By now Bill Jones should need no introduction. He is very good at supplying me with these short sketches from his experiences here in Maplewood. I’ve been less good at getting them posted. I know you’ll enjoy this one titled:
Where The Clean Air Is–Maplewood!
In 1934, we moved to Maplewood because mother had a lung condition (indicating possible TB). The air in Maplewood was clean and pure. Mother reacted well to the new environment. The use of bituminous coal in St. Louis was evident. When we drove west beside Forest Park (on the Express Highway), we felt we had driven out of a night-like cloud at Hi-Point and that Express Highway was like nightfall at noon.
We moved to 7566 Weaver and loved Maplewood. I went to Valley School. My dad, a supervisor and paymaster at the railroad was still a “country boy” at heart. He researched and had his employees make him a series of “chicken cages” so he could raise baby chicks in our cellar. He raised the chicks on wire screen and kept them off the ground (his research).
Everything was wonderful. I had lots of playmates and new friends. Doc Roberts, our next-door neighbor (a fellow deacon of Dad’s at Maplewood Baptist) came to my father and said that our great neighbors were hearing derogatory conversations about my Dad raising chicks in our neighborhood! My father always had solutions. On Saturday, Dad brought home a case of eggs and bags. He had me put 12 eggs in each bag and he and I carried the eggs to each neighbor and made an enormous hit with all our neighbors! Years later, Doc Roberts was my high school teacher and he asked me how much those eggs cost. I told him a nickel a dozen. He laughed for an hour!
In the 1930’s, Maplewood had enormous pits beside Bredell where our swimming pools and library now exist. My friends and I really enjoyed sliding down into the pits (sand and mud) but our mothers punished us (for the mud).
Dad drove us up to Manchester and showed us Scullin Steel where enormous clouds of black smoke arose. We all asked, “Why does the wind blow the smoke to the east and to St. Louis?” Dad laughed and said “Maplewood may have an ordinance against it.” We all loved Maplewood’s clean air!