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Thursday, October 28, 2010

I think I talk too much and don't get my work done...

I planted for a neighbor today. He is one of those older fellows who I have known all my life but have never really talked to. We had to load the drill with 50lbs bags of wheat and we got to talking.
I asked him how he knew my family and if he was from the Camp Adair area or if they all went to church together.
Camp Adair was an Army training facility during WWII that covered a huge area. People who lived and farmed in the area had their farms purchased or taken for a nominal sum by the US Government and were forced to relocated.
He got to talking about the reunions and how they started out with a huge gathering and are now pretty much a thing of the past.
Then he got into a commentary about how quickly they had to leave and how difficult it was to harvest the crops.
One of their neighbors was a large farm with many acres of grain and  filberts (hazelnuts). After Pearl Harbor government agents came and took him away to an internment camp because he was of recent German extraction. (I didn't hear what happened to his family and if they were sent away as well. I asked the old folks here at coffee time if they remembered it. There only memory was that he had a large farm and that his daughters were quite attractive and that they rode the bus with them.)
When the man's crops were nearly ready he came back with two FBI agents who gave him a day to find someone to harvest his crops. He asked my neighbor's father to take care of them for him as he had no one else. They did not really have time to do it as they had their crops and they had a dead line to move out.
My neighbor's two sisters came back to help and they harvested the grain. They had a 6 foot combine and the farmer had a 6 foot combine. There was something like 800 acres to do.
My neighbor talked about driving 8 miles around to work at the fellow's farm. It was right next door but the Army had removed the bridge so he had to drive around. Every day he would pass a state patrolman and the patrolman would wave at him. He said he was only 10 years old and driving a farm truck.
When they replaced the bridge later in the summer the approach to the bridge was large loose rock. Sometimes he would have to crawl under the front of the truck and move rocks that the front axle was pushing and stopping the truck.
I guess his neighbor got out of the containment camp and must have got his farm back. He was spraying peaches with one of the early chemicals and he didn't wear a respirator. The chemical filled up his lungs and he died two years later.
I would like to have heard more of the story but I also had to get his field planted. I think I'll try to get him talking tomorrow. I don't really have the names and chronology of events straight.
I don't really know who had the huge BBQ which was attended by the governor and perhaps 1000 people. The roasted a pig, a cow, and a sheep. Was this the guy that ended up in the concentration camp? (sorry, internment camp)
Was this the same fellow who died of chemical poisoning later?
What happened to the cute girls who road the school bus?
How many acres did he harvest for the man?
He told another story about their farm. They had filberts but after getting a number of extensions to stay and harvest their crops they still were unable to pick their filberts. Sometime later they got a call from the local sheriff's office that they needed to go to Monmouth. The sheriff had picked up a drifter for stealing their filberts. The same filberts they were not allow to harvest. They were called in to see if they wanted to press charges. This did not make them very happy and they did not press charges.
He also told about the government's interest in production for the war effort. Even though they had been kicked off their farms the government still wanted them to harvest the crops. A fellow would come around in a new government car and he had a clipboard and he wanted to know how much they got done that day. One day he came out and my neighbor's mom was mending feed sacks. When he asked her what they had accomplished that day she told him they would get a lot more done if he would put that clipboard down and help out a little. He didn't come back for a few days.
Anyway, I planted 16.7 acres and then I got rained out and lost my daylight. I have something like two acres left to plant in a little odd shaped field. Not a real productive day.

An interesting link to an article about US POW camps and internment camps during WWII.

Why you should never trust the government


  1. I hope someone is documenting that story. That kind of "micro-history" is absolutely priceless. One of the ones from this area: There was a German immigrant orchardist very near here in the 30's. For some reason (I'll ask dad why in the AM) he returned to Germany before the US was involved in the war. Clifford, one of my Grand-dad's buddies, was captured and placed in a German POW camp. This orchardist happened to be a a SS guard there. When Clifford greeted him with "Hi Mr. Xxxx", the guard wouldn't acknowledge him as doing that would likely have resulted in court-marshal or worse.

    Hard to believe that this country has went from one extreme (internment camps) to the other (can't even say out loud that a certain ethnicity makes us nervous when boarding a plane) isn't it?

  2. Now THAT is a story Budde! You won't find many stories like that anymore but we sure need to hear them, as there were so many just like that one!

  3. Orin, The stories were pretty interesting and I admit to talking instead of working. The one thing that struck me was that the same sorts of morons who sent German Jews back to German during WWII (see links following story) and who sent American citizens to internment camps, are the same sorts who denying the modern ethnicity crisis. After reading the stories about this WWII shame, I'm kind of afraid to use certain words that might be picked up by search engines.
    Hi Ed, my other neighbor was in the South Pacific. He says "Tales of the South Pacific" was written by a hack. He saw the barge of marines get hit by the kamikaze mentioned in the book and he watch McArthur practice wading ashore past the piles of dead soldiers for the famous photo op.

  4. I've heard that story about McArthur, too, but I also heard it was the photographer that kept asking him to do it over and that he finally said, "Enough!" Don't know if that's true, or just one of those infamous government cover-ups.

  5. As usual I had to click "interesting" Budde. You do meet some interesting people in your life. We had internment camps here in Canada too during WWII and a lot of Japanese people were treated pretty badly after Pearl Harbour attack. Turned out of their homes and property and sent to work camps.

  6. thefrumpyhousewideOctober 29, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    My husband's mother's maiden name was originally "Zauszniewski". They lived in the NE United States where, in 1944, the name was legally changed to "Zann". I have often wondered if it was to avoid persecution for a Polish, but also German-sounding, name. The official family story was that it was too long for my then 5 yo mother-in-law to spell.

  7. Gorges, There is a pretty dedicated crowd who dislikes McArthur. Plus, he was Army and my neighbor was a Marine.
    Ralph, It was a different time. I have mixed feelings about it all. I think the Japanese and the Germans were treated really badly. My uncles agreed at coffee time. But, they also talked about how upset everyone was after Pear Harbor. People were scared. Just another example of the government screwing the little guy.
    Frumpy, Interesting story. My Dad's family quit speaking German around this time. Dad never learned and the Uncles say they were unable to talk to their Grandfather who spoke only German.

  8. At the time my ancestors came to America, the name was Nussbaumer. They were German-Swiss, the name loosely means nut-tree farmer. I had a professor in college who thought it was a travesty that I didn't grow hazelnuts.

    Anyway, they dropped the "er" pretty early on, then they dropped the second "s" during WWI to sound less German. I have the Nussbaumer family bible that crossed the Atlantic but can't read it as it is in German.


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