountains which were very steep and we had to tie ropes to the trees so that the boys could climb. Boys were falling, one after another, exhausted from climbing. The air was getting thinner the higher we went.

Finally about ten o'clock after four hours of climbing, we arrived at the fire. We were very tired and hungry and thirsty. We had some water, but we had to be careful with it because there wasn't any up there in case we ran short. We were up 11,000 feet above sea level. Thousands of trees were blazing and plenty of smoke. It was some sight to see. We were put in squads and separated and we were shown what to do. Some were put on ax crews, some pick ax crews, some on road work, and I was put on the powder crew blasting rows of trees and rock. The noise was getting the best of me. We were hungry as hell, the food didn't arrive yet. They were sending it up on mules and pack horses also. We were getting one hour rest after working 6 hours then work again.

Finally the food arrived the next afternoon some of the mules fell over the mountain with food and all so we couldn't get much to eat. We were getting tired but we had to keep on working and I mean work. Some of the boys deserted the fire, they went back to the camp they hiked all the way back a distance of 24 miles but we had to carry on. The Rangers were always on top of us hollering their brains out telling us the quicker we got it out,  the quicker we went home. We prayed for rain but it never came. Finally after 3 days of hell and fire it started to rain and it fell like barrels at a time. That helped us a great deal. The fire was finally out and we started to go back to the camp hiking down the mountain again falling half asleep and dog tired. It started raining again, we got on the open trucks and was on our way to the camp soaked, half dead and almost asleep. We got some reception when we got back. After a hot shower and nice meal we went to bed and fell asleep like a log. The next day we took it easy.

I got a package from Kitty and it was a surprise to me, and a letter from home saying another package was coming for me. I got that package a few days later we had some tobacco from John,  Butch, and Joe Rox. It made me feel good to think that my friends still thought of me. On Saturday I went to the girls house as per usual and stayed over night and had a great time and we plan to go to California to visit her relatives the following week. She was going to get her dad's car. That next week we went to California. The next week we went to California. The country was beautiful. Every once in a while we stopped and admired the scenery or to have a bite to eat. All at her expense. What a day that was. I was never more satisfied in all my life. We finally got to her aunts after driving 10 hours. They was surprised to see us. At first they thought we were eloping and I nearly dropped from blushing. They owned a large ranch house which looked like a palace. They didn't have any children and they were very wealthy. All the time we were there, they treated us as if we were old friends. He even wanted to give me a horse for a present, but I told him I could not accept it because I couldn't take him back with me. We stayed there 2 days and they made us promise to come again before I left for New York. I like those people a whole lot. We had a nice trip home and was one day late at the camp. I went on as usual having sport galore.

Saturday, July 1, 1933

On Saturday July 1, we got paid and everybody was in high spirits. On Sunday, we all went to Livingston. The town was celebrating their 50th Anniversary. The town was in an uproar. They started off with a big Parade which consisted of all the cowboys and cowgirls in the nearby towns and their children, all on horseback from 2 yrs old and up. It was a treat to see kids riding horseback. Then a mob of Indians from a nearby reservation came down on old stage coaches & the young Indians were on horseback.

Then as usual there were some clowns or comedians in the Parade. Later we went to a restaurant and had a meal. Then we went to B Street and saw some of the girls we knew. We stayed there for a few hours the we went to the Rodeo with the girls. The fun and thrills I seen Rodeos in movies, but not like this. It started off by some of the Cowboys & Cowgirls giving some bareback riding which was beter than the circus riders. Then there was some bronco busting. Some of the cowboys were hurt very bad, busted heads & legs or ribs. Then there was steer roping & calf roping. Then steer dogging, then some relay racing on horseback. Meanwhile the clowns were always clowning. One of the clowns had his son there. His name was Little Hank Jr. He was the child wonder of the West. He also played in moving pictures. I got the biggest kick out of the kid than anything else in the Rodeo. Later I got a picture of the kid and he autographed it. Then the Indians came out and started going crazy, riding full speed & war dances & making all kinds of noises. Later, after some more races, the Rodeo was over. It was the best and the first one I ever seen.

We went to a hotel for the night, then we had supper. Then we went out and took the town over by storm. We went to a dance. It was swell, but not so good at dancing, but very sociable. I walked one girl to her ranch which was 2 miles away. On the way home, we stopped at the lakeside park. We had a nice time then finally we left for her home. I got back to the hotel at 3:30. The boys kidded me along as usual, But I didn't mind. It was worth it.

Next day we saw another parade; walked around town. Some of the boys got into an argument and cut some guys up and we got marked lousy by the town Police. That night at 6 P.M. we left Livingston to go back to camp. After 5 hrs. of mountain tiding and cold breeze, we arrived at camp.