Riding through the different states to Little Rock in our Pullman car gave us a new experience and appreciation for what life can be all about. Most of us had never been out of the state we grew up in and most had never seen the inside Pullman Coach and how you sleep in what was once during the day a chair. We arrived in Little Rock, Ark. October the fourth, 1934 and were taken to the Fair Grounds of the state a very large permanent installation at the outskirts west of the city. The Main Fair ground headquarters building became our home the whole company under one roof was very special treat. These fair grounds had all the fair ground main intertaiment equiptment such as faris wheel, merry go-rounds etc., a large dance pervilian and huckster stands.
The street car line from the city came right to our gate so we could go town town to shop, shows , and dances. It was from one of these dance halls we were late getting to the street car station and one of my friends was trying to put his coat on as we ran. A police car pulled up along side and took him to jail we couln'd understand why. I asked and the officer said shut up or I'll take you in to, so we went home and reported it to the officer on duty. Our Captain went down and got him released they already had him booked for the chain gang. He was so glad to get to get back to camp. Not to far about a mile north of the park was a place called Pulaski Height where there was a show house where we could go to see up to date pictures for ten cents. We made it a point to eat early and run for the show hall. Between going to shows we went to school at the Little Rock Centera1 Hi-school and were taking typing, shorthand, aeronautics in fact they had a full sized airplane and hanger in the school. As a result of our taking aviation we the ten students were given a ride in a Ford Tri-motor passenger plane 1930 vintage. What a thrill that was to see the city from the air. As we were deplaning we got to see Col. Roscoe Turner land a new Army Air Corps P-12 Pursuit plane. Aviation was my subject ever since Charles Lindberg soloed the Atlantic 27 May 1927, what a dare devil he and his wife were. Now for our reason for being here it was to construct a park for people to enjoy. It was located about three miles south and west of fair park. It was about ten acres of land with a few trees on it. We made a lake, pavi11ion, rock falls, walking paths, lavitorys, a bridge over the lake which needed the cement finished and why I was picked to do the finish work I'11 never know, so I did two sides with all the swirls etc. I also worked in the garage doing maintenance on the trucks and helped the blacksmith make and sharpen stone tools. It required a lot of stone cutting tool since we used a lot of flat rock during the building of the park. The rock was hauled from Ft. Smith many miles north of Little Rock.
In the spring we would go swimming with the cotton mouths, and sit to drink it. On week ends we were taken sight seeing in our G.I. truck out to the cotton fields, swanky hunting clubs yes even to Hotsprings Ark. where we got to see the city and got a glimse of Dillinger and his limo. We also took a trip up to the White river north west of L.R. here we got a veiw of how people lived in the country. House and barn where under one roof with a driveway between them. We also saw large poaching of fish from the river. I asked our guide to show us a still but he said that was to dangerous.
We got our first taste of black eyed peas and sow belly oh yes sorgum to. Grits to be good should be served with milk and sugar and many of us northern kids ate it that way. Generally our mess sergeat got the hang of what the guys liked and it was served.
We all had a chance to meet southern belles since they came to our dances at the park. It fact when it was time to go home many guys were discharged so they could go get married and take their new bride north some stayed in L.R.
I use to go out to the rich gun clubs and pull target on Sundays, to make a litle extra money to spend..On Sunday evenings we would go to a southern baptist church near our camp for singing and just talking.
During the flooding of the Arkansas River in the spring of of 1935, we helped the National Guard to get the people out of the flooded area we loaded their house hold stuff in the trucks and got them to higher ground.
While I was at Fair Park my brother Johannes came to visit me he had been in the Hotsprings Military Hospital for treatment of infection in his let arm. His visit was short because the next day a truck from the Fayettvile Ark came and picked him up.
I was late in the spring time and we had no orders to go back to North Dakota but our work there was soon over and we got our schedule to leave the 2nd of July. We were hauled to the railsroad station and loaded on Pullman coaches and the way we went northward to home sweet home, leaving our southern home that we had enjoyed for eight months..,
We arrived in Bismarck the 4th of July and the next day I was assigned as staff Car Driver for our Capt. Allen K. Davis who had been reassigned as eastern North Dakota Camp Inspector and again why me. I never did ask him about that. So he with his wife and son departed in their Olsmobile and I in my brand new Plymouth G.I. sedan for Robinson to see my family the Lelands. I left there late that evening and drove to Larimor to Co. 764 C.C.C. where I was assigned for housing, meals and monthly pay, a whole $5.00. The captain lived at Grand Forks, N.D. about 40 miles east of my assigned company. Each day after breakfest i would drive to Grand Forks pick up the Captain take him to a barber shop for a shave and trim. He was a neat guy breeches, puttys, sam brown belt, and capt’s, field hat or garrison cap he was tops for dress and class. On several occations I was called out at night to take him to a camp where fire had happened. Nothing major but he always wanted to see first hand what had happened.. He would ask me to mix with the en-rollees at camp and find out what things were like in camp. This tour of duty was the best for me. During that fall General Boles from the seventh corps area visited our district and I had the privilage of hauling him and the Capt. around to several of the camps in our area. Late in October the Captain was reassigned to Co 2763 at Watford City, ND and further to move the company to Mystic, S.D., in the Black Hill. He took off in the Plymouth for Bismarck and told me to stay and help his wife get packed and drive his Olsmobile with his family to Mystic S.D. On the way we run into an early snow storm so bad we had to lay over at Buffalo, S.D. it was storming so bad the state crews said you cannot go any further. We stayed at a S.D. state representative home. Had supper and breakfest with the family. Captain Davis and family had an apartment in Rapid City and I went to Camp Mystic where I became second Camp driver and would haul mail; mostly taking the Capt where ever he wanted to go..I guess he was use to my driving and caring for a vehicle.
612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
State Museum and Store: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F; Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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