Paul's memories

My Memories by Paul Heddlesten

The Big Event came on February 13, 1928 in Wewoka, Seminole, Oklahoma

     I don't know if the doctor was present when I was born but Dad was with Mother.  J.B. and L. T. were sent to school, I don't know where Bob and Nolene were when I made my grand entry.
     When I was born, I was black and wasn't breathing.  Dad poured whiskey into the wash pan, then with a cupped hand of whiskey, he washed my face.  As a result, I started breathing.  We always joked about my first bath was a whiskey bath.
     Mother had shocked feed all day on the 12th, holding it against her body.  Mother and Dad believed I was bruised from the work Mother had done the day before.
     So I grew into a good son, and then grew into a fine teenager, into a fantastic young man.  Now, I have grown into a ripe old age but still fantastic with a lot of offsprings.

I remember:
     About 1938, Bob, Evertt, Bud Doughty, and I would have a cigarette when we went to the barn.  We were smoking in a little granary one time when Dad opened the door and said " I thought the damn thing was on fire" and closed the door. Dad never whipped me for smoking.

     When we farmed, Dad would run the lister, (it is a plow with 2 wings that turned the ground on both sides). We ran the planter.  Dad worked at the Washita Valley Cotton Gin in Washita for 15 years, 1930 or 31 until 1944.  Mother worked in the fields with us boys. Dad worked either at the gin or baled hay.

     Dad couldn't shave with a safety razor. He shaved with a straight razor. Evertt has the razor now, as far as I know. Jess has a beard and hairy chest like Dad did.

     About 1937, we lived ¾ mile south of Washita on a farm, where the river overflowed into a slew.  In the summer, the weeds would grow tall and thicker than crab grass. Mother hated weeds and the only herbicide she had was 4 boys with 4 hoes.  She put us to work all summer in the slew. We sure didn't get in any trouble either.

     Chores in the mornings were:  milking the cows first, feeding the stock, (horses, mules, cows, and pigs).  Then we had breakfast.  After breakfast, we went to school. Breakfast was biscuits, gravy, eggs, and some type of pork. In the winter, we had hot chocolate. I didn't drink hot chocolate.
     After school, (winter time), first thing we did, was change clothes. Didn't have many clothes and Mother washed clothes by rub board.  Then Bob and I would cut wood. Then we fed the chickens, hogs and horses. We milked the cows, then we fed them. We had about 8 to 10 cows.
     Our cows' names were Jersey, Horns, Brownie, Bell, and Blue. J.B. got his cow, Hellion, from Meeks. She was part Brahma. She was wild as a peach orchard boar.
     We were living east of Washita. Horns just had a calf and Dad put the calf in the wagon, and the cow followed us. Bob and I jumped out of the wagon, run around the telegraph poles, and get back in the wagon while Horns was chasing us.  Dad would laugh.

     Dad had one cow that he was the only one that could milk her. She was hard to get milk from. Jersey was the 1st cow he bought when he started farming. Jersey would always have a bull calf so we butchered her calves. The Lord had to have had her to have bull calves so we could eat the beef.  Had they been heifers, Dad would have kept them.
     Our black mule was named Kate and the brown one was named Blue. Our black horses were Chubby and Prince.

     Mother's first sewing machine was from Charley DOUGHTY in 1934 or 1935. Our first Maytag washing machine was in 1940 and it ran by gasoline.

     Mother looked like her Grandma, Missouri Ann Neely Hollis Jones.

     When we lived on the Bill Reedy's place, we had 2 bulldogs. Ring was black with a white ring around his neck and Rover was brown and white. They slept in the corncrib. One morning, Dad found an overall pocket in the crib. Short time later, the dogs were poisoned.
      Bob, Nolene, and I heard a thumping on the floor, and we looked out the south window. We saw Rover come out from under the house, on 3 legs, and go through the gate and vanish.  After he vanished, we ran outside and looked under the porch. There laid Rover dead with 4 legs. We never figured out why all 3 of us saw the same thing. This happened during the school year of 33-34. I was about 5 or 6. Ring died before Rover did.
     When we visited Nolene in the Carnegie hospital before she died, she asked me if I remembered Ring and Rover. I hadn't thought about them in years.

     I went to school before I started to school. Mrs. Lovell, primary teacher, told Mother she would watch me while Mother worked. I went to school at age 5, started school at 6.  The first year, I played in the sand and with the chalk and erasers. The next year, I started to school. It was hard on Mrs. Lovell and myself.  She had to get me to settle down and I just wanted to play.

     The 1st place I remember living was on the south side of Washita about 1930. We moved in '35. Bill Reedy owned the house.
     The 2nd place was on land belonging to Mary Henry and it was an Indian lease. It was located about ¾ mile south of the first place in Washita.
     The 3rd place I remember was Pete Perez's place. We lived there 1938-1940. It was straight south about one mile.
     The 4th place was near Fort Cobb in 1941. It was about ¼ mile from where the highway and Two-hatchet Creek crossed.
     The 5th place was 1½ miles south of Washita, called it the ole York place. That was the fall of 1941 and we farmed it in '42 and '43.
     The 6th place was south of Anadarko, early part of 1944.
     The 7th place was back to Washita into Willie Rogers's old house until Dad found a place, 1 mile west, 2½ north, and about ¼ mile on creek, and it was called the Robinson place.

     Deep Creek came through the Robinson place. Dad raised broomcorn on west side of the creek and we lived on the east side.  Bud, Evertt and I would cut broomcorn. When they called us for dinner, we would take a dip. After we ate, we would take another dip before going back to the broomcorn.
     It had a good swimming hole. It was hard for Dad to keep us out of the hole and working. The hole was 13 feet deep in sand rock. It was a pretty nice swimming hole, you wouldn't be dirty or muddy when you got out.
     Mother sold the livestock and we moved ¼ mile east of Riverside School until December 1945. Dad negotiated the sale by writing on ground with a stick to cattle buyer, (he couldn't talk).
     The 8th place was after Dad's death. Mother was needing a place for her and the girls. We went to town to see Rosser (real estate), told him how much she had to spend. Mother and I went with him. It was a 2-room shabby house covered with tar paper. When we drove up, I said to Mother, "Surely, Mother, you don't want this crappy place." She said to me, "Son, if it don't leak, we got to buy it and it didn't leak.

     We were living there when J.B. came back for Dad's funeral, (January 9, 1946).  J.B. and Bob were in Europe when Dad died. The government flew J.B. home and sent Bob home by boat. He missed the funeral.  Smith of Smith's Funeral Home and Dad were members of the American Legion. He held Dad as long as possible to get J.B. and Bob home for the funeral.

     In February 1946, I went into the army. I went to Ft. Chaffey, Arkansas first. From there, I went to Fort Belvedere, Virginia for basic. Then, I went to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Stayed there from May to September '46. Then, I went to Fort Lawton, Washington. Then, on the troop ship, Admiral H.T. Mayo, I went to Yokohama, Japan, then to Kochera, Japan. I was there until August 1947, back to Yokohama. I came back to Seattle on the General John J. Pope troop ship.  I was discharged at Seattle.

     I came back to Anadarko.  Bob and I hitched-hiked to Sallisaw, Oklahoma. We went to Fort Smith, trimming trees for Oklahoma Gas & Electric the last part of September 1947.  We went to Sallisaw because Bob had a horse there.  Bob had been there before.
     I got mustering out pay ($300) and at Van Buren, we bought a '37 Ford with a 60-horse power motor and the pistons were the size of a coffee cup. Motor may have weighted 100 to 125 pounds.
     We almost starved to death working for a contractor waiting for our paycheck.  He would pay for our lunch so we saved half the money so we could eat supper.  We had a bowl of chili and I would put catsup in the chili to make it go further. That is when I started eating catsup in my chili and still do.
      Bob hocked his camera to the restaurant so we could eat breakfast. They held it until payday.  We stayed there about 2-3 weeks, then back to Anadarko.
     Then, we went to Eunice, New Mexico and worked in the oilfields.  Uncle Fred Heddlesten lived there.  Uncle Fred was married to Lula Slaughter.  We stayed for a while, not long. Then we went back to Anadarko about December '47.

     January '48, Bob and I were saved at the Anadarko Church of God.  I met Louise at church and we married February 21, 1948.  Pretty short courtship.  Her dad, T. K. was a good ole man and Carman bossed him around.

     July '48, the Barron bunch and their new son-in-law went to Chowchilla, California. We found farm work there. Work was scarce in Oklahoma after the war.  We picked tomatoes all summer until cotton picking time about September. We picked cotton until February.  When we picked cotton, we each had a cotton shack.
     After that, I went to work on a dairy. The boss furnished Louise and me a house. I milked cows about 3-4 months. Bob came out later and we milked 50-60 cows a day.  We mowed, hauled and stacked hay with horses.  After we left there, we worked for another farmer near Madera, California, irrigating.
     Then we left there and came back to Oklahoma in August '49. We stayed in California 13 months. Louise and I got a bus to Los Angeles. We were in the bus station when the police stopped us. Thought we were "runaways, too young".
     We worked in hay last of August, then in the fall, we picked cotton. Before we picked the cotton, Barrons and I picked castor beans around Anadarko.  Barrens came back October or November '49.
     I was picking cotton when Jimmy was born. We were living with Barrens when he was born.  Jimmy was born December 21, 1949.  Seems like a day or two after he died that he was buried.  The funeral cost about $95.00 and Bud paid half.
     I drove a taxi for Wayne Lee about 6 months.  In August '50, Evertt and I went to Washington.  We worked for Matson's all fall.  It was an apple storage company.  Evertt came back to Oklahoma.

     In January, J.B. leased an apple orchard and I pruned the trees all winter of '50.  Along in March or April of '51, I came back to Anadarko.  Mother had sent a picture of Gary Dean so I came back.  Gary was a little tyke when I went to work Guy Schell near Medicine Park.

     First part of '52, I went to work at the Studebaker Dealership at Anadarko as a wash-grease man. Didn't work there long, had a chance to make more money.  I went to work for a contractor at the Washita Power Plant.  He was putting bricks in boilers.  Worked there until job was over then we went to Amarillo, Texas.  We went to Amarillo in July '52 and in August, I went to work for Colorado Interstate Gas Company.  Worked there for 5 years.  

     When Bobby was born at Anadarko, we were living in Amarillo.  I was working for the gas company when Bobby and Paula were born.   Louise left in '56 and we were divorced in '57.  I left Amarillo in August '57 for Anadarko.

     In '58, met some gal in Fletcher.  I went to a house with Bob to put a double window in a living room for a couple that went to his church.  Her mama said she would give me Margie for payment for the work and if I would shave my mustache off and quit drinking.  The mustache came off and I married her on May 9, 1958.  Later, I quit drinking and we started going to church.

     We had just moved to Fletcher, by the ballpark, when Midge was born.  I was working as a welder for Town and Country Mobile Homes in Lawton then.
     We had moved to Anadarko when Paulette was born at Cyril.  I was working for G.R. "Zip" Landess' service station then.
     We were living south of Anadarko on the Schoonover place and I was working for Harper Oil Company when Jess was born at Anadarko.
     Charley was born at Anadarko and we were living at Wichita Falls, Texas.   We had come up to get our furniture.   I was working at a service station there.
     We were living at Geronimo and I was barbering at Ft. Sill when Staci was born at Clinton.

     When we were living at Schoonover's, Midge was almost hit by a car.  She had been crossing the road with her mother checking the mail box.  One day she decided to do it on her own.  We heard tires squealing and found her in the highway.  I marched her back to the yard with my belt.  I got busy and built a gate so she couldn't get out of the yard.

     Another time there, Midge went to visit Uncle Ray and Aunt Lillie Anderson, (friends). Marge watched her walk the hill to their house. Later, Lillie brought her home, saying "I don't know what you would do, but if she was mine, I would bust her bottom!"
     Midge had decided she would visit her Aunt Gladys and started walking down the highway.  An Okemah Flour truck driver stopped and picked her up.  He, in turn gave her to 2 Caddo Electric men who took her to Aunt Lillie's. Aunt Gladys lived 2 miles south and 1¾ miles west of us.  Midge was about 2 ½ then.

Our coldest winter night:

     We were living north of Mother and Marvin's the winter of '61-'62.  We had a wood stove and I chopped wood and filled the back porch full of it.  It was so cold in that house, that the hand lotion froze.
     One night, it was so cold in the house, Marge and I took turns sleeping with the kids. I slept with one and she with 2, then I would take 2 and she would take 1.  We wanted to make sure the kids stayed warm.  Sometime during the night, I got up and built the fire and kept it going so it would be warm.  Later, she kept the fire going while I slept.
     We both remember that night, not a bad memory, just a memory that is worth remembering and we made it. We will always remember our coldest night with fond memories.  While living there, I made my first and only cake.
     This is where we were living when we went to Wichita Falls and stayed with Betty and Claud.  On February 9th, we went to Mother's.  On Sunday morning, we took Marge to the hospital to have Charley.  Mother had Marvin go with us, in case Marge had the baby on the way to the hospital.  Gladys had David before they made it to the hospital and Mother was afraid it would happen to us.

     I started to barber school after we moved to Fletcher in '62. I went for 13 days then I started cutting hair at Britton's Barber Shop at Apache, then I went to Ft. Sill.

     I think we all liked living at the Rogers' place, northeast of Stecker.  We lived there about 3 years. Mr. Rogers sold the place and we bought a 12 x 65 mobile home.  We lived in it west of Porter Hill.  Then we moved it to Geronimo.  In 1970, we bought a 50 x150 lot in Walters from Bob and Ruth and moved the trailer there.
     We moved to Tishomingo, Oklahoma in October '78, back to Walters in July '79.  Then, we went to Bellmead, Texas in August.  We managed a Sonic Drive In there until March '83 when we moved back to Walters.

My memories that Dad told me:

     Grandpa (James) Portlock and two sons pushed Ethel to Colorado from Missouri in a wheelbarrow.

     Dad and Granddad Portlock went fishing one time.  An old man came by and Granddad and him started talking. They talked about the Civil War and they told about being in the war.  Granddad Portlock was Union and the other man was a Confederate.  Granddad told him about his experience with a confederate soldier.  It was raining and him and the confederate had taken shelter under the same tree.  They called a truce and waited out the rain talking.  When the rain was over, they went their own way.  It turned out this old man was the same Confederate soldier.

     In Colorado, Dad and some other boys were playing "mud dobbers", a game they were playing by kicking mud on the outhouse.  An older boy did something to make Dad mad and then the boy ran into the outhouse.  Dad picked up a half brick and threw it at the outhouse. The brick broke through the door, hitting the boy in the face.
     Dad saw his dad driving by and he took after him and rode the coupling pole home. Granddad didn't know he was there.  His mother got Dad to go back to school only after giving him a "chaw of tobacco and promising to whip the teacher if he was whipped.

     When they were living in Colorado and Dad was small, his Uncle Bob would take him hunting with him.  Uncle Bob had a hunting coat and he would put Dad in the game pocket.  Dad was curved around Uncle Bob's back and made him easy to carry.

     In eastern Oklahoma, Dad and Uncle Shorty would cut firewood to make a living.  Granddad would take the wood, sell it and spend the money on booze.

     Dad said Colorado has the laziest people in the world, wind pumps the water and cows cut the wood. They burned cow chips and had windmills to get their water.

     Dad and Uncle Shorty had a jingle that they would sing. "I'm from the good ole State of Missouri, where the soil is black and rich. Don't want no word from you Colorado bird, you cow punching son of a bitch."

     Dad had a saying, "If you're gonna buy a horse and if he's got 1 white foot, buy him, 2 white feet, try him, 3 white feet, deny him. If he has 4 white feet, kill and skin him and feed 'em to the crows".

     Dad said when they were coming to Oklahoma, Grandpa Portlock told them how big and vicious a possum was, joking with them.  Uncle Shorty woke up one night to a hoot owl and started looking for the shotgun.  When Grandpa Portlock asked him what he was doing, Uncle Shorty replied "looking for the shotgun, cause I don't want to get tore all to hell by a possum."

Dad or Granddad told me:

     While they were living in Colorado, Granddad made a man mad.  The man came to the house.  Grandma jerked him off the horse and whipped him with a stove poker and sent him on his way.

Granddad told me:

     I can't remember what year it was and they were living in Colorado.  But Dad was small, he went with Granddad and Uncle Bob to bale hay in the fall.  They used a horse drawn baler.  A northerner came up and it was very cold.
     Dad got on the south side of the haystack and went to sleep.  Granddad started looking for him and found him sleeping.  So Granddad got an alfalfa straw and whipped him.  He did it just to make him mad enough to stay awake. This was the only whipping Grandpa gave dad.

     When Granddad and Grandma were first married, they were living in a two-story house.  Granddad had a new saddle and bridle downstairs.  They were sleeping upstairs.  He heard a noise and thought someone was stealing his saddle and bridle. He was afraid to go down, so he sent Grandma down to see about it.

     Ole Delf Meeks of Washita always rode a bay horse and carried a bull whip. When he would round up his cattle, he would use the whip on the cattle, if they didn't do what he wanted.  Delf told Granddad, he and his brother-in-law, John D. Williams were horse thieves and bank robbers. After that, Granddad called him "Bank Robber" all the time

Mother told me:

     Grandpa Hollis was a large man.  His shirt measured 36 inches from shoulder to shoulder.  He weighed 300 pounds, and probably over 6 feet tall.
     He died of the flu in 1918.  Mother almost died of the flu.  They had the flu at the same time.  The doctor had given up on Mother and Grandpa was getting better. But he died and Mother didn't.

     Mother said Grandma Smith was grouchy.  She said her mother was real kind, didn't want to hurt anyone, just like Grandma Jones.  Grandma Hollis (Webb) couldn't read or write.

     Mother told us about Uncle Grady Hollis falling out of a tree.  On the way home from town, Grady was met by the Birdwell gang consisting of 3 men. Mother told me the 3 men decided they were "going outlaw" and the first man coming down the road, they would kill him.  Uncle Grady was the first man they met.  They had a hammer and in the fight, after they broke Uncle Grady's arm, they lost the hammer.  Uncle Grady found the hammer and fought them off.  He managed to get away from them and laid in the brush until they left.
     When he got home, Grandma wanted to know how he broke his arm and Grady told her, "I fell out of a tree."  To which she replied, "Grady, what were you doing in a tree this time of night?"  I don't remember if Mother told us what he said or not.

(I found this on the internet and thought you might find this interesting).


by Bennie J. McRae, Jr.

     On November 23, 1932, three desperadoes rode quietly into the all Black town of Boley, Oklahoma, with the intent to rob the Farmers and Merchants Bank. The group was led by George Birdwell, chief lieutenant to the infamous bank robber, Pretty Boy Floyd. On this day these men would encounter much more than they could possibly handle.

Uncle Fred Heddlesten told me:

     He was hitchhiking when a man picked him up.  The man asked him his name and Uncle Fred replied "it might be Pretty Boy Floyd."   The man reached down and pulled out a gun (longest pistol Uncle Fred had seen) and asked if he still thought he still thought he was Pretty Boy. Uncle Fred said "no" and he always thought it was Pretty Boy Floyd, himself.

Aunt Fann Reedy told me:

     First off, Aunt Fann was Mother's cousin.  Aunt Fann told me her dad left Pott County for Meers, Oklahoma to look for gold.  Willie Rogers, Aunt Fann's brother, drew in the land lottery in Comanche County and received 160 acres. Then he traded that quarter for two quarters northeast of Washita.  Don't know who he traded with.
     Willie took one quarter and Henry took the 2nd quarter.  Uncle Jim lived on a school quarter nearby.

     (Uncle Jim Rogers was married to Grandpa Hollis' oldest sister, Mary Louise).

J.T. Jones told me:

     Grandpa (Tom) Hollis moved his family to Oklahoma because of the fertile land that had not been farmed.  They went first to Pott (Pottawatomie) County and then to Seminole County.
     Grandpa was a cotton buyer, there was a lot of cotton in those days.  (I presume Grandma and the kids did the farming).
     Grandpa did all his blacksmithing.  He was fast working with his hands as any man J.T. had ever seen.  When Grandpa Hollis left Texas, his sister, Lizzie, said she would never see him again.  She didn't either.

Dad told me:

     Mother and Dad went to south Texas to pick cotton in 1929.  They picked cotton all the way to Vernon, Texas. Uncle Tom Smith was living in the Rio Grande Valley at Corpus Christi, Texas.  Uncle Tom was cotton farmer and Mother's uncle.

     His Uncle Bill Heddlesten had to have a fight every Saturday night or he got hide-bound. On night at a dance, his Uncle Bill spun a chair around on one leg.  When he went out the door, a man shot him.  Dad wouldn't let anyone spin a chair in his home.

     When Dad was little, he asked his Uncle Bob for a chew of tobacco.  Uncle Bob gave him a man-size chew and Dad cut it in half and put one piece in his pocket.  When Dad was ready for another chew, he asked Uncle Bob again. When Uncle Bob asked him "what about the one in your pocket?"  Dad replied, "I'm saving it".

     When Dad was in school, he got in a fight.  The teacher was going to keep him after school.  Dad told Shorty to get his coat and he would meet him outside.  As the teacher was getting the other kids out the door, Dad slipped through a window.

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