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Arnold’s Orange Crate Racers

In 1947 while living at 1257 Herald St. in Redlands someone gave me an old empty one pound Prince Albert can of old rusty nails.  Dad had built the house and gave me a few leftover boards.  Other kids were building orange crate racers, so I had to try one.  Someone else gave me four wheels & two axles.  First one was very simple just a place to put your butt.  Put your feet on front axle to steer.  telling this you have to remember I had all these cousins there were always around to push.  It was good for a couple of days until I decided to remodel it.

Next cart was the same but had a rope to steer it with.  You have to realize that I made a lot of changes that didn’t work.  A couple of these were like the ones with 2 levers between your legs.  Put the right one to go right and left to go left.  Didn’t work!  Well finally I figured out how to put a steering wheel on it.  First thing wrong was that I wound the rope the wrong way.  You turn the steering wheel left to turn right.  After a ten minute repair, ok.  If you have a cart you must have brakes.  So I cut a slot in the middle of the cart, put a board through the slot, hinged it so if you want to stop you grab the board and pull, it drags the ground.  Didn’t work!  I decided if bottom of board near the ground extended forward would stop better.  Wrong!  When I got pushed down the street, I pushed brake lever forward it caught on ground, cart went up in air a couple of inches and hand was caught under brake lever, I couldn’t get out of it to get my hand loose because of my weight was on the cart.

All of this was before we had trash pick up, so on one day Dad went to the dump.  Well he came home with a baby buggy.  Four wheels and two axles, white spooked wheels, beautiful!  So next day took cart apart and put new wheels, on it.  Problem wheels were wood lasted about twenty feet and fell apart.  So much for beautiful wheels.  Well by the end of summer I had a nice cart, steering wheel, brakes, rear springs and rusty nails.  Next Christmas I got my first new bicycle.  To heck with carts.  These carts got redesigned almost everyday while I also had to baby sit by sisters Barbara.  One day she was being a real pest.  We had an orange tree so I took hose and flooded around it, took Barbara and sat her in the water, hot day.  Boy was Mom angry, Barbara loved it.  These rusty nails got used over and over, pull them out, straighten them and reuse them.  Now it’s called recycling.  I believe it was when Dad was building the house on Herald Street he bought a new saw and hammer.  I wasn’t allowed to use them.  I used the old one’s.  I believe the saw is still at Dad’s house, I have the hammer.

Arnold Ray House

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