Old Timer Tales
001 The Swamp
This is a Lee Tegu and I story. We used to go down to the railroad transfer station, just below the engine house. It was visable off the south side of the old "Dry Bridge". As soon as you crossed the bridge you were considered to be in "Stoneville". This was named after Dwight Stone would operated an early lumber mill there and employed quite a few people. Stone built many of the houses in that area for his workers!
The transfer station was were freight cars would be stores that had to be sent to another location. The workers group cars together that had to go to the same location and prepare them when an engine was coming to pick them up.
The drive-in theater on South Court Street would be to the right of this picture and the swamp I am going to talk about is to the left of the row of railroad cars. I have a couple of stories about the swamp. Neither are all that interesting, but what the hell ... this is about old timer tales and I'm an old timer so bare with me.
The first swamp story is about me and an old classmate John Thornton. When we were in high school John had an old 38' Dodge and we would pitch together an come up with 50 cents which we would turn into a few gallons of gas and ride all night long, with plenty of gas left over!
The was a turn off Court street just below the old Cottage hospital that took tyou back along the tracks to the swamp. John and I would con somebody into buying us a six pack od beer and off we would go with our fish poles, worms, and a Coleman lantern. This would be about 9 oclock in the evening ... a nice warm summer evening, I might add.
This was before the drive-in was built. We would fish by the hour, or until the beer was gone, which ever came first. And, sometimes, we even caught a horned pout, or two.
The other swamp story is about Lee and I. We constructed a raft out of material we found in the empty freight cars. We had given up the wild dream of finding something valuable in them. Most of what we fould we remnants of whatever had been shipped in them and some newspapers hoboes used for bedding.
But, occassionally we would find pieces of wood that could be used to make our raft. When we would find something usable we would store it in the bushews on the south end of the swamp, in the bushes. We didn't want anyone walking away with our building material.
We finally gathered enough lumber, etc, and built our raft. It wasn't the most sea-worthy vessel you have ever seem, but it took us around the swamp a couple of dozen times before it finally went down and we had to swim ashore.
It was a tricky vessel to navigate. First we would push it out into the water from our hiding place. Then we would jump on. It would immediately sink but the water wasn'y more than a foot deep there at the edge of the swamp. Two opposite corners of the raft would take on the water. The other two stayed out of the water. I was taller and a little bit heavier than Lee so I would walk about 3/4 of the way out toward the dry corner which would lower a bit. Lee would step onto the other dry corner, near the tip. It too would lower a little and the two wet corners would raise just out of the water and we were high and dry and ready to depart. It was a tricky journey poling around the swamp. Once in a while the pole would stick in the muddy bottom and one corner or another would take on water. ... usually mine!
But we were young and adverturesome and a little water wasn't a concern. I imagine the rickety old raft is still on the bottom of the creek. I think the wash-off from Wal-mart empties into the creek now!