When relieved at Rialto, I was sent to San Dimas, a little town about forty miles north of Los Angeles. This would be a permanent job for me and paid $50.00 per month. There were three of us at this station: the agent, a Mr. Rhoads, and an apprentice operator, a lad by the name of Jones. I didn't get along too well with this young man as he was several years my senior and was also married. He was quite jealous of me on account of me having a better job and being so much younger, but that wasn't my fault and I didn't worry too much over it.
I liked the little town very much. There was a large orange and lemon packing house there, it being in the middle of the citrus belt, and was quite a busy place.
I found a room in a rooming house up stairs over the local pool hall. This room cost me $1.25 a week, and was run by the wife of the man who ran the pool hall. It being handy to the pool hall, I used to spend most of my evenings downstairs in the pool hall. It was here I learned to play poker. There was a pretty rough bunch of men hanging around there, and was not too good for a young fellow away from home for the first time.
I found a good place to board at the local bakery, which was run by a German couple. They were very nice people and spread a table family style, and they served very good meals at $4.00 per week. They had about twenty boarders. The place was very popular, and I enjoyed my meals at this place very much.
On my first pay day after graduation, I got my bonus of $85.00. And with my first month's pay of $50.00 I felt pretty rich. I sent a money order for $40.00 home to Mother and made a down payment on a new L. C. Smith typewriter.
On Sundays when the weather was nice, instead of attending church, the boys I ran around with would chip in and we would buy a keg of beer and take it down in the canyon at the edge of town. We would player poker and drink beer all day, and this was what we called a good time.
A short time after I went to work at this job, the apprentice, Jones, quit this job and went to work in the bank, where he could make more money. I didn't miss him much, as we didn't get along together any too well. The young boy that took his place was kind of a wild kid several years younger than I was. He wasn't very responsible, and had a bad habit of raiding cellars at night and would bring in the loot, consisting mostly of bottles of beer. I would never go with him, but I do remember on several occasions helping him drink the beer. He didn't last very long on the job. I do not know ever happened to him after he left the Railroad.
Things ran along pretty smooth with me. I liked my job and was learning something new everyday.
There was a long passing track along side the main line. I remember one time a carload of lumber was spotted on this track, and I wanted to move it down the track a little ways. I got pinch bar and got the car started, and then climbed upon the car to wind up the brake when the car had gone far enough to suit me. The brakes wouldn't work, and the car kept going faster and faster; and I couldn't stop it, so I finally gave up and jumped off the car. The car went on down to the end of the passing track, where a new derail had just been installed to keep cars from going onto the main line. It was a good thing the derail was there, for this car of lumber hit the derail and overturned, scattering lumber all over the place. I was really scared, and I thought this would be the end of my railroad career. I got off pretty light that time. I had seven demerit marks placed against my record.