Biography of Joseph Arnold

CCCman, Company 1938, Grand Junction, Colorado

         I was in CCC Company 1938, Grand Junction, Colorado. The camp I was in was in the Palisades. I was enrolled from approximately late 1937 to Summer 1939. I can offer you some stories I wrote about some of my experiences I have written about my experience at the camp for the edification of my sons, to give them some idea of an era that they were not likely to imagine.

       The CCC Enrollee had several favorite past times. They were for me Softball, movies, and taking trips. If you were from east and the camp was in the west, this was done by hopping freight trains, a venture more or less permitted by the RR during the depression. My camp was in the West.

TRAVELS WITH JIMMY

PART ONE

      The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad freight yard in Grand Junction was the beginning and ending terminal of our three major trips. To get to and from there from our camp we needed only hitch a ride, usually from one of the camp rangers.

       Our first trip was to San Francisco. This, the shortest of our three major trips, was one of the most exciting in as much as it was a completely novel experience for Jimmy and myself. Neither of us had even been in a freight car much less ridden in one.

       In a preliminary visit to the freight yards we learned that we could select the freight line for our destination. Each rail car had a routing schedule in a bracket on the outside. En route we also learned that one's fellow travelers and even some railroad hands in a freight yard were kind enough to give guidance, including which railroads didn't tolerate riders on their freight lines and which places - cities, yards or general locations - it was best to steer clear of. To me it was remarkable how tolerant many of the railroads in the west were in letting people, often whole families with all their possessions, hop their freights. Some even added a few boxcars with bench seats at the end of the freight line. A pragmatic gesture in recognition of the dangers of riding in the open. It was also recognition that in those hard days of the great depression, desperate people were willing to take desperate risks.

       It was early in May when Jimmy and I left Grand Junction on the first leg of our trip. We were going to Salt Lake City. We were to be gone about a week and we needed to carry both cold and warm weather clothing. I carried my gear in a bettered steel suitcase I bought in a secondhand store in Grand Junction. Two teenagers in quasi army clothes carrying suitcases were a real laugher to your standard hobo in tattered clothes with his gear in his big belly bag.

       We arrived early in the morning and by 10 we caught our next ride to Winnemucca, a small town in the central Nevada desert that looked like a movie set for a cowboy western. This leg was our first experience in riding on the top of a boxcar. We had a grand view of the Great Salt Lake and we also learned how cold it was in early May in the desert once the sun went down. By about midnight we got off shivering in the Winnemucca yard, which consisted of a few watering stations and some sidings. After a restless night in an empty boxcar on a siding, Jimmy got up and walked around. For all his quiet, taciturn manner he was very much at ease meeting strangers. He dragged me along still shivering and sleepy to meet the boys. There were about 10 of them, some young but most a good deal older but only two with the resigned manner of professional hobos. They seemed amiable enough and invited us to sit around their early morning fire. A couple of blackened coffee cans suspended on wire over the fire were bubbling away. One of the men pulled a small bag from his pocket and carefully metered out a few spoonfuls of something that was to be coffee du jour into the cans of water. After a bit of stirring the same man gingerly removed one of the cans, took a swallow and passed it to the man next to him. Each in turn exclaimed how good it was. It reminded me of the peace pipe ritual in early westerns with white men making reconciliation gestures with the good red man. One dared not refuse to take a few puffs, or, in this case, a few sips. I took my swig and quickly passed the can to Jimmy. I waited until the attention was far enough away, turned around and as unobtrusively as possible spit out the poison - it was god-awful. Small wonder when I found out the water was from a drain pool alongside the furthest siding.

       Later that morning we caught a ride that brought us into downtown San Francisco with two short stops en route. By evening we were climbing the gradual east slope of the Sierra Nevada range on the California border and by morning were on top, where we stopped in the midst of evergreen trees glistening with ice crystals. On this leg we had the dumb luck to ride in a boxcar.

       We carried as much food as possible with us, eating out in the most frugal of establishments only when necessary. En route such places were rickety shacks in hobo jungles along freight stops. They were run by enterprising hobos serving the simplest of fare. The cuisine and service would make Dickens wince, but one couldn't expect much considering the prices, which ranged from eleven cents to twenty-four cents for the deluxe menu.

       We started down the west side of the Sierras about noon taking only two hours to reach the valley compared to the five hours it had taken to get into the mountains. It was a startling transformation from thirty-degree icy weather to the mid-seventies warmth of orange groves and palm trees. Just the kind of novelty we were hoping to experience.

       At this last stop before our triumphant entry into San Francisco, we experienced our first exposure to the ever-present hard-nosed side of riding the rails. We were stopped on a siding with a swampy area on one side and orange groves on the other. When a pickup with two men stopped alongside our freight, Jimmy and I guilelessly stood and watched them, not noticing that the more experienced riders on the freight were ducking for cover. Not running was a display of in-your-face arrogance to the two railroad bulls that jumped out of their pickup, billies in hand. We got the message too late. After being cursed out and whacked around, they shoved us into the shallow swamp. They left shortly afterwards. Two of the experienced gentlemen of the road who had hidden in the reefer jumped out and helped us out of the water. We were more chagrined than hurt.

       We learned that even on lines with a tolerant policy towards those hopping their freights there were well-known railroad bulls who got their jollies beating up riders ignorant or arrogant enough not to hide or run away when confronted. It wasn't the last or worse experience of this kind, particularly for me.

       We were on our way again, and reached the Oakland side of San Francisco Bay late at night. We had a particular thrill of accomplishment, realizing that we had reached the Pacific coast. The next day we rode right through the city streets of San Francisco, even daring to wave to people at crossings.

       We checked in at the Y-room rates fifty cents a day. Even though it was mid-morning we went to bed, expecting to get up by late afternoon. We didn't awake until the next morning.

       We had a great time in San Francisco doing the usual tourist things: cable cars, Joe DiMaggio's restaurant on the Embarcedaro, Chinatown, and other free points of interest. We probably went through four or five dollars a piece in our three-day stay.

       The return trip was relatively uneventful; until things went wrong while riding on the top of a boxcar at night in the Nevada desert. Despite our experience in desert nighttime temperatures we took a chance, since there weren't any empty cars and we were running out of time. We did learn to use our pants belt to strap ourselves to the catwalk.

       In the middle of the night the train stopped at a water tower, and I told Jimmy I had enough of the freezing ride. We just had to find a sheltered ride to stay where we were and hope to find a better ride the next day. I started to climb down the ladder just as a passing train sped by on the same side about three or four feet away. My hands were numb from cold, and I lost my grip on the top rung of the ladder and fell between the two trains. This was as much of a scare for Jimmy as it was for me. We just had to find a safer ride.

       I waited on the ground while Jimmy ran up and down the line of boxcars until he found an open and empty reefer. In we climbed and snuggled down in the relatively comfortable wire mash cage, being careful to latch the trap door open. Since we didn't have a flashlight we couldn't tell what, if anything, was in the main compartment of the car. Just before dawn a railroad brakeman, making his rounds, closed the trap door and moved on before we had a chance to holler out. My latent claustrophobia kicked in, spurring me to a panicky and incessant banging on the trap door. It seemed like forever, but in about half an hour, someone unlatched the door and let in the early morning light, enabling us to see the cargo in the main compartments. We were riding with blocks of ice in stacks separated by straw packed to the roof of the car.

       We were about one or two hours west of Salt Lake City. It took about that long sitting on the catwalk to warm up. We got back to camp on time.

TRAVELS WITH JIMMY

PART TWO

       Jimmy Skowron was a strange sort of buddy for me to hook up with. Quiet, non-commitable, and taciturn, like may people of Slavic background and so different from my Irish-Italian world of ebullient noise. He was from the small town of Willimantic with its row houses and nineteenth-century mills enshrouded in the gray depression of the 1930's - grim enough to inspire even a nice Polish--American boy to seek out sweeter climes.

       Initially this odd-couple alliance was based on a shared interest in the adventure of seeing the world. It was only later that I learned of the humorous, music-loving, knowledgeable and steadfast sides of my quiet travelling buddy.

       We met in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in Palisades, Colorado about 30 miles east of the Utah border, a place of high mesas - dry and fertile when irrigated.

       The Colorado River ran through the valley and most of our work involved building and repairing the irrigation canals critical to the peach and melon agriculture of that area. The mild, sunny weather with the flat alluvial valley soil was unbelievably fertile to my New England eyes. This was one of the places where the desperately poor Okie and Arkie families of "Grapes of Wrath" fame arrayed en masse in their broken down trucks and cars at harvest time. Some even came by foot from the freight yards in Grand Junction, 13 miles to the west.

       The CCC operated under a dual management. The camp area was under the jurisdiction of the army with an uniformed officer in command and more or less army procedures in effect with the important exception that one could leave before an enlistment period was completed. Our clothing was standard army issue except that our pea coat-type jacket was dyed green. The work activity was under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior, with its rangers supervising the work.

       Most of the enrollees were teenage or early twenties New Englanders reflecting the mix of ethnic Europeans typical of our home states. To the native Anglos of early settler heritage, our faces, names and manner were alien. Still, we got along quite well.

       The work was surprisingly challenging. We operated trucks, bulldozers, cement mixers- great for teenage boys. More importantly, a lot of the manual labor was manly, bodybuilding activity dear to the hearts of young men. But most important of all we were doing something worthwhile and getting paid for it at a time of record-breaking unemployment and poverty. The pay was thirty dollars per month, twenty dollars of which was sent home. Time off was the standard army thirty days per year.

       Bolstered with the assurance that we were now seasoned Knights of Road, Jimmy and I decided to take advantage of the ten-day Christmas vacation coming up. A trip in the dead of winter posed special challenges. Rides had to be inside, no riding on the top of a boxcar, special attention to proper clothing and the destination must be southern.

       We decided to go to Mexico. Not only was it south but equally important was its aura of daring. Although our destination was technically Mexico, it was just a trolley car ride across the Rio Grande, from El Paso to Ciudad Juarez.

       On Christmas Eve we hopped an empty boxcar on the first leg going east across the continental divide to Pueblo. Joining us was Carl Schmidt; the best athlete in camp, level headed and equally inspired to see the world. Carl's companionship turned out to be fortunate.

       Besides our heavy wool clothing, including long johns, we each carried two wool blankets rolled up. We needed every bit of this cover going over the 11,500' pass before dipping down to Pueblo. Minus thirty degrees is normal winter temperature for this run in the winter.

       We spent most of Christmas day in the freight yards in Pueblo, the grimiest part of a hardened mining town not partial to hobos of any persuasion. Though undaunted we were not happy to learn that the freight for our next leg to Amarillo would not stop in the Pueblo yards but would slow down enough to catch it on the run. Since empty boxcar doors would be shut our next best bet would be reefer cars with the reasonable expectation that in the winter the ice compartments would be empty. Our freight lumbered into sight in the late afternoon going slowly enough so we could grab a ladder rung with one hand and a foot hold on the bottom rung. It does not take much imagination to realize that this trick was more dangerous than we were willing to risk. We were about to give up when an empty coal gondola was sighted. We went for it, throwing our gear aboard as we ran alongside freeing both hands to grab the boarding ladder. When we clambered aboard, we were surprised to find a passenger, a young man who must have hopped aboard farther up the line. He, like most men riding the rails in those days, was going somewhere, anywhere, in search of a job. This random, unorganized searching was their only hope, more myth than substance, but better than the flat-out hopelessness of where they were.

       The train speeded up almost immediately, eliminating any consideration of getting off. I stayed with our gear while Jimmy and Carl went in opposite directions looking for an available reefer. This was our next hard-learned lesson. In the winter the cargo in the reefer boxcars obviously did not have to be refrigerated but they did need to be protected from the cold. Reefer cars carried perishable goods and they protected them from freezing with coal burning heaters in the ice compartment, which was not vented. Death head placards warning of the dangers of asphyxiation were plastered on these cars.

       There wee no empty reefers. With our six blankets, we cowered in one corner of the gondola as much out of the wind as possible. Our fellow passenger did not accept our offer to join us - too proud to take help from a couple of kids. Fifteen hours later when we reached the warmer plains of Amarillo, it was nine degrees. Our fellow traveler was dead.

       By late afternoon we picked up the freight for our next big leg-heading southwest through New Mexico on this wedge shaped route to El Paso. On this third day with very little sleep, I began to come apart. The more rugged Carl and Jimmy coped with the ordeal better than I did. They became very concerned when I began to shiver uncontrollably. There was no question that the next ride had to be an inside berth. Jimmy found an empty reefer. I was carried aboard and immediately collapsed into a sleep so deep that I wasn't aware that my face was resting on the steel grill floor of the reefer. The crosshatched impressions of the grill didn't fade away from the side of my face until later the next day.

       Tucumcari, in northeast New Mexico, was our only stop before El Paso. Another surprise. The yards in this pip-squeak town were shared by another rail line that was less tolerant of free riders than the one we were riding. Apparently one railroad bull kept surveillance over the small yard. When Jimmy and Carl climbed out of the reefer, they were immediately grabbed. I was still too out of it to realize what was going on, but I was shocked into awareness when Mr. Bull picked me up by the hair and stuck his gigantic pistol into my face. We were not welcome was the message.

       Once again we were lucky after being kicked out of the yard to run across some experienced travelers who came to our rescue. The drill was to wait for dark on the outskirts of the yard and catch our slow-moving freight on the run. This time we used our belts to make a sling to carry our gear, thereby freeing our hands to make a relatively safe boarding. Again we got lucky when we found another empty reefer. By morning the temperature was decidedly warmer so we left the cramped reefer for a pleasant outdoor open flat car carrying a load of lumber. We rode this into El Paso.

       We treated ourselves to the upscale seventy-five cent room of the local Y for our two-day stay. Carl insisted we splurge on restaurant meals, going all out for the deluxe fifty-cent menu.

       The main event of our two days was a trolley car ride to Juarez and a walk around town. As depressed as much of existence was at home, we were not prepared for the grimness of Mexico. The one room shacks and open sewers of the slums were a real shock. We were glad to return to El Paso and its clean palm-lined streets and seventy-degree midday weather.

       On the return trip, our big concern was how to get around Mr. Bull at the Tucumcari yards. We decided to jump off before coming to a stop and either duck down right away or scoot to the two-lane road that paralleled the tracks. We did both and set off walking to the northbound side of the rail yard expecting to hanker down near the track and catch the freight on the run. Apparently three frumpy teenagers were types no dear to the heart of the locals since we had no luck hitching a ride and had to walk the approximately two miles to a dirt road that ran between the main highway and the train tracks.

       Shortly before dark our train could be seen leaving the yard. We should have realized that something was amiss when we saw the freight travelling much faster than usual and much too fast to board on the run. We stood in the dirt road watching helplessly as our ride disappeared. When the caboose went by, there on the other side of the tracks was Mr. Bull in his pickup. We quickly turned around and beat it to the highway, where we got lucky and hitched a ride in a mail truck. I was never sure why the driver picked us up when we were turned down cold by others. Perhaps he recognized our CCC uniforms and decided we were not the stereotypical threat to local security.

       Our mail truck ride got us to a crossroad complete with a gas station/bus stop combo, a general store, a few other small nondescript buildings, and a bar with swinging doors. The whole setup was right out of central casting with real cowboys whooping it up in the bar and old codgers with droopy mustaches sitting around a pot belly stove in the gas station/bus stop.

       This was the middle of nowhere. All sagebrush covered plain with purple-colored mountains in the distance. It was obvious that our only hope was to catch the midnight bus to Amarillo even though the cost would just about wipe out our cash. And wait we did fascinated by the spitting skill of the tobacco-chewing elders who prefaced every sentence with a lob of juice to the spittoon as much as six feet on the fly. When we told them that we were from the east, they were generous with their condolences, having much sympathy for anyone having to live in such crowded proximity. We tried not to look at each other as we graciously acknowledged their comments.

       We were directly across the street from the bar where the ruckus was getting a little high - just typical Saturday night shenanigans. Two of the cowboys spilled out through the swinging doors in a whirl of flying punches. The eventual loser was seen on the ground, having not been too successful in dodging the kicks of his opponent. The good ole boys hesitated long enough to acknowledge the fracas before getting back to their chompin' and spittin'.

       "Looks like old Zeke's getting' stomped on" was the only comment offered. I was sure that some director in puttees and knickers was going to appear shouting into his microphone calling for a break in the action.

       Old Zeke joined us on the bus to Amarillo, needing help to get his seat in front of me. His head was wrapped with gauze but, still quite drunk, he was feeling no pain as he sung for a good hour while he dripped a steady stream of blood over the back of his seat onto my foot rest.

       The ride from Amarillo to Pueblo was uneventful. Our big concern was rationing our meager funds to buy food for the final leg across the divide and home. Our freight stopped for a few hours on the last day in Leadville, near the top of the divide, all-deep snow, tall evergreens and giant coal-burning engines, spouting smoke and spitting steam. I was ravenous, but with only fifteen cents my only hope was a nearby dingy eatery frequented by the railroad men. I ordered a bowl of chili, the only dish I could afford. I had never eaten chili much less the Tex-Mex hot stuff they offered. Three gulps into the bowl of fiery coals and my mouth and gullet were on fire. Three glasses of water didn't do much to quench the flames to the amusement of the hardened customers who were enjoying the predictable outcome. Starving though I was I couldn't finish the chili. I slinked out back to the boxcar; spewing breaths of fire all the way home.

TRAVELS WITH JIMMY

PART THREE

       With the experiences of our first two trips in mind, Jimmy and I sat down to plan our biggest, and ultimately, our last trip. We had had enough cold weather derring-do and risky rides on the tops of boxcars or locked in reefers. Also, having a congenial third person with us was a sensible arrangement that added to our security.

       So we recruited Jeep Caratazolia from Providence. Jeep was some sort of a contraction of his first name, or it might have been some reference to a character from Lil' Abner comics. He was tall, broad shouldered with a ready smile and easy disposition. This was to be his first experience hopping freights, and he was quite willing to leave the planning to Jimmy and me.

       Jimmy laid out an itinerary that included Boulder Dam, Los Angeles/Hollywood, and the World's Fair in San Francisco, all in a two-week schedule. We were each to start with five months savings - $25; enough to cover all expenses based onn our experience in frugal living on the road.

       In mid-August, we left Grand Junction for Salt Lake City, where we found an empty mail car, complete with seats and running water; an unprecedented luxury all the way to Las Vegas.

       Boulder Dam had only recently been completed and was fast becoming a tourist attraction. We left our luggage, including my new battered steel suitcase, with the stationmaster in the tiny Las Vegas depot and hitched a ride to the dam, where we spent the day.

       Las Vegas looked a little raunchy to our New England sensibilities, so we decided to dip into capital and spend the night in a flophouse rather than risk bunking down in the freight yard. For 25 cents you got a cot with blankets in a large space about the size of a high school gym. The looks of the clientele, mostly older men of desperate resignation, were not particularly reassuring. It was a short stay. I no sooner got myself tucked in when I realized that I was being eaten alive. On look with my handy flashlight at the bedbugs crawling all over me and I was up like a shot. That was enough for Jimmy and Jeep, and we packed up and left, much to the consternation of the grimy proprietor, who felt demeaned by our eastern sensibilities.

       We had learned that unlike San Francisco, one could not ride a freight into or out of the Los Angeles yards. We decided that the San Bernardino/Riverside stop, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, would be as close as we could get and still be reasonably close enough to try hitch hiking into town.

       Riverside was a particularly beautiful valley of orange orchards and snow-capped mountains. We got off our boxcar next to an orange-packing facility where there were several 20-foot high piles of oranges in various stages of ripeness. After helping ourselves to all the good oranges we could carry, Jeep decided we should play "King of the Hill" in the tallest pile. After enough of this horseplay, I asked one of the packing house workers why the company was letting the oranges rot when there were plenty of people who would be glad to have them. His explanation was that there was an overproduction of oranges that year and, in order to maintain the expected market price, they needed to limit the number of oranges that were to go to market. My first lesson in capitalist marketing.

       I was not very happy with that answer, particularly considering the desperate poverty of so many Americans in a decade-long economic depression. This was a time when many people began to question the logic of a market system with a high capacity for production but with a constrained system of distribution. This was also a time of almost no economic safety net providing for the vagaries of a free enterprise system. Free in this instance to go without in a world of potential plenty. I never forgot this graphic lesson.

       Hitchhiking was not done well by more than two people together. Since Jeep was the inexperienced traveler in our trio, Jimmy and I tossed a coin to decide which of us would hitchhike into LA alone. I won the dubious honor.

       It was early evening when I arrived in LA. We had agreed that we would meet in the railroad station in downtown LA. Surprise! When I asked directions to the station from a cabby, he asked me "which one." Which one? How could there be more than one?

       "Well, kid" he said. "Ordinarily there is only one, but tonight there are two. They are having the inauguration ceremonies for the new one, and at midnight they are closing the old one."

       With only a fifty-percent chance of picking the right one, I gave up and went to the downtown Y. Jimmy guessed that they would find me there.

       Jimmy particularly enjoyed the bus tour around Hollywood and our visit to a studio. We had been gone five days and already had spent nine dollars each. But Jimmy just had to have a Hollywood T-shirt, even if he had to go on limited rations.

       Getting out of LA, we were faced with the same problem of hitchhiking out to a rail terminal far enough out of town. We chose Santa Barbara, and we decided that I would go alone and meet in the Santa Barbara freight yards.

       I was happy to get a ride most of the way with a young couple even though I had to stretch out on top of their luggage with about six inches of head room. I arrived in the middle of the night, and very cautiously crept around looking for a safe place to sleep. Again I got lucky. I found an empty day coach on a siding. The seat backs were adjustable and when turned to face one another I could stretch out on one seat and put my feet on the other, keeping care not to forget that there was a twelve-inch gap in the middle.

       After about an hour of restless tossing, I decided that the prudent thing to do would be to check the door at the other end of the car in the event a quick exit was called for. When I was about to try the door I felt a hand on my shoulder. My heart sank.

       "Never mind, kid. It's open," was the scary admonishment from a disembodied voice in the last seat. I thanked him and scurried back to my double seat bed.

       Early the next morning I got up to find breakfast and my buddies. Intuition suggested that a posh town like Santa Barbara was not the sort of place that entertained hobos with any degree of hospitality and would likely have railroad personnel that shared such sentiments. So with considerable caution, I hustled from row to row of freights working my way out of the yard.

       Almost there I was blocked by a very long freight that had a break in the middle with a separation of about three feet between the two halves. I stopped between the uncoupled cars, looked around cautiously, stepped out and the two cars slammed together.

       I hadn't heard the donkey engine used to shuttle cars around the yard. They would puff along and then shut off the power to coast into a tie-up. That was just the moment I chose to step between the cars.

       A brakeman saw the whole scene. Too far away for me to hear his scream, he must have shut his eyes to the expected tragedy. After bawling me out he calmed down enough to point out the railroad men's hash house with a warning not to come back.

       It is quite apparent that Jimmy and I survived these adventures simply because time after time we were just plain lucky. The luck continued. When I entered the restaurant, there was Jeep, big grin and all. Jimmy was out scouting around for me. He eventually showed up and we set out to plan our escape by freight.

       Jimmy decided that we simply could not take a chance in sneaking around the yard and risk getting caught after being told very directly not to come back. We decided to rely on the favorable view that most people had of the boys in the CCC. I was selected to plead our case with two of the railroad men in the restaurant, explaining that we were on vacation and had to get back to camp in Colorado. They put us in an empty boxcar and wished us good luck. Pretty smart that guy Jimmy.

       The rail line north ran very close to the coast, sometimes riding on cliffs just above the beach. It was a spectacular trip with the constantly changing scene at one time or another duplicating the topography of different parts of our country. Small wonder that the movie industry settled in California.

       Before leaving Santa Barbara, we shopped around for the least expensive food we could buy to take with us on the 20-hour trip to San Francisco. Two items we came to regret were day old Italian bread and three large cans of California sardines packed in brine or something like it. We probably had no more than a pint or so of cheap soda pop to drink. After eating the sardines and bread for lunch and downing the pop, we were in for about six hours of torturous thirst before reaching our first stop at Salinas.

       My twenty-nine year old son is typing this round of teenage adventures. He can't imagine how anyone could be so obtuse to dangerous situations nor so blithe of spirit to launch off into the unknown. A few moments of recollection of his teenage and young adult life were enough to squelch such unthinking arrogance.

       From our YMCA base in downtown San Francisco, we made a three-day foray to Treasure Island, a landfill in the harbor and venue for the 1938 World's Fair. Seven of my precious twenty-five dollars went to the risqué Sally Rand's Nude Ranch, a diorama of a western ranch where cowgirls pranced around in inane imitation of ranch life clad in cowboy boots, beaded shorts, and a Stetson. All those boobs were almost more than three Catholic boys could be expected to withstand.

       On the first leg of the trip home, the only freight available required our riding to the top of a boxcar. Since the weather was warm and we were not making a long leg through the desert at night and because we were running out of time, we hedged in our policy of not riding in the open. We were clippin along through endless acres of wheat, or what I imagine was wheat, when one of us started some horseplay - both dumb and dangerous.

***

        We CCC men were always treated with kindness by the general public but necessarily so by small town police and by some railroad police (when hitching rides) though these were the exceptions.

       I visited the town where my CCC camp was in the 1980's, spoke with someone from the local newspaper who told me the old camp site was now waste disposal site. They did remember the days when the camp was operating in the area but couldn't recall anyone that was still around that I could talk to.  I am interested to learn what happened to the camp as well as the rangers who supervised the work. I am 81, retired from the University of New Haven where I taught Industrial Engineering.

----- Joseph Arnold

        Captjoe799@aol.com

LINKS

Company 1938 Company Street, Joseph Arnold, CCCman, Company 1938, Grand Junction

Company 1938 Truck, Joseph Arnold, CCCman, Company 1938, Grand Junction

Boulder Dam, Photo, Joseph Arnold, CCCman, Company 1938, Grand Junction

Joseph Arnold, Photo, Joseph Arnold, CCCman, Company 1938, Grand Junction

Waiting, Photo, Joseph Arnold, CCCman, Company 1938, Grand Junction

BACK TO JAMES F. JUSTIN CCC MUSEUM, BIOGRAPHIES

Please Share your Stories! E-mail the Curator to share or discuss or with any questions!

@Copyright 1998-2015 John Justin All Rights Reserved