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Grandma in Her Bonnet - Part II

Well, Grandpa didn't think too much about the Indians, so he tied the horses to the side of the wagon and they went to bed. He awoke in the night and Grandma wasn't in the bed so he gets up and goes outside and the horses were also gone. He was so scared he just knew the Indians had stolen her and the horses. He didn't know what to do and he couldn't go off and leave the little girls; then he looked up and saw Grandma leading the horses. She couldn't sleep so she had gotten up and gone to the creek to water the horses. Grandpa said he was so glad to see her he couldn't get mad!

My Grandfather had two brothers who lived in Oklahoma also. One brother's name was Travis (TRAVIS AUSTIN PUCKETT) and everyone called him Trav. He had a wife named Nan and they had 6 children: Gerald, Curly, Era, Stella, Iona, and Eloise. They are all gone now, as they were a good deal older than me. The other brother was named Rufus (CHARLES RUFUS PUCKETT) but he was called Rufe. His wife's name was Lula; they had 5 children: Leaman, Dick, Harve, Madge and Inez. I suppose most of them are gone now, too, unless Inez and little Harve are still living. Madge died just a week after getting married and Inez moved to California. I know that all the others are dead.

In 1930 my mother gave birth to a boy who they named Jim Bob. He and I were the only redheads in the family so I guess I was a little partial to him.

We lived in a couple more places in Oklahoma. We lived on Dr. Glover's place for a while and Daddy raised watermelons and cantaloupes. He took these to Oklahoma City to market. We had a big cement cellar on this place which we were proud of because of the tornadoes. One day the Raleigh man came by and Mother bought a large bottle of white liniment. Mother had always taught us to grab something when we had to go to the cellar, so that evening it came a storm and one of the twins picked up the liniment. Just as she started down the cellar steps she dropped the bottle and it went all over. We could hardly stay down there for the smell!

Daddy had bought a 2-seated Model T Ford. Mother learned to drive and we could go into Blanchard without having to ride in the wagon.

I remember once when we were going to school at Freeney it snowed real hard while we were at school so Obe Tankersley put a cover over his wagon and took all the children home.

Later we moved to another house and we girls started to school in town in Blanchard and we had to ride a bus and that was something to us. In 1932 our brother, Jim Bob, died - he was buried in Blanchard where my Grandma and Grandpa Puckett were buried years later, also where a lot of the other Pucketts are buried. Jim Bob was buried next to our cousin, Era Puckett. Nothing was the same after Jim Bob died, so Mother and Daddy decided to return to Texas.

We moved to Mineral Wells, Texas, and this is where I have finished living my life. We girls started to school at Houston Elementary and later we went to school at Travis Elementary. We lived at 304 S.W. 2nd Street. Daddy worked at the brickyard. We finally moved to the Progress Community and we rode a bus to high school. Mother worked at the Baker Hotel Laundry and Daddy at the brickyard. We milked cows and sold milk. I don't know why me and Vernelle were the only ones who had to help Daddy milk; Maedelle always got to help Mother in the house. I never figured that out. I learned to drive a car when we lived here. Mother and Daddy would let us go to church in town on Sunday night by ourselves; we went to Parker Street Baptist Church. They had something called B.Y.P.U. before church on Sunday night and we would go to B.Y.P.U. but we didn't stay for church a lot of the time. The W.T. Ware family went to church there, too, and their two boys, James Edward and Gregory, and Ed Boone and other girls and boys would climb into a car and go rob someone's watermelon patch or just ride around. Mother and Daddy never learned of this until we were grown!

We later moved back to our house in town and I continued to go to high school. One day Vernelle was supposed to be sick and didn't go to school and when we all came home that night we found a note on the table saying she and Leon Richards had gone to Waurika, Oklahoma, and got married. I went on to high school for a while and I quit when I lacked one semester. I thought I was grown, so I went to work where Mother worked at the Baker laundry. Mineral Wells was not a large town at that time and I can remember where there was nothing east of the railroad tracks but prairie. That was to change very soon.

The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor that year (1940) and everything changed. They built Camp Walters and the whole world and our town changed. There were thousands of soldiers sent to Camp Walters. I had gone to work at the Camp Walters Laundry and worked there until I married.

They built a large skating rink in town and I learned to skate. I loved skating and I would skate every night. A lot of people skated there, including a lot of soldiers. I went with quite a few of them, but skating was my life and I would skate with the soldiers that I had met and I would let one walk me home. Two or three of them wanted to get serious but they were not for me!

Then in 1941, in November, I met a tall, handsome, black-headed Sergeant and fell in love at the skating rink.

… to be continued


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