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' L

"wo Lives

in One


Charles Gardner


In putting this little book be-
fore the public, I wish to bring
out clearly, that it is not for the
purpose of bringing myself into
notoriety, nor is it for the sake of
self-aggrandisement. My real pur-
pose for writing this book is to
encourage those who have become
blind, and apparently helpless, by
showing that there is a compensa-
tion in life, at the present time,
for all our infirmities. It seems to
be necessary for those who are
blind or otherwise handicapped,
to make a superhuman effort to
make something out of them-

The first beginnings, though
they are small, will require the
greatest effort. It must be borne
in mind that all progress is from
the little to the great. It will re-
quire much time and patience to
reach a point in life where all can
share the good things of life
equally. We do not all enjoy the
same thing; one likes one thing

and someone else, another. Life
is so vast, that when one source
of enjoyment is cut off, there can
be other avenues opened up and
cultivated to just as great a de-
gree of efficiency.

I do not wish to raise false
hopes in the minds of those who
are handicapped, but I will say
that to get the most out of life one
must keep active mentally. It is
the running stream that purifies
itself. If it were not for the hopes
that I entertained I would have
died long ago of despair.

This book has not been written
from dictation but has been typed
by the author, who learned the
use of the typewriter after be-
coming blind.

Two Lives in One


Charles Gardner

3938 Arizona Street
San Diego, California

Copyright 2920





I have been told by those who
have a right to know, that I was
born on the 16th day of January,
1870. I must have been very
young at that time, as I have not
the faintest recollection of how I
looked or how I felt, or anything
about it. Several years passed be-
fore the things I felt or saw or
heard, found their way deep
enough into my memory for me
to retain them, after a lapse of
nearly fifty years.

We lived in what was, at that
time, called The West. It was
west of the Mississippi River in
the State of Minnesota. I remem-
ber the little old log house on the
top of a hill in which I was born.
There was a cool running spring,
a hundred yards or so down the
hill from the house. I might well
remember it because I had to
carry water from that spring up
the hill to the house. The buckets
the little chap used were not very


heavy, but they seemed always to
gain in weight with every step.
There was another small stream
of water not more than half a mile
from the house, that we used to
call a creek. That stream ran at
the foot of a high bluff heavily
timbered with oak, pine, sugar-
maple, hickory, and other kinds
of wood.

I remember that there were
trout in the creek that used to find
their way into the frying pan ; and
there were deep pools in it just
deep enough to drown a boy who
could not swim. One day I fell
in and had all the sensations of
drowning, but was pulled out in
time to save my life. It is not so
hard to die of drowning as it is
some other ways, for one soon
goes to sleep.

I remember that there was a
great deal of timber not far from
our house. There were timber
wolves in that country at that
time. At night when those wolves
came close to the edge of the
woods and howled, it was then I
covered my head with the bed

clothes and shivered. In the win-
ter there was much snow and ice,
and there were plenty of hills to
slide down en our little home-
made sleds; and there were
plenty of trees for sleds to run
into if they were not steered
aright; and hitting a tree some-
times meant a sore head or a brok-
en arm, or something of the kind.

In the fall of the year there used
to be a great time when the nuts
were ripe; there were black wal-
nuts, butter-nuts, hickory-nuts,
and hazel-nuts, as many as we
wanted to gather. At that time
the farms were few and far be-
tween, and many miles from a
city ; even a number of miles from
a village, so that there was no sale
for nuts of any kind.

When I was a very little chap,
children were not called "kids",
little boys v/ere generally called
"bub". I remember that my par-
ents were very strict about the
Sabbath day. There was no
work done on the Sabbath Day!
and there was no playing on the
Sabbath Day! there was no going

for plums nor gathering nuts nor
anything else that would be agree-
able for a boy to do; the young-
ster had to stay in the house and
sit on a chair and be very good
on the Sabbath Day! It was a
dull day for a small boy ; no sleigh
riding in winter; no fishing in
summer. That sitting still all day
may have been rest to some peo-
ple, but to me it was the hardest
kind of work. It never really im-
pressed itself upon my mind why
a boy should be deprived of all his
playthings, even if it were a day
of rest; it never used to make me
tired to play and I did not want
any rest.

When a little fellow I was very
much afraid of the darkness;
there were two reasons for that,
one was the fear of wild beasts,
for one heard many stories of lit-
tle children being carried off by a
panther or some other wild ani-
mal ; the other reason was the fear
of the wrath of God, an idea
fostered by hearing Bible stories
telling about the wrath of God
falling upon the people who did



It has always seemed to me a
crime for parents to teach little
children the stories of the Bible
without explaining that they are
allegories. If a man did a wrong
it was never forgiven; and if he
did a right it was not to be re-
warded until he was dead. I call
that mighty poor stuff to present
to the mind of a child that is just
beginning its life!

I remember when a little boy
that I was strictly honest; that
was before I knew there was any-
thing other than truth. I was
willing to believe everything that
was told without question, until
one day a child borrowed a play-
thing of mine with the promise to
give it back and did not do so.
About that time I heard there was
such a thing as a lie, which was a
pretty hard blow to an honest and
innocent child, but the worst was
still to follow.

A child is a questioner. I used
to ask my parents a great number
of questions that could not have
been answered directly, and some


that could not have been answered
at all ; consequently I was put off
with evasive answers with the in-
tent to mislead and to keep me in

ignorance of the short-comings of
life as long as possible. When,
by chance, I found out that I had
been deceived by my parents it
was almost more than I could
bear. I was willing to admit that
some children, or even some
grown up people, might tell lies,
but I was sure that my parents
could not do such a thing. The
highest ideal that a child has is to
be found in its parents. When
that ideal is lost there seems to
be nothing else worth while.
There are many things one has to
get used to in this world, and a
child can get used to them about
as quickly as anyone. I soon got
to know that there was a differ-
ence in lies ; black lies were meant
to injure people; and there were
white ones that were called "fibs"
that one could tell to keep from
getting into trouble. Those little
white fellows were the best kind
to start using; we might tell one


of that kind to save our pants if
we were not caught at it, and of
course we never intended to be

As I look far back into the days
of my childhood, it does not seem
to have been a very happy one,
although there are many bright
spots in it. Going out into the
forest on a beautiful day in sum-
mer, hearing the birds sing and
the squirrels chatter, helped to
make these bright spots; or to
spend the day at the babbling
brook, and not fall in, helped to
make more bright spots. All man-
ner of disappointments (and there
seemed to be many) made the
dark spots. The one bitter dis-
appointment was to have to give
up what I thought I knew was
best for me to have or to do, for
something that someone else
thought was best; and even
though I afterwards found the
new way to be the right way, just
as surely did I know that I was
right when the next dispute arose.


I did not value time and ex-
perience because I had never used
them. I had not lived long enough
to know what time is. I have
learned from that little child to
know that we do not know the
value of that which we do not use.
A little will do for a child but as
we grow older we need more. If
the body grows and develops the
other qualities must also grow
and develop to keep everything
balanced. When I was a child I
had my cares and worries; if it
was not a sliver in the hand or
foot it was a stone bruise or some
other thing equally terrible. A
child's mind is made of fine fabric
and it takes but little to snarl it.
From what I have been told, and
I have no reason to doubt it, I
took all child's diseases, such as
measles and chicken pox; and I
do not remember of being whip-
ped or scolded then for taking
what did not belong to me, but
the suffering was much greater
than it would have been if I had
taken a piece of cake after being
told not to do so, and got the


back-side of my pants warmed;
that would pay the debt and the
pain would soon be gone! There
is nothing nice about being sick
except the getting well when one

is the pet of the household. At
that time if any body gave me a
word of kindness, I was willing
to serve them time and again,
but it was not easy to serve when
spoken to in an unkind way, and
the work was never well done
when done under compulsion.

I remember also that it would
make me very proud to be able to
do some little thing entirely alone ;
to make or discover something all
alone, or even to seem to learn
something entirely alone. I
thought I was the only one in the
world who knew it, and was in
haste to impart the great discov-
ery to some other person. It was
always a disappointment to find
out that others knew it long be-
fore, which marred my satisfac-
tion with it and I must try again
to find out something greater the
next time.


My loves as a child were not
very steadfast, being mostly of
the emotional kind, but I have al-
ways loved love and hated hate.
When we are all lovers of each in
all and all in each the Will of God
will be done on earth as in heaven.

Childhood and Youth


The child has been found to
have a great number of angles,
dimensions or phases of char-
acter; so must the youth have
equally as many. In youth they
should become more highly de-
veloped. If the child is the spring-
time of life then it is the time of
planting the seed. Youth must be
the summer of life, the time when
the greatest growth is made.
Youth is the time for the greatest
physical and mental development ;
it seems to be entering into a new
state but always taking the child
with it. In many cases the youth
is an overgrown child.

It seems to me that my youth
was the happiest part of my life
up to the age of forty. Many
changes were wrought in the con-
ditions of the farm. There was a
new frame house erected in place
of the log one. There was a well
sunken near the house. There
were barns erected for the stock.


There was a great deal of land
cleared and brought under culti-
vation. Much, however, remained
virgin soil, and there were still
large numbers of wild animals in
the country.

The neighbors were not very
close together at that time, and
that made the school houses a
long distance apart. The little log
school that I went to was located
about two miles from our farm.
We had to go through the woods
and over hills to get to it or to go
many miles around if we followed
the wagon road. School did not
keep open the whole year; it was
mostly closed in summer and open
in winter. There was such a vast
amount of snow at times that I
was often obliged to stay away.

I was taught some at home but
it did not seem to take the same
kind of hold, or else I did not stick
to it as closely as I would have
done if I had been at school. On
the whole I had very little real
teaching, so that mental develop-
ment was slow; moreover at that
time I did not know the great


value of an education. I had never
had an education and had never
used one, so how should I know
that there was any value in it?
Apparently we have to use a thing
to appreciate its value. Oh, yes, I
was told it had a value, and I had
been told a lot of other things
that I had found to be untrue, so
what was I to believe? Then,
again it was hard work to sit still
for hours at a time with your nose
in a book, and it was not easy to
remember one of those crooked
letters from another; the "p" and
"q" looked nearly alike, how could
a child remember which side of
the stem the loop was on? There
were lots of others that were just
as bad.

Then the writing ! Even though
there was a copy-book it was hard
and impossible to write anything
that looked like the copy. Arith-
metic was a torment for a long
time, and I never did get so that
I could spell. A child has to learn
the names of everything and has
to learn the meanings of every-
thing. There is such a vast


amount of stuff thrown into a
child's mind in a short time that
it is no wonder that it does not al-
ways work accurately.

Going to a school as I had to,
where all the grades were heard
in the same room, it was not easy
to keep my mind upon my work.
Even with all the hindrances and
disadvantages I managed to get a
little general knowledge of things
but not enough to take an equal
place in the commercial world
and make a success in business.

As a youth I liked to make
bows and arrows out of the sec-
ond growth hickory, to fish and
to hunt small game of which
there was plenty. There was al-
ways something to do in the
woods; gathering sap from the
sugar-maples in the spring; plum
hunting and blackberrying in the
summer, and nutting in the fall.
It seems to me that I used to like
the fall of the year the best for
that was the time of the ripening
of the nuts. The hazel-nuts were
the first to be gathered; there
were hazel bushes every where;


one could have all the hazel-nuts
one wanted for the picking; then
came the hickory-nuts, butter-nuts
and the black walnuts. All one
had to do was to go and knock
them off the trees, put them into
bags, and take them home. The
trees were in the forest and the
nuts belonged to these who got
there first ! There were also large
numbers of nut-bearing trees so
there was plenty of food left for
the squirrels cr any other wild
animals that lived on nuts.

Those nuts were a joy to me in
the long winter evenings sitting
in front cf a nice log fire. The
wolves could howl as much as
they liked, I was not so very
much afraid inside the house; I
shivered a little now and then
when they seemed to be quite

When not at school I helped to
do the work on the farm. I liked
looking after the horses and cat-
tle, except going for the cows af-
ter dark if they happened not to
come home. I learned to harness


and bridle the horses when I had
to stand on the manger to reach
their heads. As for riding, both
in the saddle and bare-back, I
cannot remember when I did not
know how.

When the neighbors live from
one-half to a mile apart one does
not have many playfellows, but
after starting to school I soon
knew quite a few boys of my own

I used to go swimming, fishing
and hunting with them and we
played games, such as jumping
and wrestling. I never was a good
wrestler nor fighter ; I did not care
to pound other boys' faces much
better than I cared to have my
own face pounded. I also be-
came acquainted with some girls.
I am sure I thought them the
nicest things in the world, but I
never told one so. I was so ter-
ribly bashful that I would rather
die than sit in the same seat at
school with one of them. I must
have been something of a coward ;
afraid of the dark; afraid of the
girls; and afraid to fight.


I regularly got my pants dusted
if my parents found out that I had
been fighting. It was hard to get
a black eye from a boy and then
go home and get fixed so that one
would rather stand up than sit
down for the rest of the day!
There may have been times when
I got a whipping when I did not
deserve it, but I am quite sure
there were times that I should
have had one that I did not get.
There was an old proverb at our
house that went something like
this: "spare the rod and spoil the
child." I was brought up to rev-
erence my parents at a distance;
there was none of that real per-
sonal fellowship that is so dear in
many homes. It may have been
because we were frontier people
or it may have been for some
other reason, I do not know, and
it does not matter now, I am only
telling my own life story and do
not want to try and tell another's.

There was no church in the
neighborhood that my Dad be-
lieved in, so all I knew about re-
ligion I learned at home. Sab

bath was strictly observed; no
work, no play, but stay in the
house and read the Bible, or hear
it read. Much time was given to
the Old Testament wherein I
found many things that were un-
reasonable when taken literally,
but which I was required to be-
lieve and did believe for a long
time after. I used to question
some of these and was told that
there were things that the peo-
ple were not to know. That sort
of answer fills a child's mind with
superstition and gives him a
wrong impression of the whole
state of life.

I do not lay any blame on Dad ;
I know that he did what he
thought was best for me. My
mind questioned why the Tower
of Babel was built in a valley
when there were mountains thou-
sands of feet high not far away.
And how could the sun and moon
stand still .when we were taught
at school that the earth spun
steadily around on its axis? I am
now of the belief that it would be
better for children to be taught


the things that they can reason

I was taught that God was to
be reverenced at a distance. I
have asked where heaven is and
have been told that it was away
up beyond the stars, whence an
unknown and undefinable creat-
ure ruled the world with a rod of
iron, letting the people do wrong
if they wanted to, then punish-
ing them for not doing right. I
knew that I did not always do
right but it did not seem to make
any difference, if I could keep my
parents from finding it out. I be-
lieved a lot of things about God
and His creation but I did not
KNOW a single thing about
them. Since I have learned to
know and enjoy my fellowship
with God, I have come to see that
those who talk most about know-
ing God are merely pretending to
know. But even this is the way
we must all take before we really
find Him.



If childhood is the spring time
nf life, and youth the summer
time, manhood must be the au-
tumn. The leaves of the spring
time have faded and fallen to the
ground. At this time in one's life
there must be a gathering to-
gether into one place. What I
had learned was all the inherit-
ance I had. According to the
Zodiacal sign under which I was
born I came rightfully by a wan-
dering disposition. This explains
my coming to the Golden State
of California. Not having any
money I worked my way. It was
a wonderful revelation to get into
a land where the flowers bloomed
the whole year, but that became
commonplace in time.

I had always lived in a very
small valley of life and I did not
know the ways of the world. I
found myself a bashful country
boy in one of the large cities, with-
out friends or money, and I

thought I was having a rather
hard time, but at last I got a job
that I was able to hold.

I worked until I had some
money laid up when I got the min-
ing fever and went to the mines.
Not doing very well, I tried rail-
roading and, tiring cf that, went
back into the mining business. I
was mixing with a rough element
and of course a young fellow will
fall into the ways of those with
whom he keeps company at least,
that is what I did.

After a number of years, I was
enabled to accumulate several
thousand dollars. I decided to
take the money and start into bus-
iness. Not having had a commer-
cial training I foolishly put all my
money into the venture and had
nothing to fall back on while get-
ting my experience; consequently
I failed and lost everything. Some
time after my business failure I
returned once more to the mines.

It was at this time that a great
change came over my life. I went
to work one evening about five
o'clock; at eight o'clock I was be-


ing carried out on a stretcher.
While picking up some rock in the
bottom of the tunnel, an unex-
ploded blast went off under my
feet, tearing up several hundred
pounds of rock. I received such
a shock from the explosion that
I did not feel any pain at all when
I recovered consciousness, which
was very soon after the explosion.
I was taken to the hospital about
a mile away, where it was found
that I had received some terrible
injuries. I had a first-class doctor,
good nurses, and everything that
could be done was done for me.

At about 2 a. m. I once more re-
covered my senses ; there was still
no pain but I felt very small. It
was so quiet that I was not sure
whether I was alive or dead. I
remembered being blown up and
know that I had been severely
injured. They did not tell me that
I must die, but that is what they
were expecting me to do. Some
hours later I was burning up with
fever and frantic with thirst. I
asked for water but was told that
I must wait, as I had been under


ether for more than three hours,
and \vatcr might kill me. I beg-
ged and begged for water. It
seemed as though I would rather
die and have done with it than to
endure that terrible thirst.

After some hours which seemed
centuries to me, I was given a few
drops of v/ater, which caused vio-
lent vomiting. After some time I
got so that I could keep the water
in my stomach and then I felt
easier for awhile. Although they
had me shot full of opium I began
to have pain. I must have lain in
a stupor until the third night
when it seemed to me that I was
dying. I could neither cry out nor
move hand nor foot, feeling my-
self sinking lower and lower, see-
ing all kinds of lights flashing
through my head. I seemed to be
divided trying to get back to my-
self. I was making a terrible
struggle for life. I was afraid to
die. I knew the things that I was
seeing were not tangible and that
I must do something at once or all
would be over for me. There was
a nerve in my brain that was


about ready to break. At last I
made a sound and the nurse came
to the side of my bed. As soon
as I felt her hand there came a
great sense of relief. I had been
pulled out again just in time. I
told her that I was afraid, would
she stay with me for awhile? I
could move my right hand just a
little and would feel for the nurse's
hand once in awhile during the
rest of that night; if I touched it
I knew I was all right.

It was so terribly still and dark.
I did not ask to be allowed to see
for I felt my eyes were bandaged.
When I heard the other patients
stirring around I knew that morn-
ing had come at last, and although
it gave me no light, that frightful
silence was broken. For some
weeks my brain was on fire. In
my delirium I saw my face as raw
as a piece of beefsteak. It ap-
peared to be a mask; it could be
lifted and I could see my own face
behind it. I got the impression
that there had been two of us
blown up at the same time and
that the doctors were making a


test of our eyes. They pronounced
mine gone but the other one could
see all right. So long as I was in
pain the conviction stayed with
me that there had been another
blown up with me and was lying
in the bed with me, on the left
hand side. That was the side that
was hurt the worst. I could not
move my left hand nor foot. I
also had the impression that the
other one had been more serious-
ly hurt and was suffering more
than I was, yet was not giving out
-i sound of complaint. I felt that
if another could stand such suffer-
ing without complaint, I could
stand it likewise and I did!

I noticed the changing of the
bandage on my eyes and thought

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