Times were tough on 9 mile road in the thirties. The amenities we take for granted now were non-existant or rare. One of the things that we take for granted now is electricity. Our whole lives are ruled by it, and when is disappears for a few days, we are in trouble.
Art Specht and his family had electricity on 9 mile, but were loath or unable to pay for it. It was hard times during the depression. One trick the locals used was bypassing the electric meter with pennies. At times this had the unfortunate side effect of burning down the building the meter was attached too. This was how Mr. Arnold lost his chicken house. (and chickens.)
The electric company periodically sent someone down the road at night to see who was using electricity, but the neighbors were usually on their guard. A car coming down 9 mile road at night was a rare event, and the word spread fast that he was coming. Grandma would kill the lights, and take Marcy and Boot to hide in the closet and say a few ‘Our Fathers’. That was Ma’s answer for all disasters. Few people were caught.
Well in the end, Pa’s chickens survived, but only till it was their turn for Sunday dinner, which was always chicken and noodles.
marcy and greg
Art Specht was a man of many dimensions. He was the Go To Guy. He knew a lot about things, including human nature. Not many things got past him.
When I was in my ‘teens, Pa was building a house up the street. We lived on Cole Road in Amelia, Ohio, at the time. Pa had built our house and eventually the next three up the street. He always moved into the one he just finished and started on the next one, usually next door.
One day some kids broke into his house that was under construction and stole a few boxes of roofing nails. These were big boxes, not the little things you got at Home Depot. They spread the nails into the driveways of at least 7 of our neighbors, including us. During the next couple of days, everyone in the neighborhood had flat tires. It was an epidemic. We had at least 3.
So Pa spotted these 2 local kids walking down the street and somehow he knew they were the guy, as Monk would say it. He asked them to come in and help him with something, He had the shoeprints of the perps on the dusty floor. He asked them to go over to the other side of the room and get something for him, and he compared their footprints. It was them alright.
In the end, they cleaned up all the nails they could find in all those driveways, and their father paid for all the tires. (You can bet those kids paid for them in the end, though.)
Those kids life of crime continued for a short while though. They stole of bunch of concrete garden statues from a local gardening place, but proudly displayed their catch on their front porch, easily seen from the road. They didn’t get away with that either. However those kids did turn out alright, and lucky for them as a life of crime for them would have brought them disaster…. They couldn’t get away with anything. Anyway, another case solved… not much got past Art Specht.
greg and marcy
Peggy planted some bulbs in Marcy’s yard about a month ago, and they have now become the centerpiece of the neigborhood. Mom says the 6 homeless bulbs liked to be planted next to each other in a circle. They certainly look at home now. Pretty spectacular! Kind of reminds me of the jungle, adding a tropical flair to an otherwise typical Ohio yard. I had some misgivings during the planting, but that was laid to rest with the emergence of the Fabulous Foliage.
In other news, Mom was about to dig up the tomato plants for the year, till she noticed 2 small tomatos struggling to grow. She felt sorry for them, so they are spared till they get plucked.
That’s all the news for now!
When Ma married Art Specht, he moved her out to the country. She was a city girl not used to a primitive existence. And since he was an over the road bus driver he left her to her own devices for days at a time. She had a stove, but winter just started and they had no stove pipe. She didn’t let that bother her though, the neighbor had a good stove pipe. He had a bakery in town and just came home for the summer. So Ma and Flo approriated the stove pipe. Things did good till summer came, and she had to put it back, but couldn’t get it back up so just left it on the porch. When the neighbor got back he hit the roof, but Ma’s baby was warm for the winter!
PEDRO: Wake up Rosarita, I am home with the fish. Our bambinos are hungry and I am tired!
ROSARITA: Oh, Pedro, I missed you. But I must have a cup of coffee now. Do you think this baby is too dark?
PEDRO: Naw, he will fade. You worry about the dumbest things. Do you remember you promised when I started my fishing business, you would cook dinner. The work is hard and I am no longer young.
ROSARITA: Oh, Pedro you are young to me. Would you mind getting my coffee, I have this terrible headache. I am exhausted because my sister Margarita came over. I had to scream at the little ones all day to make those donkeys for the touristas. They finished twenty of them, then they strung peppers for awhile. You know how the little ones are, they have been fighting constantly. Margarita is passed out over in the corner, she had too much tequila. But I got all the gossip before she passed out. I had to scream at the little ones all day just to get my coffee. Why don’t we just send Paco on his donkey to get us a pizza?
PEDRO: But what about the fish?
ROSARITA: Put them in the garden, they will make the cactus bloom.
PEDRO: You know Rosarita, I am very tempted to get you a green card and send you to Texas. There are many senioritas in Tampico who would LOVE to cook my fish!
ROSARITA: Cook your goose, don’t you mean?
ALL SING HAPPY BIRTHDAY AROUND THE TABLE
Rosarita and Pedro smile and soon forget their troubles. Pedro takes the tequila and takes a big swig.
PEDRO: Rosarita since it is our birthday, I will cook the fish.
ROSARITA: Oh, gratias Pedro, I will knit you a serape while you cook.
PEDRO: After supper, call the neighbors and we will have a fiesta!
ROSARITA: I will call the little ones to get their work done. Jacinta, come feed the goats. Soon they will be fat enough for the pot!
JACINTA: I will not eat goat Mama!
ROSARITA: Then you my dear will starve to death! What do you think goats are for?
JACINTA: I named this one Horhay and that one Jennifer. I will live on chili peppers until I am big enough to get a green card and go to Texas.
ROSARITA: Unduly, unduly, is Chico here yet? Margarita is starting to stir.
MARGARITA: Where is the tequila? Pedro has come home, eh? Then I bet Chico is here too. Oh, my head!
ROSARITA: Wake up Margarita! We are going to have a fiesta! Chico is here, he is hungry, you can eat fish with us.
CHICO: I must eat now Margarita. I have to fix our donkey cart today or you will have to carry all those donkeys to market on foot.
MARGARITA: What else is new?
CHICO: That is enough Margarita, keep complaining and I will just lay down and take a siesta. Then I just might go to the cantina and pinch a few senioritas.
MARGARITA: I am going home and make myself beautiful for the fiesta! There are many more fish in the sea than you, you know! I just might get to dance with a young cabalero tonight!
CHICO: Keep sucking on that tequila bottle and we will make you the hat in the Mexican Hat Dance!
Today is Monday, the start of a new week, and I am a very busy person. Grandpa and I have to do our exercises.
First we do our sitting exercises. We sit and we sit and sometimes we do jaw exercises while sitting. I’m better at the jaw exercises than Grandpa, I think because I’m younger.
The next big highpoint in our day is THE MAILMAN! We do our walking exercises going back and forth to the window to catch sight of him. Then when he comes, I do my TO THE BATHROOM walking and Grandpa does his TO THE MAILBOX walking.
Next we have our card game—–to improve our memory and exercise what? Of course, our jaws!
Then it comes time to select dinner! Whatever shall we cook? I’ve already cooked his goose in the card game! You know, of course we must cook fat free, so we make some hot cheese and salsa dip to tide us over until we decide.
We finally, after more jaw exercises came up with “hot poppers”.
Dinner was good, a bit hot, but none the less wonderful. You see, old people have to increase every experience, because they suffer from OLD PEOPLE BURNOUT.
Now, I want you to understand how difficult it is to squeeze in a letter to you! But you are an amazing grandchild, truly.
It’s very difficult for us to keep up with the Surgeon Generals messages, but so far so good.
I had to put this letter on the computer because, we are NEW AGE GRANDPARENTS.
Your Loving Grandmother Marcy
My oldest son Greg, who is extremely excentric, decided it was time I started using a computer. I had this perfectly good typewriter, although my hands are arthritic it worked for me. I just had to add a footnote to all my correspondence informing the recipient that one finger always hit the letter (D) as I typed, making it necessary to strike all the letter (D’s), before reading, except for the words that were spelled with (d’s), in which case there would be many more (d’s).
He left me with one page of instructions and all this fascinating equipment. It took me fifteen minutes to realize the chair was squeaking, not the mouse!
Words like “the net”, “the web”‘ I’m thinking “the fish”‘ “the spider”!
Anyway, I perservered. I didn’t come up with much, but I know one thing, life is not simple!
First it was the self-service gas pumps. I thought well, I’ll just wait and get gas in the morning. Two nights of sleeping in the car and—–I learned!
I am in the winter of my life, I DO NOT NEED TO STAND ON THE EDGE OF THE CENTURY I AM ABOUT TO DEPART!
I arose from my chair an looked at my son and said “honey, pull the plug”.