This is an excerpt taken from my late Grandfather Carl E’s book “As I Remember.” It is his love story along with some humorous stories mixed in. I hope you enjoy it!
Papa, Mama, and I and all the family loaded into a four-wheeled trailer all of our household goods that would fit and went to Littlefield, Texas, thirty-five miles northwest of Lubbock. We pulled the trailer with the Whippet car. Papa had heard that there was a lot of carpenter work out there and beautiful farming. At that time I was nineteen years old.
[My sister] Vera and I started attending the First Baptist Church. There, among others in the BYPU (Baptist Young People’s Union), we met Fleddie D. and her sister, Lexie. I was attracted to Fleddie and visited her often. She was a good cook, and did a lot of the cooking for her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William D., who were elderly. Fleddie was their youngest still at home.
Mrs. D., in spite of having a bad sore on one of her legs that just would not get well because of her diabetes, always had a vegetable garden that she watered with bucketful by bucketful of water pumped by hand from a well in the garden. Sometimes Fleddie would find time to help her.
Mr. D had four work horses with which he made a living. He did light hauling jobs and broke up garden plots for people around town. His nickname was “Whistlin’ Will.” The story is told that one of his sons-in-law bet an unsuspecting friend that the man crossing the street there would be whistling by the time he crossed to the other side. The son-in-law won the bet!
Fleddie and I had been keeping company for a few months by summer time when I went to work on Uncle Rome (Jerome) and Aunt Pearl M’s farm near Frederick, Oklahoma. While I was there, I only existed for another letter from Fleddie. She wrote, but not too frequently because she still had doubts whether we should be married. Eventually the crops were “laid by,” and I returned to Littlefield.
Still anxious to be better prepared for the ministry, I took off again shortly for Plainview, Texas, to attend Wayland Baptist College. Hitchhiking was my means of travel. I arrived with only twenty-five cents to my name, and I had no acquaintances there. As soon as I arrived, I noticed a big revival tent where meetings were in progress. The message I heard was very good, given by the local evangelist, Ben E. After the meeting, I got acquainted with him. Since we had the same last name, he was very curious to find out more about me and invited me to his home. He was instrumental in finding me a place to stay—a storm cellar measuring approximately seven by ten feet with a pull-up door. There was a water faucet above ground just above the steps that led down inside. The cellar contained a two-burner kerosene cook stove, a little table, a chair, and a comfortable cot. I started to school, and before long had a preaching appointment in a nearby church that met in a rural school house. As I remember, I continued there until Fleddie and I married. The people in that church paid me with fruit and vegetables that they had canned themselves, and other such items. That was how I subsisted. Money—uh—there was none! Nearly everyone, however, was in the same boat.
While I was in college in Plainview, I had a friend who was plenty smart, but was a rare individual. He kept insisting that I go spend the night at his house, which was just across a field from school, so finally I agreed to do so. We had oatmeal for breakfast which was full of ants. He showed me how he took them out with his spoon, so I did the same, figuring that if they did not hurt him, they would not hurt me. After breakfast when we got ready to go to school, he put on his coat, and I noticed that he had an elaborate lineup of safety pins of all sizes inside his lapel. I asked him what they were for. He replied that we had to crawl through some barbed wire fences to get to school, and in case he tore his clothes, he could repair them with the pins.
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I remember reading that story in Uncle Carl’s book. He was a great story teller. I miss him. Thanks for sharing. =)
I loved this. Little images of a bygone, simpler age. “Money—uh—there was none!” And yet they survived…
It is nice to read about the “old days.” It wasn’t easier in those days – there were plenty of things to worry about – but it was somehow easier.
Sorry, meant to say “simpler.”