Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blast from the Past!

 First let me say, when I was writing about Herlong in previous posts it was because the experience was a mixture of joy and pain, blessing and trial, excitement and disappointment and it reminded me of God's goodness, faithfulness, and mercy to me through it all.

Secondly, as we await God's direction, blessing, and provision now, it did me to good to remember these things by chronicling them; that God always provided then and he will provide now.

When I was writing about my experiences in Herlong I came across a photo on Google Images of a market that we would shop at from time to time called Heard's Market. That photo reminded of a wonderful little quick stop market at the Herlong Junction called The Mark. As I thought of this market memories flooded back in including this one that I am going to share with you. I was very surprised not to be able to find a photo on Google of The Mark since almost everything else is on there. I was able to find a "stranger" over the internet who took a photo for me and emailed it to me so I could share it with you. So, with a bit of a twist, this photo brought back some awfully good memories and one not so good one. I want to share it with you.

When we were called to the fledgling church in Herlong they were unable to provide a full salary for us. At first to make ends meet I took on a newspaper motor route for additional income. It was the sort of job that suited me for a number of reasons. First, I began delivering newspapers when I was just eleven years old. My dad had become friends with a District Manager who was responsible to drop the bundles of papers off for each carrier and then supervised the carriers and all their related duties. My dad hoped to gain a friend and entrance into the San Jose Mercury News through this DM. In the meantime I talked my mom and dad into letting me deliver papers. (By the way, my dad did get a job as a District Manager and retired after some 20+ years with the San Jose Mercury News.)

I learned work ethics very early as a result. I got up, as an eleven year old boy, every morning at 4:00 AM, dressed, and rode my bike to the paper drop. There I sat on the side walk, folded and rubber-banded my papers. I then loaded them in bags on my bike and off I went throwing the newspaper onto the various porches of my customers. I delivered newspapers for the Mercury News until I reached the age limit of 17. By then I had three paper routes, was making a ton of money, and was now delivering them out of a Datsun, yes I said Datsun pickup truck, remember those?. I had graduated from bikes, to a motorcycle, to a pickup truck.

Secondly, the paper motor route was good for me because I loved to get up early and drive. I spent quite a bit of time with the Lord while we delivered the newspapers. This extra job enabled me to earn a little extra money without interfering with my pastoral duties.

The picture at the top of the blog is a picture of "The Mark". It is located on Highway 395, and if my orientation is right, it is 7 miles west of Herlong. It is 60 miles north of Reno and 40 or so miles south of Susanville.  To reach this market one would drive west on the Herlong Access road seven miles until one reached Highway 395 at which time one would turn right or north towards Janesville or Susanville. The store was on the left or west side of the highway a couple miles from the junction. No, not the Petticoat Junction, the 395, Herlong Access Road junction.

I would pick up my papers and head north towards Janesville and Susanville making deliveries. On the way back, that store would be on my right and I would pull off the highway, drive perpendicular to the front of the building and toss the paper out my left window over the roof of my car and unto their porch. Every morning that I had the route I would make a perfect toss across the top of the car and hit the porch perfectly except one morning.

One dark and deary morning I drove near the front of the store as I always did and I let loose of that rolled up and rubber banded paper. This morning it didn't land on the porch. Do you see the white sign that says "Open 24 hours a day - The Mark"? A plate glass window use to be right about there.

 That's right! The newspaper hit that plate glass window just right and yeppers, broke it. Do you know how quite it is in the early morning hours before daylight in the high desert? There are no factories, no fire trucks with sirens blaring, very few cars at that time of the morning if any, no city noises whatsoever. It is so quite you can hear a pin drop or a plate glass window drop. Do you know how loud a plate glass window falling to the ground is on an early morning in the high desert ? The Stock Market Crash of 1929 couldn't have been any louder.

Now I know you are looking at this building and trying to find the plate glass window and porch. My "new friend" informed the original Mark burned down and this is what was rebuilt. But I digress, let's continue on with the story, shall we?

Mind you, this incident was in the days before the proliferation of cell phones. I did not have one at the time. I don't even know if I had even heard of a cell phone in 1984. Therefore, I had to find a phone, hoping all along no one would drive buy and break into the store; call the owner; and get back in order to guard the store. I can't remember where I found the nearest pay phone; ya, you know that thing where you deposited money, and you got a dial tone, and you were then able to make a call on it? I found one, called the owner, beat feet back to the store and sat there until they arrived.

Needless to say they weren't too happy. But I was responsible so I paid for that window. It cost nearly 200.00 in 1984, it nearly broke us. Everyday I drove by that window I had a small satisfaction that it really belonged to me. I only hope that the glass I replaced served them well. I wanted to get every penny out of it that I could. Hearing it burned to the ground taking my glass window with it was saddening. However, I have never had to replace any glass that expensive.

What was the last thing you broke and you had to replace that wasn't yours?

How did it break or how did you break it?

Do you think windows should be made of glass that waits to be broken
 by part time preachers turned motor-route carriers?


li said...

A small thing-I broke a coffee mug at work. My co-workers were honestly baffled that I replaced it. It saddens me that so many people don't take responsibility for their actions. I can't tell you how many times my car has been dinged in a parking lot, and not once has anyone left a note. But I do try and lead by example. Obviously, you do too!! :)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I can't recall breaking anything belonging to anyone else as I have been on my owm so long, but I know of someone who has broken something of heart,
Last Sunday here in the UK was Mothers Day and my eldest son did not even pick up the phone to wish me Happy mothers day and I haven't heard from him in a while. I know he is ok as my daughter told me, why he won't speak I don't know.
My family is the most important people in my life , broken heart or no I still love him.


Penned Pebbles said...

I can't remember. I'm sure I did break something somewhere that wasn't mine, but my braincells won't fire up this morning to tell me. Great post though and good story telling.

Anonymous said...

I stepped on one of my kids toys and had to replace it. Ten dollars. No biggie. The kids learned that material possession are not eternal and can be replaced. People are more important than things, so don't get mad at people when they break your stuff.

Seams Inspired said...

I honestly can't remember the last time I broke something that belonged to someone else. Last week, my son broke the water filter that was attached to the faucet. He felt so bad, he cried. He brought his allowance to us and offered to pay for a new one. My eleven year old has a beautiful heart, doesn't he? :o)

Cathy M. said...

Oh my, I feel for you, Gregg. $200.00 in 1984 would have been an insurmountable figure for us.

Sometime in the early 1980s, I broke an antique lamp belonging to my mother by "roughhousing" in the living room. She was so angry! I scoured every antique store in my area and found one almost exactly like it. I purchased it with my savings and presented her with it.

I was such a rotten person, I'm not sure I ever really felt remorseful for damages I caused at this and other times, just for the penalty... and toward anyone who had the nerve to hold me accountable. Whoa! How "in Adam" was I?

Anonymous said...

Well, we drove past this place today Gregg! As we whizzed by the Herlong sign on 395 I told Robert I should get a picture for you - but after having just passed several cars he wasn't about to stop. lol!