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When I was The Gate Keeper



Gate Keepers

Across the street from the home I was raised in was the bulk distributor for the Standard Oil Company. They had a large fenced in area with tanks and barrels in their lot. There was a large red brick building with a long dock for trucks to be loaded and unloaded from. There was a white metal building where they processed empty barrels. I think they cleaned the empty barrels and made them ready to be refilled, not sure what all they did in that white building. There was probably five or six full time men employed by the Standard Oil company at this location.

One of the things I know they did was provide kerosene or coal-oil as we called it to the folks in Hutchinson who required kerosene for either heating or cooking, or what ever. We had such a need, and the truck which delivered our kerosene had a very short trip (just across the road) to deliver kerosene to us.

Well along came the World War II, and someone thought due to security reasons the gate into the Standard Oil company should be kept closed at all times. The gate was locked with a padlock at night when they were close, but during the day they did not lock it, just kept it closed. This meant that the men who were driving into and out of the distributor ship had to, stop, get out of their vehicle, open the gate, get back into their vehicle, drive threw the gate, stop, get out of their vehicle, close the gate, before they could be on their way.

As the entrepreneur kids we were, Clarence my brother and I took it upon ourselves to be the gate keepers. We would set outside the gate and when we seen a vehicle coming we would open the gate and let them pass. Than after they were clear we would again close the gate. I have to tell you we lived on a dead end street, so the only vehicles that came down or street were either to our house or to The Standard Oil Company, and not very many ever came to our house.

The men who traveled into and out of the Oil Company knew who we were and where we lived. At the end of the day around closing time the drivers would toss a few coins out their vehicle window and shout a thank you. We never made much money at this, but it was something that we did.

The gate opening and closing did not last very long as I remember. I think the Oil Company came to their senses and decided there was no reason to keep the gate closed during the day.





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