Early Memories of Robert H. “Bus” Drew

“Early Memories of Robert H. Drew (Buster) on the farm in Fort Canyon, Alpine, Utah

Recorded for his children prior to his death in 1988.  (Although not necessarily in the proper sequence)

Bus’ father, Charles Harrison Drew called him “Buster Blue Eyes” and the nick name stuck.

Robert H. DrewRemembering a scene from his youth, Bus mentioned climbing up a pear tree, slipping and hanging head down: “My two grandpas were nearby and let me scream a while before they rescued me. I say two grandpas because his brother Bill and Grandpa looked so much alike I could hardly tell them apart. Uncle Bill owned the next farm up the canyon.”

“I was with Grandpa and Uncle Otto cutting hay on what we called the little bench. When evening came, they put me on Old Nig, a very tall horse in the team of Nig and Bess, who were inherited by Otto when Grandpa died. I was so small I couldn’t hang on and Nig dumped me in the oak brush and skinned me up.”

“Two cousins, Frank and Bert Bennett, sons of Silas, Mother’s brother, took me for a ride in the wooden coaster wagon pulled by a billy goat. He was an ornery cuss who would butt or bite every chance he got. He ran away with me in the wagon, tipped it over and I got skinned up. This goat loved to catch cows and butt heads with them.”

“Being somewhat of a runt, the snow in winter usually came about to my waist.”

“Mother used to hook the team on a log and drag it from the house to the road to break a trail to school.”

“The first Christmas I remember was 1923 or 1924. I remember the dining room table piled high with presents. I got a little steam engine that ran on kerosene. I got three or four years’ of pleasure out of it. At a later Christmas, I got a sled which mother brought home from Salt Lake with her cousin Dewey Bennett. Being early, they tried to make me believe it was for Dewey’s kids. I wasn’t having any of that because he wasn’t married and didn’t have kids. Somewhere along the line at that time I received a red steel coaster wagon.”

“My; first gun (BB) came when I was six. I was told to be careful and not shoot an eye out. It was supposed, and did, hold several hundred BB’s. Dumb me, I tried to put them in the barrel which would hold about thirty or forty. The first shot was like a shot gun and I was picking up BB’s for an hour. I later learned where the magazine was.”

“When told not to shoot an eye out, I was holding it with the stock on the ground and pointed up toward my head. I said it wouldn’t go off and, to prove it, I banged the butt down hard. It went off and the BB hit me in the right eye socket between the top lid and the eyebrow. I learned. I thought I was gun-wise because I had already been shooting squirrels with .410 ga. shotgun for some time.”

“These toys served me for years and, as I remember, the wagon and sled were still around when I went into the service. They were also the instruments of some hard knocks. If going to fast and making too short a turn, the wagon would roll over with you under it… ouch. The sled could go so fast you couldn’t stop for obstructions – you bailed out or caught a head on.”

“Our recess and noon hours in grade school in the winter were taken up with sledding down the school house hill or sliding on slippery ice slides.”

“Much of my summer time was spent herding cows at the edge of our hay fields, picking fruit, weeding gardens and fruit and playing when I could.”

“Having a nice stream of water running through the farm afforded many hours of fishing, swimming etc.”

“In my younger years, I built many miles of roads with my toys. Bridges, dugways , pondways and mines to haul ore out of. I caught many lizards and called them dragons. Many happy hours were spent on these pursuits.”

“About this time Maud and Bess, our team of horses, were born.”

Mother married Frank Lamb when I was 8. This was okay with me until he whacked me without cause. I never could make myself forgive him, although he was good to me mostly, and having a large store of self-learned knowledge, he helped me a lot with my school work.”

“The night they were married a group of people from town came and gave the a shivaree. This consisted of a lot of noise and teasing remarks. After an hour or so of this I asked to take a gun and run them off. I’d had all the racket I wanted.”

“When I was four or five, we lived for a time with Aunt Beatrice Logie and Uncle Fred and Aunt Jo Bradley in American Fork. Sister Golda had spinal meningitis and was being treated. When the medical doctors gave up hope, Dr. Grant, a chiropractor, asked to try. He came to the house five or six time a day to give treatments. She finally overcame the malady.”

“One day, mother sent me to meet another aunt who was bringing us some fish. As small as I was, they almost drug the ground. Part way back home (half a block) one of them flopped. I dropped them and took flight. Mother had to go get them.”

“Another time my aunt gave me a sandwich I didn’t want. Insisting I take it, I told her I might meet some hungry kid on the way home and I would give it to him.”

“Somewhere about this time we went to American Fork with Uncle Si Bennett who had an open rag top model T. On the way home, I was told to sit down or I would fall out. No way. When we hit the railroad tracks at 1st North and 1st East, out I went. I remember rolling up the road a ways then running after them for fear I would be left behind.”

“I especially remember one Thanksgiving. Uncle Otto had won a large turkey at some dance or celebration in town, and invited a bunch of people for dinner. A school mate, Jack Smith, and I each had a drumstick for dinner then proceeded to get the wash tub for a drum. Drove the folks crazy.”

“About this time, mother and others were having a legal battle over water rights and she had to leave us kids alone and go to court. One evening it was near dark and sister Golda filled the gasoline lamp (no electricity then) and evidently spilled some or the lamp leaked when she pumped it up because it caught fire and set her clothes on fire. She ran outside with the lamp and threw it, then started running around. I finally tackled her and threw her on the ground and rolled her in a blanket to put out the fire. I then grabbed a can of Raleigh’s ointment and smeared her face and hand that were burned. I then walked half a mile to the nearest phone to call a doctor. He gave me credit for saving a scarred face, although her hand was badly scarred on the back.”

“One day mother and I were on the hayfield when we ran into a big old six foot rattle snake. Mother, not being afraid of much of anything, tied into the snake with a pitchfork. Finally ended up cutting it in two about 16 inches behind the head. This allowed it to jump about three feet every time it would strike. She finally got it pinned down, then sent me back to the house for the shotgun so she could shoot it. She was a good shot having shot rabbits, squirrels, hawks etc.”

“I remember the long winter evenings when mother and Uncle Otto, her brother, would tell me stories and read to me, and taught me to read, tat, sew and do fancy work so they could have time to themselves. We played cards a lot and mother taught me to play cribbage before I started school. This sure made math easy for me. To tat we put four or more nails in the end of a spool and used string, yard, strips of cloth etc., and pulled loops over the nails making a heavy strand. These we sewed together in a spiral to make throw rugs.”

“We had about the best library in town and I read Zane Gray, Jean Stratton Porter, James Fennimore Cooper, Will Jankes and many other authors by the eighth grade.”

“Many of my leisure hours in the summer were spent with cousins who were the grand children of Granddad’s brothers and sisters. The boys built coaster cars similar to cub scout coaster cars and coasted won a hill at Uncle Dewey’s. I also had a tricycle on which I turned the frame over to make a hot sheel. The boys all had flippers (sling shots made from inner tube rubber, a tree crotch and a piece of leather). I got quite proficient with them because I used them more than the others who had to return home in the fall for school. I also got pretty good with a sling like David used on Goliath. They were more powerful, and shot a larger projectile a greater distance. None of us were ever successful with bow and arrows.”

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Copyright (c) Lee Drew 2013-01-07 08:00:00
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