Chapter Seventeen

William was to devote all his time from the beginning of the Second Decade to developing Mullen Medicine Company, from the ravages of the earthquake -- his stock food, gall cure, coach oil, harness oil, hoof remedy, and the like. But it was uphill all the way. He advertised his goods for the most part in a small paperback book which he sold for twenty-five cents, and brought out another edition of his Horse-Taming hardback "How to Educate a Horse." This sold for one dollar. It was published by Sears, Roebuck, and enjoyed good distribution by them.

Whenever Papa was to make a journey, he always took along a good supply of his paperback "How to Purchase and Examine the Horse" as well as his hardback "Horse Taming" as if to leave his stamp on the Valley. Maybe, he counted on coming back. Who knows?

We were now living in the home Papa had built after the Fruitvale house was sold. This was in Highland Park, "Diamond Canyon" to us then. It was built to Annie's specifications, and was all she had ever dreamed a house should be.

I remember it well, standing out in gleaming white, high on top a hill above Twenty-third Avenue, with a sunny porch that faced Wakefield Avenue, and had a strawberry bed for a lawn.

I can't tell you why Long Beach was the town we finally settled upon, and to which we moved in 1911. Perhaps because Papa happened to put an advertisement in the Los Angeles Times for someone who had a "house for trade." Or maybe it was for no other reason than because the beach faced south. And also a consideration must have been that the Southern Pacific had a good electric train service to Los Angeles, so that Papa could commute there daily. His friend, Paul Shoup, who owned it, assured him he would like it there and another friend of his, Harry Chandler, recommended Southern California as a good "church community," suitable for raising a family. What was more, there were many churches throughout the area which offered assurance there should be plenty of opportunity for evangelistic activities in nearby towns. Time would tell.

Papa once told me that after the earthquake, some of the more influential citizens in Oakland had asked him to consider running for Mayor of Oakland.

"Why didn't you?" I asked.

"I felt God was rebuking me," he explained. "He was telling me that I would not have been invited to enter politics if I had been doing God's work." As it turned out, once the family had moved south, for whatever reason, there was no time to ponder where God's work called. His love for poor children, whose families all lived around the Plaza, which came from his own past, was to become the heart of his life's work.

However, as far as his ministry among the "untamed" men of the street -- and that is exactly what they were -- God had chosen him to go South. As it turned out, the men themselves fairly catapulted him into becoming their own preacher as we shall soon see.

It so happened the transition from taming horses to vicious men was accomplished easily enough, once he accepted this as his ministry.

"Just as the wildness in the horse comes from his fear of man and being treated harshly, so the wildness in men comes from the same things," he philosophized. "If man applied the same cruel bit and the cutting rowel, it would have the same effect." He knew he had to apply the gentleness of Jesus in dealing with these "misguided fellows."

He had just laid down the newspaper when he said this. It had told of how these International Workers of the World (I.W.W.) were traveling in gangs of three to four hundred men, seizing trains as means of transportation, camping at stops in the great forests, raiding the country-side for food and terrorizing the farm workers in the Valley and their employers to a point where they could get occasional forced employment at exorbitant wages, or failing that, could wreak vengeance on the capitalists by burning wheat fields, haystacks, and barns. All of which was happening every day.

At year's end, on the twenty-ninth of December, my brother Oliver was born. Papa spent most of his time at Mama's bedside praying, always praying for her, for she was gravely ill. I prayed too. I just couldn't imagine Papa ever getting along without Mama. It was not without reason that Oliver came to represent the Crown Jewel of the family.

Another reason for considering the move south was that Everett had taken ill shortly after Mama gained enough strength to once again take charge of her growing family. William asked God to guide him to make the right decision on our next move. He always believed "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much," and in every case of illness, went quickly to his knees beside the bed of the one sick. When the doctor came he advised moving to the south; Southern California was always called "the South." Soon after, a trade was made for a large lot on the corner of Fourth and Main Streets in Long Beach.

Once again, Annie tore herself away from the home she loved best. It was their first home which William provided for her in the prosperous years after the Earthquake. Never again was she to have so lovely a home, although the cottage at Long Beach had its good points, she reluctantly agreed. It was of brick and stucco, with a large flower garden and shasta daisies lining the long sidewalk on main Street, and palm trees fronting Fourth Street, and eucalyptus trees separating the alley from the big vegetable garden which her growing family needed. The beach was near at hand with its plenty of sunshine where Everett could regain his strength and where the new little brother, Oliver, would grow strong, too. William could commute back and forth to Los Angeles as he had always done to San Francisco from Oakland, and so, please God, all would be well with the growing family of six now.

It was moving time again. As soon as the first school term was finished we would go South. And we did.

William worked very hard that summer, trying to get a foothold in Los Angeles. Each morning, he would pack a small valise with samples of harness oils and horse liniments which had an eucalyptus oil base and take the Pacific Electric to Los Angeles where he made his sales rounds. He also made stock foods of St. John's bread, imported from Portugal, a long bean that was sweet-tasting and which we children ate instead of all-day suckers. Carob, as we now know it, was a good seller in the industrial district that skirted the Jungle and the Plaza. The big manufacturers which now had a foothold in Los Angeles still used the fine big Percheron draft horses. They used great quantities of his Mullen's stock food. It was the backbone of his business. Papa felt this product would bring in enough income to support his ministry there.

One of the best customers was the Maier Brewing Co., the largest firm of its kind in Los Angeles. Back in 1897 there had been an attempt to unionize the workers of this brewery, but since Los Angeles workers were being paid in excess of what was gotten in San Francisco, from where the organizers came, no union was formed. A boycott was placed on Maier Beer, but nothing ever came of it. It did make Mr. Maier open-minded about this strange preacher's stranger ideas of preaching unselfish relationships of employers and employees, through the inspiration of the Bible; at least he was willing to listen. It also gave William time to better study the wild men and their ways.

Eddie Maier agreed with William, that he would give his men time off with pay one afternoon a week to listen to William tell of this simple plan for community and world harmony, beginning in the work place. Papa did not hesitate to denounce employers where they were unjust or grasping, nor workers when they were not honest in putting forth their best efforts. But this was not much of an outlet for one fired with such zeal to spread salvation throughout the growing city. It helped, however, to keep the channel with God open, for that time when his business could grow to where he could afford to devote more time to his ministry.

And it was a start.
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