S.P. Milling Co. Warehouse in 1920's San Miguel

When Merle was a young lad still in his teens, his brother, Ray, and father, Jake, set off for San Miguel early one morning. Each drove a team of horses, pulling a wagon loaded with sacks of grain to be delivered to the Southern Pacific Warehouse.

As was often the case, when they arrived, they found a line of loaded grain wagons ahead of them waiting to deposit their sacks of grain to the warehouse.

The farmer placed the sacks near the porch of the building where the warehouse crew could reach them. The warehouse men loaded the sacks five high on a two-wheel handtruck, pushed them into the warehouse and dumped them in rows. (Later they used the same trucks to pick up these dumps of five sacks each by sliding the blade of the truck under the bottom sack, then they wheeled them to a machine used to lift the sacks fifteen to twenty feet high). The sacks were piled high to conserve space so there would be room to store all of the grain out of the weather, sometimes for a year or more. When the first wagon was empty of sacks, the driver pulled away and the next wagon moved up to the porch and unloaded, each driver taking his turn.

As Merle waited in line, more wagons arrived behind him. As his horses were ranch raised, they were not used to the loud noises of city life. When the Southern Pacific freight train came down the line and blew the whistle for a grade crossing a block away, Merle's team decided they would go back to the country. Try as he would, Merle couldn't get them to change their minds until they were about a half mile down the road --- nearly to the Salinas River Bridge and headed for home.

When a farmer left his place in line and came back, it was sort of the rule that you went to the end of the line. Merle laughed as he reminisced about that day. He was a good-natured man and always saw the humor in most situations, but I wonder what my feeling would have been toward that team that tried to run home and caused me to be the last in the line of wagons waiting to be unloaded.

Merle married May Hambly and Pat Rambo, a local Roblan, is their daughter.