Along the Santa Fe Chapter 2 page 4
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[1912 - 1914] Fullerton and Two Sons

I remember well the day I landed at Fullerton to report for duty. The telegraph office was upstairs over the office, in a tower. There were three tricks, as the telegraph office was open all night. There was a day towerman, who handled the tower from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. But the two night operators had to handle the tower in addition to the telegraph work. This tower had 36 layers, which were worked by electricity, and would work the switches and signals for the trains coming in and out of the yard. I gave one look at the switch board and felt like turning back. I had never been in a tower before and didn't know what I was going to do. I was about half scared to death, but I thought to myself, others have learned to handle the job, so what others learned to do, I could learn also. So I took off my coat and went to work. The day towerman was a nice fellow, an ex-brakeman who had lost an arm, and he stayed with me two nights showing me how to operate the tower, and after two nights he left me alone on the job. I got along fine and really liked the work. It was quite interesting; a train coming into the yard would touch off a buzzer when they reached the yard limits, and then I would pull the levers to line up the signals so they could come on in to the station. And freight trains switching in the yard would whistle for the different tracks.

We found a house close to the station and settled down in our new location. We made a number of new friends, and we liked Fullerton very much. On Sundays we would ride the train over to Santa Ana and attend the Salvation Army meetings, usually spending the day there. I would bring back a bunch of War Cry's with me and sell them in Fullerton and Anaheim.

We got to attending the Methodist Church a few times, and after about a year of going back and forth from Fullerton to Santa Ana, we finally dropped out of the Salvation Army and joined the Methodist Church.

On October 10, 1912, Our second child was born, a little baby boy. We named him Harold. He was a sweet baby and we loved him very much. He was only with us for five months. Mother was visiting with a school girl friend of her's in Burbank, California, and had taken little Alice and Harold with her, and while there, little Harold took sick and passed away. She wired me that he was seriously sick and I rushed over there just in time to see him before he passed away on March 11, 1913.

About this time we purchased a lot in Fullerton. There was a little one room house on the rear end of it, and as it only cost us ten dollars down and ten dollars a month, we gave up the rented house and moved in. It was a little crowded, but we didn't mind too much as it gave us a home of our own. It had four walnut trees which were bearing and a lot of space on the front, which I put in a vegetable garden. We raised all the vegetables for our own use, and some over, which I would trade in at the store for groceries, and this all helped the budget.

I was now working the second trick at the station from 3:00 p.m. to midnight. I liked these hours much better, as I didn't have to leave Mother alone after midnight.

On January 4, 1914, our third child was born, another baby boy, and we named him Charles Donald, but we called him Don. Little Alice was almost three years old by this time, and a very sweet little girl, and we welcomed the new addition to our little family.

After living in our one room house for about a year, we talked the local Building and Loan Association into loaning us enough money to add three more rooms to the house, and this was a great help, as we sure needed the additional room.

We had nice neighbors, all very friendly. Next door to us on one side there lived an elderly couple. The man was in the real estate business, and he had a lovely flower garden which he was always working in during his spare time, and he was very proud of his flowers. We got along very nicely with this couple, until one day I brought home a little Spitz puppy for the children. We thought it would be nice to have a dog for them. That first day the puppy got in our neighbor's flower bed and ruined some of his nice flowers. We felt very bad about it, and I went over and apologized for the damage the puppy had done, and told him I would get rid of the puppy, which I did the next morning. The old man was so mad at me that he never spoke to me from that day on. We were awfully sorry about the incident, but we couldn't do any more about it. But it taught us a lesson, not to have any more dogs where we had close neighbors, and we stuck to this rule from then on.


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