Thursday, April 21, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 18: Moving to the new house and riding horses on a camping trip for the first time to King's Pasture on Boulder Mountain

Oh what a busy bunch we were when we moved to the new house. Daddy was building corrals and the barn after having fenced his share of the pasture off. I thought he seemed very satisfied about what land Mother had been able to persuade his dad to give him. Mother said, however, that Cecil who was now working for Grandpa was angry at having the pasture divided up.  Mother said you would have thought it was his pasture. But I figure he thought that was only another way a rich man's son got ahead while a poor hired man had to labor away on the King ranch hardly able to earn a wage he could live on. And how was he going to fatten Grandpa's steers with half of the upper pasture foolishly given away to his alcoholic son?  

 Mother wasn't very sympathetic. She was after all the rich man's son's wife, and Grandpa had given her the land free and clear she said in case she had to divorce his son. At least she thought that's what he had done. Years later, it was discovered that the land had never been recorded at the court house as having changed hands, but since it had so long been in Clyde's possession it was conceded.

As far Mother, she seemed beside herself in a new situation alive with all kinds of possibilities. In fact, she could not get her store built fast enough and decided to open a one room store as had existed at the cheese factory in hers and Daddy's bedroom down stairs. Daddy when he heard about this plan, shouted as was his wont when he heard something that greatly disturbed him.  
I was not happy with this plan either, as Mother and Dad were going to have to move upstairs where we girls slept. That was like sharing our sleeping space with two giant ogres apt to break into horrible roars at any given moment. Or even worse, have frightful sex barely down the hall way. 
In fact, I recall a most disturbing dialog taking place in their bed the night before Mother was to go out to Richfield to have some some sort of medical procedure. I heard her snarling to Daddy, “Hurry up and get it over with!" She sounded like a demented tiger who would liked to have clawed him to death instead.  
Conversations about sex coming from my parents were very disillusioning but I hoped that the store building would soon be finished and they would move back down stairs far enough away from me that I could not hear any noises remotely resembling sex.
In fact for years, if I woke up and heard any noise that sounded like sex to me I would not be able to sleep for hours even though it was very unlikely I could have heard anything from Margie's and my bedroom coming from theirs down stairs. The noise was more likely coming from the wind blowing a branch of a tree strong enough against the window to make a rubbing noise. 
Once you have been traumatized by sounds of savage sex emanating from your parents' bedroom accompanied by curses you are not going to recover very fast, probably not until you leave their home.
Anyway, Mother said that Daddy was spending so much money drinking, she had no choice but to open a store as fast as possible to earn some money.
And she also had to earn money to employ a local carpenter practically full time for the next three years. Mother decided she did not like the staircase ascending to the top of the stairs in front of her and Daddy's bedroom, so she hired carpenters to turn it around! Daddy could not believe his ears and protested mightily, so she just waited until he went to Salt Gulch, and told the carpenters to go ahead. 
The carpenters were weeks completing that remodeling job, with Daddy shouting protests every night when he came home to the mess. They also petitioned off the front room as Mother said the long open room into the dining area was too hard to heat. 
Eventually the staircase was completed starting in the dining room to the side of the bathroom door and enclosed instead of open. All the spaciousness of the big open room with a visible staircase was gone, but Mother was happy with her decision--for a while.

Daddy fenced in a garden plot and fertilized it and also an orchard spot, all with Mother prodding him. Mother ordered trees. They built a shed for machinery and tools, and a cellar to store potatoes, apples, and winter squash.

I hadn't lived there very long at all when I took a little walking tour of the pasture and over the fence saw a big hulking neighbor kid about four years older than I hurrying toward me as fast as he could. He hollered at me, “Do you want to fuck?” I whirled around and hurried back home as fast as I could go. Another damned molester! I was going to have to watch out for that fat leering bastard. I could not believe my bad luck in getting him for a neighbor. 
The worst thing about the new place was the fact that we had no water running into the house yet, and in order to wash clothes, we had to start carrying it from the ditch past the front yard to the black tub in back where we heated the water. Then we had to carry water to fill the rinse tub on the back porch. After we carried wood, made a fire, and heated the water, we would have to carry the hot water in to fill the washer.  
Grandpa had given Mother a Maytag washer run by a gas motor for their wedding present. Mother always warned us to watch so we did not get our arms pulled off in the ringer. 
Washing was an all day job, so it really cut into our play time. After Mother had taken us through the process a few times, she told Margie and me that would be our job, every Saturday! I hated that because all the kids living in Boulder went to church on Sunday.  No more getting out of it by living in Salt Gulch. Mother frowned now if we balked, and said things were going to change now we lived in Boulder, and we were all going to church except Daddy of course.  He still did as he pleased. 
Weekends could be pretty dreary when all we did was wash clothes and go to church. By the time we had done the washing a few times, I came up with the plan of taking turns so Margie and I  would not quarrel the whole time. Quarreling seemed to be the only way she express her displeasure at having to work so hard.  She was always in a bad mood when we had to do some giant task. She did not much like the idea of doing the wash all by herself, but we did whatever we wanted to on our Saturdays off, so a hard days labor was worth getting in some good playtime on our free days. 
By the time I was ten and Margie was nine we did the family wash all the time with no help from Mother thank you, sometimes as high as eight batches of clothes. I don't even know how little Margie managed to carry all those heavy buckets of water. I was considerably bigger boned and taller than she was, so it was less hard on me. It was no wonder she turned into meaner little Margie, especially when she got too close to something she was allergic to and wheezed all night.  
Mother had plans for a cistern and promised us that soon we would be able to use a hose to fill the tubs instead of carrying those big heavy buckets. In the meantime her little washerwomen proceeded to work harder than any little girls in town I am sure.  Mother had far more important tasks to do than the family wash.  She broke all the laws of common sense when it came to child labor, her ambitions were so much greater than her conscience.  
Mother meant it when she said that with five daughters she should not have to do any house work at all! All the other mothers worried about tattle tale gray sheets, but Mother did not care as long as hers got washed by somebody else.
Since Linda was still a toddler and Ann a year and half older than she was, and LaRae, two years older than Ann, it looked like Margie and I were going to get worked nearly to death before they were big enough to take their turns.

What made me the maddest was Mother failing to wash the dishes from the big noon dinner. There they would be every day when Margie and I came home from school, and we would have to wash those before we could start supper. Mother cooked breakfast. I guess she washed the breakfast dishes when we went to school, but they were the only dishes she ever washed. And she would iron most of the clothes. Margie and I used heavy stove irons to do the 'easy' flat stuff. She always ironed Daddy's shirts. 
 After a while Mother got so sick of the old stove irons, she bought an iron that ran on white gas. When she lit that thing a flame would shoot up clear to the ceiling. I would run outside! I would not touch that iron, and Mother could not get me to, but she was willing to blow up the whole house to get an unpleasant job done a little sooner.  She had gone clear crazy, that woman.  
Now other than doing those heavy chores right Mother was not a fussy housekeeper. In fact, we used to joke that the kitchen floor often looked as though chickens had the run of the house. Stuff would be spilled all over the floor, and apparently everybody was too tired to mop most days. Upstairs, after Mother and Dad moved back into their bedroom, would be one unholy mess with clothes scattered everywhere. Mother had this one storage closet where she stored trunks of old clothes the little kids loved to drag out to play dress-up. Mother never even looked upstairs most days. Once in a while she might go up there and scream and holler and threaten to whip everybody as she furiously cleaned it up.

Eventually the carpenters finished the new store building enough for Mother to move her stock and the cistern really did get built in another year or so, only it was another big chore to fill it. Some kid had to sit up there most all day and watch it, and turn it off when it was full. I think LaRae was old enough by then that filling the cistern became one of her jobs. Only another task added to so many more. But we did enjoy using the hose to fill the tubs for washing. 
 I preferred to water the garden and orchard to working in the house. I always liked the outdoor work the best so I didn't have to quarrel with anybody and get mad at Mother when she left the child laborers to go out to her store, usually never to be seen again until her customers tore themselves away from her clutching presence. I pictured her never saying she had to get back to her tiny little children working so hard in the house.  Mother had become like a big kid herself, I thought, when it came to the drudgery of keeping a big country household going under the most primitive of conditions.  I felt like she was burned out from hard life threatening labor to have us and putting up with a husband she no longer loved.  She was like old Don.  She wasn't going to be any good around the house ever again.  But as she said she had a passle of scullery maid daughters who would see that her majesty never had to do any dull housework again.    

However as soon as we moved to Boulder I was just as hot to trot as Mother was to get to get in all the fun I planned. I asked Daddy some time during the summer if he would let me and Barbara ride horses to camp out over night to King's pasture on one of my Saturdays off. Barbara and I were only nine at the time, but I thought I had enough experience handling horses to do it. 
 I had only been up to King's Pasure once helping to drive cattle, but I was sure I could find it again.  Daddy said he guessed we could, so I went down and borrowed a horse named Buttons from Grandpa for Barbara to ride. Buttons was a big tame gray they were using for a pack horse who also served as a kid horse when grandkids came to visit in the summer. I rode Old Don I am sure.
Barbara and I set out to ride the 8 miles to King's pasture. We forgot the matches and had to go back and get some, and then we stopped for some worms along a ditch bank Daddy had showed me. We were going to try fishing in the big stream in the pasture that was full of trout but hard  to catch. I knew we were not fly fishermen like my dad, but maybe they would be tempted by some big fat worms.

When we arrived I fell in love with the neat summer camp the Kings kept at the pasture that Grandpa said we could use. The tent was as big as a fair sized bedroom with a bed roll spread out covered with heavy camp quilts. We did just fine that night, cooking our meal in the bake oven over the camp fire. We talked until late into the night with the tent tied up tight in case of bears. 

To my great dismay, when morning came we discovering that Buttons had pulled loose from the tree where we tied the horses up as Daddy said to do so there would be no problem catching them. Now we would have to go roaming the big pasture to see if we could spot him.  
We finally found him down to the bottom of that 460 acre wooded pasture running around with some other horses. Buttons was not like Grandpa's bay mares that would let you walk right up to them any where. We chased him and chased him but we could not get close enough to grab the rope he was dragging. I got really nervous. We were really sweaty and tired.  
I knew we couldn't keep doing this all day, hoping Buttons would tire enough to let us sneak up on him. He was such a big strong horse, we would be sure to give out long before he did. I knew Daddy would be ready to kill me if we came back without Buttons. He would scream all night and say he did not have time to drop everything and go catch a damn horse 8 miles away.  
 I finally thought to go look for some oats in the summer camp, and sure enough there was a noose sack there I filled with some oats from a gunny sack near by. Naturally Grandpa and his hired men were prepared for anything.  
 Buttons just loved oats and let us walk right up to him when I shook the sack at him.  I was so relieved I just patted Buttons when I caught him. I couldn't even be mad at him.  But after such a stressful crisis, we did not even feel like trying to catch any fish.  The two tired young horsewomen just went on back home.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 18: My flame haired cousin Stewart King and Death Holler Trail were made for each other

I always thought my redheaded cousin Stewart was the most dashing figure on a horse of any of the Kings. He was taller than any of the uncles and with that shock of flaming red hair, white skin, green eyes, and his Stetson hat perched rakishly on one side he was cowboy poetry in motion. 
 I loved the story Mother told about him after the upper road was done and they started carrying the mail in a two ton truck over the route from Escalante to Boulder. He bet the driver that he could race a horse over the Death Holler Trail, estimated to be about twelve miles over one of the most rugged trails in the west, and beat the mail truck to town. 
Yes, Stewart won his wager, reaching Escalante on his fast cow pony before the mail truck rocked around the Roundy bend.
Well, Stewart knew that trail. He had probably ridden it any number of times after his father took over the Salt Gulch ranch in 1925 when Stewart was just six years old. I don't know what their living arrangements were in the winter but it was likely his mother, Aunt Hazel moved to Escalante so the kids could go to school. His father rode back and forth to the ranch to take care of things, since they did not have cars in those days. Stewart and his younger brother Park must have accompanied his father, my Uncle Glen, on weekends, when he needed them on the ranch. 
I know one year Uncle Glen's family rented the ranger station and lived there so the kids could attend the Boulder school, in order to get Uncle Glen away from temptation to drink, but the family was back living in Escalante after that year, and I never did know of them to live on the Salt Gulch ranch even in the summer, after that. Just Uncle Glen and probably his boys rode back and forth from Escalante, either by horseback or in a car as soon as they got one. 
When the family moved to Oregon after Uncle Glen's trouble with the neighboring girl, Stewart and Park stayed with Grandma and Grandpa for a while until they could decide what to do.
I know Stewart played Santa Claus one year at my parents' behest. I recognized his tall slim figure. I thought this Santa was just too tall and skinny to be the real deal. I did not tell my parents I knew it was Stewart in order not to spoil their fun. I was only three or four but I no longer believed in Santa, being a too wise child at that age.
I recall Stewart coming to Mother in great excitement to tell her he was going to get married. He had been going with Neta Alvey who was the youngest sister of Cecil, one of the hired men Grandpa had often employed. Stewart and Cecil were great buddies, Cecil was a little older, but they were both dashing cowboys, so they had a lot in common. 
Mother thought Stewart still wasn't settled enough to get married with his family still upset over his father's enforced departure under a cloud of scandal.
Since Uncle Glen had never done anything but ranching for years everyone was worried that he would not adjust well to whatever job he could find in some other state. He had been his own boss a long time. Working for someone else might not set well with a King. At that time I never thought that a man named King ever acted any other way than royalty nor have I had any reason to change my mind since.
Stewart hinted he might have to get married, so Mother said no more. After the marriage, Stewart said that he and Neta and Cecil and his wife, Alice, planned to go to Oregon to the town where his mother and dad had stopped and set up camp. There they would all try to find work close by.

So Stewart and Neta went out and got married. I thought it was a good match for Stewart myself. I thought Neta was pretty and she came from a family of wonderful cooks, gardners, and housekeepers. She did not have much of a temper in case Stewart had a temper to match his flaming red hair. She would make any cowboy a darn good wife.
Cecil left his wife, Alice, behind when they first went to Oregon. I was quite fascinated with Alice as she read a lot. In fact his sisters did not think Alice was as good a wife as hard working Cecil deserved because she sat around and read just too much, but I thought her love of books was wonderful. She also liked to draw and paint pictures. Even more fascinating she wore English riding boots and jodhpurs. With her long blonde hair, I thought she looked very fetching. I hoped I could persuade my dad to buy me some English jodhpurs and riding boots when I got older, but I doubted he would.

Cecil had been one of a long parade of hired men that Daddy had hired on the Salt Gulch ranch in the summers. Alice even went over to Salt Gulch and stayed in the ranch house there with Cecil a year after we moved to Boulder, but Cecil preferred to work for Grandpa King rather than Daddy.
Cecil resented the fact and didn't mind saying so that Grandpa King agreed to sell the Salt Gulch ranch to Daddy for $4,000 which Cecil thought was a steal even in those days. When Glen heard about the sale, he was angry and asked his dad the next time he saw him why he didn't sell him the ranch. Grandpa said, “You never asked.”
I wondered if Glen did not ask because Aunt Hazel hated the Salt Gulch ranching life. Well, really, I thought she couldn't stand Uncle Glen's drinking.

Stewart, Neta, and Cecil had been gone a few months when Neta came back to town to have her baby. She did not say a lot to anyone else but told relatives she was upset by Stewart's drinking and had decided to come home to stay with her parents to have her baby. After that she did not know what she would do. Alice, Cecil's wife, had gone up to Oregon to join Cecil. 
Cecil never did drink like the Kings who were known for drinking very fast and passing out. They just got really drunk. Such behavior would have upset any new bride not used to it. Arthur Alvey, Neta's father, did not drink at all.
In due time Neta went to the hospital and had her son and named him Johnny after his Grandfather King. Neta now wavered about leaving Stewart for good and said she planned to go back as soon as her baby was a little older. I don't know where Park King, Stewart's younger brother, was at the time. I think he might have joined the Merchant Marines I am not sure. I know he did that before he transferred into the navy to fight the war.

Then came the terrible unbelievable news that my cousin Stewart was dead! We Kings were all stunned. Finally after a number of months, and Cecil coming back home to tell the story himself, we were able to piece together what had happened to him. After his wife Neta left him to go home and have her baby, Stewart and Cecil were living out of town somewhere where they had work. Alice was not with them, but joined Cecil after the death.  
Cecil and Stewart started drinking after work and Stewart got a whole lot drunker than Cecil by drinking so damned fast. Cecil tried to get him to go with him to find something to eat. Stewart would not go but lay down on the bed where Cecil thought he would probably just pass out.
When he got back from the cafe,  the motel room was in flames. Stewart smoked of course. Cecil said he must have gone to sleep with a lighted cigarette in his hand and set the bed on fire. He did not wake up to save himself. Cecil thrust open the door and dragged him out, but it was too late. He lived only a short time before he died of smoke inhalation and burns.

Just like that, Stewart's life had been snuffed out in the most terrible way. It was such a tragic waste. At least the Kings could somewhat live with Max's death because riding a wild horse in a local rodeo in those days was always considered a risk. Stewart's death was clearly caused from drinking too much alcohol combined with smoking cigarettes. It took months for the Kings to get over the sudden shocking end to the life of another one of their own. Stewart was only 22 years old!  Dammit!
I am sure Aunt Hazel's heart nearly broke just like Grandma King's did when Max got killed only a few short years before, her youngest son, her brightest hope! Max had vowed he was going to change his life by quitting drinking that winter, so he would not fail at the University of Utah as Daddy had done because of too much partying. Max said he was going to straighten up so he could marry the cute Mormon girl he had fallen in love with who told him she would not accept a drinker for a husband.

Now Neta's heart was broken, and Johnny King would never know his dad. Well, Neta did find a much calmer husband a few years later and had another child. But Johnny was her wild King son who never stopped taking terrible chances like he wanted  to die just like his dad, in some equally reckless way.  I remember when Johnny got married, the town cop called over to Boulder and said to tell everyone to get off the road as Johnny King had come home for his wedding and he just drove through town heading toward Boulder 100 miles an hour!  
My dad just said humph and went out on the road in his new car. The story was forever told how Clyde King and Johnny King wrecked down in Calf Creek, half way between Escalante and Boulder, bashed in their fenders, but they both somehow lived.  

The story of Stewart King and his ride over Death Holler in a race with the mail truck passed into legend. I rode a poem about it. I have read about the Death Holler trail ride in other histories. Cowboys did not race across Death Holler Trail! Stewart King did and that is why I wrote in my poem “My redheaded cousin Stewart King and Death Holler Trail were made for each other.”

Friday, April 15, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 17: Mother rebuilds her homestead house in Boulder saying good-bye to Sinkhole ranch, and plans to build a store to escape her marriage problems

Mother announced to Father one day that she had secured the 'catchall' as it was called from Grandpa King where she was going to move her homestead house. She told him she was never going to live in Salt Gulch again! Father reminded her of her promise to live with him in Salt Gulch if he bought the ranch, and she reminded him that he had also made a promise to her to quit drinking, even to taking the Kiely cure, and he had not stopped. She was not going to be made unhappy anymore by him saying he had to go to Boulder for something and slipping off to Escalante to get a bottle
Daddy seem quite surprised she had persuaded Grandpa to give her land in Boulder, but he thought to tell Mother he would have to have part of the upper pasture that belonged to Grandpa where he could pasture his horses, milk cows, and the steers he would be fattening for market in the summer if he was going to live with her in Boulder.

Grandpa reluctantly agreed that Daddy would need pasture all right. The catchall property east of the big government corral, which land Grandpa owned, was enough for a smaller 'catchall', a garden spot and a place for an orchard, a barn, and corrals as well as the house and yard. Grandpa said Daddy could fence part of his pasture heading south from the government corral for his horses, steers, and milk cows.

Mother hired Albert Coleman to tear down the homestead house and haul it to the building site and then Art McInelly, a carpenter from Escalante, and his sons were to do the reconstructing. In the meantime the family spent a few months of our last winters in Salt Gulch down to the old King ranch house and even a couple of months over to Grandpa and Grandma Wilson's ranch house. All I remember about sleeping in one of the back bedrooms down to the old King ranch house was a reoccurring dream I had of an old model T grinding away in deep sand, unable to move forward. Talk about a dream of futility. I can still hear the dreary sound the engine made. I got so I dreaded that dream and that sound. I know it was about my father's drinking that even after the Kiely cure, looked as though it was going to go on forever with our family making no progress toward stability.
While we were living to the Wilson ranch home, I had a really alarming nightmare. I dreamed a man was chasing me and caught up with me in a pasture and took a very long plank, set one end on the top of my head, and with a big hammer, pounded a nail into the top of my head. I screamed so loud I must have awakened the whole household, but nobody said anything. For years I pondered the meaning of this dream. Just now I realized what it meant after all these years. It had to do with the new house and the pasture there and another hired man doing me harm.

I can't say that I was too unhappy about leaving sinkhole ranch for by then I had acquired my very own sinkhole that I felt responsible for causing. This is how that happened. Barbara, Marilyn, and I who had all gotten to be better and better friends, decided we wanted to go swimming, but I thought we should try going in our ditch where we might find some water a little deeper than in Sweet Water which did not have as much water in it as our ditch, as my father's ranch had the best water rights in Salt Gulch. I don't think I said anything about this plan to my parents. I saw no need.
The day we were to meet my mother insisted I had to go to Boulder with her for something, so I called Marilyn and Barbara who said they might try swimming in our ditch anyway. When we got home, we received terrible news. They had no more begun traipsing up and down our ditch looking for deep water when the water started whirling around in a most frightening manner right under their feet. Barbara said they were barely able to leap out before a big hole opened up in the ditch and all the water that went to our ranch gurgled down and out of sight!

This spelled disaster for our ranch. It was not long before my father realized no water at all was coming over the hill, and he and the hired man rushed up the road to see what had happened. The water went an amazingly long ways underground before it surfaced in a gully down below the ditch and flowed through the neighbors' land.

Well, I can't tell you how many times that summer the men would fix the ditch with a wooden waterway of some sort and then the ground around it would inevitably give way and the water would disappear down into an even bigger sinkhole.
I couldn't help but have nightmares about that sinkhole, imagining if I had been there, I was not able to jump out in time for some reason. I would have gone down the hole with the water! Well, thank goodness, I went to Boulder or I believe I would not be here today, and I told Barbara and Marilyn not to blame themselves as I was the one who insisted on swimming there. I don't know if Daddy would have even forbidden me to swim in the ditch had he known what we planned to do.

Finally in desperation Daddy asked the CCC engineer who was working on our roads to come and look at the sinkhole and see what he could suggest. He looked and told him to buy two of the longest culverts he could find that would hold the water, haul them home, and weld them together so they would cross the unstable ground entirely. The culverts were quite expensive, but that's what Daddy did, and this solution finally worked.
I was relieved to have the water running steadily over the hill into our ranch again without the sinkhole gobbling up more and more of the ditch.  But still another emergency in our crisis ridden lives had been exhausting. I was reminded of the poor Ogden boy who had a nightmare event happen while trying to swim in a water tank over in Sand Creek. The Ogdens had run the Salt Gulch ranch before my Uncle Glen moved there. The boys found a water tank that was quite deep when it was full from a storm when they were riding over into Sand Creek. They took to diving into it. One Odgen boy came up in an underground passage  they didn't know was there and never surfaced. The other boys went in again and again looking for him but never found his body! Needless to say that water tank was off limits to swimmers forever after and so was our ditch!

Knowing we were moving, I started saying goodbye to 'our hill' which we children claimed in the middle of the ranch. I would never climb that hill again and listen to the blackbirds singing in the trees. I wouldn't hear the coyotes howling at night just barely out there where you couldn't see them, or watch the deer come in every night to feed in my father's alfalfa fields. Well, my dad would see them, because he'd still be farming over there, but I would never again live on this ranch as a child. Mother had even taken Barbara and me to Sand Creek to camp out. Margie and Gay, her sister, came with us, but Barbara promised me she knew where the Nine Room cave was over past the school house ledge and we would still go exploring over to Boulder as we had done in Salt Gulch. I could still come and stay with her in Salt Gulch as she could come to to stay with me in Boulder in the new house. Yes, I thought that might be nice to have our own home in Boulder where I could have friends over night.
Daddy said we would take old Don to Boulder, but he was so burned out, he didn't know how long he was going to last. I knew if anything happened to him I could always go down to Grandpa King's ranch for a horse to ride if I lived close. 
In Salt Gulch I never liked the fear that one of the cows just coming off the mountain would bloat on the alfalfa in the fields if we didn't find them in time and put them in a pasture. Daddy had to stick a couple of them and they still died. But alfalfa was the richest hay for cattle in the winter. And Daddy loved his precious water so much in Salt Gulch he would hardly let a hired man tend the water. The only time he ever let the water run too long on his fields was when he was drunk. The rest of the time he was the most conscientious farmer you could ask for. Mother made me mad because she acted like Daddy didn't do anything. It was hard work out there shoveling ditch. To my mind, Daddy actually worked harder than Mother did, and that is saying a lot.
Mother was the kind of worker who would tear into some big job like bottling five bushels of peaches and about kill herself and all her helpers, but Daddy wanted order to his work routine. He wanted a nice dinner ready on time after the hard morning's work was done and hot new bread for supper and he was satisfied. 
You never knew what Mother might do, work hard one day and not do a thing for days with the house left in chaos. She would be no where to be found.  I got used to growing up with the house in a mess half the time.
Mother wanted a homestead house. She got it, she didn't like it, then she wanted the cheese factory house, and then the Salt Gulch ranch, and now she just had to have another Boulder house! Would she ever be satisfied? Daddy was afraid not. I heard him tell Mother he knew she would not come to Salt Gulch if she lived in Boulder to cook his dinner in haying time. Mother said I would be big enough, I could do it! It looked to me like Mother was raising me to take her place in Daddy's life.
She was already refusing to ride horses with him. Why not? I always wanted to ride with him! Well, now she had the babies, but I knew and he knew she could leave them with one of the hired girls to tend if he wanted her to ride horses somewhere with him. The truth was Mother did not really want to go anywhere with Daddy if she could help it.

I was worried, too, about what was going to happen to their marriage when we moved over to Boulder. Mother told us girls she intended to build a store. Neither Grandpa or Daddy knew about that yet, because Daddy would probably have gotten mad and cussed when he heard this plan, so she didn't tell him, she just told us kids. Why else would she want to move back to Boulder? She needed a way to escape Daddy, that's why! I already knew how she loved meeting and talking to people in the cheese factory store. That is where she met Reed, and hired him for the summer to make the cheese with her. She had fallen in love.  
I could see the meaning of Mother's store plan. She was going to live a separate life from Daddy. She could not wait. 
 Well, what was he doing? I did not forget the suspicions aroused when I was younger by his behavior with Bill, the rattlesnake man. But I did think Daddy hoped that he and Mother could still become successful partners. I thought Mother was done with all that. He had his chance to win her love, and he had failed.
She could make some money in a store and still together, they would raise their children. She would not be happy, but she would be doing her job as a parent. I could see that she had made up her mind that she was never going to be happy with Daddy. She talked about him so bad that everybody knew it. He never talked bad about her. Why did she never have one good word to say about him? It looked like we were in for an awful lot of unpleasantness if she acted like she hated him until we were grown! But Mother wasn't the praising kind. She probably didn't have a good word to say about me either! That was just her.
She talked to us girls quite a lot, or at least she did to me.  Women did not trust her not to flirt with their husbands so they generally did not like her. She had to have somebody to talk to, and I was intelligent. I read books. I was about as good a confidant as she could get, even when I was pretty little. I was worldly wise.  I could have told her a thing or two about her husband, but she had too bad of temper for me to trust. If I couldn't tell her I had been molested because of how Daddy had been involved, what could I tell her?  
I didn't like her very well a lot of the time, but she was my mom. I knew what she was up against. I knew it even better than she did. I knew I could not have stood Daddy's kind of infidelity. I would have been telling Daddy what I suspected even if he tried to kill me. But I would have been out there riding with him, too, trying to take him away from the hired men. That's what I was doing right now. I was doing what I thought should have been her job. I was teaching Daddy to value me more than he did them. I wanted him to depend on me and know that no matter what his faults were I would still love him. 
He was worth it.  
After all, he was one of the smartest guys around. There wasn't anything he couldn't do as good or better than any man.  He was if you really wanted to see it, a magnificent specimen of a man, and it was just a tragedy what had happened to him. What did Mother expect out of life, a perfect man?  She read too many of those damned romantic novels of hers, I thought.  She wasn't realistic. Those novels did not reflect real life. But unless she could control her temper, she was not even going to be able to make the most of this tough relationship.     
Damn it, why couldn't she see that you had to look for what was good in a man, before rejecting him because of the bad? She was always saying he didn't love her, but did she love him? No, no, no!  She had given up on him far too soon.  Instead she would talk about how much she loved Max, Daddy's younger brother who got killed. They were more the same age. Finally one day, Max hurt her feelings by telling her to stay out of his business. He probably felt uneasy about how much she liked him and he wanted her to stay back. I knew Max wanted her to try to love his brother, if she could, because that was the only thing that might save him from a hard death as a drunk.  Max didn't know it then, but he was the son who was going to die an alcohol related death first when he was only 21 years old!  
I knew how much she loved Reed, the handsome young man visiting his uncle who worked for her that summer helping her make cheese. Even at four I suspected that she would have been in his arms in five seconds if he had been willing to romance a married woman. She would have run away with him, and I bet you anything she would have left Margie and me with Grandma King.
But I still loved her. Yes, I did love Mother. She was tried by one of the worst problems any wife could ever ever have by marrying Daddy, but she fell short of really loving him too soon. Terrible problems and all.  That is what it would take to make any difference at all. I didn't think she had it in her to really love a man.  Her feelings tended to be fickle.  
I came to this conclusion because of how Daddy loved and protected us kids, never spanked us as she did.  He didn't have it in him to be that mean.  He had to be my protector from her because of her temper. I couldn't forget that either. Mother was too impatient to love her kids well, either. She could not control her darker emotions.   
I had to think day and night to try to figure out solutions for their problems.  I felt that our lives depended on how well any of us could think our way out of our terrible dilemmas as a family. These problems seemed almost insurmountable.  It was a good thing I had inherited brains, I thought.  I was going to need them to survive childhood.  

The world was full of imperfect men. You could not give up on any man too soon, or the problem was in you, not in the man.  Mother was a terrible reckless flirt.  Daddy still loved her and would not give up on her.  She needed to open her eyes more and see what his problem was, because if she did not know what it was, how could she fight it?  I just knew Daddy did not intend to be the kind of man he was.  He hated himself. I hoped not bad enough to commit suicide. 
Oh, I knew what his behavior was more about now. I was reading enough and thinking enough that I had finally got an idea of how it could have happened. He'd probably been molested I figured, enough that he acquired those tastes. I hadn't really been molested that long. But as a boy forced to interact with older hired men on his dad's ranch all the time, it could have happened so easy, and a lot more times than it happened to me. And then maybe these feelings were reinforced by older boys who would get him drunk, and drinking at a very young age, he was probably game for anything.    
 It looked to me like Grandpa King did have the same problem as Daddy with the hired men. He seemed perfectly happy to be living alone with his hired men while Grandma went to her church activities in town.
But it was easier for people to tolerate Grandpa and overlook anything he might have been doing because he did not drink. 

Neither Aunt Hazel or Grandma King wanted to leave town to live all year on a lonely ranch. They jumped at the chance to live in town probably even when their boys would not mind them and they suspected they were coming home drunk. Aunt Hazel's two oldest boys, Stewart and Park, were now very bad drunks. The same thing was happening to them that had happened to their father, Uncle Glen, when he lived in town. Started drinking something terrible. All the King males were very bad to drink when they lived in town. 
Grandpa King would come to town and crack the whip and take them in the summer to the ranch and work them as hard as he could. But it was too late, they had already become some of the worst young drunks around.

I observed all the families around me. The Coleman boys did not drink! Neither did the Petersen boys. The Wilson brothers did not drink. Their dad, my granddad, kept them very close to him, always doing big projects so they would not have time to get into trouble.
What was the use of the wife moving to town so the kids could go to school if the sons were going to be lost to alcohol? Grandpa King was a smart guy but I thought he was too willing to be parted from his wife. Yes, he had the problem, too, now I was almost sure. None of the other husbands and fathers acted like they could be separated from their wives overnight. The effect of his mother and dad's problem with togetherness probably influenced Daddy's behavior, too.  Which was why I thought he had been so determined Mother should live with him on the Salt Gulch ranch.   

Oh strike me dead if you will because of a suspicious mind, but I felt these were the hard cruel facts of life. Alcoholics like my dad and his brothers were the worst thing that could happen to a family. Every week the same god damn dreary scene, Daddy coming home drunk and Mother yelling, hollering, cursing. Mother never cried. She was too hot tempered to cry. She would have beat up on Daddy, if she had been strong enough. She was a very fiery woman, more tiger than woman at times, if you ask me. Hardly any tears in her. Just rage. Meanest woman around. 
She could not think when she was mad. Nobody can. Even Daddy did not like to get her too mad. He was too tough to be really afraid of her. He knew he could whip her in a pitched physical battle. But she could not change anything with sheer rage. Daddy was too bad of an alcoholic. I wasn't sure but what he was not going to kill himself, somehow, just as Max had. Reed was gone from his family now, probably for good. They couldn't keep him away from alcohol when he was out of the hospital. Poison whiskey could have started all his trouble. Split his mind. Glen had been banished from the country, and divorced because of his drinking and violence toward his wife and family.  

Would Daddy be the next King son to die?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 16: Daddy trades for my first horse in Salt Gulch, and I start falling in love with cowboys at a very young age

Daddy came back from a trip out over the mountain in the truck and told me quite casually that he had a new horse for me to try out. I ran out to the corrals to see him and was overjoyed. There couldn't have been a more beautiful horse than Don. He was lean and well formed, brown with a long wavy black mane and tail. Daddy warned me he was an old horse but gentle. He would not be able to take him out on the range to ride because he had been ridden out. The gentleman who traded him to Daddy had been kind enough to tell him Don didn't have the stamina to travel long distances anymore. But I knew Daddy had been looking for a horse  gentle enough for us girls to ride. Don was that horse.
He did not have one trait of 'acting up' unless you counted the fact that he was hard to catch. Daddy said I might have to use an oat sack if I was alone and wanted to ride him. Otherwise I might be chasing him around the corral a long time trying to get a bridle on him. 
I spent as much time as possible riding the new horse. I told Daddy he had the most beautiful sound to his gait when he loped. It was the most rhythmical lope in a horse I ever experienced. I just loved everything about Don. I daydreamed about what a magnificent horse he must have been when he was young, about how many hours of pleasure he must have given his owner before he played out.
Daddy knew a lot about overworking horses. He knew how to pace his horses' working life so they would not give out for years. After all, he and other cowboys spent years training 'cow horses' to work with cattle in this rough country. A well trained horse with a lot of stamina was worth gold. 
Daddy was an expert calf roper who always did the roping when they had to brand calves every year. He caught his calves so fast they got done with the work a lot quicker than if they had not had a top roper. Daddy and Grandpa King were known for their expertise in working with cattle.
We used to laugh at how soon some of the 'tough' cowboys in town would wear their horses down and out. One bunch of young brothers were known for their 'skinny' cow ponies. They always rode their horses on a dead run. The horses didn't last long, but the brothers got there sooner. But they were tough cowboys and when their ponies played out they just went down on the range where the wild horses ran and roped another cow pony, brought him home, and run him til he was very slim. 
I was always very solicitous about my horses' well being. I observed my dad's and granddad's ways with horses very closely, and when I started school I found myself attracted only to the boys who loved horses. One boy and one boy only loved me and claimed me for his girlfriend but he did not love horses so he could not capture my heart. Instead I loved his cousin who was a horse lover nicknamed Dynamite. In fact, I was never to know another boy more obsessed with horses. But his nickname kind of gives you a clue as to his explosive temper. He had the worst disposition of any boy in school. His cousins had named him in self defense, but he was proud of his nickname and probably lost his temper all the more after he became known far and wide as Dynamite. 
Keep in mind that I had developed sexual feelings at a very young age, probably from being jolted ahead in my development by molestation, so loving a boy was agony for me, especially when he loved another girl. I think my passion for Dynamite just confused him since he was not nearly as far advanced in his passionate feelings for girls. What he did not feel he was bound to reject. I would day dream about us riding the range together on our horses, while he day dreamed about another girl who must not have been any more advanced in her passions for boys than he was because she hated his 'love' for her.
He carved their initials everywhere. He allowed his cousin to love me but Gordon was forbidden by Dynamite to carve his and my initials on any tree higher than his and Elaine's. Neither Elaine nor I really wanted our initials carved with either one of the boys who claimed us, but there they must still be on those old trees in the school yard. 
When Dynamite was old enough to ride horses further from home he was able to carve their initials even further away. His and Elaine's initials turned up everywhere even in King's Pasture on the Boulder Mountain! Since Gordon did not ride horses he never managed to get as far from home. His family never owned a car.  He had to walk everywhere.
There were a lot of obstacles in the way of Dynamite riding horses, too. When he first went to school he carved willows into horses he rode between his legs on a gallop. When he wasn't busy he drew horses and pictures of a princess all day. Sometimes he would draw Barbara and me, too, but we would always be less beautiful than his princess Elaine. He would show me the pictures and ask me to give Elaine hers. I was almost afraid to give them to her she would respond with such chilly disdain, but I did not want to displease Dynamite.
Finally Grandpa King noticed a horse loving boy if there ever was one and told him if he would come down and exercise his horses on the ranch, he would give him a horse to break of his own. He said he would have to wait until he was ten though. He couldn't employ a boy that was any younger.
Dynamite could hardly wait, but until then he had to be content riding his dad's only horse, which was actually a big slow work horse not even close to a riding horse to RayL's disgust. He probably expressed so much contempt for his dad not being a cowboy, they never got along. 
His dad became the local carpenter instead. He just had not taken to horses as RayL did. I figured RayL took after his Uncle Cecil, his mother's cowpuncher brother. Cecil was one of the young cowboys who had learned the trade working for ranchers like my granddad. He was a horse lover and Rayl bragged that Cecil would help him break his bronco when he had earned him so he would be trained right.
In the meantime I am sure that I talked about my horse Don and how beautiful he was, because Marilyn and I even rode to Boulder with me on Don, and guess what, Marilyn on one of her stepdad's mules. 
We were used to the big burly Morias cutting a comic figure on his mules. He and his brother Merlin purchased the mules when they got the mail contract one year, and when the upper road over Hell's Backbone made it possible for a truck to carry the mail and they lost the contract, Morias just went on riding the mules. 
Riding mules was practically never done of in that country. All the ranchers but Morias had too much pride ever to be seen riding a mule.
Now Marilyn had taken to riding one of Morias's mules to Boulder as often as her mother would let her. I really admired her because I doubted if I could be humble enough to be seen riding a mule, especially by Dynamite who would have sneered himself silly. Marilyn was beautiful, too, but she was above caring what people thought about her riding a mule. She just wanted to go to Boulder, away from her Mom and Morias and their growing family. And naturally a great deal more work for her. 
I knew how that life went. I jumped up and ran out to help my dad every chance I got, partly to get away from Mother, the kids, and the endless housework. I drove the team, stomped the hay, and eventually I even started cooking for the haying crew in Salt Gulch when Mother made her escape altogether from a ranch she had never grown to love. 
 Daddy was promising me I would be soon be old enough to ride to the Salt Gulch winter range with him in the spring roundup.  I could not wait to get on a horse and go up that trail to Sand Creek and Death Holler country. I dreamed about Death Holler trail for years. I dreamed about running with horses up the long cow trail into the land of adventure on the open range.
But I was not to ride the range in Salt Gulch for a while. I still had to come of age like Dynamite before I could punch cattle with my dad and granddad in the roundups. Then I would be given a working cow horse to ride and I would be expected to show no fear. I wondered if I could do it. 
 Poor Daddy was never going to have any sons now that Mother had been 'fixed.' We daughters were all the kids he was ever going to get, and we were not made like boys. I wasn't even the tom boy type, lean and wiry and tougher than iron. I knew my limitations. Daddy knew my limitations, too, and was careful not to push me beyond where I could safely go. But I loved horses. I loved horses. And that was all that mattered to the cowmen in my family in the horse age of long ago. That and that I was their blood, and the Kings and horses went together.  

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 15: Mother nearly expires from child bearing disease until a doctor is persuaded to tie her tubes

I am sure Marilyn felt traumatized by the part she played in the Rattlesnake Man drama. She told me several times that as soon as she reached the 8th grade and had to go away to school she would go back to Salt Lake to live with her Aunt Lillian and would never return to Boulder again!
Her stepfather Morias was a rough old country bumpkin, and I think she was horrified by her mother's years of staying pregnant by him until she finally had a child with severe muscular dystrophy who never made it out of his wheelchair before he died. Her mother moved herself  and her children by Morias to Escalante and Morais was not even allowed to visit, I am sure, until she was past menopause. When he got old and his health broke down, his younger children persuaded her to let him stay there after he sold the ranch, until his death.
Marie, her mother, told me Marilyn only came back once to see her in Escalante. I don't think she ever had any children. Well, I understood because I was pretty traumatized by my mother's inability to keep from getting pregnant too! 
I found out another baby was coming soon after Ann, the fourth girl, had only turned one year old! I knew Mother did not want or need another child this soon. Daddy always cussed when she got pregnant as though it was all her fault. Then he'd finally act resigned and say it had better be a boy then to help him with all that work. Was he going to do put it up for adoption if it was another damned girl?  I thought our dad liked us girls, but that wasn't the way he talked when Mother got pregnant.  
I remember Mother saying something about her diaphragm breaking when she was going to have Linda! It certainly could not have been a very reliable means of birth control whatever she used, but she soldiered on through the pregnancy.

I did not want another baby brother or sister to tend. I thought I might go mad myself with all these kids constantly arriving. You could put a molester in jail but a husband like Daddy who got drunk and demanded sex I feared you could do nothing about. I had heard him demanding his husband's rights. But it sounded to me like he did not have to try very hard to get Mother to take a chance! 

Well, Mother had the baby, another girl of course, which caused Daddy to treat her very badly as usual, Mother reported, but this time she went to Salt Lake to have the child because her very life was at risk. Ann had to be delivered with forceps and Grandpa informed Mother her life might come to an end if she stayed in the country to have another child. Daddy grumbled but was scared into paying the bill for her to go to Salt Lake.  He even took her and deposited her to the hospital she told us before he went out and got drunk.  

Grandpa could not even tell her what to do to stop getting pregnant. If he couldn't tell her I don't know who could. Everybody in the country must have told her what to do to prevent these life threatening pregnancies, but I guess the main thing that caused them she could not end, sexual intercourse, or the marriage itself might have come undone leaving her with five children to raise alone. 
Men in those days could not seem to go without sex even at the risk of killing their wives.  They were like animals, some women said.  My word, some of these old wives tales made us young girls afraid to grow up.  I thought the women should have held their tongues when we were around, so we could keep our idiotic romantic fantasies alive as long as possible before we became disillusioned, too! 
Mother was a big strong woman, but she could not go into hard labor, so having a child required her to visit the valley of the shadow of death five times. I think she was too angry at Daddy to have it by the time she had carried a child of his nine months.  Some women just relaxed and popped their kids out like the cows do their calves, but not her.     
It was already very hard to keep track of Mother despite so many children. She kept the road hot when she could, escaping her unhappy home. She would take the youngest one with her, but I always felt in charge of the ones left at home. Yes, it was going to be a contest as to who had the nervous breakdown first, Mother or me, from too much of her child bearing.
I came home from school one day when we were living in Salt Gulch, the fall after Linda was born in June, and I couldn't find Mother. I knew she was there somewhere because the car was there. I finally found her crying out in back of the house. She said she had gotten pregnant again with her ninth pregnancy in ten years and was having a miscarriage!
Somebody came and took her to Richfield. I guess it was Daddy since he was the cause. I don't know where we five children were deposited, probably with Grandma King. The doctor had to do a D and C and Mother finally persuaded him to tie her tubes. He reluctantly agreed even though she was only 29 years old and he said it was a criminal act. It was obvious she could not control her child bearing situation, so he guessed he needed to make an exception in her case. Some women just were not made to have ten or twelve kids like a lot of women did in those days. She looked strong, but half way through labor she just quit having any meaningful contractions.  I don't think her heart was into having kids to tell you the truth. Daddy being the alcoholic husband he was. She was always uptight and mad at him.  She just could never relax enough to bring another of his children into the world easily.   
Mother came home from the hospital looking considerably happier. And at last we could turn our attention to spoiling the last baby sister. I doubt if I even noticed her up to then we had so much work to do. Like gardening, bottling, washing the clothes with water heated outside in a big tub, making soap, cooking meals, making bread, all that had to go on no matter whether there were fifteen babies or not.
I don't know how Mother survived those years. I know she had a lot of migraine headaches, and she complained about being tired all the time. When I started waking up in the morning exhausted, how could I expect her to be concerned? She had a worse case of fatigue than I did. In the meantime, Mother hired Leah and Fern Coleman at times to come and help us. They were godsends. But they grew up and left home, got married, and somebody still had to do the work. Mother could not wait for the babies to grow up so she could put them to work, and neither could I. 
Just try living in the country for a while with no electricity or running water and a bunch of little kids to raise and men to cook for every day, and you will soon see what broke us down like overworked nags that had been run too hard. I meant to do just like Marilyn, head for the city and civilization as soon as I could and that would be the last anyone would see of me in that godforsaken primitive land.     
But one good thing about Mother's temper, her kids did not dare mess their pants very long. They were too terrified to dirty their diapers once they realized that made their mother very angry. Mother trained her kids by whipping them, only mercifully I have blanked all those spankings completely out of my memory.  The only thing I remember about her whipping me is telling Daddy every day,  yes, she whipped me.  But now that I think of it, she did mellow some with the last three.  They don't remember getting whipped or telling Daddy they got whipped.  But I am telling you, Daddy tried her to the breaking point.  That's why I forgive her, God rest her soul.  
And many men came and went working for Daddy, after Bill left, even as he labored from the crack of dawn until it was dark to keep up with his growing crops and expanding herd of cattle.
Oh I might have forgotten to tell you, Grandpa paid for Daddy to have the Kiely Cure for drinking at the state mental hospital where he was even able to see and visit Uncle Reed. Daddy stayed there a month being cured before the spring work started and Linda was going to be born, and two months after he came home he started drinking again!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 14: Rattlesnake man starts courting a widow with many children and I have to do something even if it is wrong!

After Bill quit working for Daddy I did not pay attention to what he was doing until I was eight years old and Mother or somebody else told me that he was 'courting' the widow Baker. I was horrified, but it was true as I saw his old vehicle parked to the Widow Baker's shortly after when I was riding the school bus home to Salt Gulch. Maggie lived just down from the rocks coming into Boulder, on what people called 'Sandy Ranch', as the widow did not have enough water rights to keep her fields green. 
Rattlesnake Bill had somehow got into her good graces enough to be allowed in her house among her whole flock of tasty children, three little girls, under ten, and three boys who were older. If he should get a chance I thought he would mess with either girls or boys, but who I figured attracted him the most was not Maggie, with her long stringy hair and her careworn face, but Cleo, her curly haired ten year old daughter who looked exactly like a brunette Shirley Temple!
I had not warned a single soul about what a bad character Bill was. If anything happened to one of those children it would surely be partly my fault. Cleo was best friends at school with Marilyn, who lived in Salt Gulch. Marilyn even stayed to the Bakers' occasionally when there was some reason she wanted to stay all night in Boulder. 
Since I had also made friends with Marilyn and even gone to visit her a time or two, I decided I would try to talk to Marilyn and tell her what danger was lurking with Cleo's mother allowing Bill close to her children.
I got Marilyn's attention at school at recess and then realized I would need to her tell what Bill had done to me in order to get her to believe she must warn Cleo. I started to tell her about the molesting but at the last minute I could not bring myself to tell her that Bill had done these things to me. It was just too risky a thing for me to bring myself to do, too full of the possibilities of dire consequences. So instead I found myself telling Marilyn that Bill had already molested Cleo! She looked at me startled while I described everything Bill had done to me, only I said he had done it to Cleo! Marilyn never uttered a word of protest. She just nodded and left.
I was horrified at myself for telling such lies. As if Marilyn was going to believe me. She knew very well that Cleo would never have told me anything. She was picky about her friends and I was not one of them. While I was pondering the possible consequences of the ghastly falsehood I had told, Marilyn must have gotten a chance to tell Cleo what I said about Bill having molested her.
Very soon Mother and Dad went to Boulder for the mail and some other business. They left us older girls home in Salt Gulch doing chores. Cleo must have seen them pass the Baker place and she got on the phone and kept ringing until I answered. When she got me on the phone she started screaming at me that she would tell my mother and dad and have me arrested for slander if I did not stop telling these horrible lies about her. I humbly apologized and said meekly, “I am sorry. I will never do it again.”
After she hung up, I wondered how I would ever face her again in school. I just did not know what to do next. I was still thinking about what to do to protect the Baker children days later when I realized that Bill was no longer stopping to Maggie's place, in fact he did not even seem to be still in town. Bill had disappeared as though off the face of the earth two months after I set out to save the Baker children from him!
Naturally I had to conclude his leaving town had something to do with what I told Marilyn he had done to Cleo. I waited for Mother and Dad to say something to me, but they did not act like they knew anything about my horrible lies. 
I thought and thought and decided Cleo in her great indignation had surely said something to her family, possibly to her oldest brother Hayward who was around 20 or so and I believe worked for Grandpa King. I figured he might have put two and two together and decided if I was talking about Bill and molesting, something was not right. Hayward could have been the one who said something to the people who caused Bill to high tail it out of town. Either that or somebody had caused him to disappear by killing him and throwing him down a canyon somewhere.  I just hoped that somebody had not been my dad after I had tried so hard to keep him from being the one to murder Bill.   
I never heard another thing about Bill until I was a lot older. Probably sixty years later a man told one of my sisters that shortly before Bill disappeared he tried to come into a drinking party one of his relatives was throwing and somebody took a shot at him! I thought for sure that person must have heard about the lies I was telling. Who shot him? I do not know. I heard from someone else Bill was shot in the leg but was helped by another old rancher to recover enough to leave town for good. 

I could not worry any more about what punishment Bill had really merited for his acts of sexual aggression with a five year old. I just felt relieved that I did not have to worry about him catching me alone any more or about what he was doing to some other child in Boulder.

Not too many months after the Widow Maggie felt galvanized to move to Richfield, a larger town that fit her family and their talents much better than Boulder did. They fared better in Richfield. Sometimes Margie would ask Mother to take her to see a younger Baker girl, May, who was her age. She kept contact with May for years, but naturally Cleo never spoke to me again.