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Dorothy June Rogers lived in Corcoran for many years during the 1930’s, after her family migrated here from Wyoming. She was born here, the youngest of several children—who were all 16-21 years of age when she arrived! Dorothy has written several articles about Corcoran which The Journal has printed over the last year. Here is another one.

Watermelon Heaven

By Dorothy June Rogers

The two men were grinning when they jumped down from the back of the old cattle truck. They shook hands with daddy and my big brother Harold, and then turned to lift the kids down. The two girls stood uncertainly up near the cab, but when momma smiled at them and held out her arms, they each picked up a cloth bundle and stepped down. On the bed of the truck, we could see a worn piece of canvas tied down with rope. Straw poked out from under the canvas, and nestled in the straw were three large watermelons. Before long, those long, striped melons were floating in a galvanized tub-waiting to be eaten.

The family who arrived on that hot summer day had come to California to work. My folks seemed to know them, I think they were relatives. It didn’t matter to me, I was 5 and I was just looking forward to eating some watermelon! The girls and I played under the umbrella trees, but I kept an eye on that tub all afternoon. After supper, we all went outside to share the “Missouri melons”. There was gentle teasing about which state grew better melons-Missouri or California. We would soon have a chance to decide.

Momma always cut watermelon in round slices, and served them on plates, but these folks just laughed, and said “Let us show you how watermelon is meant to be eaten!” You could hear a small crack as the melon split open-and the cheerful man from Missouri sliced long crescent shapes and handed them to us one at a time. Then, I watched while they just leaned forward and started eating! Red juice made smile shapes on their cheeks, and some of the young men were spitting black seeds at the tree trunks. It looked like fun. I wasn’t sure momma would like it if juice got on my dress, but she was laughing and visiting, so I just ate away. Juice splashed on my bare feet and dripped from my elbows.

I was in watermelon heaven!

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