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Voice: Much harship for early farm families, other settlers of Valley

March 11, 2002

As background I moved to Westmorland in 1925 and have lived in various areas most of my life. I am really getting pissed off when I hear people attacking our farmers.

If it hadn't been for the farmers and dairymen there might not have been the great food-producing valley we have now. The hardships those early pioneers endured are almost beyond the imagination of many of the Valley residents of today.

I remember my dad talking about working on the Highline Canal. They had no ice water because the ice would melt before they could get it from Yuma to the construction site. At night they would scoop out a spot in the sand until they got the sand cool enough to sleep on and pray that no friendly rattlesnake decided to join them.

I can remember how the farmers and dairymen went out on a limb to get backing for Hoover Dam and the All-American Canal. I can remember how hard it was some years to raise enough money for the taxes. Many times we had to get a loan to pay them.


We did not have electricity at our house until I was in the seventh grade but we milked cows, pitched hay and slept in a screen house underneath a huge tree in summer.

I cannot remember the complaining we hear today. If someone was needy we shared what we had and a hungry man could always share what we had at our table (sometimes it was only fried potatoes and milk) but the stranger was allowed to keep his pride by cutting a pile of wood or helping with the chores. Today we have difficulty finding someone to do housework even though we can pay them.

The Valley is still one of the best places in the world to live in spite of heat and problems. What makes it great? The people. When we need a helping hand people reach out to us like no other place on earth.

I have recently gone through nine months of serious illness and the death of my son. If it hadn't been for my God and friends I would not have made it. Elaine Trimble and former Central High Principal Barbara Oswalt were at rehab to hold my hand and keep me going. Dr. Calvin's family and my church family were there for me all the way. The pastor would make trips to San Diego to visit me as well as other church members.

Friends from Southwest High School and Central Union High kept me in "Get well cards." My good friend from olden days, Wanda Kuhn, came and stayed with me when I came home. I still have a way to go but with my God and my friends I will succeed.

Sincerely and in love,



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