|My Bouvier De Flanders|
During these years many changes came into my life. The two older children married and went to live in Stockton. Then along came the World War (ONE) and Harry, my youngest, enlisted. Many of the boys who had gone to my school were in training camps and there was scarcely a home in the district that had a boy old enough to go but that had its vacant chair. Although I have tried I cannot forget that awful evening I returned home from school, the day Harry left for the war. I stood before the door and couldn't open it to go in. A feeling of indescribable sorrow possessed me. It seemed as if......I can't explain the feeling. It was war and no one knows what war really is until it comes to him. May it never happen again is my fervent prayer.
Jim, after repeated failures and using up the best years of his life in the mine, gave up trying and went to San Joaquin Valley. Here he bought a ten acre farm and planted almond trees. This was a very unwise move for he knew nothing about farming. Well, the inevitable happened, and trouble again. His trees grew well and blossomed full, but developed no fruit because they had not been pollinated.
One Sunday afternoon, while he was absent, the hundred chickens he had bought, his chicken house, his own living quarters, the feed house, pump house and everything else that was flammable, in fact everything was reduced to ashes by a tramp from the hospital for the insane in Stockton who was touring the country by himself. It was just one unlucky thing after another, and it hurt Jim because he was so very anxious to succeed. The summer of 1920 was a very unprofitable one, and when his cough came in October, he came up to Stockton to Kathryn's. He wrote me that he had a cold but would be all right in a few days and able to go home.
That was a very stormy winter and my school wouldn't close until Christmas. On the Friday before that I went to Mokelumne Hill with the R.F.D. driver. The roads were in a dreadful state and we just made it. In some places in the road, the mud and stones could be heard grinding on the bottom of the car, and in others the car wasn't able to move although the wheels were turning.
That was the last trip the car made for the next two weeks, so I was very lucky to get through that day. I arrived in Stockton that morning at eleven o'clock. The train was early and I expected that there would be no one to meet me, but Jim had insisted on the train being met. A few minutes more and I was with him and he was so glad. But the minute I looked at him I knew that the time I had dreaded for years was near, yet I knew I must not let him know.
A few short days more and it was all over. He fought the idea of going to the hospital and it was only four or five days before the end that he consented. I have no record of the date on which he died. I know it was some day in January of 1921. I have no desire to know what particular day. I think I would hate it.
(to be continued)