Editor’s Note: This series began on Monday of last week. It most likely will run for five weeks. Please refer to this link for the introductory information and “Entry One” of “My Grandmother’s Memoirs.” Thank you. ~ RDK
“One Spring I was at a widow woman’s house picking up apricots. She was in the tree and hung a bucket on a limb. It broke and the bucket of apricots fell on my head. Did I ever have a big gash! She told me to run home to my mama. By the time I got there my clothes were soaked with blood. I remember all the children of the neighborhood lining up across the screened-in back porch watching Mom clean me up. I had to go to the doctor at Enid for him to dress and care for it every other day.
I had the small pox vaccination at Waukomis by a Dr. Wolfe. I always imagined he looked like a wolf, but he was pretty nice. He gave me a stick of gum and a penny because I didn’t cry.
I had chicken pox in the Spring of 1930; it was near Easter. Our class at school was having an egg hunt, so Papa took me to the principal’s office to see if I was over them enough to go to the event. I was so happy because he said I could go!
One winter we had a big snow. Papa walked ahead of us to school to make tracks so we wouldn’t have as difficult a time getting to school. We were always thrilled when the weather was bad and didn’t have to go home for lunch! Mom would call the grocery store and the owner would prepare a good lunch for us. One of us would go pick it up; he would make pressed ham sandwiches with buns – that was really good!
We children of the neighborhood would gather in the evening by the street light, choose sides and play a game called “Trail.” One side would hide, the other hunt. We would make arrows with chalk marking the direction we were going. Then at the point we decided to hide, we would draw a circle with arrows going all directions making it more difficult to find us.
Another time I remember was my sister Catherine and brother Charles and I went to a Methodist revival. When coming home we had to go past an opera house. We were told a little man lived under it; we were always frightened to go by. We watched the building closely! As we were walking along Catherine slipped on the ice and I fell over her, breaking my collar bone. I was crying so loudly Catherine said, “Be quiet! That little man will hear you!” My parents were at the door to meet us when we got there. It was so painful and difficult to wear a coat that I missed several days of school after that incident.
When the rumble seats came out in the 1929 or ’30 Ford coupes, the Ford dealer of the town took the children of the town a ride in it.
Our Christmases were never very elaborate but we always got something; always fruit, nuts and candy and maybe a little gift. I always wanted a doll but didn’t get one – guess that was too expensive. I recall one year we got a wagon, that way we could all play with it. Another year my sister Mary and I shared a book of paper dolls. She took the boy and I the girl. We had clothing to cut out to put on the dolls. One particular Christmas my parents went to Enid, Ok. I thought [they were going] to get me a pair of Roman Sandals; I ran out to meet them with excitement. Mom said I thought you would like for Santa Claus to bring them. Well, when Christmas arrived I got the shoes but to my disappointment they were brown oxfords! I cried because I didn’t want the, what I called, boy shoes! Never did get any Roman sandals.
My parents, as I look back, were practical. I’m sure they thought they would be more serviceable since they could only get the one pair. One Christmas Grandma Crouch gave Mary and me a kid doll to share. That is a doll with leather kid body with porcelain hands and face with real hair. For some reason we didn’t have that doll long, it probably got broken.
When the highway department started to pave highway 81 around 1928 or 1929, we started to Tuttle in a Model T Ford. The ground was so soft in places we had to get out of the car to push. I can remember I was embarrassed because the car didn’t have enough power to pull through. This [is the] same car papa would drive close to the window. [This was] so he could hook the battery to the radio and we could listen to it in the house!
In August 1930 during the depression papa couldn’t find work so we let our house go and moved to Tuttle, Ok. All we had was a 1929 Chevrolet and our furniture, moving into a little two-roomed house at my grandparents’ place. Later a house across the orchard south became empty and we moved into that one. There I lived to June of 1940. Those were hard years for my parents. Money was so scarce. We always raised a good garden, canned lots of vegetables and fruit, raised chickens to eat and for eggs, milked cows for milk and even shared the milk with families who were more poor than we.
We never had a car because the one we had when moving to Tuttle burned in the hallway of the barn when I was about ten. So, we had to walk two miles to town, carrying eggs and cream to buy a few groceries. Mom managed to have enough clothing for us with hand-me-downs and what she could make over. She washed clothes every day in a washtub and scrub board. She always said she lived “at the house where there was a washing hanging out on the line.”
We had to make our own entertainment, which didn’t hurt us. We had some old buggy wheels and frame we played on a lot, riding down the hills in the pasture guiding it with our feet and a rope. Mary and I played house; we would move from under the trees in the pig lot to an empty granary… or to the east side of the house, gathering up anything we could find for furniture. We made dishes from red clay mud, and put them in the sun to dry. We made cakes, cookies and pies from mud and used old Rawleigh pudding to ice the “baked goods” with. No one liked the pudding to eat so mom gave it to us to play with.
In the fall of 1934 Grandpa Crouch passed away. (Grandma Crouch died November, 1968 age 98.) In the same year, December 5, 1934 my brother Robert was born. You didn’t talk about a woman being pregnant those days. Mom told us there was to be a newcomer at our house that we would have to help her. My Aunt Babe made some baby clothes for mom. I remember sneaking in the room where they were hidden to look at them. I remember some of the women at the church made mom a navy blue dress with a jacket to wear to Grandpa’s funeral.
Notes: I was baptized at the age of 11 in the spring of 1933 by Brother Sheron in the baptistery under the floor of the old Christian Church of Tuttle.
My dad farmed grandpa’s place; he farmed with horses. Later, Grandpa Coward gave us money to buy a tractor to farm with. It never did run right. Papa was always having to work on it – we called it the “Poppin’ Johnny.” Papa tried raising sheep. I can remember herding them. I helped milk the cows. Also my sister Mary and I learned to catch and dress a chicken and cook a pretty good meal while mom worked in the garden.
Make sure and check in next week. Emma Lee and her siblings grow up and take on many responsibilities very early in life…and a romance blooms for her in the not-to-distant future!
Note written on 1/16/11: Check THIS LINK for all the posts to date.
3 thoughts on “One Voice of the Oklahoma Prairie, Cont.”
I have one of my grandmother’s little cloth dolls with the porcelain head. Children were so satisfied with small toys then. Awww…..the simpler times.
Brenda – Simpler times, indeed! I’m sure we call use a little simplification…Take care, RDK
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