Friday, July 14, 2006

My Quackenbush – part 6

My Quackenbush part 1
My Quackenbush part 2
My Quackenbush part 3
My Quackenbush part 4
My Quackenbush part 5

by Tom Gaylord

But gold you can't spend is gold you don't have, in my book. So, here I was, a man with a fortune who was as poor as the next fellow because if I spent a cent of it, I risked loosing it all! What a dilemma.

Then it occurred to me to do the very thing others had done—move out of there and change my identity. In a new locale, I could invent whomever I wanted to be and live however I desired. I resolved to pick a place where wealth would be easy to hide, but not so expensive that I couldn't afford to live there. The California climate had gotten into my blood by then, so I wanted to remain on the coast if possible.

In those days, the village of Los Angeles was growing rapidly. If I moved down there I would be far enough from the busybodies and yet still enjoy the beautiful California climate. So I sold the business in San Francisco to my gunsmith and got my things together to move. I was able to hire a train car to move me to my new home that had been selected for its seclusion. I was located on a rural street from which you could see the sun set every evening, tucked up against the hills overlooking the village of Los Angeles.

I spent many years in that house, until the booming movie industry had built up the town of Hollywood all around me. When I finally sold my five acre place, the profit netted me as much as the gold I originally found. Once again I had to move, but this time, there was no pressure to hide who I was.

In 1929, I attended the funeral of the famous Wyatt Earp, whose exploits made him the most well known figure of that time. I sold my house in Hollywood and moved for what has proved to be the final time.

I'm now ensconced in a beautiful setting overlooking one of God's finest creations, beautiful Lake Tahoe, high up in the Sierra Nevada range. I was able to buy ten acres of property right on the lake, half of which lies in California and the other half in Nevada. The summers are hot and beautiful, while the winters are legendary! My home is remote enough to discourage casual visitors, yet close enough to Carson City that I can go to town if I want to. The train is the only regular passage in and out of the mountains, most automobiles being too frail to make the trip reliably. The roads are primitive, which keeps the traffic to a minimum.

With the end of the war in sight, I can't wait to get out of my hideaway and travel to all the places we read about in the newspapers. I imagine I should allow a year or two for them to rebuild most of Europe, but England might still be nice. Oh well, I shall see.

My old Quackenbush air rifle is mounted on a polished walnut board in a place of honor over the mantle in my den, Each day, I read my newspaper and look out over the beautiful lake under the shadow of the small gun that brought so much happiness into my life. I often wonder what might have become of the gun that was made immediately after mine. Did it travel as widely and pass through as many hands, or was it owned by just one person who kept it in the closet all his life?

South shore of Lake Tahoe, on the state line
August 29, 1944


At 3:45 AM, Blogger Springer John said...

Wow. Great articles. I really like your work - please keep them coming.


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