Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

Mannford Mystery


My dad’s Small Town World was Mannford, Oklahoma. Old Mannford, named after Mann’s Ford. By the by, Mann’s Ford wasn’t a vehicle.

Here’s the Wiki-definition. A ford is a shallow place with good footing where a river or stream may be crossed by wading or inside a vehicle. A ford is mostly a natural phenomenon, in contrast to a low water crossing, which is an artificial bridge that allows crossing a river or stream when water is low.

You already knew that. Right? 🙂

Anyway, Old Mannford was a town of less than 500 people. But believe me, they were wonderful, colorful people!


I know that, because a lot of my family lived there.

Back in the day when my dad was still a kid in school, the Men of Mannford lost their pants.

One night like every other night, everyone came in from work (well, Granddad and Uncle Frank, anyway. Not sure if Uncle Paul was still in school or old enough to work) ate supper, took off their clothes and went to bed.

awill granddad

When they got up the next morning, Granddad’s pants were gone. And Uncle Frank’s pants were gone. Not good, because back then people took off their pants with their stuff still in their pockets (change, wallet, pocket knife, whatever men carried) and laid them over a chair or dresser, ready to be put back on the next morning.

That’s right. Everyone wore the same work clothes several days in a row, because doing laundry was quite an undertaking. And new clothes weren’t easy to come by, moneywise.

Granddad was really unhappy about losing their britches. He asked around, and nearly every house in town had been entered and the men’s pants stolen!

Back in the day, people didn’t lock their doors when they went to bed at night. (Imagine that!) So someone waltzed in, picked up the men’s drawers and waltzed right back out. Someone who knew who had dogs that would rat them out and which houses had people who didn’t work.

The rest of the story? The town did find their stolen pants in a ditch on the edge of the city. But the pockets were empty. (Of course.) And their money gone.

While I believe Dad’s story about a pant-less town, I have a feeling SOMEONE knows the truth about whodunit!

Having heard stories from G-Man about kids who stole gas caps from all the cars in his Small Town World, I have a feeling it might have been a couple of high school kids who knew who lived where and maybe even where they slept.

Of course, I’m just guessing.

So . . . have you heard this tale about the pant-less town? Knowing the time it probably happened (late thirties, early forties) can you make a guess?

The statute of limitations has to have run out by now. Why not ‘fess up?  I’ll never tell!



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. :)

10 thoughts on “Mannford Mystery

  1. LOL I love it!! It gives a whole new meaning to being pants!!

  2. Interesting story! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Mannford had a population of 205 when I was a kid (born 1-11-1939). The population sign was just east of the east driveway at Ray & Ruby Spess’s home on the south side of Highway 51 as you entered Mannford. (They had two driveways).
    Ruby’s dad, N. S. Mitchell, ran the Texaco service station just about a block past their east driveway.
    I spent many days in the house you reference because Ruby’s sister, Nola, had all girls and they would trade me for Phyllis during summer to get me kout of the house.
    I have not heard the “Pants Less” story and enjoyed reading about it.
    Thanks Cousin!!

    • I remember those driveways and Granddad Mitchell’s station. I didn’t know the families traded kids, though, Eldin. Dad has great memories about time he spent with you. You might see a few Eldin Tales in the future. 🙂

      • There are many tales he will not be able to tell too. The most memorable was when Carl Flinchum hung me to a tree limb by my new WIDE leather belt and walked off with me screaming. Fun back then would be torture or child abuse in these days. Too bad!

        Another time Carol was on a Ford tractor plowing while wearing his oilfield hard hat. I was in the shade of a walnut tree, threw a walnut and hit his hard hat. What an awakening!!

        So many memories of a varied childhood back in the day.

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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