Anderson Family History

Gas Pump at the Center, South Dakota Store

The gas pump at the store was located by the northeast corner of the store building. It was the type that required you to hand-pump ten gallons up into the large glass cylinder and then it was dispensed by gravity through the hose when the nozzle was squeezed. Five gallons for a dollar was common and on special it was six gallons for a dollar.

The ground by the pump slanted down to the north. I suppose I was four or so and I would give the cars a little push from behind when they pulled away from the pump. I’m sure I was warned not to do this, but I thought I was being a big help getting these cars on their way. Ralph Klingberg had gassed up and when he came out of the store and got in his car, I got behind to give it the usual send-off.

Ralph didn’t see that I was helping and as the car started to roll ahead, I started to push. The problem was Ralph had it in reverse and was going to back up to the air hose located at the south end of the building. I fell down directly behind the left rear wheel and the car backed over both my legs before my screaming brought him to a stop. Nothing was broken but I did have some bruised and skinned up legs for a while. Thank goodness cars were smaller and lighter in the early thirties, and it was another lesson I learned the hard way.

I think Ralph was as shook up as I was, thinking about what could have happened. I had to find other ways to “help out” without getting into such dangerous predicaments.

 By Merland D. Howe, 2000.

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