Garrett-Rone Married Life Begins


This was my birthplace. Mother and Daddy rented this farm (known as “The Manley Place”) and began their married life there. It was about seven miles north of the small town of Loraine, Texas. Only dirt roads existed then, making the trip to town something not to be taken lightly – especially in wet, muddy weather. I was born January 29, 1922, about a year after they came to this house. The birth was quite difficult with only the help of a country doctor who came to the house. Mother’s health was fragile. Apparently the price paid for their baby daughter was not considered high by my parents because they showered me with love until Mother’s premature death when I was eleven.

As an only child my early memories consist of happy times spent playing – with imaginary friends to keep me company. This West Texas farm home didn’t come with neighbor children nearby so I made them up. My closest (imaginary) friend was Lena – we talked and played with each other many hours. We built play houses, played with paper dolls (cut from the Sears, Roebuck “cattylog”), and roamed through the pasture down to the creek. There was always dogs, cats, horses and cows around for company.

For a while I did have a playmate. His name was Nacho, a boy about my age (4, 5 or 6 years). This was a Mexican family who lived on the place to help Daddy with the farming. I loved Nacho’s mother (a warm, loving lady) and would slip off (Mother didn’t approve) to their home for a snack of simmering pinto beans inserted in a homemade tortilla. I don’t remember missing having other children to play with, since I never had them. These early experiences probably accounted for a greater ability to cope with aloneness later in life. However, it may have contributed to the deep seated shyness I have always had to fight.

Making “mud pies” was one of Lena and my activities. One time we made some really fancy mud pies out of some parish green powder we found in the barn. That was an early type of insecticide poison used in the boll weevil fight. You can imagine how horrified Mother and Daddy were when they found out – but we survived.

We lived here when I started first grade. We moved when I was in the second or third grade. It was two and a half miles from the little country school of Valley View. My first grade teacher was Mrs. Hardin – I loved her. There were no school buses. Children walked to school or some of the older ones rode horses. As we walked down the country road towards school we would be joined by other country children on their way. By the time I got to school there were probably about 8, 10, or 12 children in the group. We had fun walking, talking and playing. We were always glad to get past one spot in the road where there was a clump of brush and high sunflower plants that for some reason we thought hid some kind of monstrous beings. It wasn’t all fun though – for instance, the Texas “blue northerners” brought icy winds in the winter, rain, sometimes snow and in the spring there was always the winds bringing the stinging sand. This was the “dust bowl” days when the sandstorms would almost block out the daylight, making it hard for little children to keep their footing. On some of the worst days I remember Daddy walking with me holding my hand.