Working for a living

Below is another installment from Gramp Spaulding’s writings. I’ve always admired people who make a living with their hands and wit.

Many of the people and places Gramp mentions here I remember. It’s fun to recall those simpler times. In the summer of 1968 Danny Petraska and I worked at Smith’s mill that Gramp mentions. That was quite an experience for two high school kids.

“I used to haul sawdust to our farm and to other people in town by the truck load. We had to shovel it on and off after school. Donald Davison helped me some. We got the sawdust that time at Edward Donnis’ in Londonderry, down past Smith’s Mill on Old Bondville Road. Over the years I hauled sawdust from Smith’s Mill in Londonderry and Cobb’s Mill later years. I had got the sawdust and owed for it at Pete’s. He was a very great man in my book. One time he was having a get-together at his home for his help. I happened by with a Christmas card and the sawdust money in it. He said he thought he would take a round out of me because I had been there to give him some money. Joking, I said it would take him and all his men if he planned to do that. As I said before, he was a great man in my life.

Gramp headed to the American Legion. Photo provided.

“Another place I hauled from was Arthur Fabricius at the foot of Huntley Mountain. He always let me be on the honor system too. He was a great man. Also hauled many loads from his mill. Also hauled from the P.K. Brown Mill in Proctorsville. I liked P.K. too.

“Other mills were Crossmans, Henning Fabricius, Amsdens, Tournquist, Chester Wood Products, Gates, Great Northern and Fourniers. Hauled it to the Town Farm, Jewetts, Thompsons, Grampland Farm, Gassetts, Weathersfield, Brook Field in Grafton, Harts in Chester and Metcalfs in Baltimore.

“In the late 50’s I took down a large barn at the Stewarts on Main St. in Chester. My Dad helped, pulled it down with a pickup truck. I also took down a house on the West Side of Leslie Allen’s Garage (now Knock Out carpet). It was the Chase place owned by Mr. Allen. We used the old lumber for camps and repairs on the farm. In the 60’s took down a large barn at the Martin homestead on the corner of Main and Cobleigh St. in Chester. The cupola had to be saved. Lowered it down with ropes and had to save the slate. I found the best way to take that off was to hitch on to some rafters and pull the roof down in a section. That way it did not break many and they were down near the ground to work on. Took the Richardson barn down. That was next to the Martin place, next to the old Adams Funeral Home on Main Street. The snow had taken down the cattle barn at the Chester Town Farm on Route 10, east of Gassetts, along with another building, the hay barn. So we cleaned that up also. Took down a small barn on Route 10 near the Fuller homestead.

“Took down a large barn on White Hill and Coach Road, owned by Fred Thomas. Used the wrecker on this one. As I remember, Fred used the lumber for other buildings and for firewood.

“I ran a wrecker from 1957 to 1982. Hauled wrecked cars and trucks, moved buildings and railroad tracks, some flat bed trailers, and long building timbers. On the buildings we would jack them up and put two long poles under them and attach wheels to the back and hitch the front up to the boom, and head out. Very interesting. One time I had a backhoe on the wrecker going from Bartonsville to Bondville, Vt. Well, going down Huntley Mountain, it kinda got to pushing me along and I almost lost it and the wrecker. That was a ride I never will forget. I don’t think anyhow! But I made it. And one time I was moving a dump truck up Huntley Mountain. Well, about half way up the mountain the front wheels of the wrecker lifted up a little. I had it chained pretty tight so made it again. I remember some of those trips was good ones and some would be better not to remember!”

The 2018 Chester Historical Society is for sale at: Stone House Antiques, Chester Hardware, Vintage Vermont, Phoenix Misty Valley Books, Erskine’s, Lisai’s, Chester Town Hall, and the Framery of Vermont.

This week’s old saying. “Burma Shave.”

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