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We'll not soon forget it.

The passing winter has been one to be remembered in various ways, especially the fuel shortage. The sight of numerous children, with some women, and a few men dragging homeward their allotted hundred pounds, is something new in Medford. The inclement days and icy streets made conditions bad enough, but the stuff they got was deficient in heating quality, containing a large per cent of non-burnable refuse. The cost of railway service to haul from the mines, the woman and child power to haul home, and the certain per cent of the energy of the real coal to heat somewhat this refuse in the effort to burn, contribute to waste rather than conservation, of which so much is now being said and written. Even the ash men of the city have found an increase in their labor in carting the waste to the city dumps. It would be well if the political economists would investigate, whether or no the “dear public” haven't paid for a lot of former years' waste in this season's “run of mine coal,” in which householders find double the former waste. [p. 22]

The complex weather conditions that first made icy the streets, and later light snow fall, lightened the children's labors a little in the use of their sleds, but when in a day almost everywhere the bare ground appeared, the boys were unprepared with wheels. Their tug and pull was pitiful to see. But the Medford boys (and girls too) are plucky, and inventive as well, as some of their improvised coal carts are witness. Once the coveted coal card secured from the fuel office, the procession moved on.

And then the water troubles. Sunday morning, December 30, the city woke to trouble; mercury eighteen degrees below zero, and henceforward plumbers, water department men, and electric men were in constant demand to thaw and mend, only to thaw and mend again. It was no uncommon sight, that of coal or coke fires across sidewalks over night, that the pick and shovel men might dig down next day to a depth never known to freeze before. In suffering the attendant discomforts we have learned how dependent we have become upon modern improvements, and for a time were worse off than our grandfathers.

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