Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas - 1939

 To a young and starry eyed 14 year old Leona, Lou's Christmas gift of a cameo bracelet was thrilling.


But even more exciting was the accompanying card which gave her real status as his "girlfriend."


70 years of Christmas memories

Monday, December 21, 2009

Don't call him a Loafer

Article from the Pueblo newspaper celebrating their accomplishment

Jess and his bread!

Jess and Mable Butler with friend, Pearl Shaner (left)

 Happy 111, Grandpa Jess!

Previous posts about Jesse Llewellyn Butler:

Lou's thoughts from his funeral

His parents
His gardening hobby
His career on the railroad

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Throw in the Match and Jump Back

 I don't know if this is the kind of stove referenced in this story, but it was the only picture I could find 
of an oil burning stove - flickr

The kindergarten teacher asked me to check on one of her students. She was afraid he was going to get hurt after he told her that when he went home at noon, no one was there and he had to light the gas heater to warm up the house. I talked to the student and told him I would like to take him home after school and have him show me how he lit the stove. He was happy and exited to have me take him home, as it was very cold and he didn’t have a very good coat. So I got him a warm coat from our store of clothing that had been collected by the PTA.

When we got to his house, I found the plaster off the walls and paper sacks nailed over some of them, but the wind whistled through, and I could see through the walls in many places. I found that they had a little rectangular metal stove, 12” x 30”, and about 28” high. It was just like the ones we had in our Quonset huts on Adak when I was in the Navy, only ours burned oil and this one was hooked up to a gas line.

When we went into the house, the little boy picked up a big box of wooden matches and went over to the stove and turned on the gas. It really hissed as he turned it on. Then he warned me to stay back and he lit the match, threw it in the stove, and jumped back. There was a big flash of light as the gas lit and soon there was a roaring fire in the stove.

There was no mother in the home. The father had no job, but as he told me, he kept hustling up jobs around town to get money for his family. I suggested that we keep the boy at school for lunch and let him attend both sessions of kindergarten. The father was more than glad to let him stay all day, and managed to send him with a lunch.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Davis Holiday Memories

 Harker Davis and his sons - early 1920's
Johnny - Floyd - Norman - Richard - Lemuel - Garnons
Charles Harker (front)

 Della Davis and daughters - early 1920's
back: Augusta - Marjorie - Edna - Birdie - Mable
front: Rachel - Della - Florence

When I was very young, holidays meant going to the ranch in Haswell. The ranch was located seven miles northeast of Haswell, Kiowa County, Colorado. This was the sheep ranch where my grandparents settled after leaving the Colorado Springs area, and where my mother went to school. When they first got there, Grandpa Davis hired a teacher to come live with them to teach school for his children. I think he had about 10 children at that time.

My uncles and aunts were all married or gone from home when I first remember.  The house had seven bedrooms, and families would take a bedroom when they arrived. The smaller families would double up in a bedroom. One uncle lived next door, so some always went to stay next door with them for the nights.

On Thanksgiving, people would start coming in on Wednesday, and Thursday morning the men and older boys would go coyote hunting. One time they got home about noon with several coyotes in the trunk of one car. They usually see several at one time, and as they get one, they quickly throw it in the trunk and go on after another one. This one day, when they got home, they got out of the cars and opened the trunk. You should have seen the men all scatter, as one of the coyotes was not dead and he jumped out as they opened the trunk!

After a big meal, Grandpa Davis would get out the cards and the card tables to play “High Five.” There would be tables all over the house, as many as 12 – 15. My grandpa Davis was the only one that smoked; none of his five sons who were usually there smoked. The sixth son, Lemuel, started smoking when he was in the Navy during World War I. So even though none of them were Mormons, it was a smoke free house, although crowded with card players.

If the weather was nice and the lakes were frozen over, you might see all of us going to one of the lakes (both were about ¼ mile from the ranch house) for a lot of fun ice skating. Even my granddad and Uncle Frank might be on a sled with a pitch fork for a pusher. We had some wicked games of something resembling hockey!