After graduating from High School in 1938 I went to Minnesota and drove a truck for my sister Mildred and her husband Elda Triplett hauling shelled corn into Wisconsin and after making a few trips with very little sleep I fell asleep and run the truck in the ditch and wrecked it. So that ended my career as a truck driver. Hitched hiked home broke flatter than a pancake, being broke was pretty normal those days. Then someone talked me into joining the CCC camp at Ames. I drove a Dodge dump truck there and we did a lot of stone and road work at the Boone Ledges. Some of that work that we did is still in use today. At times we even pulled weeds out of the little seedling trees at the nursery south of Ames. We got thirty dollars a month but twenty had to be sent home and we got to keep ten. The food etc was pretty good but the rules were very strict. Everything had to be spotless with barracks inspection every day. It was run by army officers and I think that they were upset because they were there instead of at an army post. When I was in the army later on the rules and regulations were not nearly as strict as they were in that CCC camp. Anyway after a few months in there I decided to get out and go to work on a farm. That was the only way I could get out was to have a job. So I went to work on a farm for Bob Johnson for forty dollars a month and my room and board. Then that fall I picked corn by hand and scooped it in the crib for if I remember right , two and a half cents a bushel. If I really worked from before daylight until after dark I could pick about a hundred and ten bushels. A fast corn picker I wasn’t. When Wayne and I used to pick corn at home he could pick two rows to my one. He picked the two outside rows and I picked the inside row next to the wagon, between him and the wagon, therefore I got whopped in the side of the head with an ear of corn pretty regular and I don’t think that it was always an accident. I had to work twice as hard as he did at it but I stayed right with it until dark and then scooped it off by kerosene lantern light. Damn that sure was hard work and not very rewarding either. I think that about that time I decided that there must be an easier way to make a living than working on a farm.
Texaco Station in Berkeley, California on the corner of Fulton and Bancroft
At that time I had a pretty good 1937 Ford, so Brownie Neale, who was still in the CCC camp, and I headed out for California. There I worked in two or three service stations and had my own Texaco station for a while. I was not a howling success at any of these but I did make a decent living. At that time I knew I was getting close to being drafted so I closed the station and went to work as a tire man and grease monkey for Lang Transportation in El Cerito California I think. It was west of Berkeley California. They had a fleet of about thirty tank trucks and trailers and they hauled mostly aviation fuel. I worked the graveyard shift and my first job when I got to work was to fix about twenty to thirty flat truck tires. A fleet of trucks certainly did have a lot of flats. No tire machines of any kind just tire irons and a maul and a lot o sweat. If I had any time left then I serviced trucks. It took a strong back and a weak mind. Guess I had both. After a few months working there my time to report for the draft is getting close so I quit that job and drove back to Iowa for a week or so and then went back to California and got ready to go into the army.