Working under a house (Precursor to Hawaii)

Hi Paula,

This story took place before Fred got the idea of talking to me about going to Hawaii.

Once upon a time – My Mom and Dad wanted to have a new house built in the old location on Kearney Blvd in Fresno. In order to do so we had to move the old Victorian house off of the building site. My Dad hired a moving company and had the house moved from Kearney Boulevard on to a lot on West Avenue. At the time were living on my parents 3-1/2 acre flower farm, so we had plenty of room to put a second house on the property. Later on we moved in a third house which was inherited from my grand parents peters on my father’s side of the family. The house had to be moved all the way across town, and it was too high to fit under the power lines, but that’s another story.

At the time I was living in the top floor which was a nicely converted attic. It had inward sloping walls starting about 4 feet up from the floor. It was well furnished. I had model airplanes hanging on the wall and I liked it. I figured there was no need to move out just because the house is moving so I stayed up there. It took three or four days to jack up the house, disconnect the pipes and wires, put the movers dollies (wheels) underneath it, lower it on to the dollies and move it across the fields to the other side of the property. I ran a long extension cord to keep the lights and wall fan on Fresno is pretty hot during the summer.

My Dad thought that we could put in the foundation ourselves using wood framing or cribbing, since it was just rough wood framing. After working a day or so I realized there was a lot more work than was apparent in the beginning I asked my Dad if we could get some help. He said okay that sounds fine – find somebody. My Dad was good like that. He would challenge me to learn. So I looked in the newspaper and I found an ad that said, “Have energy will work.” I called the phone number and that’s how I met Francis Randall. (Fred)

Fred and I worked together under the house. We were crawling around underneath the house which was sitting on cribs about 4 feet off the ground. We were pounding in stakes and putting in wood framing so we could call a cement truck to pour the cement.

Our other task was to hang cast iron drainpipes and put them together with oakum calking. We poured in hot lead and hammered it in to seal the joints. We learned to build we needed approximately 1/4 inch per foot of slope for proper draining of the pipes.

So we became friends – One day Fred and I put together some skateboards by nailing old clamp-on roller skates on to some 16 inch lengths of 2×4 wood. This was in the early 60s and there was no such thing as polyurethane skate wheels. The wheels we had were not today’s soft and smooth skateboard wheels but harsh riding, rough, noisy, steel wheels.

Fresno is relatively flat, with no hills to escape down so we went to the Fresno County Free Library building in down town Fresno. There is a wheelchair accessible ramp in the front of the building. We used it to experiment with the crude skate boards. Of course the skates were noisy, dangerously slippery and didn’t work very well. After a while we got chased away by security and that ended the fun, but we knew that someday there had to be a better way.

(c) 2014 John A Peters

One thought on “Working under a house (Precursor to Hawaii)”

  1. In Hawaii almost all children ride their skate boards either as a means of transportation or testing the will to slide across the rail. We have parks for skate boarding, and it’s in use always.

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