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Danhouse, Carl W. / The life story of Carl W. Danhouse
(1981)

Chapter three,   pp. 15-21 PDF (2.6 MB)


Page 17

of hours I started to turn red and itch and swell. None of us
knew what caused it so we went back to town but we got no help
there except the proprietor of the local store thought it looked
like poison ivy.
We went back to our camp and all the time I was swelling
more and more, my fingers became so stiff I couldn't bend them
and my eyes were nearly swollen shut. The railroad gang boss
put me and one of the boys on the evening train to Appleton.
I couldn't see and the itching was terrible and my friend had
to lead me home from the station. When we got to my house my
mother made a soda solution for me to bathe my entire body in.
She had to cut my clothes off as I had swollen enormously. In
a few days of this treatment I was back to normal. I wouldn't
advise anyone to learn about poison ivy the way I did.
After I was fully recovered from my bout with poison ivy I
returned to working on the railroad north of Lily. I now knew
what poison ivy looked like and I kept a goodly distance from
it; we had one boy working with us who suffered from it whenever
he can near some. He didn't have to touch it. I am told you can
also get it from the smoke of burning poison ivy vines.
One evening several of us borrowed a hand car to go to the
movie in town. After the movie we put the hand car back on the
rails and started for camp. Suddenly one boy saw a pair of eyes
behind us and we heard the paralyzing scream of a wildcat. I
don't believe that handcar ever traveled so fast, it almost left
the rails, and when we reached camp we were so exhausted we almost
passed the camp before somebody stepped on the brake.
One day we were unloading rails from a flat car. There
were at least a dozen men (including boys) helping unload. The
boss would have us spread out the length of the rail, tell us to
take hold of the rail and when he said "lift" we would all lift
together, walk to the edge of the flatcar and on his command drop
it over the side and step back. One of these times those on the
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