Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

Remembering Old ‘Ford


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.  

Then I showed him this picture  (my thanks to Marilyn Harvison Conrad for friending me so I could borrow it from her FB page.)

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.

A picture of a Hereford bull. Taken by the US ...

Image via Wikipedia


“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!


Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

12 thoughts on “Remembering Old ‘Ford

  1. Susan, there was an ‘ocean wave’ on the old Sneed place catty corner from the church at Buzzard Corner. The last I knew it was still there. I don’t remember the name of the school that was there but Zeke Cheek attended it. I’ll ask Lesta the name if I can remember. ;-). Zeke has a lot of info about the area I wish we could record.

    • Lori,
      I’m on the lookout for a really good tape recorder. When I get it we’ll go around and tape everyone’s memories. They’re real treasures that shouldn’t be lost.
      I don’t think I’ve been to Buzzard Corner. I’ll have to ask Zeke or Lesta about that church.

      • I’d love to do something like that. There are so many stories and memories that will be lost someday. Shorty Martin is another one whose stories I’d like to get recorded. I wish I could make a living at it. I’d do it in a heart beat. I had a patient in Pawnee that died when he was almost 100. He would often quote poems he learned when he was in school. I recorded some of them with my camera.

        • Shorty Martin used to live right behind us. I wish I’d gone over and talked to him a few times.
          Once Brad was mowing and Shorty told him he was doing it wrong. Brad didn’t know him so he came in the house and waited till Shorty went inside. LOL. I had to explain that he was a big cut up and not being mean at all.

  2. the Weaver House is still there, the oldest existing struture in the area, except the Wiggs Log Cabin which is housed within the walls of the Smelser Home, East Basin.

  3. Love these memories, Susan. Thanks for checking with Frank on the picture of Keystone School. I have some checking to do with Edward Zickefoose’s daughter, Bev, and Fred Schaeffer may know some of the people, too. My Dad & Edward were friends & Daddy thought a lot of him. I went to high school with Gary when Keystone was consolidated with Mannford.
    Mother used to play in the High School Band and she graduated in 1939 from MHS. When I was in school, we didn’t have a band, but Mother tried & tried to convince the “Powers that Be” to get a band started again.
    When I graduated from MHS in 1963, ours was the first class of Seniors to graduate in the new school and the new town of Mannford. At that time, we still didn’t have a band. So glad the school now has a band & a football team, too.
    Again, thanks for the memories!

  4. They’re good old memories, aren’t they? Mom played in the ‘Ford’s band. She played a trombone. Jeff played one when he was in C Town’s band. I always wondered if Mom helped him learn. I guess I should ask.

  5. You know they used to have ‘Pie & Box’ suppers at the school auditorium to raise funds for various projects. Woe be the guy whose girlfriend had a Box supper he was duty bound to bid upon because his buddies undoubtedly were going to bid the price up big time. They always had a ‘Cake Walk’ as well. Those were always fun as long as you weren’t the one left without a seat when the music stopped.

    • Oh, Steve, your comment is making my brain itch. Dad tells a story about Mama and a box supper, and I can’t remember what it is now. Thank you for the prompt! I’ll TRY to remember to ask him about it today at lunch.

  6. Don’t buy a tape recorder. They have digital recorders now that you can plug into your PC via USB!

I'm so glad you dropped by my Small Town World! Hope you'll leave a comment. I really enjoy hearing from you!

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