I finally got to see Uncle Frank again, and when I did, I asked him about a couple of pictures. The first was the 1935 graduating class of 1935.
He thought he knew one of the girls (first on left, front row) but when I told him it was Keystone, he changed his mind. He did recognize Cousin Sharon’s dad, though. LOL.
and asked him if that was where he went to school. Of course it was. He looked at it and smiled as he remembered. “The tall part here is where the gym and auditorium was. The auditorium was above the gym.”
I’d never heard of building a school like that, so I listened amazed. “These windows right here were into the home-ec room.”
I could see the wheels in his head turning, so I waited. “I remember looking at that window right there one time, and watching as someone drove a herd of cattle to the railroad pens.”
“Right down that road?” I remember the school, which was right down the road from Aunt Phyllis’s house. I remember the great swings and a piece of playground equipment my cousins called Ocean Waves–kind of like a merry-go-round that had been crossed with a teeter-totter. Instead of only going around or up and down, it went around and up and down, all at once. So much fun if you had kids there, big enough to make it work.
“Yep. Right down that road. Must have been shipping them somewhere,” he answered.
“Was the road paved?” I imagined trying to drive down a road after cattle traveled it in the mud.
“Naw. I doubt it was even gravelled.” He thought about it a moment, then told me how they smoothed the road out when it got bumpy. One man drove a team of horses that pulled a grader (sorry, I don’t remember his name) and another operated the grader. I believe he said the grader operator’s last name was Strop.
I’m going to put my tape recorder in my purse today so I can keep all of Frank’s stories.
He told me another time about walking home from that school everyday for lunch. He lived five or six blocks away. (I’m guessing.) At noon every day, Bob Wills had a radio show that the entire town listened to. So all the way home, he could hear Bob play because the stay-at-home moms usually had their windows open. I can just see all the school boys and girls two-stepping their way to lunch, can’t you?
I mentioned to Dad about Uncle Frank seeing the cattle being driven in front of the school, and he added another story. “Once, Tuffy Weaver and someone else brought in a load of Mexican cattle. They came in by rail, then Tuffy and the others drove them right down the highway that went through the middle of town and went out west with them.”
“Out west? Western Oklahoma?” I needed clarification so I could see how far they’d gone. “Another state?”
“Just west of town.”
Tuffy and Maudie lived west of town at the top of Weaver Hill. Did Tuffy keep the cattle? Dad didn’t think so, but he doesn’t know where they went after they left town.
I love hearing stories about Old ‘Ford and Old C-Town. And they’re getting scarcer all the time. If you have any, please share!