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Bob Allen is the executive director of the Selma District Chamber of Commerce.

To share another “Langford Tango Johnston" story from the early days In Selma:

NEIGHBORLY COOPERATION

“If a man was building a new house everyone pitched in and helped.  The first houses built were known as California houses.  These consisted of a frame of two-by-fours with one-by- twelves nailed on the outside vertically.  The cracks were then covered by one-by-fours and the exposed inside was usually covered with cheesecloth and wallpaper. Later, they built better homes but long after 1900 there were a good many of these homes still standing.

Whenever a neighbor has a fire, everyone dropped whatever they were doing and rushed over to help extinguish the blaze.  In most instances, however, a bucket brigade was the only fire extinguisher they had and in most cases it was ineffective and the house would be destroyed.   Then each neighbor would give a homeless family some article of furniture or dishes, bedclothes and such.  No one thought of the gesture as charity or welfare, it was just a custom that was adhered to and everyone accepted it.

One time an old Swede bachelor left a note on his door so that if anyone came by they would know where he was.  The note read, “I go to Mr. Danielson, he got a heavy lift.”  This was typical of all old timers.  They let it be known where they were in case a person needed help.  This brief note left by the old bachelor couldn’t have been more descriptive if it had been a thousand word note written by Shakespeare.”

Times have changed.  Houses are built very differently than during the early days of California, but I wonder — we have changed building materials, but have we  changed that much as a people?  I know in Selma — when there is a need, the community responds.  Thanks for being such as great place to work and live.

Bob Allen is the Executive Director of the Selma Chamber of Commerce.

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