Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Midway Memories: The Last Chapter

Far Guy’s parents sold the two digger trailers with 28 machines to Marty Frey in 1977.

They retired.  We had a get together for them out at Vacationaire.   It was  a surprise.

Retirement 1977

Marvin, Evelyn, Marie and Ernest (Evelyn’s sister and brother in law.)

Uncle Jimmy decorated one of the old digger cabs with silver dollars and a sign.

Retirement Party 1977

Evelyn’s brother Uncle Willard at the end of the table.

Far Guy’s parents enjoyed their retirement.  We took many summer vacations with them to Canada and to Glacier National Park, Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore.  They took a Canadian Railroad trip with Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Esther.  They went to Alaska. Marvin loved to plan trips and look at his collection of maps, he fished and spoiled his granddaughters. Evelyn sewed, cooked and took care of her aging Mother.  Eventually they sold their motorhome and bought a smaller one that just sat in the yard.  Marvin loved to travel…Evelyn not so much.

The diggers that Marty bought were used for a few years ( he raised the price to a quarter) then he sold them off one by one.  One of Marty’s daughters (Jackie I think) married into the Buxton family in Austin Minnesota.  One digger cabinet was donated and is on exhibit in Owatonna Minnesota in their small museum on the fairgrounds.

Digger in Owatonna

We were able to purchase one digger from the Buxton family for $600.

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Far Guy worked many hours to restore it to its former glory.

Erie Digger


A few winters ago photos were collected and the digger stories and history were gathered together.  Far Guy made two scrapbooks, one to accompany each digger we have, so the history will never be lost.   Eventually both of our girls will have a digger as a reminder that a long time ago their relatives made their living one dime at a time.

Far Guy says that he is sad to see this Wednesday feature about carnival life, the Erie Diggers and his family come to an end.  He has itchy feet…sawdust in his blood…and loves to walk a midway and let all the old memories, sights and smells flood back….I think it makes him feel young again.

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Pauline Persing said...

I'm sorry the stories have come to an end also. I learned about a kind of life I didn't know existed.

DJan said...

Same here. I will miss learning more about the life you shared long ago. But boy have I learned a lot already! L-)

Marty said...

What a fascinating history to have in the family.

Rita said...

Oh no! Ran out of carnival stories?! I am sad to see them come to an end, too. :)

Mac n' Janet said...

What a wonderful gift to pass on.

Tired Teacher said...

Wonderful memories and family history. I've enjoyed reading the posts, and I learned a lot, too.

MJM said...

Thank you and Far Guy for sharing your wonderful memories.

Anonymous said...

I have been so surprised to hear about your "Carnie" past! So exotic! I had never heard of those "diggers". Thanks for the education about carnival folk and their work.

Shirley H.

Sam I Am...... said...

I'm sorry it's ending too. I found it all fascinating!

L. D. said...

Our kids will never know the farm life that I lived. They never rode a tractor or saw hogs and cows. I doubt they know much of anything but what stories I tell. I could have seen diggers at Murray, Osceola and the State Fair. I had blocked the memory of them out for a while and then now I can still hear the box hit the glass windows as they swung back into place.