The elevators announced each town in large letters to those strangers that passed through on the passenger train, a signal to the world that was important to us, even though it was fleeting information as the flyer raced through and about all they saw of us !
Each elevator had a grated weight scale at the entrance where the grain truck was weighed when full and then again when it was empty. Grain was dumped into the grate; samples, when dumping, were taken for grading during the dumping and then the grain was carried up to the top of the elevator by elevating buckets to one of the 16 ,80 foot high bins and poured out into the bin selected. During the time after harvest, when the grain was loaded in boxcars, it was not taken directly from the bottom of the bin. As a consequence, the detritus, rat droppings, chaff and dust settled to the bottom of the bin over the winter and spring to three or five feet deep. It was a dusty job shoveling and cleaning the bins dust out in preparation for the harvest to come.
That was my first summer job. The material got in your hair, clothes, and nostrils. I was happy with my first paying job, but I understand why Bill didn't want to do it. I was strong and never got sick. There was no running water in our town so our water had to be carried from the town pump and heated on the stove top. My water in the galvanized tub in the kitchen looked like porridge after the bath each day. I may have acquired a somewhat jaded view of the romance of the prairie grain elevator but many could thank me for the absence of rat droppings dust in their wheat flour to be.