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Indianola Main Street, August 1954. Not much different than 50 years earlier in Daddy's time.

Click on image to enlarge

Main Street parade,
Indianola Nebraska, August 1954. Little changed since Daddy's youth.

 

 

DADDY'S CHILDHOOD IN NEBRASKA
 


Daddy took special advantage of his school years, and received a lot of encouragement from his father, who had been deprived of any schooling whatsoever. Daddy started school in 1898 at the age of five and finished at age 16 in 1909. He was a very good student and received the classic high school education of his time, learning Latin by reading Cicero and mastering mathematics so well he could do sums in his head.

During his early school years, Daddy had small farm chores such as carrying in corn cobs for fuel, and driving ducks up from the creek into their pen where they would lay their eggs at night. He took the milk cow to pasture before school and later drove her home (the pasture was about a mile away).

In early life, “Shorty,” as Daddy was called, took part in all kinds of athletic games and sports; ice hockey was his favorite. There was generally good ice for skating in winter, and he would swim in the river in summer. He also engaged in a few wrestling matches before live audiences.

One summer, Daddy had planted and taken loving care of his own little flower garden growing in front of the house. His older brother and some friends, not being so caring, walked right through the flowers. It is perhaps a small incident in a lifetime, but one that Daddy always remembered.

There was good money to be made each year from trapping on “Coon Crick.” There were plenty of beavers, possums and raccoons to be gleaned from the traps—and an occasional skunk. Once Daddy was skinning a skunk and cut into its scent glands. He had to be thoroughly hosed down and spent that night out-of-doors.

The following is a letter Daddy wrote to me giving his own personal account of similar experiences, plus his usual accounting of the state of the world and state of the oil business.

Sayre, Oklahoma, February 3, 1974

Dear Bill,

It is 10 am and weather wise another wonderful day is indicated. I am recovering from another little attack of stomach trouble. Mother’s right knee developed a little soreness a few weeks ago but on questioning she always says it is better. So everything here is quite rosy.

Your contact with the skunk or skunks was quite an experience. It looked to us that far as you were concerned that they won the first skirmish. My worst experience on Coon Creek was on cutting into the stink bag when trying to skin one. Howard and my dad got sprayed one night on going to the chicken house after hearing some of them holler. A trapper at Indianola used to deodorize himself by setting in a tree over a smudge.

I notice the group of senators who in my opinion contributed the most to our oil shortage are still on the initiative, blasting the oil companies. They are at least students of psychology.

The oil exploration for deep gas here has proven several of our small tracts of royalty and increases the speculative value of others.

A well about 9 miles northwest of Sayre penetrated a good gas sand last week at around 16,000 feet. It is in what is known as Atoka. The well is contracted to go to 24,000 feet so this 16,000 foot production might not be produced for some time.

We have noticed that the rains have stopped some in your area so we are hoping you can get walls lifted to your new home and get going with the inside. We are hoping that orders keep coming for Wiltron

Mother and I think the country needs a new set of anchor men on television far more than a new president. The odor from chicken frying is quite appetizing. Mother joins in sending love to you and family.

 
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