The road in front of our home, which ran East and West, was dirt and dead ended about ¼ of a mile West of the house at a point which later was where Dobson road runs now. West of that it was desert land full of creosote bushes and mesquite trees where I would take my 22 and hunt for jack rabbets. I was only 8 or 9 years old but my Dad had taught me the safety rules of using a gun and I was careful and a pretty good shot.
Later, during World War 2, the Air Force put in a large paved auxiliary air field to the South West of where our home was to be used for emergency situations. Not too long after the war ended I used it on which I practiced touch and go landings.
While we lived on this farm we came into possession of a cute. bright yellow, cuddly duckling. From the first day that we brought it home it bonded with the family. It did not like to be left alone and it followed us around the yard while emitting a low soft quack and when we tried to leave it alone it emitted a loud quack. We loved this little duck. It was our friend. It loved to follow us out to the large irrigation ditch and swim around in the water while it would throw water up over it’s back and then ruffle its feathers. It did not like us to leave it when we walked off down the road to catch the school bus. Mother had to put it in a pen until we were out of sight. And when we came home late in the afternoon it waddled out to meet us while loudly quacking its delight.
Mother Julia Brown wrote this poem about our duck friend circa 1938.
Once upon a time
There was a little duck,
The smartest one in town
He belonged to a little boy
Whose name was Ralph Gene Brown
He thought he was a watch dog,
Even tho’ he couldn’t bark,
He could warn the neighborhood
And make intruders hark.
With Ralph Gene and his sisters
He’d run and play and quack,
And when they went to school,
He’d honk till they got back.
That duck was the affection
Of every family member.
He was such a fun bird
To live with and remember.
Merry Xmas- From Dad & Mother
PS, hope you like this little duck tie pin and cuff link box.
The first year that we lived on the farm our family, 7 of us, (Joyce hadn’t been born yet) slept out side during the hot summer months. (Air conditioning was unknown.) In the early morning hours of March 24, 1939 Dad suddenly jumped out of bed and yelled, “The house is on fire!” Aunt Nell was staying with us at the time and she was sleeping inside of the house. Dad was able to wake her up and get her out of the house before being over-come by the heavy smoke that, by now, was billowing up into the night sky.
That was 73 years ago but it is still vividly etched into my mind and heart.
I learned from this experience that we had hosts of wonderful caring friends. The first morning after the fire one of the Chandler merchants invited us into his clothing store and out fitted the family with new clothes. No matter how hard Dad tried to pay him for the clothes he would not accept anything.
The Chandler ward members showed up with overwhelming kindness. The priesthood was organized by Brother Meacham to build a new home. Dad purchased the lumber and the men, all working to- gether, built our new home, ready to move into, in 8 days.
Toward the end of October 1939 Dad traded the farm for about 10 acres of land which fronted the main road thru Gilbert and on which there was a home and a two stall garage and a service station. Dad was planning to start his own dealership in Gilbert. However, not long after moving to Gilbert, the owners of the Brown Chevrolet Co. in Chandler made an offer to sell it to Dad. Dad and a silent partner took them up on the offer and in October of 1940 we moved back to Chandler.
I think that this blog is long enough for now. I hope that the family will print these articles out and save them as drafts which, after I leave to be with Melva Lee, would be included in a book about our life history.
Submitted by Ralph G Brown aka Grandpa Brown