In 1933, the Ford Motor Company built the famous 1934 Ford. It was equipped with an 85 horsepower V8 engine that would run 90 miles an hour and a safety feature included doors that opened backwards using the wind to slow the car down in case of brake failure. It was also easier to bail out of the thing if that didn’t work.
The car was made popular by Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who were terrorizing the country by robbing banks all over Texas. Bonnie even started cutting her hair in a new style. The ladies called it “like a boy’s behind” She also forfeited what little femininity she had by smoking cigars. News was scarce back then and they gave everybody something to talk about. They were the subjects of conversations in every beer joint and café in Texas.
According to our night watchman, a fellow whose name I think was Steve Nash, they came through Blanket one night, cut the lock off a gas pump and put 10 gallons of gas in their 1934 Ford. The night watchman said he watched the whole thing go down and as they drove off, he took his old thumbbuster and put two bullets through the back window of their Ford.
A close inspection of the crime scene the next morning showed two bullet holes through the second story window of the Higginbotham building next door. This building was torn down several years ago, destroying this important evidence.
While Bonnie and Clyde were busy robbing banks, my buddies and I were camped out on Blanket Creek boiling eggs in paper sacks. To answer inquiries I received about how to do this, the answer is simple. Fill a paper sack full of water, place it on the campfire and when the water boils, put in the eggs. The water boils the eggs while keeping the sack from catching on fire. It worked fine in 1934, but I’m not sure about now.
Things have changed a lot since then. Eggs are $2.69 cents a dozen, gas is over $3.50 a gallon and Bonnie and Clyde and 1934 Fords are gone forever.
1934 was not regarded as one of our best years, being in the middle of the Great Depression but eggs were only 12 cents a dozen and gas was 12 cents a gallon. Neither was hardly worth stealing which may explain why Bonnie and Clyde stuck to banks.
I made it through the Great Depression and most of the time not knowing it was happening. One lady remarked, “It was a shame it had to happen when so many people were out of.” Living on a farm helped a lot and we never went hungry.
1944 was somewhat different than 1934. I was camped out in a tent in Southern Italy, a long way from Blanket Creek and people were shooting at me with some regularity. The only eggs I saw were powdered eggs, made especially for military use. There was no way to boil a powdered egg in a paper sack.
Sometimes, it’s hard for me to separate the good years from the bad. I think I have reached the point in my life where they were all good. Anytime I wake up in the morning and don’t have to build a fire in a wood stove or boil my eggs in a paper sack, things are going to be fine.
Well, if that night watchman doesn’t find me.
Harry Marlin’s column is featured every Tuesday on the Brownwood Bulletin’s Viewpoint page. E-mail him at pilgrimB17@verizon.net.