Editor’s Note: If you are just beginning to read these entries, you may wish to start with the first, then the second before you begin this particular work. Thanks, Red Dirt Kelly
During the summer of 1937, at the age of fifteen, I took a job in Oklahoma City caring for three children of Dr. and Mrs. Cooper. I would take the train from Tuttle to Oklahoma City, then ride the interurban to within a few blocks of Dr. Cooper’s. When I’d hear the train blow the whistle down the track [when in Tuttle] I’d start to cry because I was already getting homesick. The first summer I didn’t come home very often. I had Dr. Cooper save up my money until I went home to start to school. I started out making $3.00 a week plus room and board. After Mrs. Cooper went to the hospital to have a baby they raised my salary to $4.00 [per day].
The Coopers had two girls and two boys. I’d cook breakfast, wash, iron, clean house and watch the children. I worked for them three summers and one Christmas vacation. I always bought clothes for school with my earnings. The first year I bought a rust colored coat, black dress with a lace yolk and black shoes. I thought I was really dressed up. I made $36.00 that summer; my coat cost $16.00.
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.
Editor’s Note: Julie at the Ranch is, as we speak, somewhere in northwestern Oklahoma enjoying some time with friends. Incidentally, she and I will be driving to south-central and northwestern Oklahoma tomorrow. We’ll check in from time to time with information about what we found. We’ll be talking to people, seeing places, and working on developing the RDC just a bit more. In the meantime, please accept this post as a substitute for her regular, “Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch” work. ~ RDK
On November 13th of this year, I posted a short “Simple Sabbath” entry and described a project I had been working on for a while. It entailed typing up my grandmother’s handwritten memoirs she recorded over a period of about twenty-two years in order for us to have a sense of our family history from her perspective. I finished the first draft and provided her a spiral-bound copy for a Christmas present. She will be reviewing the draft for any inaccuracies and then I’m going to go over it with an editorial eye for the final draft. I asked her permission to begin sharing some of her memories with you, our RDC reading community, and she replied, “Oh yes, of course, honey. That’s fine.”
And so, with that permission tucked away in my head, here is the beginning entry of her work. I plan on publishing an excerpt on Tuesday evenings as a follow up to Julie’s posts. I haven’t decided whether or not they will come out weekly or bi-weekly. One more note…my grandmother wrote just like she talked. I may keep much of this style intact, so if you see very few periods or commas, you’ll understand why. Thanks, Kelly
One Voice of the Oklahoma Prairie: My Grandmother’s Memoirs