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 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.
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.
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
an overall pocket in the crib. Short time later, the dogs were poisoned.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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!"
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
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
Ruth and moved the trailer there.
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.
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
and Uncle Bob to bale hay in the fall. They used a horse drawn
baler. A northerner came up and it was very cold.
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.
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.
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.
(I found this on the internet and thought you might find this interesting).
ATTEMPTED BANK ROBBERY IN BOLEY, OKLAHOMA
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,
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.
(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
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.