Music: Young At Heart
Performed by: Frank Sinatra

Page updated: : March 20, 2010

what one forgets to look at...

...even what is vitally part of who one is...

One's star...
One's actual light along the way...

Life on earth is a short time, really.
It's good to recall & refresh it sometimes ...
as the story resumes, in pictures and keepsakes...

Dad was in the Army during the last part of WWI,
posted in Seattle,
closing the chapter on close lifetime affiliation
with the Mennonite community.

Dad and Mother in Seattle...

This is one of the few pictures of Mother
without her usual lilt.
But she may be suffering from morning sickness!

This was taken about Sept. 1, 1918...

...just days before the birth of my eldest sister!

Mother was a successful medical book salesperson
and had continued her home-based business
right up till she went into the labor room.

She had championed equality since 1910,
long before women became voters.
She wasn't a rabble-raiser, she simply
believed in equal opportunity for all.

Dad supported her in her efforts.
In fact, he had encouraged her to seek
her own education and to follow her star
and they set out together selling books,
each becoming top salesperson in his/her group.

But first and foremost,
they believed in strong family values
and worked together to fulfill their dreams.
One major goal was to provide the means
for the education of all their own offspring
Along the way, they managed to provide it for
other deserving young people, as well.

The war ended,
they had fulfilled several short-term goals,
and they moved to Texas with little Harriet,
in pursuit of their next vision...
in the Burkburnett oil boom.
They bought their first house in Electra!

Dad in the oil camp...

...where he was affectionately known as "the Deacon"!

In the early 1920's, he had an opportunity
to buy a drilling rig and contracts for wells,
and so began drilling water wells West of the Pecos!
He drilled many of the wells and carved out most
of the ranch roads in the area with that old Model T rig!

This was 1926 on the ranch next to the one I now own.

Mother accompanied him on the drilling expeditions,
along with the three older children.
They simply camped out in tents,
cooking meals on an open fire in a "carry-cooker".

Later, when the children
were ready to go to school,
it became necessary to have
a house in Del Rio.

My three older siblings, Ruth, Harold, and Harriet...

I grew up hearing rollicking tales
about what these mischief-makers got into!

They graduated from Del Rio High School.

Ruth, ready for Baylor University;
Harold,enrolled at Texas A&M;
Harriet,starting to Mary-Hardin Baylor University.

There was never a question that
we would all finish college.
It truly was one of my parents'
most cherished goals.

At the same time, Dad and Mother were buying
some of the rugged ranchland,
still virtually wilderness ...
Truthfully, it still is.

Dad's degree was in Animal Husbandry,
so he confidently launched into sheep and goat ranching
in lieu of the dairy farming which he visualized
as he went through the University of Wisconsin.

A horse in the corral, being "broken"...

Guess who climbed on just such a partially-broken horse,
thinking it one of the rideable ones!
Good guess! Yes, I did!

Mother looked out the window and saw me flying over the hill!

This is about the age I was at the time...

...about 7 or 8 when this episode occurred.
Somehow I managed to stay on, and got back safely!

This proves I survived ... tell of it and to ride! I was about 14 here.

One of my prized toys ...

...a miniature, authentic wood-burning cookstove!
It's about 2 feet high and 15 inches wide.
Complete with actual compartment for burning wood,
with little iron burner lids with lifters, a working oven,
and with a vented exhaust pipe.
I was allowed to cook mudpies on it, but only if
I took it well away from the house!

Next...more about that house - the ranch house
from which I came to be ...

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