Wednesday, February 1, 2012

In the Beginning

I was born in Montgomery City, Missouri. My family lived in a small house on 5 acres. We had a barn with a cow, some pigs, and my little brother, Bud, and I shared a pony. We didn't have running water in the house so we pumped water from the well to do dishes, wash, and take baths. No inside bathroom either. It didn't matter to us though. I think we were happiest living there. It was always fun.

Growing up, we didn't have a lot of material things, but we sure had a great time as a family. Our car was a model A Ford. We walked everywhere during the week and we drove the car on Saturday's and Sunday's. New Florence, or what we called "the Junction" was about 5 miles away and they had a picture show. It was a real treat to go there. Shows were only 10 cents back then. Even still, we didn't get to go there very often. Actually, I don't remember my parents ever going. To me, it was a simpler time.

I can remember going to Hermann on the weekends. It wasn't just a quick trip. Even though Hermann is only 20 miles from Montgomery, these trips took all day long. My parents would usually invite the neighbors to come along and they had kids about our age. We would all pile in the Model A and pack picnic lunches and head out of a Saturday morning. We wouldn't get far and we'd have a flat tire. Without getting angry my daddy would say, "pile out!" and he'd get to work on that flat tire while my brother and I would jump out and run in the fields around us playing tag. Daddy would get that tire fixed and ready to go and we'd pile back in and continue on. We'd go a bit further and darned if we didn't have another flat tire. It wasn't anything to have 5 to 10 flats on the way to Hermann. Each time daddy would never lose his cool, it was something you expected back then. And each time my brother and I would laugh and look at it as time to run and play int he grassy fields. Mom would make up a lunch for us and we'd eat and then carry on. We did this a few times each summer. It was a lot of fun and we always looked forward to it.

When I was nine the girl across the street from us played the piano. Every week she would listen to the "Top 40" on Saturday night and get sheet music for the 5 she liked best. I guess you would call it "popular" music today. "Deep Purple," "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," and "Stardust" to name a few. My father played the guitar and we sang a lot of cowboy songs in our spare time.

When I was 13 years old, my dad gave me a radio for my birthday, December 7th, 1941. The first thing I heard was the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. I was really upset! This was a birthday that I will never forget!

My best friend in school was Mildred. She lived a few miles south of Mineola and had to ride a horse to Mineola to catch the school bus. I loved to go to her house and spend the night. We always had so much fun together.

Growing up in a small town there wasn't many boys to choose from when it came to dating. If you could call it that. I was perfectly happy just being a teenager and having fun with my friends. I wasn't in a hurry to grow up at all. I enjoyed school and learning new things. I will never forget the day that all changed for me. It began like any other day. I was 15 years old, in the 10th grade. Professor Vaughn did roll call and we began saying the Pledge of Allegiance when this boy I didn't recognize walked in. I remember thinking how cute he was. He was bit shorter than me, with dark wavy hair and a really nice smile.  Professor Vaughn introduced him as Charlie and he had just moved here from St. Louis. As I learned more about this new boy in my class, I would find out that his family had moved here to run the flour mill over by the railroad tracks. I found him to be very funny and so interesting. He wasn't from a small town and that was fascinating to me. Very quickly we became friends and became smitten with one another.

One of the most embarrassing times in my life was when Charlie was teasing me in study hall. We were eating lunch in the back of the room and I threw an orange at him. Just then Professor Vaughn walked in the room. It missed Charlie and the professor and splattered all over the wall behind them. I could have crawled in a hole right then. It was this kind of playfulness that made Charlie so attractive to me. He always knew how to make me laugh. I guess you could say he had a real playful side to him. Not only that, but he was a business man like his father. Even in high school he enjoyed talking about business. I didn't care what he talked about. I just loved being with him. Listening to him talk and just hanging out together. After high school my family moved to Mexico about 30 miles away. I was devastated. I didn't want to be away from my friends and especially not Charlie. I guess you could say I wasn't happy with my dad. We had to move because my dad got a different job and I understood that, but what I didn't understand was why this was happening to me. My entire life as I knew it was being turned upside down.

Charlie came to visit me on the weekends but we didn't get to spend much time together when he came it was for only a short time. He had to help out his father by working at the mill and back then a 30 mile trip took a half a day to travel. I loved it when he showed up. It thrilled me that he still cared enough about me to come all that way. I would get a tickle in my belly when I'd hear his car in the driveway. I'd run out to greet him with a big hug and a quick peck on the lips. My dad wasn't too fond of my infatuation with this boy. I think he was afraid he'd take me away from him and mom. It wasn't too long before daddy was right. Charlie asked me to be his wife so he wouldn't have to keep driving so far to see me every weekend. That was exactly what he said when he proposed. Quite romantic huh? And, that's when our journey really began!