Twentynine Palms Historical Society
29 Palms, California
By Don LePage
Photo taken: 1934.
You can call this a poem if you want to I really don't much care
There is no meter; the rhyme is poor but I have thoughts I would like to share.
There are many ancient memories from before our World War II
We had a very special life on the desert, me and you.
As you read these notes that I put down about those golden years
You'll see the page is slightly damp it's just the stain of tears.
America was beautiful then it showed its children's pride
And youth was in the driver's seat with half a world to ride.
I now live in a far off land but my heart is still back here
With my bare feet in the hot, hot sand breathing the desert air.
Remembering the sand in my eye from a dust devil passing by
Remembering the smell of wet greasewood when a cooling rain was nigh.
A flash flood could wipe out the road that led to Bagley's General Store
And when it did we'd have to rely on our knowledge of Desert lore.
We would let some air out of the tires and cut out through the dunes
Where the Mesquite grows and the wild Wind blows and the
Coyotes sing their tunes.
Frank and Helen ran the store, they kept it clean and neat
Heine Olsen stocked the shelves Art Krushat cut the meat
Art would trim away the fat his meat was always lean
Tom Dowlen was the nice young man that pumped the gasoline.
Out on a bench in front of the store sat desert rat Jack Meek
He would tell us kids short stories that kept us up for weeks.
He would tell of hard rock mining and shootings in days gone by
But when I'd ask my mom about it she'd say, "Jack's prone to lie."
It wasn't called the Plaza then we just called it the store
It was the center of our daily lives none like it anymore!
It's where we'd visit with our friends it's where we got our mail
It's where we went to buy a broom or a shiny brand new pail.
Five cent Coca Cola in a red box filled with water
And in there on a butcher block a beef fresh from the slaughter.
We could buy a tin of lard or a pair of workman's shoes
Or a rope or dynamite or picks and things that miners use.
The county library's books were there books of every kind
On eight neat shelves by the water bags just past the bacon rind.
Radio Doc's, Tom Martin's shop; Irv Enger making ice.
Judge Post's switchboard; Jimmy Graham's café where the food was very nice.
By the soft yellow light of a coal lamp my mom read to us each day
Jack London and R. L. Stevenson and stories by Zane Gray.
Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, Copper's Leather Stocking Tales
The poems of Robert Service taught that bad men go to jail.
Those were really marvelous years we didn't know it then
But mom was teaching her three sons to go out and be strong men.
The Flickinger kids would ride to school on a burro's back
And Mrs. Jessup's Hudson car had no luggage rack.
Remember Teach Hayes' Franklin out by the cactus patch
And the '29 "A" Woody of Bill and Ada Hatch?
Clint and William Underhill, Bill Hockett's old well rig
Ketchum's Dipodomys, Smith's Ranch that got so big.
Bill Keys and Mickey Thornton and Constable Jack Cones
Johnnie Hastie's old red bus and "pics" by Harlow Jones.
The Spring box water tastes so sweet 'neath the palms at fortynine
I still remember how scared I was in the shaft of the Gold Crown mine.
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