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I Remember


Posted By: Craig Wade (email)
Date: 10/25/2005 at 14:51:50

A little about Mack:
Mack Alexander Wade was born June 3, 1912 at Rockwell City, Iowa to Sidney Dester and Anna Lee Stewart Wade.

Mack resided in Colfax from 1928 until approximately 1993, when he went to live in The Veterans Home in Marshalltown, Iowa. Mack had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and lived there until he passed away February 21, 1997 at the age of 84 years.

Mack was wounded in action at Normandy during WWII serving from May of 1943 until November of 1945.

The Maytag Company from 1942 until his retirement in 1973 employed Mack.

Mack lived with and supported (his father passed away in 1942) his mother Anna until 1965 when she passed away. Mack then married Stella Wagner Poulson March 5, 1966 at Colfax, Iowa.

Mack was affectionately known to his many nieces and nephews as Uncle Burgs and will not be forgotten for many years.

I Remember When

By Mack A. Wade

The reason dad, brother, and I quit farming in Humboldt County and moved to Colfax: We lived on a 200 acre farm. It was the year of 1927, the fall of the year. Our house burned down. We were out in the cold with over one hundred acres of corn to pick. The neighbors offered to take us in, but the Wades were proud people. We wanted a place of our own. About a half mile out of Thor, we moved in a beet shack. It was an early winter, a blizzard about every day. Dad, brother Bill, and I picked corn in snow up to our hips. After New Yearís, the weather broke up and turned into nice winter. We were lucky. A farmer close bought all our corn as fast as we picked it. No way could our landlord build a house so we could stay on the same farm.

Dad had a brother south of Colfax who raised watermelons. So, we decided to come to Colfax. Dad hired a truck to bring his favorite team of horses to Colfax: Old Faithful Ginger and Cricket. Then we all got in a model T-Ford and came to Colfax. I had two sisters and three brothers. Brother Bill, his wife Clara, their daughter Mary Ann, and dad and mother. That would be the spring of 1928. Dad rented an acreage. It was the Dan Snider property. We didnít have anything to complain about after that for a couple or three years.

We had a real good crop of melons that year. That fall dad and Bill bought a model T truck.

With Ginger, Cricket and a truck we had more work than we could do. A neighbor boy, Chuck Stewart, used to work for us. I used to haul wood to Ed Chapmanís place, where he gave baths. Ed and his son Archie used to come and help me. They were two powerful men. The two of them could pick up one whole log and all I had to do was drive the horses.

Things went wrong for us in 1930. After corn picking time, things got real rough. Very few people had enough money to buy coal. Many people, out of work, swiped coal from the chutes. The only ones that paid their coal bills were the ones who got caught and spent a few days in jail. But dad and I raised a lot of vegetables and mother canned them; so, we didnít go hungry. We had Ginger and Cricket, so we could go to the timber and collect wood. Dad and Bill would move furniture, and we would hold a square dance. We would sell tickets for 25 cents. Bill played the violin and dad played the guitar, so we didnít have to pay an orchestra. There wasnít much profit, because most fellows couldnít buy a ticket, so we let them dance anyway. Some came back and paid and some didnít.

The year of 1932 a neighbor boy, Elmer Vessel, was real handy at fixing things. With his help, dad and I took the body from an old model T truck and put a wagon box in it and made a farm wagon out of it. It had two new tires. We woke up one morning and found them stolen.

That fall we had a real good vegetable crop. We had a bin full of potatoes, a lot of canned fruit and mother made a big crock of homemade sauerkraut. The cave was so full, we had just enough room to pick up what we needed and turn around and go back up the stairs. We woke up one morning, and we found the cave door was open. Somebody cleaned the house on everything. That year they tore down part of the Mason house.

Dad and I got a job helping and sold kindling around town for 50 cents a load. If it hadnít been for that, we would of went hungry or on welfare. As Tom Wilson said back in those days, it was from shirt sleeve to shirt sleeve.

In the fall of 1932 things were still rough and no jobs. My brother-in-law, Charles Eddy and I got a job picking corn for John Hitchler, a farmer in Metz, Iowa at a cent and three quarters a bushel. We rented a one-room shack for three dollars a month for the five of us to live in. Myself, my sister Leatha, Charles, and their two small children, Charlene and Marvlyn. We could have pumpkins out of the field for free. Mrs. Moffit at the Metz store gave us a gallon of skim milk every other day and Leatha would make pumpkin pie for us. I used my money to buy a fattening hog for ten dollars to butcher for my folks in Colfax. That represented about six hundred bushel of corn picking.

It was the spring of 1933 when Roosevelt started the CCC camp. I signed up. A truck load of us boys went to Fort Des Moines. They gave me a barrackís bag full of clothes, more clothes than Iíd ever had in my life. Good, hot shower baths, plenty of food; I thought this is going to be just all right. I only got $5 a month, and my folks got $25. Didnít take a lot of money. I got Bull Durham for 5 cents a pack and papers free. I stayed with that for 9 months.

The next spring, I went to work for a farmer, Hugh Moffitt at $20 a month. The reason I am telling this, thereís one thing that happened I will never forget. I was out in the field raking stalks. My boss, Hugh Moffitt, was burning them. I was driving a colt and a mule. I turned around and a pheasant flew up and frightened the colt. I had a runaway. No way could I hold the line and stay on the seat. Down I came and hit the ground. The Lord must have been with me at the time. I grabbed the tongue and went down through the field with my feet dragging. We ran into a barbed wire fence. The colt kept on fighting, but the mule gave up. That mule saved my life. A mule is a smart animal. If he gets tangled up in a barbed wire fence, he will stay right there until help comes. When I came out from under the rake, the boss came running, white as a sheet. ďBoy,Ē he said, ďI never expected to see you come out of there alive.Ē The guys used to tease me that I had made a new gate in that field.

The year of 1934 drought and grasshoppers took the whole corn crop in Jasper County. I went to Wright County and picked corn for two farmers. On both farms they gave me a horse and a mule to drive. I spent the whole summer and fall there. IN the spring of 1937 farm work was going good and Maytag hired a lot of men. I got hired on at Maytag. I was there about six months, and my boss Jack Amtel, shook my hand and said I would likely have a job as long as I wanted it. I thought hard times were over.

In the year of 1938, jobs were scarce and there was a big layoff at Maytag, and I was one of them.

Then Maytag went on a big strike. If it hasnít been for Roosevelt and the WPA, I predict we would have been in a depression that was worse than ever hit history. Things went along like that until World War II started. I got back on at Maytag. It wasnít long before I got drafted in the Army. I was gone for three years. I went back to Maytag, where I worked until I retired in 1972.

Things have been good for me ever since. Now I sit back and wonder where all the years have gone.


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