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Darwin Putnam's waterboy

Story ID:5860
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:retired
Story type:Story
Location:Hemet CA USA
Year:1938
Person:Chelsea Kansas Waterboy
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Darwin Putnam's waterboy


Yesterday when I was young--Chad

I was asked by Darwin Putnam, in about 1938, to come to his house and bring a bunch of I gal. water jugs and be the water boy for a threshing crew. Now the old pony wasn't in tip top shape but I started out.

These jugs were wrapped in burlap, then wet on the outside to keep them cool longer. I could get about four jugs on the saddle horn and I rode on out. I had to go down to the field and water the bundle men and then the hayracks crew and then the threshing crew itself and then back to the well to pump more water, and go again.

One of the bundle men had a bloody sore on his mouth and the rest of the crew told me that if they ever found out that he had drank out of their jug I was in big trouble, I marked his jug and I didn't mess up.

It was in July and hotter than Hades but the guys had to have water so I couldn't stop in the shade and cool off myself. When lunch time came I had never seen so much food in my life. The neighbor women had came over to help Darwin's wife prepare the food.

Keep in mind that there was no running water no refrigeration nothing but an ice box, for cooling the tea or milk, or water with their meal.

There was a beef roast, fried chicken Pork chops, ham, and that was just the meat. There were about twenty five guys with voracious appetites to feed and the tables were heaped with goodies. There were five kinds of pie there was Ice Cream Strawberry, Vanilla and chocolate. I ate until I thought

I was going to split open and had to start the watering all over again. This Ice cream was made and frozen by hand, no electricity.

I got my horse out of the barn and saddled her to start again. We worked until the sun set and that was about eight in the summer time.

When the job was finished and the fields were bare, the straw in a big straw stack, the wheat in the granary, Mr Putnam sat at a table in the shade of a tree and wrote a check to all of the workers.

My check for two days was for $1.50 and I took a safety pin and pinned it to the inside pocket of my bib overalls. This was the most money I had ever made working for some one else.

This was my first job--it's ironic but I ended my working days by being a water boy. I started as a water boy on a horse and ended being a water boy driving a water truck the difference was the first was in Chelsea, Kansas and the last in Long Beach Calif. I made .75 cents a day to start and when I retired I was making 140.00 dollars a day.
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