Dear friends, if ever you should chance
To pass through Red Rock town
Watch out for all the bumpy roads.
Don't let them get you down!
I passed by Frank Gleason's house
And felt a sudden jolt
No more macadam did I feel
My car jumped like a colt.
This ain't so bad, I calmly said
But my teeth rattled in my head.
Through Piersonville I nicely sped
And the funniest thing of all
Was the bumps I got when I got hit
By Slim Pultz home run ball.
Well I recovered from that shock
But soon another met me
George Coxon came around that bridge
Doin' - mebbe - sixty.
I steered around an apple tree
And saved myself - if not the tree.
Down 'round Griswalds I got mixed
The mud was 2 feet deep.
Ed came out with his Studebake
And tried to pull me free.
He pulled & tugged with no success
The Studie was too light
Then Iva Coxon came along
And saved me from my plight.
Ed just whispered to Iva
He didn't smile or frown
But she, got into that Studie
And held the back seat down.
It was no problem after that
And soon the mud we left
“I told you so" says Iva
All you needed was the heft.
Down the road I met a crowd
I thought a was a "goner"
But lo, the crowd turned out to be
My old friend, Mr. Warner
“How is your farming coming sir?
I wanted to know
Wal, not so good, the man replied
And then he told this tale of woe.
Last spring I planted my potatoes
Next to my onion row
I figgered if dry weather came
Their tears would make the onions grow.
But I was wrong, because the eyes
In my potatoes winked
They flirted with my onions
And now they're both extinct.
I calmed the man in soft sweet tones
And told him not to pine away
Because, if the onions had lived through it all
His house would be empty of people this fall.
You see, there's a saying we use down our way
“An onion a day keeps the neighbors away!
Here ends the letter
But no more will strangers write
Belittling the town we live in
Because the roads such a fright.
After this, the highway we're expecting
Will be so smooth and neat
No mud will mire a stranger
And no funny sights he'll meet.
So the road committee our thanks are owed
If not for them, we'd have no road
Who Wrote This?
Could it have been my mother? Who knows.
I found this poem amongst Mom’s papers, neatly folded into an envelope labeled “Poem”. It’s in Mom’s handwriting and was likely copied from an earlier draft. The tone does seem a bit light hearted for Mom’s personality though.
Could it have been written by one of Mom’s siblings or a friend? Sure.
Who wrote this poem?
People and Places
Frank Gleason’s house was the farm on the right as you head towards Red Rock, the one with the Victorian house, about a mile north of Route 203. The third stanza seems to indicate the pavement ended about there at the time, I’m guessing it ended a couple hundred feet beyond the Gleason house at the intersection with Raup Road.
Piersonville is the neighborhood at the top of the hill where the Piersonville School still stands. Mom went to grade school there.
Slim Pultz, when I was a kid, was an adult living with his family up in Red Rock at the place opposite the intersection with what is now called Stonewall Road. Would Slim’s home run ball be hit during a schoolyard game? That seems unlikely; his kids, Roger and Weebell (sp?), are older than I am and he would have been at least in his late teens by this time. Would Slim have attended the Piersonville School or the Red Rock School to the east of Red Rock? Or did Slim live in the Piersonville neighborhood at the time?
George Coxon was my uncle, Dad’s younger brother. He would have been in his twenties at this time. Was he still living at home? I seem to remember him in uniform so I’m guessing he later served in WWII. I don’t think he married until after the war.
Griswald’s. The name is familiar as a local name but I don’t recall where they lived.
Iva Coxon was Uncle George’s mother, my grandmother. I have a photo of Iva Coxon taken about this time. Let’s just say she was a bit large at the time, which figures in the poem.
Mr. Warner. Warner is a local name known a bit more to the northeast but I have no recollection of a Warner in Red Rock.
Road committee. What was this road committee anyway? Who was on it? When was this? Did the project include what is now Co Route 9 up to East Chatham?
This section up toward East Chatham interests me. The water supply to our farm came from a spring a 1/4 mile up the hill toward New Concord and was piped down to the farm in a 3/4 inch copper pipe laid in the ditch along the road. I have to assume this was negotiated and built as part of the road reconstruction project. All went well until the County rebuilt Cash’s bridge and dumped chunks of old concrete over the bank at a spot above the house where the crick was threatening the road. Those chunks shifted the next winter, crushed the pipe, and that was the end of the spring.