Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Snow in July

-----or the new frontier. Mother and Dad were maried. They moved into the Clinton Court apartments then with me on the way they moved to a small house on Waverley just a few blocks from our later Isaacs and Bellevue location.

The 1920's was an era of opportunity. The Great Gatsby. The sky's the limit. The young couple moved to Livingston, Montana.

Dad rented a building and bought a truck. He was in the scrap metal and animal skins business.
His cousin Bud in Bozeman and his Uncle Ike in Misoula were his support system buying whatever he produced so that he could keep his capital rolling.

These were good times. Prohibition did not mean inhibition. Bathtub gin and and speakeasys were in the language of the day. While Dad was on the road, Mother kept track of the "shop"
as I bounced up and down in a canvas chair hung on a spring from the ceiling.

Livingtston is known as the gateway to Yellowstone Park and the family would gather at the park for picnics.

On a happy fourth of July the table was set up with the bowls of food, everyone sat down to the picnic feast when suddenly the sky darkened. First it was a few flakes then a blizzard began to form. End of fourth of July picnic.

Like a portent in a novel the screwball weather heralded the beginning of the Grest Depression.

What a time of falling prices and unemployment. Mother reported that a grocery store advertised 12 loafs of bread for a dollar. When that failed to bring in customers, the store revised the ad to a "baker's dozen" (13 loaves for a dollar). Few people had the money to buy anything.

Prices of commodities dropped from hour to hour. Dad would come in from a successful day on the road buying skins only to find that the price had fallen below what he had payed for them.

On top of this Dad contracted an infection of the adnoids. Today, an antibiotic would cure the malady in a few days. At that time not far progressed from the era of "bleeding" nature had to take its course. Weight down fifty pounds an SOS was sent to Grandfather B who drove from Walla Walla to pick up the ailing Israel.

Maybe it was his mother's chicken soup or better medicine over seversl weeks the patient improved.

Meanwhile back in Livingston, the mean old landlord was not receiving his rent and a sheriff's seal was put of the door of the shop locking Dad out from his inventory and eqipment.

Mother went to the bank to secure a loan of $250.00. When the banker asked what was available to secure the loan, Mother pulled off her wedding ring. The banker was aghast. He informed her that he was not running a "hock shop"and had no idea of the value but she persisted and the banker put the ring in his safe for collateral and gave her the money.

More on Montana to come

2 Comments:

Blogger Mike Barer said...

What an increbible story I want more soon!

9:44 AM  
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