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Story ID:9612
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Location:Jamesville New York USA
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By Fred Wickert

It was winter in 1945. We lived on a small farm outside of Syracuse, N.Y. with a Jamesville address. Dad drove a 1935 Chevrolet half ton pickup truck he had built wood side racks on.

I had a younger sister named Priscilla. I also had two older sisters, Ruth and Helen, but they were never around until night time. They were high school girls with all sorts of mysterious after school activities. Priscilla and I were at home after school. Priscilla helped Mom mostly, while I was assigned regular farm chores.

Sometimes Dad went somewhere with the truck and he usually took me, but sometimes he took both of us. Now, I know girls are supposed to be dainty and all, but Priscilla was not at all dainty. She had big bones and muscles and was almost as big as I was. For a girl she was really strong.

One day Dad had to go somewhere to get something in the truck and he took both of us with him. We had a lot of snow and in those days plows did not clean the roads as well as they do now. They did not use salt on the roads then either. They had two men stand in the back of a dump truck with shovels. The men left a streak of sand spread across the road every few feet. That gave the wheels a little more traction. It was not unusual for the truck to do a little slipping and sliding, and occasionally even do a 360 in the middle of the road. There was no such thing as CB radios or cell phones in those days.

We were moving along as we normally did that day when suddenly something put us in a skid. Dad did all he could, but the passenger side of the truck ended up in the ditch and the truck refused to drive up out of it. In those days 4-wheel drive existed only on Army Jeeps. Dad got out and looked. He told us to get out. We looked too. Dad had a plan. He would be behind the wheel. Priscilla and I were to get behind the tail gate and as he tried to pull forward we were to push as hard as we could.

After three or four tries Dad rolled down his window and as he gave it the gas, he yelled Push darn it, push! Push we did, just as hard as we could. Dad started to get mad. He got out and came back to look again. Why aren’t you pushing, he wanted to know. We told him we were pushing as hard as we could. I was even beginning to sweat.

Dad stood there for a minute. Then he said, get out of the way. We stepped back. Dad got in the middle of the tail gate, reached down and got a good hold and then he suddenly jerked the rear of the truck off the ground. He swung it to the left toward the road and dropped it. The back wheel was no longer in the ditch. He brushed off his hands and then said, “Get in the truck!”

Priscilla and I got in the truck. Dad got in, started the engine, put it in reverse and backed up. The wheels spun a little but the front wheel came up out of the ditch. He stopped the truck, changed gears and down the road we went.

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