Chilly

by MARGE FULTON SMITH
Written about 1985, it's about life in that upper valley community many years ago.
It also appeared in the Mackay Miner and later in the Arco Advertiser

Seventy five years ago children rode to the Chilly School carrying two sack lunches. One sack was full of oats for the horse and the other sack was for the student. Stalls and manger were part of school life. Chilly horses liked to fight just like Chilly kids. Students huddled around the pobellied stove. When the bell rang, a ten minute march, exercise, song drill got the students warm enough to start classes.

Chilly's one room school house still stands. The population of Chilly grew so rapidly that the Chilly patrons built a new two-room school with a nice hall. The new school was made of a type of brick. The two-room school had grades one through five in one room and grades six through eight in the other. At first, students from Barton and up the river all attended the Chilly School, but as people moved to the valley, two more schools wre built. The Barton School and District Seven, near Barlett Point.

Christmas programs were a highlight of every year, with a dance following. Music for the dance was an organ and a fiddle. Many times the teacher could play the organ, but Chilly had some good local musisians like Fay Larter, Geneva Sollender, and Aubrey Fullmer. The Christmas programs and dances wre held in the school house. The Chilly dances always had a fight between the Chilly boys and the Barton boys. I quote Ferry Larter, "Chilly always had a bunch of ----mean kids."

In Chilly there were houses up and down the land on both sides where the lane ended. It was slough all along the first stretch and people used to work out their taxes by hauling gravel to spread on huge chuck holes in the road, or one could work for money. The wages were $ 1.50 per day and furnish your own team of horses. The gravel mostly sank into the mud and the road was full of chuck holes.

Life in Chilly centered around the busy Hunter Store and Hall. Bill Bradshaw, Jim Hunter, and Claude Larter werethe first settlers Chilly. Jim Hunter's store had everything in stock and everyone traded there. The Hunter Store and Hall was a two-story structure; the first story housed the store and the second story was a recreational hall. Friday night was basketball; Saturday night was a dance; Sunday night was roller skating.

One winter a girl named Ila Wilson died. It was the first time that the students at Chilly knew that kids die just like old people.

Every family had four or five cows and a few chickens. The Hunter Store had a cream testing machine where farmers could trade cream for groceries; farmers could also trade eggs for groceries. Ferry Larter found that two eggs could be traded for a bag of marbles or two eggs could get a sack ofcandy. (Incidently, Ferry helped himself to theeggs, unless he was caught.)

Francis Fulton Long has memories of the log cabin on the Wenson Place. "The old log house where we lived had only one room so we fixed on bedrooms in the grainary. The door did not latch and sometimes the coyotes woudl peek in the open door. They scared easily, but so did we."

In 1926 Jim Hunter died; In 1927 the Hunter Store and Hall burned down. Soon after, people started moving away. Many houses were moved to Mackay. Ferry Larter sums it up, "Chilly went to ---- when that store burned down."


 

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