Monday, March 30, 2009

Understanding Death

My little playmate died when I was about 4 years old. He lived across the street diagonally to us. Brent Giles went to bed one night and died before morning of croup. I didn't realize how life-changing that was for me until I was recalling some of my childhood memories. I remember how my parents told me; where I was; what thoughts went through my head after they told me; and how it made me feel. I'm sure my parents didn't know that I was listening to their talk about the death because I distinctly remember them speaking in hushed tones so I wouldn't hear. But, I'm glad I did hear some of it. My snoopiness saved me.

It wasn't as if I needed a grief counselor at age 4. But, I wanted to talk about it to make sure I wasn't going to go to sleep one night and disappear. I asked questions and my mom answered them the best she could. But, I can't say it didn't affect my life. Even at that young age, I understood that people don't live forever and illness can be serious. But, I think the thing that helped me most was that my mom told me Brent was in Heaven and we'd see him again. I believed her and I still do.

In second grade, my friend around the corner, Dwight Seiter, got hit by a car while on his bike and was in a coma for a long time. He laid in a room in their house after he left the hospital while his mother cared for him and hoped he would fully recover. We visited him and prayed for him and took him Tickle Bee game. I think the fact that he got well did a lot for me. I had forgotten about the loss of Brent by the time Dwight was hit. But the memory flooded back temporarily until Dwight recovered miraculously.

When Helen Call, the mother of a large family that lived next to Dwight was killed in a head-on accident coming home from a BYU basketball game in a snowstorm, it shattered our neighborhood again. Her daughter, Carolyn, my babysitter was in the car too, and had so much plastic surgery we didn't recognize her afterwards. When I got old enough to babysit I never fell asleep. I waited while sitting on the counter looking out the window for the safe return of my parents.

My little sisters were very young when my neighbor across the street, Jeff Horrocks, died in a motor cycle crash four blocks from home when I was in High School and I'm not sure they understood what happened. But, in a small town where everyone knows everyone, there is a lot of support when neighbors suffer loss. More than that, though, we were a community of shared faith where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints answered our questions and gave us hope even at a young age.

A lot of people think that little children can't understand death. But, when my Grandma Dayton died when I was in 2nd grade, I was so glad I was able to see her body lying there in her coffin. She had been in the hospital in Salt Lake and I needed to be able to say goodbye. I don't think I was able to see Brent after he died. I think it would have been better if I could have. It would have made me see that his spirit just left his body. I'm so grateful that I believe that little children will resurrected as Christ was resurrected, with the promise of being raised to adulthood by their own righteous parents in the first resurrection.

Friday, March 27, 2009


My mom was a dental assistant before I was born. She worked throughout her pregnancy with me. As soon as I was born, she stayed home with me. I love her for that. She was there for my first smile, my first words, my first step (that was a long wait because I didn't walk til I was 16 months old or older). My foot had to be put in a cast shortly after I was born because it was bent back so my toes touched my shin. I could talk a streak but couldn't walk for a long time.

All my friends, but two, had moms that stayed home. The kids who had moms who worked were still great kids. But, I remember being so glad to have my mom home when I was little. My brothers and sisters and I always yelled, "MOM" when we walked through the door. She got quite a kick out of that and often wondered what we would think if she wasn't there when we called. She tried an experiment and hid in the basement with the tape recorder running upstairs when she saw my brother Phil coming home. He walked in, called for her, called again and then said, "Hell! Damn!". We had many a laugh over that tape. He loved having a greeting from his mom just like we all did.

Funny how I still love to go home and the first thing I yell is "MOM?" Dad hates that, so sometimes I mix it up and call for him first. But, there is nothing quite so nice as having a mom answer you back. I gave my kids a gift they really appreciated and still do. I stayed home. It wasn't easy. Sometimes I had to shut myself in my room for some needed privacy. Sometimes I took long walks or drives when daddy got home. I was lucky there were no extenuating circumstances that caused me to have to work outside the home. Early on, we had some very lean years with one car and a big mortgage. But, life has been good.

My built in sun visor from overhead sun

As I was talking to my sister, Linda, about some of the things we remember playing as children, she reminded me of a game that led to the emergency room. We had a staircase that was walled on both sides. We got into and on cardboard boxes and rode them down the stairs. Do not try this at home. Linda wears a scar on the underside of her chin where the cement floor at the bottom hit her going at a high rate of speed. We were some crazy kids, I think.

I had lots of trips to the emergency room or rather, Dr.'s office to get stitched up. But, NO broken bones. That is amazing to me when I think that all of my kids except Cassie have had broken bones in their childhoods. When I was a child, my forehead had a built-in visor from swelling caused by bumps. It's as if I didn't get the memo that you can put your hands out in front of you to catch yourself. I just fell right onto my head. I know what you are's not nice of you to think I have brain damage.

I fell on my head while roller skating from grandma's house and got a bad bump. My friend Jeff pushed me off the porch and I hit my head. When in 6th grade, I was sliding on an ice runway we made for sliding on our shoes and I lost my balance and smacked my head so hard I was knocked out. That one blacked my eye for 2 months. I went from black, to blue, to green and then yellow. That one was the one that caused brain damage, smarty pants. I'm pretty sure that was a slight concussion.

I was watching a Shetland pony eat some grass and I was standing in front of his head looking down at him. He raised up to take a break and hit me in the chin. My bottom tooth went clear through my bottom lip and I bled like crazy. Speaking of Shetland ponies, I entered a little buckaroo rodeo when I was in grade school and was bucked off a pony going pretty fast and bucking hard. But, that time the ground was nice and soft.
And it should be noted that I stayed on til after the bell had sounded.

One time I was walking on top of a fence that was very narrow on top and I slipped and fell. I hung by my shoulder blade to the board at the top of the fence, knocking the wind out of me. As I gasped for breath, I maneuvered myself off the fence and dropped to the ground. I stepped on nails and got tetanus shots regularly. I got beaned by a softball that smacked me, where? Yup, in the forehead. I was pitching to one of the Bates boys in the vacant lot next door. He hit it and smacked my so hard I dropped straight bodied, right to the ground. I really do think I saw little birdies flying above me that day. For years after I stopped bumping my head, I still had people ask me what happened to make the bumps on my forehead.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Washers, Ringers, and little Tom Tinker

An angel food cake pan was a pretty good substitute for a real washing machine for my little brother, Phil. He LOVED washing machines. When he was three and I was five, Mom had to be really careful that he didn't climb right in the washer. He loved watching it agitate. We got a child's size washer for Christmas one year. I think it was mine but Phil thought it was his. We could put water in it, wash some doll clothes and watch the water drain into the sink out of a tiny hose.

I remember when we got a ringer washing machine to rinse piddly diapers. Mom used it to soak diapers and then ring them out and dry them on the line before she got a full load to wash in the automatic washer. We loved using the ringer aparatus. You had to be quick so it didn't pull your hand into the roller. Aunt Hazel got her whole arm pulled into one and was injured pretty badly once.

We didn't have a dryer. We hung the clothes on the outside line in the summer and we had a clothesline in the basement for the winter. My grandma Dayton had a dryer long before we got one. When the clothes were dry, it played chimes to the tune "How dry I am." My cousin Jane and I sang along..."How dry I am. How wet I'll be...if I don't find the bathroom key."

When David and Linda came along, our sleeping arrangements were pretty crowded. We were all sleeping in the north bedroom of our house. We had a set of bunk beds and a double bed in our room. I remember it being very fun having that many kids in one room. It was pretty hard to get us to go to sleep, though. Ask any of our babysitters. They could make us go to bed but they couldn't stop us from giggling.

Later, Linda and I moved downstairs to sleep and dad cut a door between the north bedroom and the hall by the kitchen. For many years before that we had an unfinished basement. Dad let us make chalk hopscothes on the concrete downstairs. We roller skated there on the concrete after we moved the pool table out. Later we laid tile down and dad painted a shuffleboard court onto the tile. Dad painted a hopscotch on the driveway for us in bright yellow paint like the ones at school.

I still remember how scary it was to be downstairs alone. We had a coal chute where they dropped coal to fuel our furnace. Looking into the furnace was really exciting. I remember dad putting coal into the furnace from the coal room and then he took out clinkers (burned up coal) with claw like tongs when the coal had burned. Dad made chrystal gardens from the clinkers for his students by putting ammonia, bluing, and salt on the klinker and then letting it grow.

We all knew the song sung in a round: Little Tom Tinker got burned by a clinker and he began to cry, "Ma, Ma" Poor little innocent boy.

Even in the moonlight she looked lopsided

I got glasses when I was a Junior in high school. The Dr. and my parents told me it would take a little while to get used to them. I wore them mostly on the top of my head because I felt like I was going to throw up when I was playing sports with them on. I felt like the room was tilted to the left. I told everyone that would listen to me. But, they all said, "You'll get used to them." So I tried to never take them off.

It wasn't til I nearly killed myself walking on the icy sidewalk from the high school to the seminary building that my parents believed me. Someone said why are you walking so weird. I felt like I was walking in the fun house at Lagoon where the mirrors were all goofy. The sidewalk looked like it banked downward on the left.
I had tried to get used to them for 3 months. We finally went back to Provo to the optician that made them. He had ground them totally wrong. He had one lens the reverse of what it should have been. I'll bet you can guess what he said to me. "Why did you wait so long to have them checked?" Here's an idea: Parents should listen carefully to their kids. They might have something important to say.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Forsey's, Phones and Fire

My dad and mom had a common cousin, Ray Moulton. My mom's maiden name was Moulton and Ray's mother was a Giles (my dad's mom's maiden name was Giles). He was married to a very interesting woman. She spoke with a Midwestern accent of some sort. I would guess it was close to a Minnesota accent. She dressed very different than Heber people. She wore dark baggy skirts and a jacket and sometimes a hat She had a twinkle in her eye like she knew something that no one else knew. She looked kind of like a bag lady with money. Ray and Sunny never had any children.

One time when came into town, she took my cousin Jane and I to Forsey's (five and dime) store to buy us something fun. I remember walking around and around the store trying to decide what we would like. We were about 8 years old. I remember that while we were with her, no store clerks followed us around to make sure we didn't steal anything. She never rushed us; just patiently let us look at every plastic figure and every jacks set and jump rope. We loved her. She was very funny. Her name was Sunny. I didn't know what her real name was until last year. It was Hazel.

Sunny walked us to the store which was only a couple of blocks away. We passed by Safeway, my dad's barbershop (a different one than the one I described in a previous post), Christensens clothing store, Heber Drug store and the bank building. When we turned the corner we passed the telephone company, J. Harold Call's law office and then the Wave office. That's where the local newspaper was printed. I liked to look into the telephone company office. They had windows top to bottom and we could watch the operators sitting side by side in front of a huge switchboard like Lily Tomlin had saying "Number please." They moved their hands up and down at an amazing rate of speed connecting and disconnecting callers by plugging in keys in the right spot to complete the call.

My phone number back then was 339. That was all. We would pick up our phone that had no dial on it. The operator would ask ask for the number and then say "Just a moment please". We'd then be connected to our party. To disconnect, all we'd have to do is hang up. My aunt Helen worked for the phone company when she was young. They had a policy that you could not be married and work there. She got married and hid the fact from her family and the public for months because she needed the work. Finally the story got out and she had to quit.

One night before I was born,(when my Aunt Helen was still employed there) there was a fire on the block I just described. The phone company stayed open all night to take emergency calls even though the water being sprayed on the fire was running down the phone company's walls. They needed to keep the power on to that building and keep the phones running so the emergency personnel could be contacted throughout the fire. My Aunt Helen got a commendation for her dedication.

Years later when I was in the 9th grade that building burned again. My dad was called to let him know his barbershop was in danger. We headed up to see if they would let us retrieve anything. It was too late. But we ended up watching it burn. We watched dad's shop go from looking like it might be spared to lighting up brilliant white as the floor dropped out of it before being engulfed in flames. All those stores had a common attic and floor. The fire burned to the bank building that had a wall of sandstone between it and the burning buildings. It was like fireworks on the fourth of July.

Unfortunately, I didn't handle the smoke so well. And when I think of the toxic chemicals that were released into the air from the aerosol cans of pesticides to the plastics and refrigerants, I am not surprised at my reaction. The next morning I woke up with giant hives that made my face swell beyond recognition. The bottoms of my feet were no longer flat, but convex so that my toes didn't touch the ground when I tried to walk. They looked like tiny sausages. I kept feeling like I was going to pass out. They hauled me in to Dr. Green's office and he gave me a cortisone shot and benadryl. I was swollen for about a week and couldn't go to school.

When I finally went back to school, I remember sitting in Health class scratching my arms and then my back and my legs. Pretty soon everyone around me was scratching their arms and their heads and the itching was moving from me throughout the class. They were having sympathy itching. It was an interesting lesson that day in Mr. Tolley's class learning about the power of a yawn or an itch. For years I was highly reactive to pesticides and would swell up when I was exposed to them. But, after about 10 years, I went back to my odd little self.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Stroll down Main Street

My dad was a teacher at my school. He had to stay a half-hour after school let out and then he went straight to his barber shop on main street. The pool hall or tavern was on one side of his shop. My dad used to take the used beer bottles home and sterilize them so we could bottle root beer on the 4th of July. He thought it was great fun to serve people home made root beer from beer bottles. On the other side of the shop was a deaf shoemaker who repaired shoes. Next to that was the Crown Cafe.

The best penny candy in town was at the Crown Cafe. It was in a glass case that had to be reached from the inside by the workers and put in little brown bags. They hated waiting on little kids that sat and stared at the candy while trying to decide what to buy. They had a huge assortment of nickel candy bars and nickel ice cream bars called milk nickels, creamcicles and fudgecicles. My favorite candy bars were Idaho Spuds, Cherry-a-let and Heath Bars. Some of the penny candy were really a bargain. They were two for a penny. I loved getting the wide taffy, six-lets, and cinnamon bears.

The Crown had an ice cream fountain with soft drinks and sodas but we never stayed there long. The best treat there was their homemade ice cream. I loved the lemon custard. But, when we wanted a soft drink, we went to the drug store. It was more friendly. Back then, drug stores had soda fountains like they had in "It's a Wonderful Life."

There were two drug stores in town. They didn't mind when we asked them to make us crazy drinks. There was the "crab-apple". That was cherry flavoring with soda water and a twist of fresh lime. A chocolate coke or chocolate root beer was fun. An Iron port was root beer with a little vanilla flavoring in it, I think. We also liked a fresh lime which was simple syrup, soda water and a twist of lime. Every soda was better with a package of peanuts or cashews to go with it.

We had a couple of public drinking fountains outside each drug store. I was getting a drink from one of them one day and a guy said to me, "Your going to get what I got if you drink from that fountain." I looked nervous as if I was going to get a dread disease. I said "What did you get?" He said, "Water."

We had two theaters in town. The Ideal theater was next to the Crown Cafe. The Avon was two blocks down. I remember going to a movie that I didn't know was a little bit too adult for me. The owner let me go in and sit down with my friends. Then she called my mom and told her I shouldn't be seeing that movie. So, she kept mom on the phone and then came and got me to tell me my mom wanted me on the phone. Mom told me to come home. I lived three blocks from the theater. My friends left with me but they were pretty annoyed. I still remember the name of the movie: "The Family Way." I was 10 years old.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Flooded with Fun

Irrigation day was as important as any holiday to us. When we were older, we helped the neighbors put the metal plates into the ditch that rerouted the flow into their yards and gardens. Horrocks had raspberry plants they watered; Giles had grass to water; Grandma Moulton flooded her yard. We loved romping through water in our swimming suits or shorts. Never mind that the water was cold enough to turn your lips blue in early summer. It was a time for moms to bring their kids together for fun for free. Mud and water were more entertaining than any expensive toy.

Later on in the day, neighborhood kids planned little parades where we'd ride bikes, pull wagons, twirl batons, and dress up in funny garb to walk down the street in parade regailia. We did circuses in our back yards. The only circus we had ever seen was on TV. We had seen lots and lots of horse parades. We also had two great parades every summer during fair days. Our town was the only town I know of that had the parade go down one side of main street and then when they reached the other end, they turned around and came back on the other side of the island; we got to see the other side of the floats and bands as they marched back from whence they came. We saw the exact same parade the next night but we were always there for both parades.

There was a little parade in Charleston on the 24th of July, Pioneer day celebration. Then everyone congregated at the Charleston park for a day of fun topped off by a fabulous fireworks show at the end of the day. They had a talent show where local talent was showcased most of the day. I remember doing a song and dance number to "By the Sea" on the flatbed truck they had fashioned into a stage.

Back to some of our summer pastimes, We made tents out of quilts hung over our clotheslines. Large rocks would hold the corners of the quilt out so we could get into our makeshift tent. We took old catalogs and cut out paper dolls. We cut out a mom and a dad and the children. They had lots of different clothes (We just cut out the same model in a different outfit) We spent hours cutting and laughing and pretending they had exciting adventures. We had shoeboxes of paperdolls by the end of the summer. We also played house where we were the characters with dramatic lives.

We had jack tournaments on smooth concrete porches. We played chinese jump rope and regular jump rope. We ran through sprinklers and went swimming at the Wasatch Motel swimming pool. Sometimes we'd go to the hotpots (Midway had two swimming pools, the Homestead and the Mountain Spa, that were warmed by geothermal hot springs) and swim.
We took swimming lessons every year at the Mountain Spa.

Every yard had a sandbox but Seiters was the biggest and most fun. More people could fit in it and they also had a huge swing set. We'd loosen our shoes and have a shoe kicking contest. Just as we reached the furthest point forward on our swing, we'd kick off a shoe as far as we could send it flying. Then someone else would take a turn. At the end, the person whose shoe was the farthest from the swing was the winner. We also jumped out of the swing to see who could land the furthest without breaking a leg. We had to time our launch at the most forward low point.

When it got later in the day we'd play "Anti-I-Over" at Seiters. They had a freestanding garage that we'd throw a tennis ball over. The kids on the other side would try to catch it. If they dropped it, they threw it back saying Anti-I-Over. If they caught it, they'd run around the other side of the garage and try to hit someone on the other side with the ball. Then they had to stay on the other team. The goal was to get the most people on your side.

Our parents knew we loved those games and we had to get our work done before we could go play. It was great incentive to work quickly. Softball games in vacant lots were an every-day occurance. We played Butts up, Flies out, and kickball, too. Night games started as soon as it was dark. We played dozens of hide and seek variations like No Bears are Out Tonight, Eggs and Bacon, Sardines,and Kick the Can. Summer was a time to celebrate.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I was FAST in kindergarten. I outran every boy. I had to. They'd kiss me if I didn't. Those were the days when kids could be kids.

I remember Mrs. Giles first grade class doing a Columbus Day program. I sang a duet with Bonnie Bingley. "Columbus sailed the ocean blue, in fourteen hundred ninety two."

Bonnie was shorter than me for a little while. So was Vanette Ryan. Then Bonnie grew. I was second shortest kid clear through high school. So, I got to play Michael in the play, Peter Pan when I was a Sophomore. I wore a wig because I had long hair. I looked pretty cute carrying a teddy bear and wearing footed pajamas.
On our performance for the elementary students, I flew off the bed toward the audience and my cable got caught on Wendy's cable. I began spinning around and around about eight feet off the ground while Wendy hung limply below me. Tiger Lily broke her ankle that day too when she fell off the stage.

I did a humorous reading " Eloise" at state drama meet and other meets around the state. I was a city child and I lived at the Plaza. I had a turtle named Skipperdee and he wore sneakers and ate raisens. I liked to scratch his back with a wire hanger...."

I was also a Cinderella type character named April in a skit for our Junior Prom assembly. I had a fairy Godfather that carried a violin case. I had two dimwitted step brothers and my fairy Godfather was so inept that he blew me up at the end and there was nothing left but "Pieces of April". That was our Jr. Prom themesong.

I was in drill team. We were the Waspettes. Vanette and I had to be at the front of two lines marching on and off the field. We tried having the tall girls lead. Vanette and I looked like two little kids chasing after the big kids saying "Wait for me." We were lovely. We wore go-go type black knee high boots and our hair had to be up in a bun. 70's all the way.

Our colors were Black and gold. Wasatch Wasps. Say that one a few times really fast. Our football stadium and track was out behind Cyril Hicken's barn. Air quality was tolerable unless the wind blew west. Fresh manure smell wafting through the air..... the smell of football and track meets.

I was in a barbershop quartet that was pretty good.We sang at the talent competition at the Utah State Fair after we won at the county level. We even sang on TV a couple of times on the Salt Lake KSL TV station; once for a March of Dimes Telathon and once on the Eugene Jelesnik, amature hour. We started singing when we were in the 5th grade. We had some pretty tight harmonies. We were 13 years old when we got on TV. Melodee Clark sang tenor. I sang lead. Jane Rasband sang baritone. Carolee Bethers sang bass. Merle Rasband, my aunt was our teacher and trainer.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


My first job that had a real employer and a twice a month paycheck was at the Hub Cafe. I was a bus girl. I was so nervous on my first day that I had to call in sick because I was throwing up. When I went in the next day, I learned my job and never looked back. One day, one of the customers reported that a waitress had spilled water on her. The cashier said, "Oh well, it's Sunday tomorrow, you needed a bath anyway."

My next job was a the Snow King Drive Inn. My least favorite question asked was, "What kind of shakes do you have?" I answered as fast as I could, "Chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, marshmallow,cherry, black raspberry, caramel, banana, rootbeer, ...." I know my sister Linda still remembers all of the flavors. She worked there too.

One day I finished my break and took my half finished milkshake with me into the back room to get a dust pan out of the broom box. I reached down and as I tipped so did the contents of my cup. I poured the whole thing in the box. I went into a full laughing attack that kept me in the back room peeling potatoes for a half hour after I cleaned up my mess. Everytime I thought I had control, I'd re-live the moment and begin laughing again with tears running down my cheeks.

One summer, I worked at the clothing factory (that used to be the pea factory) making t-shirts, or parts of t-shirts. It was assembly line style. My first day, I was being trained and I got the go- ahead to try it on my own. Surprised by the power and speed of the machine, the material surged forward and the needle on the big industrial sized machine hit my middle fingernail right square in the middle. It's good that fingers have bones so the needle didn't go clear through. And luckily the machine stopped dead so we could ease my finger off the needle. One thing worse than a needle in your finger would have been for it go several times into your finger. So my first day at work, I got sent to get a tetanus shot and went home early. That was a long summer but I made really good money once I got started.

Before the clothing factory, I worked at the Stardust Inn Best Western. I cleaned rooms at first and then took over the main office when the managers were away as well. One day I locked up the office and went to run some cash to the bank. The managers were out of town. I put a "Back Later" sign out and off I ran to the car. I had the car key in one hand and the "house key" in the other. The house key opened every room in the motel and the main office. I jumped in the car and the house key flew off the key ring, hit the inside windshield, and slid down the defrost vent on the driver's side. I had pretty small fingers but I couldn't reach the key. I couldn't even see the key.

Being young and dumb, I thought maybe it could be reached from down below, above the gas pedal. I got my head down there and looked up. I couldn't see what I was doing so I put my head clear down near the gas pedal. I could see a space up there. I reached up but to get a better angle, I moved the seat back and squirmed in so one leg was out the door and the other was draped over the seat. I was on my back with my head fully on the gas pedal. I thought I could see better if I moved my head under the brake. It was a tight fit but I moved so my forehead was under the brake and then the gas pedal flipped back up to upright position and wedged me there.

I tried to push the gas back down but the angle I was pushing from was so awkward I didn't have the leverage. I tried every-which-way to get out of that vise-like grip the brake had on my forehead. But, finally, there on main street, I resorted to the only thing I knew to do.....I started honking the horn. I honked and honked. Finally, the laundry lady heard me from way in the back and came to see whose legs were sticking out of the open car door. She saved my bacon because she had stayed late when everyone else had gone home. She hadn't locked up the laundry room so she had a spare "house key" since mine was swallowed up forever in a hungry defrost vent.

Susan's Female Crawlers

My most successful business was a worm business. I sold "Susan's Female Night Crawlers". I had some regular customers that stopped for fishing worms on their way to Strawberry Reservoir; some famous ones like Fireman Frank (surely you 50 somethings from Utah remember morning cartoons with Fireman Frank!); and lots and lots of drop ins. Everyone wanted to know how I knew my worms were female. I told them I turned them loose down mainstreet and the ones that went in and out of the stores were female. I let the males go on out of town. The females had a cuter wiggle.

Before the worms, I mowed lawns with my brother Phil. Believe it or not, I liked the worms better. This was not just my business. My name was on it but it was a family business. We watched Perry Mason after the 10:00 news on the days our friend's sheep pastures were irrigated. After Perry Mason was over, it was late enough to know the worms were out. It was great if there was a full moon. We could see the worms glistening in the moonlight halfway out of their holes. If you weren't quick enough, they'd be gone back down the hole in a flash. We hung our flashlights by a strap on our heads and carried a number 10 can with us to put them in after we caught them. Sometimes, you could get two at once if you were quick enough. The water was about an inch deep or less on the grass that had been nibbled down by grazing sheep that kept us company as we caught the worms. Only whispering was allowed besides the occasional bleat of a sheep.

We caught hundreds of worms a night. We kept them in a worm pit at our house and kept them cool with wet burlap. It was a great money earner at 20 cents a dozen at first then prices went up every year or so. We bought a tent trailer with our profits. It wasn't a fancy one but it was great fun camping in it.

The thing was, worming was ALL profit. We had only our labor to compensate. We used old vegetable cans we collected with wet peet moss in it to deliver the worms to the customers. They were nice and lively little squirmers. Phil loved to make the little kids scream by putting them on his tongue.