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The Road I Grew Up On
a documentary project by Helen D. Gunderson

as recalled by Don Grant, circa 1992, length 3:56

MP3 audio file

Rosie and Don Grant, circa 1992.

Everybody helped everybody else move, that you knew. Back before moving vans and trucks, a lot of moving was done with any kind of vehicle you had. And it usually was a hayrack because a hayrack was big enough to put a bed and mattresses on, pull the racks with horses, and hope you didnít load them down too much on the old mud roads. Even the first gravel roads were a little bottomless until they got them built up.

If you knew who was moving, say the Joneses were moving from their old place down here, and somebody was moving from here to the place where the Joneses were living, you had to coordinate the routes you took because there was only one rut, and two hayracks donít pass worth a damn on the old narrow country roads. I can remember people having to wait at a corner because they should have gone around the other way. Tempers could be a little short because it was cold and wet. The first of March was always the worst day of the year.

You tried to cover stuff, but you didnít have lots of cheap plastic to cover things with back in those days. And you were moving into a house and it was cold. You moved the stoves, in most cases the space heaters, and in many cases the cookstove. That was a beautiful job to lift a cookstove around, get the chimneys hooked up, and get the space heaters hooked up. All the doors were open, and here were people carrying stuff in. They had muddy boots, walking all over the house, but were trying to get things in the right room the best they could so they were settled as much as they could be. And the women were trying to clean the floors, which they couldnít do until everything was in. Then some fool came in carrying something and tracked mud all over the floor. There really wasnít any other way to do it. We couldnít stop and take our overshoes off.

I used to be glad when we would leave. I wasnít very old, but I could help carry little stuff in. I did feel sorry for the poor women.

Don (left) and Duncan Grant
with Scottie, circa 1925

I still remember the faces of the women as they were looking at the devastation; it was going to take them days to clean it up. Everybody was cold and wet, and it would be two days before we could get the house warmed up. You didnít even have the stove in, and they had to get supper some way. There wasnít anyplace to make coffee, so some of the other women would come along with a coffee pot full of coffee; of course, it would be getting cold. Utter chaos and misery is all I can remember about moving. Dropping mattresses off the hayrack into the mud. Nothing ever went well on moving day that I can remember. There was nothing good about it. I donít remember ever helping anybody move when the weather was nice and things went well. My wife is a mover, and Iím not. I hate moving, and I think part of it harks back to those moving days. Now all you do is hire a van.

length 3:56   MP3 audio file

All rights reserved, Helen D. Gunderson, 2012.

For more about Rosie and Don Grant, check out the following chapters from Helen's book:
The Grant Farm (file page 16, book page 225), Dealing with Death, and People and Their Stories.

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