Aunt Lizzie, Aunt Hazel, Aunt Ruby, and Aunt Stella

Aunt Lizzie

She was the dreamer of the family. Such an imagination she had. For instance, one time she found a bit of cloth tied to the limb of a tree in the pasture. She decided that it was marking the spot that they were going to dig an oil well. She entertained dreams that some day oil would be discovered on their place. She loved to write stories and did for years, sending some off for publication – but she never saw them printed. She looked to Aunt Minnie for leadership – they were quite different in personality. Because of this they sometimes clashed in the way things should be done, but they always found a solution. For example they handled kitchen duties by taking turns – one would prepare the meal and the other would clean up the kitchen – each refraining from offering suggestions to the other as to how the work should be done, usually each would simply stay out of the kitchen until it was her turn to take over.

Aunt Hazel

She was the oldest daughter of the family. She died before I was born. I heard sad stories about her – mostly from Aunt Lizzie, so I don’t know how much was fact and how much was from Aunt Lizzie’s fertile imagination. She married a young man from “back east”, meaning about 250 miles east, around Fort Worth. He took her away to live there. A few years later she came down with some kind of fever and died. Aunt Lizzie was convinced this never would have happened if she hadn’t been enticed to go ”back East”. She had two daughters.

Aunt Ruby and Aunt Stella

I scarcely knew them. They married brothers, so they were both a Mrs. Crockett. They lived in and near Brownwood Texas. They had children but I never had an opportunity to get to know these cousins.

As I look back over the period of my life from first grade at the little Valley View country school to Cross Plains High School, I remember bits and pieces of lifestyles no longer in existence.

It was always an honored occasion when the preacher came to our house for Sunday dinner. I remember one of those times – I was perhaps six or seven years old. It was Saturday afternoon, Mother, Daddy and I had gone to town) Loraine – about 7 or 8 miles away from the Manley place where we lived at the time) for supplies. Because of the special guest expected the next day, Mother decided that her regular homemade biscuits and cornbread weren’t good enough. So she had purchase a loaf of “light bread”. Bread wasn’t sliced in those days. I sat in the back seat of our Model-A with the groceries. That bread smelled so good…so I broke off a little taste. Sure enough it tasted as good as it had smelled. So I had another pinch of bread. This went on…by the time we hot home the loaf of brad had a hole all the way through the middle….and I was in trouble.

Our crops (and living) depended on the weather, so weather was foremost in our thoughts and conversation. With eyes on the horizon you would hear observations such as, “It’s getting blustery”, or “It’s a making up over yonder”. Often this meant a trip to the storm cellar. We had no TV weather station to warn us of tornados (we called them cyclones). I can see Daddy now as he sat on the front porch watching the clouds. As a little girl I didn’t worry – I knew that Daddy was in charge, it was safe to go to bed and to sleep. If the storm proved threatening he would come pick me up in his arms as I slept and off we would go by flickering lantern into the cellar. I didn’t like the cellar. Spiders and scorpions lived among the jars of Mother’s vegetables and fruit.

First Baptist Church, Cross Plains - Located about a block and a half from Grandmother and Grandaddy's house. This is where I attended church during my high school years. A good bit of our social life centered here. This was in the days of the BYPU - Baptist Young Peoples' Union. I'm afraid we often paid more attention to our current beauthan we did to the worthwhile teachings presented.

Mrs. Aiken's house, Grandmother's friend and next door neighbor. They had a very formal, yet warm relationship - they were always Mrs. Garrett and Mrs. Aiken to each other. I loved going next door to visit, she always had time to listen to my school day problems.