Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


C-Town Story

Remember this blog?

And this one?

Along those lines, I’m sharing more of Mrs. Crowell’s book, “In the Triangle Country.” It’s Omega’s fault I didn’t share yesterday as I’d planned. (That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.)

She wanted to see the book, and since I have a real problem telling Baby Sister no, I took it to work. She read it, but I didn’t remember to bring it home. 😦

In one of those earlier blogs, I told you early C-Town had 13 saloons at one time. Mrs. Crowell names two of the saloon owners–Tom Jordan (he might have been Col. Jordan’s son) and George Collins. Early C-Town had several church’s that are still here today.

But C-Town wasn’t all wild times and shoot-’em-ups. Even from the beginning, C-Town had a spiritual side.

“The first sermon preached in Indian Territory was by a traveling evangelist and Sunday School organizer in December 1893. There was no preacher because it was hard to get preachers then.”

First church established in C-Town? Baptist. (Not surprised, are you?) It started up in 1893. (J. C. Price was the preacher.) Methodists in 1894.

The Christian Church got started in 1901 and on July 3, 1902 dedicated the first church building here.

The Presbyterian Church began here in 1905, the Nazarene Church, 1916.

In the early days here, the churches were more non-denominational and when one church had a revival, everyone attended, whether they were members of that church or not.

It was just neighbors going to church together to hear about God. Weather permitting, meetings were held in a church yard or the East Side park. Nail kegs with boards laid across them were used for benches.

You never heard such singing.

Schools in Triangle Country were subscription schools.

According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture: Subscription schools were funded by a monthly tuition fee paid by the parents to the teachers. In turn, the teachers were responsible for securing a place of study and for paying the rent from their earnings. It was not uncommon for classes to be conducted in a tent, dugout, home, or church.

Because of the low pay, many teachers were women, and they typically received one dollar per pupil per month. Attendance usually lasted a few months, because children were needed to help with harvesting and other farm chores.

One of the early teacher’s name was the same as one of our streets–Miss Florence Drown. She later married JP Martin, who had the dry goods store.

In 1894-1895, we got our first schoolhouse on what’s now East Wichita.

The first telephone came to C-Town because Dr. Sutton (who had a street named after him) and Osman Gilbert (who has his own street, too) had it installed in the barber shop.

In 1904, the Pioneer Telephone Company put in a switchboard with a magneto (or crank) phone. The switchboard manager was a man, but the operators were women. (Go figure that one.)

Mrs. Crowell says,

“(the operators) were Rutha Bare and Maud Powell. Rutha later married Charles Bailey and Maud married Jim Crady. It wasn’t until 1917 that the first upright telephone was installed.

(Typist’s note: Mrs. Charles Bailey was the mother of Opal Crowell, author of this history of Cleveland.)

Susan’s question: When my family first moved to C-Town, we went to a grocery store called Crady’s. Mr. Crady, who owned the store, was a very nice old man who gave us a bag full of candy every month when we paid the grocery bill.

Anybody know if Mr. Crady who owned that store was the Jim Crady who married Rutha the operator?


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A Friend Who Sticks Closer

I think I mentioned I’m a writer. (Maybe, oh, a thousand times.) Today, I thought I’d tell you about the first story I ever sold.

I’ve always loved stories–first reading them, then making them up. In the early ’80’s my man bought me a typewriter for Christmas, because he’d picked up on my need to write. But I didn’t have many writer friends, and the writing support was a little sparse since Gary was on twenty-four-hour call in the oil field.

And to be very truthful, I didn’t know what I wanted to write. (Or how to write it. Did I mention English grammar and I weren’t on very good terms in high school?) All I knew was that I wanted to make up stories and have other people to read them.

I typed my story and sent it to R-A-D-A-R, which is no longer called R-A-D-A-R.

Standard Publishing will have new Middler Sunday school curriculum in the Fall of 1999 and R-A-D-A-R, 8121 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati OH 45231 will be changing its name. The new theme list (available for SASE) calls it the “New Middler Take-Home Paper.”

I prayed about the story and for God’s will as I wrote it, but I didn’t hear from  R-A-D-A-R for a few months. On the day of my Granddad’s funeral in 1987, I came home to find a letter in my mail box.

They bought it! I was so excited!!! Not because of the money (believe me, it wasn’t much) but because someone wanted to publish something I’d written. WOOHOO!

R-A-D-A-R bought all rights to my little story, so it’s no longer mine, and to be honest, it wasn’t very good. I’ll share some of it, though.

Here’s how I wrote it–


My oldest son was a very social kid, and I wanted my character, Charlie, to be like him. He never saw a stranger, and was always ready to befriend a lonely kid.

I gave him my great-granddad’s first name and gave my nephew’s first name to the other main character. The foster-mother was named for Omega’s bff’s mom.

I called the story, THE FRIEND. R-A-D-A-R didn’t change the title, or very much in the story. 😦 They probably should have.

Here’s a little of the story–

Continue reading


Sunday Spice

"Sunday school, Indians and white[s].&quo...

Indian Territory Sunday School

In case you’re wondering, the picture above is from the time before Okie Land was a state, which happened in 1907. And no, I’m not in it. 🙂 I like to think I would have been, though.

When I was a kid, my family almost never missed church. If it was Sunday morning, it was understood by the entire family that we’d be in Sunday School and church. (Sunday night and Wednesday night, too.)

We didn’t get up and ask if we were going. We knew. We didn’t get to stay all night with other people on Saturday night, because it was like a school night. There was someplace we were going to go the next day.


When I was very young, everyone went to churchAll the time. If someone I knew didn’t go to church regularly, they didn’t admit it. That just wasn’t acceptable in our Small Town World.

When I was in 5th or  6th grade, I met my first classmate who belonged to a church that was very different from ours. I knew it was different because she didn’t stand up when we saluted the flag or heard the National Anthem. But she went to church.

Things changed drastically after that. People moved into C-Town who didn’t go. And didn’t care. Talk about an awakening for this small town girl!

Today, fewer and fewer people go to church. Most of the people I know believe in God. They just don’t enjoy corporate worship, so they don’t go. Or they’re too busy to go. Or they can’t remember where their letter is. (My aunt told my mama that once. I’m not sure what it means.)

I look forward to Sunday worship. For me, it’s a time of refreshment and renewal. A time when I can focus solely on the One who LOVES me so much, He died for me. He paid the consequences for MY sin, even though He’d never come near sin.

I started to name this blog SWEET SUNDAY, but just now changed it to SUNDAY SPICE. Why? Because when I think of worship, I don’t get a sweet, devoted, laid-back feeling like the nuns in an old movie.

I get jazzed. I love singing praises to the King. Love being with others of like faith. And I love, love, love learning from Preacher Dave.

I don’t speak in the language of angels like Paul or dance before God like David, but I absolutely understand why they did. Our worship service is very well planned, but I’m absolutely thrilled when everything stops so we can spend time in prayer with a hurting saint. Or someone comes forward and is baptized into Christ.

Sundays spice up the rest of my week. And I’m very grateful it does!


Your Close Closet

Not clothes closet–I’m talking your prayer closet, the one you should be closest to. Is there one in your life?

How I imagined it:

The first Bible I ever owned was a King James Version, which Grandma and Granddad Reeves gave me for my birthday.

There, part of Matthew 6:6 reads like this–

–When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father . . . .

At that time (I was–um–maybe eight) our closets were little ones, not the walk-in type. My eight-year-old mind imagined standing in my closet (there wasn’t room on the floor. My sister and I had shoes sitting there) to read my Bible and pray. I knew I’d need a flashlight, because the light–if it wasn’t burned out–would shine on our clothes and throw a dark shadow on the Word. I decided then that Jesus was talking to people who only had one or two tunics and a couple of sandals in their wardrobe, which would leave plenty of room for study.

Okay, I was a tad literal when I was a kid. 🙂

One Women’s Perspective–

Several years later, I discovered Christian Writer Evelyn Christensen’s book, “What Happens When Women Pray.” In that book, Evelyn writes about her prayer closet being in her green chair.

Light bulb moment! I was getting up early, too, to study the word and pray in my blue rocker/recliner (no flashlight necessary.) I had a closet and didn’t even know it.

Becki’s Closet

About that same time, my Sunday School teacher, Becki Hawkins, mentioned her car was often her prayer closet. At that time, Becki was a hospice nurse and did a lot of prayer-driving. She told us that alone in a car with the Lord is the perfect place to pray. (She did warn us not to close our eyes. LOL!)

On the Internet–

A year or two ago, I read something about a girl who wanted a prayer closet like her mother’s. Sorry, with all the internet reading available, I can’t remember who wrote it, but they talked about the girl’s walk-in closet. They filled it with pillows, a reading lamp, a bookshelf for her books and pens and highlighters.

Made me want to move in! 🙂

I also read about a girl who begged her father for a prayer closet. (Beth Moore comes to mind when I think about it, but I don’t know for sure.) Anyway, this girl’s family didn’t have a room they could make a prayer closet for her, so her father brought home a box of some sort, which she used for years.

I don’t remember if it was a cardboard box or a wooden packing case, and it’s not really important. What’s important is that her father heard her. He took her seriously and found a way for her to have what she needed. This little girl was able to be alone with her Lord.

I Googled prayer closets to see if I could find that article, and while I didn’t find it, I found one on the Discipleship Journal website about how to organize your prayer closet.

They recommend a notebook. Rather than a place for you, it was a place to keep your prayer list. They suggest dividers with daily prayers, temporary, adding pictures of the people you’re praying for, etc. It sounded waaay too stiff for me (maybe that’s why they call it the Discipleship Journal, because they’re all disciplined. I’m not!)

Present Prayer Closets

One of my sisters and I enjoy making our decks our prayer closets–at least when it’s not too hot and not too cold for us to be out in the weather. It’s not a place where you can easily get on your face (don’t want neighbors calling 9-1-1 for us) but it’s a beautiful time with the Lord.

The most important place I’ve found to have my prayer closet is to carry it within me. I can take it along where ever I go. Whether it’s while I’m in the car, at the copier, in the kitchen, on a walk or when I’m snitting (sitting and knitting) the important thing is that I have a time when I’m able to be alone with God.

Can you think of a better place than that?

Where do you go to pray? Is it a place, a time or when you have a moment to spare?

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6.

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The Traveler’s Gift

I hate to admit it, but I missed Sunday School yesterday. I shouldn’t have, but I worked in my garden when it was still cool and just didn’t get ready in time.

I made it to church, though. When my SS teacher saw me, he went back to his seat and returned with a book. Not to smack me with (there are times when I wouldn’t blame him) but for me to keep.

At least I hope it’s for me to keep. If not, I’ll just have to buy him a new one because thing is gold! I planned to read just a page or two this morning (I’m supposed to get through page 76 this week) but I couldn’t put it down. I read through page 46. (G-Man nearly didn’t get breakfast. LOL)

Since you and I are such good friends, I wanted to share it with you. Honestly, it’s a book you really don’t want to miss.

   You can tell by the “Look Inside” that I borrowed this image from Amazon. If you’re wise, you’ll pop over there and buy it now!

I don’t know if you can see it above the title or not, but it says, “SEVEN DECISIONS THAT DETERMINE PERSONAL SUCCESS.”

I normally steer away from that kind of book because it’s nearly always b-o-r-i-n-g! This one is anything but. So far, I’ve met two fascinating historical characters and I’ve learned a lot.

Just to show you how smart Andy Andrews (the author) is, I’m going to share a few of his words with you.

From King Solomon:

“Sensible instruction is a life-giving fountain that will help you escape all manner of deadly traps. Find a wise man, a person who has accomplished what you wish for in your life, and listen closely to his words.”

Good stuff, huh? This is a great book, easy to read and it has caught my attention so that I’m having trouble putting it down.

Check it out. I think you’ll really enjoy it. If you have a Kindle, you might want to download a portion so you can get a feel for it, but I think you’ll want to own the real thing so you can highlight and take notes.

You really don’t want to miss this.

I realize that I’m often one of the last to discover an author like this. Just checked–Gift was written in 2002! LOL. Okay, I know tons of people have already read this.

Have you read The Traveler’s Gift?  What did you think of it? Just click “comment” and tell us all about it.

When it comes to books, it’s always good to share.


♪♫ Happy Birthday to You ♪♫

Happy birthday, Debbie!

My sweet sister and first friend. Faithful Christian and prayer warrior; Mary AND Martha, all in one.

You’re what every parent wants in a daughter. Perfect and pretty, a mommy wannabe and wonderful mother. Cheerleader. Homemaker. Decorator.

A pal to be kids with and a friend to be pals with. You grew into a woman who’s just as beautiful as her reflection–an uncommon happening in a girl who grew up as pretty and talented as you.

Remember the games we played? Was that one called, “A date for Barbie?” We always wanted to “win” Ken and not have to go to the prom with Pointdexter. 🙂

Playing Jacks?

Remember the tent we built that summer in the back yard using a  bed spread thrown over the clothes line? And the silly straw hats Grandma gave us that we wore all summer long?

Remember riding bikes with Marsha H, swimming every day at the pool and helping take care of the little kids?

Remember when we had the measles and how mad Mama was because we walked in the rain from the movies to Mrs. Shriner’s for Piano Club just before we got sick and made ourselves even sicker? 

Remember the book Mama read us while we had the measles because the measles were supposed to make your eyes weak? (Tom Sawyer.) And the school bell we rang when we needed her?

Remember how I broke my nose?

How about when you were so sick that time so I stayed home from Mom and Dad’s Sunday School party with you and someone suddenly banged on the window and beat on the rain spout and just about gave us a heart attack?

Angie, Tiny, Pupstar, Monster Dog?     

Chi-Chi, Sparky, Susie-Q and Black Diamond?

May 20, 1991.

Luke 1:30–But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.”

I know without a doubt you’ll hear those words–“You have found favor with God.”

And when you do, you’ll answer–

Luke 1:46–And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.”

The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6: 24-26.    

Happy birthday, little sister!


Lord’s Day Memories

Remember when you kept your best clothes for church only? When you had a pair of Sunday School shoes that you didn’t wear them anywhere else, except maybe to weddings? When you had a few “nice” dresses you never, ever wore to school unless there was a program and you were on the stage?

At our house, Saturdays were spent getting ready for Sunday. With 5 girls, Mama started washing, rolling and drying our hair on Saturday morning. Grandmother, who lived next door and usually fixed Sunday dinner, started cooking and baking about the same time Mama started doing hair.

And then there were shoes to polish (dad’s job, usually) dresses to press, little brother’s church pants to find and launder (look under the bed!) and offering change to distrubute.

Sunday Mornings we ate cereal and Sara Lee coffee cake (yum!) for breakfast. Most days we had eggs and bacon or biscuits and gravy, but since we wanted to be at Sunday School by 9:45 and Mama slept late on Sunday (clear up until 8:00 LOL), we didn’t have time for all that.

One Sunday morning, I got dressed and Mama combed my hair. “Sit down and don’t get dirty,” was always the rule after we were ready, so I did.

Then my new baby brother started crying. Mama brought him to me to hold while she rushed to get everyone else ready. (I had a sister 18 months old and one who was three years old as well as one three years younger than me.)

The baby cried, so I jiggled and patted and sang. He was so tiny and perfect with lots of dark, curly hair. I really like holding him when he was happy.

Then he spit up–a lot! It was so gross, and smelled so awful, it made me sick. I couldn’t help it, I threw up on him, too, which left me with a lap full of baby and vomit.

I’m not sure there are words to describe how icky that was!

Mama must have heard the commotion or maybe I started wailing, because she came running. “Oh, no!” It wasn’t a quick, “Oh, no.” It was that awful, “Ooooh, noooooo,” that every kid hates to hear, especially when it comes from their mama and is aimed at them.

And Daddy was right behind her. “What happened, Susan?”

“He threw up and it made me sick,” I answered.

He spit up.” Mama wasn’t happy. “That’s not the same thing.”

“It is when it’s on you.” I cried.

I thought Mama was going to cry, too, since it was practically time to load up the car and leave for church and she had to start from scratch with two of her five kids. But as usual, Daddy made everything okay. He gave the baby to Mom to wash off and redress and told me to take a quick bath. “Just don’t get your hair wet.” (I had long curly hair and no time for a redo.)

Grandmother had come over to ride to church with us by then, so she was put in charge of keeping everyone else clean.

And we made it to church on time. Okay, it might have been the nick of time, but a nick is s good as mile. Right?

I don’t think Little Brother remembers me tossing my cookies on him, so he wasn’t traumatized for life. (As far as I know.) In fact, he loves the Lord with a joy that’s beautiful to see. He’s a deacon in his church (I think) and even leads the singing from time to time.

I’ll have to ask the crew and see if anyone else remember that Sunday morning. Do you have any Sunday Morning Memories you can share? 

Serve the Lord with gladness.