Memories of Ted Montgomery

Excerpts from memories written or told by Ted Montgomery:

  • Ted was born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, then moved to the Labor Camp near Notus. Then to Marsing; Grandpa worked as farm hand for Ray Pershall. They received milk, meat, and a house for the work. Grandma thought it was very good, ‘a roof over their heads, enough to eat…’, but Grandpa didn’t like that life. Here, Aunt Flo, driving through fences, was opening the gate and was pinned against it. While Grandma and baby Gloria were visiting in Nebraska/South Dakota, Grandpa
    • moved the family to Boise. There a heat lamp tipped over and set the bunkhouse where the boys slept (no heat but stove) on fire and burned it down. Then Dad had to sleep in Aunt Deanna’s (or someone’s) bed in the ‘big house’
    • and heard the NBC tones from the old tabletop radio at 2:00 a.m.
  • Aunt Flo moved into her own apartment by Mr. V.’s (in Caldwell) when she was 16, shared with another girl.
  • Aunt Irene worked cleaning house for people in Marsing. They moved to Oregon (Albany) and wanted Aunt Irene to go.
  • While Dad and Uncle Gene were little (in Boise) Grandpa took them to the Boise Easter egg hunt and told Marvin to watch them. Uncle Marvin wanted to hunt eggs and left them, telling them to stay. They, thinking Marvin had left them behind, wandered around. They were picked up by the police and taken to the bandstand to be found. ‘And I think we got our pictures in the paper because of it, too.’
  • Dad ‘learned to swim’ in Marsing, holding onto grass which broke.
  • Marsing: Riding ‘horses’ to the top of the bluff they saw the sun come out where the rain had been pouring and saw a rainbow.
  • The ‘hired man’ was tossing hay onto the stack below the wagon and started to toss Ted. Then Ted saw how far down it was and grabbed the hired man, and they both fell in.
  • When Ted was small, he caught his arm in the wringer; luckily it was set for overalls, and Blanche was there. When he was released, his arm was all white and he said, ‘Well, I guess my arm is clean!’ But it didn’t hurt.
  • In Marsing (pre age five) Ted, Gene, and the neighbor kid Dud Mausling were crossing a field. Dud asked, ‘What about the bull?’ Dad and Gene said if he came just to slide under the fence. The bull came; Ted and Gene slid, but Dud caught his lip and split it wide open. Years later, playing baseball against them, Dud still had a scar. Another time, afraid of the bull, Dad and Gene leapt into a metal watering tank. Then, getting out, Dad grabbed the wire fence running right behind, and nearly electrocuted himself. Luckily, it was an intermittent current, so it let him go.
  • Grandpa’s (L. T. Montgomery) brother, Walter, went away when he was young, and was never heard from.*
    • *Descendants of Mamie Montgomery did know of Walter’s whereabouts.
  • His brother, Ward, purportedly could add up the numbers on train cars as the train went
    • by.

Interview with Ted, November 16, 1997:

  • Grandpa’s (L.T.) toes curled up; his shoes wouldn’t fit right–when a kid, living with another family, they had him breaking in women’s shoes
  • In 1953: Over a 4th of July weekend when Dad was about 11, Gene about 12, Marvin about 17, and Daniel Frenier about 11, Daniel. spent the night at Dad’s (in tents in the front yard). The next day they went to Memorial Park and set up tables [standing them on edge against one another] to reserve them. The next day (about), the police went to Daniel’s (Dad didn’t know this until later) and asked him if he’d blown up the toilet in the park. Finally, he said yes (though he hadn’t) to get them off his back. Then they asked him what 2 people were with him. So he said Dad & Gene because he he had been with them (though not blowing up toilets). So the next week (approximately) they went to Ted & told him & Gene to go down to the police station that afternoon. So when Grandpa came home at noon, they went to the station. So Gene went in first and came out crying. This scared Ted. Then he went in. The policemen started out asking Dad questions about baseball, etc., to ease him up and make him slip. Then he asked “Why did you blow up the toilet?” So Dad said he hadn’t. The police said he had a witness and Dad said that was impossible. Then the police said Daniel had said this. Dad said this was impossible, because Daniel was with them! So the policeman said he’d see about it later. Nothing else was said, however, and it wasn’t until years later that Marvin confessed to the crime, probably with another Frenier cousin.

Notes written by Dad in about 1989:

Baseball was probably the sport we played together the most. From the time we were young we were either the pitcher or catcher. We usually won most of our games and sports came quite easy to both of us [Ted and Gene] especially when we were young. We usually played with older kids so when we played with kids our age it was quite easy. We both learned to throw a curve ball when we were real young so we could usually strike most everybody out. As we got older though the other kids seemed to catch up and we couldn’t dominate teams like we used to. I remember one year we won the city championship and a kid on the other team cried because they lost. (He was no wimp either.) His dad gave him a dollar though so we couldn’t see why he should be unhappy.

I don’t think we were all that poor but we never had a lot of extras. We used to go down at Christmas time and get free presents from a civic group or the Salvation Army–I’m not sure which–I suppose we had to qualify for that. We also used to hang around the Rodeo grounds hoping to get in to see the show. One year we got into the last part of the Rodeo each of the 1st 4 nights. The 5th night we had to go somewhere so we didn’t try to get in. Gene & I were rather disappointed.

We also used to go to a lot of shows. Sometimes in the summer we’d ride our bikes–2nd hand ones naturally–out to the Motor-Vu drive In. It was located just beyond our [Grace Lutheran, Caldwell, Idaho] church on the opposite side of the road. Maybe close to where the Mormon Church is now. Anyway we’d ride our bikes out there and go into the exit, sit way up front and see the show for nothing. We’d usually take Linda and Laura with us. This was sometime in the early to mid 50’s. One night we were coming home real late–probably 1:00 or after in the morning–when the police stopped us to see what a couple of kids with even littler kids were doing at that time of the night. They just told us we shouldn’t be out so late at night.

Gene and I also worked for the theater when we were about 13 & 14 so we got to see all the shows that came through. When we were younger it only cost 9c to see the show & then it went up to 13c so it was quite reasonable. A lot of times they had free shows on Saturday also, so it was quite a big deal. Of course going to the Movies was one of the few forms of entertainment available in those days. At one time there were three theaters in Caldwell. The Fox theater was the fanciest and the newer of the three. It was located where the Top theater was in later years. Before the Fox there was the Roxy and the American. The Roxy was originally near where the back part of the Craft Corner is now. The American was located about where King’s parking lot is now. It may have even been a part of the back of Kings. Grover Knight owned the Roxy and as I recall he bought the American theater. In the 50’s he may have owned all the theaters in town. Sometime in the early 50’s he closed down the Roxy and moved it to where the American was located. Gene and I worked for him when the Roxy was located by Kings. We used to change the marquee as well as take tickets and sometimes even worked behind the counter. Our main job though was to change the marquee as well as change a number of small posters around town that showed what was playing. I was about 14 when we started. Before I could drive at night I sometimes drove around to the posters. I actually didn’t get a driver’s license until I was 16 so I drove for about 3 years with no license. One night as I was driving a police car drove by and shined their light on us, but when they saw we were changing posters they just drove on by. It’s a wonder I didn’t get a ticket during that time. As a matter of fact I’ll soon be 47 so I’ve been driving about 34 years and I haven’t got a ticket yet although I probably should have had a couple.

Although we were poor Gene and I always had a car. Things were quite different then though. For one thing we never worried about insurance. License plates used to be about $3 and gasoline was usually 30c a gal or less. When Gene and I were both too young to drive we bought a Model A Ford for 25.00. We fixed it up a little. I don’t think reverse worked when we got it. All we could do was drive it back and forth in the yard. I guess that’s where I actually learned to drive. I think we only had that car a few months and then we sold it for $10.00. Too bad a guy doesn’t have that car now. The next car we had was a 42 Chevy. I think Gene could drive then so that must have been in ’55 or ’56. I’m not sure when Gene got his driver’s license. The top speed on that car was 63 MPH as my brother Marvin was chasing some girls one time and that was as fast as he could go. Marvin was probably home on leave from the service and he graduated in ’54 so it would have been sometime around then. Gene and I wanted something a little more modern so we sold that car for $10.00 and bought a ’49 Chevy for $99.00. I’m not sure what we paid for the ’42 but probably not too much. We had bought a shift converter that probably cost $5 or $6 and let that go with the car. We were not very good at making car deals. Later we blew the engine on the ’49 Chevy. By the way we painted it ourselves down at Crookhams and did a pretty lousy job of it. I think Marvin may have owned a gray ’49 Chevy so we may have bought it from him or maybe Dad had it, I really don’t remember. By this time I was in High School and Gene needed money to go to college so I bought the gray Chevy from him and that was the car I had when Linda and I started dating. I remember having lots of flat tires and also that the seat on the passengers side wouldn’t stay up. It was kind of handy to watch movies at the Drive in though. The engine finally went on that Chevy too so I bought a ’58 Renault–what a mistake! That car was so small I could lift the front end off the ground. Of course the engine was in the rear. It had a three speed shift on the floor. It was in such bad shape I don’t think it would hardly do 45 MPH. That was the car I owned when we got married. I think I paid $600.00 for that car and since I bought it in ’60 or ’61 I should have known there was something wrong with it. I borrowed Dad’s car–a ’49 Packard–for our wedding trip to Boise. The first winter we were married I traded the Renault for a ’59 Studebaker Silver Hawk. We gave $1000 for that car plus the Renault, which we were glad to get rid of. We had a little over $1000 in the bank but we borrowed the money from Linda’s folks at a low interest Rate so we wouldn’t have to take all our money out of the bank. We had that car for a few years and then in the fall of 1965 we bought a new car. Having blown 2 engines in Chevys years earlier I decided to get a Ford. Actually we just liked the shape of it better. We kept our Studebaker as they didn’t offer us much for it. That’s another car that would probably be worth a lot of money today. We had enough money in the bank to pay for our new Ford but since we wanted to keep some money in there we financed our first new car. The car cost $2850 and had a big V-8 engine with automatic transmission. Linda was afraid she couldn’t drive it as she had driven a standard shift since we were married. Before that she had driven an automatic so she didn’t think she could drive a Standard shift. The 1st time she went to pass a car and we shifted into passing gear she almost had a heart attack. The car literally jumped, as it also had a 4 barrel carburetor, and she was afraid she’d done something wrong. We had that ’65 Ford for about 8 years and I spent my years in the Army with that car. We paid it off early because in January of 1966 I went into the service. Susie, our dog, had an effect on our next choice of cars. We decided we’d get A.C. because it was so hard on her to travel in a hot car. Linda always gave me a bad time and said that I cared more for Susie because I would never have gotten A.C. for her. Our next car was a ’72 Chevy and it cost us $3000 plus the Ford. Of course the Ford wasn’t worth too much by this time. For one thing Jim backed his jeep into the side and caved the door in. We just kept the money and never fixed it. We had the Chevy about 7 years and it’s the car the kids remember first. Early in 1980 we bought another new car. Again we got a Ford but this one was a very simple, economical car with a 4 cylinder engine. We paid $5000 for this car and again we had it about 8 years. Matt & Megan were little when we got it but by the time we traded it was getting awfully small. The body was still in good shape when we traded but the engine was pretty bad. A lot of our vacations that the kids remember were taken with that car. Finally in 1988 we traded and got a 4 door car for room and we also got A.C. but we still have a 4 cylinder engine. We bought this car used, it’s a Chevy, and borrowed money from Grandma. Again we had the money but didn’t want to take it out of the bank. We paid around $7200 & our Ford for this car. So in about 35 years I’ve been an owner or part owner of 10 different cars. I can’t say that I’ve ever made a great deal on a car, but the new ones I bought probably weren’t too bad. The thing I regret the most is that I didn’t hang onto the ’59 Studebaker. That would be a rather neat car to have now.

As I said earlier, going to the movies was one of the few forms of entertainment available when I was young. I remember listening to the radio quite a bit. Especially at night when we would listen to mystery shows. Your imagination could really make the shows seem real. Of course we would listen to sports broadcasts also. Again you could almost picture the action in your mind. It wasn’t until I was in the 5th or 6th grade before I saw my first television set. One day as Gene & I and maybe Deanna were walking downtown to go to the show we saw a TV. in the window of a store. We were fascinated with it and stopped and watched for several minutes. Of course at that time everything was in black & white. Years later when I was in High School on a basketball trip I saw a color TV in a hotel lobby in Idaho Falls. The year I was in the 6th grade a friend of mine had a TV. set and I quite often would watch TV. at his house. I remember they mostly had cowboy shows on as it was right after school. I think Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy and a few others were on. Of course I was especially familiar with Roy Rogers as we went to all of his shows at the theater. My friend wanted to go out and play basketball but I was so excited about being able to see a TV. that it was hard to get me to go. Roy Rogers was always my favorite cowboy and I guess he still is as far as cowboys go. Gene liked Gene Autry best so we would always argue about who was best.

Marvin was probably the brother I was closest to, next to Gene. He was real good in school and never did any homework. He served 4 years in the Air Force and met his wife while he was in the service. He moved to Pocatello right after he got out of the service and has lived there ever since. I remember visiting Marv and Dana when I went to Pocatello on a basketball trip in High School.

Most of the things I remember during those early years had to do with playing with my friends and family. One time Marvin, Gene, and I hiked from our house at 201 Freeport to the old Curtis park. We wanted to get over to the cliffs across the river so Marvin dove in and swam across. Gene said he was going with Marvin so he swam across too. The current took him quite a ways downstream and he was a better swimmer than I was so I was afraid to try it. I figured Marv & Gene would come back across but they said they were going to climb up the cliffs and then go home that way. They said if I was afraid to swim across I’d just have to find my way home as best I could. I was more afraid of going home by myself than swimming the river so I dove in. The current really carried me a long way down stream. Boy was I ever glad to get to the other bank! We climbed up the cliffs on the far side of the river and who would have thought that years later I would live near that same area.

Speaking of swimming–another time we took off working in the field and stopped by Lake Lowell. It was quite different then as there was more growth around the Lower Dam. Anyway, we were out swimming and decided to cut across a little finger of the lake. It turned out to be much farther than we thought. Again Marv and Gene didn’t have too much trouble but I began to tire. When I thought I was close enough to shore I stopped so I could wade to shore. Much to my surprise I couldn’t touch the bottom. It took almost all of my energy to get moving through the water again. I made up my mind that I wouldn’t stop again until I was sure I could touch the bottom. I kept swimming until I was dragging on the bottom. Needless to say I was really relieved to be able to stand up. I was fortunate that my experience wasn’t more costly!