This story about my father didn’t make it into his book, Clyde Owen Martin: Family Stories of His Life And Times. Here’s what Mom said when I asked about including it, “Let’s leave the Dream Gone Bust out. I think it needs more to it. I wrote it and added the pictures as a sample for one of the Shepherd Center writing assignments, so it was really short. As I read it over it triggers more memories of that time.”
Unspoken perhaps was the feeling that Dad might not want to be reminded of this time of failure.
For some background, here are my sister Karen’s notes on that time, “As a young couple, they started a dairy operation with an Ayrshire herd, only to have that dream dashed when, after a particularly rainy season, mastitis spread through their herd. State health regulations forced them to sell the herd as butcher cattle at a loss.”
You can see from the sale flyer that they sold 33 head of cattle and some of the equipment is listed as “nearly new.”
Clyde Martin with his registered Ayrshire calf – 1946.
Mom’s Memories of
The Dream Gone Bust
In 1983 while writing about the places they had lived over the years, Gail Lee Martin wrote that when she and Clyde married, they lived on a rented farm south of Madison. To be exact, she described it as 4 miles south of Madison, 2 miles east, 1/4 mile south.
The next winter, we moved into the Martin homestead back west 1/2 mile. Dorothy (Clyde’s older sister) and Orville Stafford were still living there, while they were getting their house in town fixed up. Clyde’s folks had retired and moved into town.
We lived there and farmed the home place and had a herd of milk cows. Clyde milked them and we bought several registered Ayrshires to go with the other cows. In the summer, we baled hay for people with Haynes and Marion Redding. They gave the nickname Butch to our son, Owen.
The winter and spring of 1948 were very wet and mastitis, a dairy disease, got in our herd and we had to sell them as butcher cows. The Ayrshires were separate so we were able to take them to Uncle Jesse’s in Missouri for awhile. Later, we were able to sell them when they didn’t get the disease.
Here are the topics Gail wanted to add to the piece but never did,
“Using milking machines, and the cream separator and the cleaning and reassembling of all the parts. cleaning the cows’ udders and putting on the restraints for the two cows that always wanted to kick. Learning to help Clyde milk the cows before we got the milking machines. Selling the cream that was picked up each morning by a truck. The big garden space, all those baby chickens that grew into big ones and the grouchy old hens that didn’t want you to get their eggs. More about baling hay for hire with Haynes and Marian. Following in Cora’s footsteps was a hard act to follow.”