Anderson Family History

Leaning Model T Ford

When the Model T Ford came chugging down the Center, South Dakota road, leaning over on the passenger side by about 30 degrees, you knew immediately who was coming. Phil Jacobson; his extremely obese wife; and sometimes their son, Roly, who always had to ride on the trunk, were arriving.

This was the time for everyone to spring into action. Two sturdy chairs were brought from the dining room and placed side by side next to the grocery counter. Time permitting, any basket of grapes or crate of any kind of fruit was hurriedly put behind the counter. When finally eased out of the leaning “T”, Mrs. Jacobson would wobble her way into the store and plop her five-hundred plus pounds onto the two chairs set out for her.

While giving her grocery order to Mom or Dad, she would nibble away at whatever was on the counter. If the grapes were not on the counter, she would ask to see them and to check their freshness and, would take a large cluster or two to sample before ordering. The same procedure held out on hamburger. The large tray that held perhaps twenty pounds of bulk ground beef was brought from the refrigerator and placed on the counter to measure out the amount she wanted to purchase. All during the weighing process Mrs. Phil would be sampling the raw hamburger, a handful at a time. Bulk candy was handled the same way. The peppermint chocolates had to be sampled for freshness before buying a sackful.

Usually on her trips to the store, she would want to make a telephone call. The phone was in the dining room, so two more chairs were lined up in front of the wall phone. She would sit down and have someone ring the phone for her. With the receiver to her ear, she ended up about three or four feet from the mouthpiece, and had to shout from her seated position for the called party to hear her. On another occasion, she had to go to the hospital with and apparent appendicitis attack, but the doctors wouldn’t operate on her because of her extreme weight.

When her shopping was done and they were loading the Model T for the return trip home, Phil would have to get behind her and, putting his shoulder to her behind, had all he could do to wedge her back on board. Down the road they would go, while leaning ominously toward the ditch.

By Allan Anderson, 2005.

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