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Category Archives: Rememberies

Family stories and memories.

Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday, March 21,  was earlier this week so I thought I’d share my birthday party with you. That’s my little brother Jimmy with his fingers in his mouth. I got a doctor’s kit for my birthday and I remember he couldn’t keep his hands out of it.

My second cousin, Debbie Scott, is on the right, and Brenda, my friend, has her back to the camera.

Birthday Party on Americansaga.wordpress.com

That little kid-size card table and chairs is red and white. I got it for Christmas that year. I still have the table somewhere. By the way, there are four cupcakes with candles in front of me, and this picture was taken 60 years ago.

My straight hair was not the style, so those little pin curls are compliments of one of my annual permanents. I slept on bobby pins to get that look.

Anybody else out there sleep in bobby pins? Or maybe you remember Spoolies that came along a few years later. They were these little pink rubber spools that took the place of bobby pins. A strand of hair was wrapped around the stem and the top of it snapped over the hair to hold it in place.

Avery Albert Scott and Caldona Scott were known as Poppy and Mommy to Debbie and me. They were our great grandparents. My grandmother was Lela Scott Rose, and her baby brother, my Uncle Mac, was Debbie’s grandpa. Uncle Mac’s real name was Raymond Rayford Scott.

I think the “Mac” nickname was because he liked to sing Old MacDonald Had a Farm, although I don’t remember where I saw that.

What about your early birthday parties? Do you have memories of gifts or guests?

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2017 in Rememberies, Scott

 

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Have a Glorious Fourth of July, Oklahoma!

When I was a kid, long distance calls were a big deal. My Grandma Hamilton lived in Key West, Florida and when we spoke on the phone it was a family affair. After my dad and mom talked to her, each of us kids got a turn before dad got the phone again to say goodbye. Her standard sign-off was “meet you at the pump,” unless it was Christmas when she also added, “Have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a Glorious Fourth of July!” 

I couldn’t help but think of her when I snapped this last week.

Old Glory and the Spirit of Oklahoma
Old Glory and the Spirit of Oklahoma
 
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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Rememberies

 

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And Now a Little Something About Grandpa

My Grandpa was a farmer, a rancher and a highway construction worker. He lived on a farm, raised some cattle and worked full-time bulldozing and operating a crane on highway construction all across the state of Oklahoma.

He worked on the original Shield’s overpass to I-35 that survived the May 3 tornado. And for ages he worked on the Little River, first excavating for the lake and then building the Little River Dam, which resulted in Lake Thunderbird here in Norman. He never missed a day of work. On the iciest, coldest snowiest days he got up extra early in order to be at the job site on time—no matter where it was. More than once I got up to find him in the kitchen having coffee with mom after going to the job site to find out work was called off for the day.

Grandpa and me

Grandpa, Thomas Ed Rose, age 45, and me, age 3, Easter Sunday 1956. The dump truck in the background was what Grandpa was driving to his job at the time.

Grandma and Grandpa moved from Oklahoma City to a farm east of Lexington, Oklahoma when I was nine years old. I just recently learned the move was prompted by the Cuban Missile Crisis. They immediately planted a large garden and started putting up food in order to be self-sustaining. If things went bad they wanted to have food enough to feed us all.

Shortly after the move I spent a week with them. It was the first of many such weeks on the farm. After a tiny bout of homesickness, that first week on the farm with just me, Grandma and Grandpa was fairly eventful.

I got my finger pulled into the rollers of the wringer washing machine while helping Grandma do the wash on the back porch. As she put it, “Purt near broke it.” Grandma’s padded bra saved me. That’s what I was feeding into the wringer when I got caught, with my index finger sandwiched inside.

I asked Grandpa to wake me up in time to see the sunrise on Saturday… in the days before Daylight Savings Time, sunrise came at about 4 am in the summer. Grandpa and I sat on the tailgate of his red Ford pick up and watched the sun come up over the horizon while Grandma made breakfast. A hearty farm breakfast of bacon, eggs over easy cooked in the bacon grease, gravy and toast or biscuits filled us for a good start to the day.

After breakfast I helped wash the dishes and clean the kitchen while Grandpa started on the porch we were going to build that day. The house was about 3–4 feet off the ground and we had to climb a set of steps made of concrete blocks to get to the front door. At the time it was the only door into the house.

I’m sure I wasn’t a lot of help, but Grandpa made me feel like I was. I do recall him asking “How come you say ‘How come’ so much?” Evidently I talked a lot and was full of questions. He built an old-fashioned deck-type porch on a base of concrete blocks. The decking was 1 x 4 slats and I hammered all day long with my swollen and bruised index finger still wrapped and bandaged from the wringer incident. The porch was a temporary fix since the house would soon be moved to another location. As I recall, we were nearly finished by the time mom and dad and my brothers arrived later in the morning. The porch was finished by the end of the day and coated with barn red paint.

Grandpa only had part of his right hand. He lost most of his thumb, index and middle fingers in a crane accident. My brother knows more about how that happened than I do. It happened when my mom was a girl, so by the time I came around Grandpa was totally at ease with the parts he had left. There were very few things he hadn’t figured out how to do with the 8 whole fingers he had left.

That first summer on the farm we found out Grandma was severely allergic to wasp stings. Each sting put her in the hospital a few days, and living so far from town and alone all day it’s really a wonder one of those stings didn’t kill her. Grandpa was her knight in dusty overalls. As soon he heard that familiar bzz he would grab the offender and kill it with his bare hands. He received a few stings, and as painful as wasp stings are, I’m sure it didn’t hold a candle to having half his hand ripped off. Everything is relative.

If he hadn’t smoked, there’s a chance my Grandpa would have celebrated his 102nd birthday yesterday. I heard he started that nasty habit when he was 14. He smoked unfiltered Lucky Strikes (LSMFT for those old enough to remember cigarette ads on TV).  He developed emphysema and had a stroke which he recovered from fairly quickly. Another stroke just before Memorial Day 1985 put him in the hospital in Purcell. Memorial Day the whole family gathered together to visit him. He couldn’t talk very clearly, but he knew all of us and had a bit of a conversation and even cracked a few jokes. We thought we were there to say goodbye, but it didn’t seem like he was ready to go yet.

Soon after, he was moved to a nursing home in Norman. Grandma drove up from Lexington every day to visit him. Mom visited almost every day. The rest of us visited every week or so. He’d finally quit smoking, although not by choice. If he could have managed on his own, he would have smoked until the last day. As it was, he continued the gesture of bringing the nub of his thumb and forefinger to his lips in the repetitive movement he’d made hundreds of times a day for over 60 years.

It was on my dad’s birthday, July 10, that we got the phone call he was gone. He was only 76 years old. I think of him every time I slide a pan of raw peanuts in the oven to roast them. He always had a bag of roasted peanuts and a trash can close to his chair in the living room. If he was sitting in front of the TV he was smoking a cigarette or shelling and eating peanuts.

Wish he’d eaten more peanuts and left the cigarettes alone.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Rememberies

 

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Happy Birthday Grandma and Grandpa!

February 16 was my grandparents’ birthday.  Just two days after Valentine’s Day, how romantic is that!

Thomas Edwin Rose was born, in Lexington, Oklahoma, Feb. 16, 1909, and Lela Mae Scott was born two years later on Feb. 16, 1911 near Wanette, Oklahoma. Today* would have been her 100th birthday.

Mommy and the kids at home

Here’s my grandmother, Lela Mae Scott (Rose) at age 10. She’s second from the right. From left: Mommy, Caldona Crouch Scott (she refused to be called grandma), Uncle Mac, Aunt Bill (Dorine), Aunt Syble, Grandma, and Uncle Luke (Luther). They lived in far southeast Cleveland County, Oklahoma, very near the Pottawatomie County line.

Grandma went to school through the eighth grade then she took care of the house while Mommy and her brothers and sisters worked the farm. Poppy was not always at home, but that’s another story.

When grandma fixed fried chicken and chicken and dumplins for Sunday dinner her preparations usually started out back in the chicken pen. I never saw her do it, but I hear she could wring a chicken’s neck with one sharp snap of her wrist. And as much as I couldn’t do that I know the chicken she fed us was healthy, stress free and never crated. Talk about farm fresh.

Grandma worked hard all her life but once the dishes were done and the leftovers put away she was always ready for a game of Hop Ching… also known as Chinese Checkers. She also liked a good game of dominoes. And when we were all in front of a football game… specifically the Oklahoma Sooners or the Dallas Cowboys, she had a crochet hook and ball of yarn in hand making slippers, pot holders, or some other project.

One Thanksgiving the whole family was at the farm and the weather was nice so all the cousins were playing outside. A dozen or more round hay bales had been delivered to the farm recently and they were lined up in the near pasture. The bales were about 5 feet in diameter rolled up side by side so of course we had to climb on them.

We were having a blast scambling from bale to bale, playing tag and if you stepped just wrong, you’d fall in the crack between the bales and someone would have to dig you out. That’s what made it so much fun.

There was so much laughing!

Before we knew it grandpa and the moms and dads were out there too, and then here comes grandma.  I can still see her laughing as she ran toward us. She was wearing a house dress drying her hands on a tea towel. It may have been tied around her waist as a makeshift apron. In no time at all we pulled her into our game and on top of the hay.

I’m sure we were all terribly itchy from rolling around in that dry hay all afternoon, but I don’t remember that part. I just remember the fun and realizing my grandma was a whole lot of fun. She played hard when the work was done.

Grandma died May 22, 1993 in Oklahoma City. Even though she was 82 years old, she certainly didn’t die of old age. She was going strong until shortly before she died. It was stomach cancer that got her.

I wish I’d paid more attention when I was in the kitchen with her, but I cherish the memories and lessons I got from her. She taught me how to cut up a chicken. (I’m OK after the bird is dead, but she knew better than to take me to the chicken coop except to gather eggs.)

I got her recipe for bread pudding when I took her to the hospital for one of her visits. (I was driving, so I had her tell me how she made it and I memorized it.)

My first two quilts were assembled under her supervision and quilted in her living room. I think half of Lexington came by her house to work on my quilts. They were quilted in no time.

I learned a pot of beans on the stove before we go to the garden will be ready when we get back to the house with an apron full of fresh green onions and tomatoes.

She would ladle a serving of beans into a wide shallow bowl. A slice of fresh hot cornbread went on the side or on top of the beans, add green onions, sliced tomatoes, still warm from the summer sun, a spoonful of homemade chow chow (pickle relish) and you’ve got the best summertime lunch ever!  Larrupin!

So happy birthday grandma and grandpa! I can’t wait to hear favorite memories from my brothers and cousins.

*Their birthday is Feb. 16, but technical difficulties with my scanner delayed my  posting until after midnight.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Rememberies

 

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Here’s What I Heard…

My dad was a Miller from Florida, and my mom a Rose from Oklahoma, so when I asked “where did we come from?” the answers were all over the place.

The phrase, English, Irish, Dutch and Scotch, was recited more than once. I also heard we were German, Black Dutch, Scots-Irish, rumors of Cherokee and maybe another tribe. Then there was Lauderdale County, Alabama; a few counties in Tennessee; Sterling, Illinois; Arkansas; and Texas.

I heard my Uncle Wes Rose died in France (or Germany) during World War II.

My dad was born in Kissimmee, Florida and I heard my family once owned the land now occupied by Disney World.

I heard dad’s grandpa died in a “hunting accident” after the 1929 stock market crash.

I heard my great-grandma, Bessie (Belew) Rose, died of “childbirth fever” after my grandpa was born. The Grandma Lizzie Rose I knew was a step-mom. She made quilts for all us kids. She and Grandpa Will also dipped snuff. There was a Coke bottle or spit can—tin cans that formerly held peaches or some other canned food—on the floor beside every chair and at both ends of the couch in their living room in Lexington, Oklahoma. “Don’t touch that!” mom would hiss when my brothers or I looked too hard at the tobacco-stained containers.

My Great-Grandma Miller lived to be 101. When she turned 100 I heard she got a birthday card from President Kennedy. So I decided I would live to be 100. Turns out she’s also a step-mom, but no matter. I intend to follow in her footsteps. Grandma Miller, as we called her, was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi during the Civil War. When she was a baby, Union solders headquartered in her house. The Yanks called her “little Reb.” I heard this just as I learned about the Civil War in school.  I was amazed I knew someone who lived part of that history.

I also heard the story of cannibalism during an ill-fated journey to Pike’s Peak during the Gold Rush of 1859. The Blue brothers—Daniel, Alexander and Charles, brothers of Grandma Catherine (Blue) McKay—ventured west from Whiteside County, Illinois. They, along with other gold-seekers, took bad-advice and the wrong route to the gold fields. Daniel was the only survivor to tell the tale.

On a lighter note, I also heard we were related to Davy Crockett and maybe Minnie Pearl.

History has always been my favorite subject and it’s even more interesting now that I’ve found places where my family story fits into the history books.

I’ve been skimming the surface of my family research for about a year. Through links to other family trees on Ancestry.com I’ve come upon even more fascinating information. I found out if you can link your tree to a president you’ll find a treasure trove of information. Professional genealogists spend a lot of time looking up the heritage of presidents. Ronald Reagan is our presidential link. He is also related to the Blues of Whiteside, County, Illinois, so when my family tracks back to his family tree it takes us both back to Scotland’s King James and beyond.

I’ve found connections to chapters in American history regarding the Dutch West Indies Trading Company and New Amsterdam in 1624; Jamestown, Virginia, in 1609: the Revolutionary War in South Carolina, Virginia, and in the northern colonies; the Civil War on the side of the Union and the Confederacy.

Less savory connections include Lizzie Borden (btw, she didn’t do it) and the Salem Witch Trials. More esteemed events include the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1619, and the Continental Congress. I’m still looking for a family signature on the Declaration of Independence.

I’ve found sea captains, weavers, doctors, merchants, farmers, seamstresses, saddlers, and carpenters, with an undercurrent of adventurer running through the whole lot of us. Oh yeah, a few kings and queens back in the old country.

My family seems to be relatively long-lived. At some point I’ll do the math and see what the life span has been for my forebears. We also come from generally healthy well-bred stock. Some of the amazing women in my family had a child every year or two until about the age of 50! One mom had 15 kids and all but one survived the perils of childhood. Another mom had 14 sons and I think there were a couple of girls in that batch.

Then there’s my Grandma Bessie Belew Rose who had two sons in 11 months! There was a lot of work to be done in rural Oklahoma in 1909 and no time for recovery after childbirth. Two months after my grandpa was born she bled to death. Which points out issues we take for granted these days: birth control and pre and postnatal health care. But I digress.

I’m on a search to match what I’ve heard with the real story of my family. I’ll tell those stories here. I’m looking forward to mapping our locations across the country and to connecting with extended family.

My family tree on ancestry.com is way out of whack. I’ve connected accurately with other families, but in some cases I have duplicated the kids and siblings with mystery parents, extra parents, or no parent at all. I’m trying to sort my way out of the mess I’ve created. I intended to delete a duplicate grandfather and ended up deleting most of my dad’s branch of the tree. (eeeek!) I have it in another place, but I’m going to be more methodical in recreating it.

Here are some surnames I’m working on: Miller, Rose (mom and dad); Miller, McKay, Rose, Scott (grandparents) and Miller, Bass, McKay, Blue, Rose, Belew, Scott, Crouch (great grandparents). That’s as far as I can go from memory, but other surnames to watch for are: Birdwell, Fortner, Bullington, Truax, Wink, Bryant, Stillwell, Crockett, Simpson, Cochran, Croshaw, Brashear, Sprigg, Graves…

As to the English, Irish, Dutch, and Scotch thing, now my origins read more like this: England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, …  Then there’s New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Illinois, Missouri, and of course Oklahoma.

I hope you’ll follow my family search, especially if we’re related. If you are looking from the inside out on one of the branches of my tree let me know so I can get it right.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2011 in Rememberies

 
 
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