A Mouse Tale & Random Memories
I went to Myles Haynes’ house once to repair their electric range. It was an old fashioned GE model, built up off the floor on four legs, with an oven on the right side. When I opened the oven door there sat a pretty little mouse right on top of a cast iron pan containing half a cake of corn bread. He was frightened and scampered away, through an opening in the rear of the oven that had no screen on it, through which the mouse had entered to eat his fill of corn bread.
Man you sure have brought me up short…I used to think that there was very little I didn’t know about Cliffside. Now I know better, after reading your entries on the roller mill and other subjects from the Rutherford County Sun.
You know, I have no memory of ever being inside the roller mill! I’ve been in the yard and parking lot, but never had any work to do inside the building. I’ve been just about everywhere else. I’ve been in the elevator machinery houses atop the mill, under the bottom floor of the mill, all the way down in the boiler room. I’ve been inside the powerhouse all the way to the bottom when we drew down the pond and scraped the water wheel, etc., then repainted it with fish oil-based paint to prevent rust. I’ve been all over the schoolhouse building, the old company store building, Memorial Building, all over the Baptist church. I’ve been inside the Methodist church but not to work. The Baptist church was interesting. The brass pipes the congregation saw were only fakes, they did not make any sound. All the “pipes” that made the music were behind the fake ones, and ranged from tiny tin whistles to mammoth wooden whistles, which were operated by a rather large leather bellows that was in turn operated by an electric motor.
Talking about the powerhouse, do you know if it is still used? Do they still draw off the pond every summer to repaint? And that brings to mind the water treatment plant. Is it still in use? I wonder if the sewers are still dumped directly into the river like they used to be?
I knew Mr. Charlie was president of “Cliffside” and all it contained, but had no idea he was also involved in lumber and timber interests out of state. I was only in Mr. Charlie’s house once, to repair his telephone, but I’ve sure been in a lot of the other houses on the mill hill and the surrounding areas, including a lot of them in Henrietta and Avondale. (We used to have a second phone switchboard in Avondale.)
Now you see what you’ve done! Made things come to mind that were long forgotten. Including the fact that in all of Cliffside there was only a single 2300-volt electric line. It went to the roller mill and was a three-phase delta line. While living on the corner of Reservoir Street and Mud Cut (I must have been all of 8 to 10 years old), I climbed to the top of a pecan tree in our front yard and got a jolt from that 2300-volt line. I suspect that I only had hold of a green branch that rubbed the line, for I was only scared, not really hurt, but I sure did not tell my parents about that bit of foolishness. The electric distribution lines in the village were only 550 volts and it was not unusual to find that the house voltage was as low as 90 volts (not 110, the old standard, or 120 volts, the later standard). I found this out the hard way, trying to repair radios that were brought to me with the complaint that they just would not work. But I could find nothing wrong with them until I discovered the voltage was just too low to drive the oscillators. I had to jury rig an autotransformer inside the radio cabinets to raise the voltage.