Stationed San Diego, California, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Note Was only on ship for few monthsNo Comments on Military – Bobby Joe Robinson
Heber R. Rattler
by Dora Robinson Stewart
Heber’s dad was a full blood Cherokee Indian. A wonderful man who loved to hunt and eat squirrel, he made his annual trip to Pawnee to engage his passion. He is the one who taught Dora how to clean a squirrel without leaving it dirty.
Lucy Fowler, was Mom’s sister. I don’t remember Aunt Lucy very well. I do remember when she died. My first family death that I could remember. Mom and two of my brothers went to the funeral at Ft. Worth, Tx.
Heber was a pilot during WWII. Saw and was involved in terrible happenings. One time his airplane was shot out from under him. He came home a nervous wreck. Shortly after his return, he was sitting and playing the piano. Aunt Lucy slammed a door, he grabbed a knife and chased her down the street. When he realized what he was doing, he came undone, would never ever do that to his loving morn. He lost his pilot’s license about that time.
He was married three times, I think. His first two wives were white ladies. His second marriage was to an airline stewardess (as they were called at that time) and resulted in one daughter. I know nothing about her since the divorce. Melrose, his last wife, was an Indian (Otoe-Missouri tribe).
Heber could make the piano dance when playing the “boogie”. He and his sister, Oresa, came to Pawnee about 1950. He had a wreck in Ft. Worth, probably under the influence, both he and Oresa were alcoholics. He never went back to Texas after that. Not even to his dad’s funeral. Wilbur, D.B., Hazel, Lee and myself went.
In his youth, he and his family lived in Sand Springs. He spend all holidays and summers with our family. He was like a brother to my older siblings. Loweta talks of one time he walked all the way from Sand Springs.
After coming to Oklahoma he and Oresa lived with us for some time. He later ended up in Oklahoma City. Came to Pawnee, dropping in on Mon and Wilbur at intervals. Wilbur found him more than once passed out in his car in Mom’s yard.
Oresa was married to a guy, not certain of nationality, Navajo was his last name. They had two children. Came to visit one time. Joe was a great guy and really enjoyed being on the farm, even the outdoor toilet was a novelty to him. When they got divorced he got the children. I think living in Chicago. Oresa married a white guy (Lester Hale) from Pawnee. They had two sons. She died from complications from the mumps. I thing in the 1960’s. D.B. And Joyce kept the boys a lot. D.B. Mentioned recently that he wished they had gone ahead and adopted them. The boys ended up in California and lost to the family.
Heber was buried in full Indian dress. Not certain what tribal dress.
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By Woody Lasher
Grandma was not a slow driver. One year the reunion was at Fred’s station. Woody told Grandma that he was going to her house, so he would follow her home. He thought that she would be a slow driver, so he waited about ten minutes before starting. He was pushing the speed limit but never saw her. When he got there, she had coffee on and it was already “perked”.No Comments on Grandma was not a slow driver by Woody
Tidbits from Lee’s memories
I just want to share with every one how very much I appreciate Art setting up the Robinson Website. He has been encouraging me for some time to have an input in it. I’ve put it off so long now that I’m 75 there are not many of my siblings left older than me so we really won’t know if it is “facts or fiction”. After Wilbur passed on I would wonder myself if that was the way it happened and I’d think I’ll just go call Wilbur. Never did get enough bars to do that.
The first memory that I remember is when Wilma was born. Mrs. Sneed who lived just across the pasture north from us was coming over to give Mom a hand. Wilbur was going to pick her up and I was going to get to go with him. Well, she walked across before we got to her house. I hid behind the kerosene can and cried. Don’t remember anything else about Wilma’s first few years, but I’m sure they were very eventful as her older growing up years.
One summer afternoon Carney, Fred, Wilma and I were on the trumpet vine frame, which, of course, was forbidden. Mom came outside and we all jumped and hit the ground except Wilma. Her foot got caught in the wire and she fell to ground knocking her out. And, as usual, no water in water bucket, but it didn’t take Carney long to run down to well and get some water, and Mom put a cool wash cloth on her head and she came around.
Our steps to the upstairs were in the east bed room and Wilma was on a step and decided to jump down to the bed which had an iron frame. She hit the foot rail instead of bed and again it knocked her out.
One summer evening the mower was parked by garage with the sickle bar up and the blade was in. Wilma climbed to the top of it with no shoes on. Mom was a bit unnerved but Wilma was fine. One day Wilma was taking a bucket of chicken feathers off to pasture and she was going through the cow lot. We had a cow with a new calf and she didn’t want Wilma in there and let her know it in no uncertain terms. She threw the feathers in the air and was saying “Daddy, Daddy Rosie is after me”. Fred and Carney said she jumped the fence, but that she denied. The boys had fun teasing her about that.
When Mom and Dad were not at home we’d usually play squirrel and dog and invariably Wilma would end up being the dog. We had a lot of trees in our yard and they were Dad’s pride and joy and we were not to climb them. Think about it, could you be a squirrel and not climb the tree? In chasing one of us, Wilma broke a limb off of the tree. Fred and Carney told her to take it to pasture and she did running and they would stand there and yell “further, further.” Don’t remember if we got in trouble with that or not.
I wonder if Fred remembers the time he got into the liniment. The Watkins (I think) man would come around selling medicine, spices and other household items. Mom had liniment and syrup of pepsin which I think was a laxative but it had a kind of sweet taste. The bottles were the same size and labels similar and of course he couldn’t read, so my dear little brother tasted the liniment. He went to barn crying. I remember he had on a little white suit (and don’t you wonder why “white”) and was lying across Mom’s lap while she was milking. She didn’t have a clue what his problem was. You know a little milk would of helped a lot, but for some reason, I didn’t tell her why he was crying until later in the evening.
We had a guy that lived with us, seems like we always had extra there. I guess with so many one more could get lost in the crowd. Don’t know the guy’s real name but we called him Coffee Wilson. I was not very old when one summer afternoon Arthur and Coffee were going back to work about a half a mile south of house and I followed them. We were going through the corn field and quite a way from house when Arthur noticed they were being followed. He told me to go back to house. I didn’t make it to house, I laid down and went to sleep. I guess it was panic time for a while, as it was when Dora was very young and she decided to climb under bed on east porch and went to sleep.
Coffee Wilson gave the kids nicknames. Carney was Slim, Fred was Pistol Pete and I was Hot Shot. D on’t remember Wilma’s. She may have been too small to give him trouble. There was talk about Coffee being in our barn drinking, which he often did, I think, when the barn caught fire. It was a Saturday night. Roy Livergood who lived several miles north of us had dances on Saturday nights. Many, many car loads of people came to see the fire. Wilma and I could stay out and watch if we stayed on the cellar. It was around 4 a. m. in the morning and we thought it would be a good idea just to cook breakfast since we had such a hot fire. (Always thinking about food). Our Dad had just bought a new Model A car shortly before the fire and we also had an old car with no top that they drove to do farm work. (Can you imagine our parents having a convertible?) The night of the fire Wilbur kept after Dad until he let him drive the new car. When they were pulling the old one out of garage that was badly burned Dad was very glad that Wilbur took the new car. One day I was walking around with Dad and he picked up a piece of harness that had not burned and I said I was glad it burned because we have a much nicer barn now. Don’t think my Dad saw my way of thinking. I have no idea if they had insurance on it, or did we even have insurance then?
The separator house was near where the old barn was. The new barn was quite a ways south of it. Someone got the happy idea to move the separator house near the barn. It was north of barn and the door coming out of milk barn was on the south. Mom got tired of walking all the way around carrying the milk to separator house so she got the saw and hammer and cut a hole and made a door on the north end. How did she know how to do that?? I do know what a hammer and saw are.
Another episode I remember when it was winter time and the pond was frozen and Loweta, Hazel, Wilma, Fred and I were out walking in pasture. When we got near the pond I threw a rubber ball out on it and Fred takes out after it. When he broke through the ice Wilma went out after him. Don’t know what Hazel & Loweta did, but I was jumping up and down on dam crying and hollering. This has to be a God thing, because Jack and Carney were hunting near by. I remember Jack having a gun. He came running up and went into pond and carried them both out at the same time. My hero!
Loweta and Wilma went running to house, but the rest of us took a lot of time and Fred has much worse time getting over it than Wilma. Wilma was afraid she’d get in trouble from going out in pond.
And then there was the thumb incident. Fred and I were out playing (guess Wilma was too small to be out) and we went to wood pile. We had found an old rubber innertube and we were going to cut it up to chew. Oh, yes we were. Doesn’t sound like happy chewing now. Arthur came in from pasture with a load of wood and he told us to put the axe down. Well, Arthur went into house and I was in control of the axe. As I was staring to cut, Fred reached for the inner tube. The axe was sharp and I cut his thumb off. Only a small piece of skin was holding it on. Couple of fingers were also cut a bit I think. I remember going to house I tried to help Fred and he hit at me. I guess he was yelling quite loud (wouldn’t you?) and Mom came out to meet us. She ran in and got a piece of white sheet and alcohol. She wrapped the hand and poured the alcohol over it and I’m sure that felt good. Mom didn’t even panic. Did she ever? Don’t remember what really happened then, but Ben Ramsey that ran the Lone Chimney station came down to stay with D.B. and me. D. B. had just come home from the hospital from being operated on for appendicitis. Ben Ramsey was quite involved in our lives as he had a telephone at station and a car that ran. I don’t remember anything about Wilma or Dora so I guess it was before their time. I was lying on a bed in bedroom so upset and scared. I remember Ben opening the door to check on me. Mom had thought Fred had done it himself. (I wouldn’t do anything like that). The doctor wanted to take the thumb off, but Mom said, “No I want it to stay even if it is stiff”. Doctor said to bring Fred in the next day and he would remove it, but it is working today, isn’t it Fred? I remember when Wilbur came home from Junior College in Pawnee, Fred was in Mom’s bed and Wilbur went in to him and seeing it was his right hand he said, “Fred didn’t do that, Minnie Lee did”. And then he proceeds to reprimand me. Man, was I upset that Wilbur got after me. The right fingers were Fred sucking fingers. And with the hand all bandaged up he couldn’t do that. But that boy is smart. He found the left fingers. That was one of the many things of my childhood that I’m not proud of to say the least.
Loweta and Hazel taught me the alphabet and numbers before I started to school. They wrote them on the back of the red Big Chief tablet. I didn’t pass the first grade, but the next year we had a different teacher and he passed me to second grade in a few weeks after school started. That did help the hurt from not passing the first grade. About that time in my life I remember I had done something naughty and don’t really remember what it was, but Loweta was trying to get me to straighten up and fly right. She was talking with me and I said, “Well, God made me and it is his fault”. My, didn’t I start young at being a brat?
Before I started the first grade Arthur & Lynn lived at Skedee. Lynn took me to their house to stay a few days and made me a dress for school. It was navy blue, but get this, she made it without a pattern and with just a needle and thread. She did not have a sewing machine at that time. I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it at that time to think of all the work as I did later, but I was very proud of it. How could she do that? And when I started to high school Lynn also made me a skirt from a neighbor, Henry Stapleton’s suit. She gave me some of her clothes. I remember especially a bright green sweater that I loved. Loweta also got me couple dresses when I started to high school. One dress was red and white and a blue and white one. Man, what a wardrobe for a little farm girl! When I was 9 years old, Loweta got me a pair of cowgirl boots. Was I ever stylin! Lynn also made the little boys, Roy, Ray, and A. G. coats and hats from men suits when they lived in the same home.
A very scary time in my life, as it was in all of us, was when Ray and Roy were lost. Arthur and Lynn lived west of us a little over a mile. Their assumption was that they followed the dog off. They were not very old. Many people came to look for them and when it got dark it was panic time. They found Ray first and not too much longer they found Roy. They were near or in creek. (Arthur had gone to see a neighbor to the south. Roy and Ray followed him. There was a creek to cross and they could not climb out of the creek. Roy had a hard time getting around so he did not go far. Ray followed the creek to the west, eventually was able to climb out, tried to crawl under a fence and got his coat caught in the fence. One of the Davis boys found him. agr)
I have many memories from when Arthur and Lynn lived in that home. Seems like I spent quite a bit of time with them and had fun playing with my nephews. Lynn was quite talented. She cut my hair and also my sister’s hair. Lynn was very good at styling the hair. She decorated my box with crepe paper for the box supper. I thought it was so beautiful. The boxes were full of food and a guy would buy them. We’d raise money at the box supper so then have money to buy the candy for Christmas treats. We always had a Christmas program at school and Santa would come and every one got a sack of candy. Dad always got the chocolates out of our sacks since he couldn’t eat the hard candy because of his false teeth. One Christmas Dad got a present which was unusual for the adults. The school kids would all draw names and we all had gifts. Some of the boys kept urging Dad to open his gift. Finally he did. The boys had taken a big yellow comb and got it hot and made it curved. They removed all the teeth but a few on each end. It fit right over his bald head and he could comb the fringe. He was a good sport and used it and made a bit deal of it. The guys got their money worth. We had a teacher one year that lived north of us. His name was Earl Fuss. Wilbur worked for his family on their farm. Of course, we always walked to school, but he would give us a ride coming home. T here was another family that walked with us so it was a car load. Several of us, including Carney were in the rumble seat and Mr. Fuss went past our corner and Carney decided to jump from the car. He landed in the gravel on his head. I remember him setting out west of the house in the sun when we got home. I did his chores for him that night.
When were we growing up Carney had a goat. It would play hide-go-seek with us. If Carney was “it” the goat was always finding us. It was a sad day when Dad sold it because it kept knocking Wilma down. Dad got a Shetland pony and made a cart for us. We’d hitch the pony up and ride in the cart. That was great fun.
I remember the long, cold winter nights around the wood stove Dad would sing to us and tell us stories. Mom would pop a dish pan full of pop corn. Wish I could remember the songs and stories. One time he told us when he was quite small he had got a new pair of shoes. The word was going around that the world was coming to an end and he went in and put on his new shoes because he wanted to wear them before it came to an end.
At the end of my first year of school Aunt Stella (Mom’s sister) and Uncle Julius were down from Kansas and for some reason I went home with them. Hazel was helping me get ready, but when Mom checked me, I got the scrubbing of my life. She removed my long socks and underwear. Aunt Stella knew I’d get “my death of cold” from it. On the way to Kansas we stopped in Bartlesville and Aunt Stella let me pick out a rabbit. I choose a small yellow cloth one. She kept showing me all the big ceramic ones, but I told her my siblings would break them. They were very good to me, but oh, my how very homesick I got. I was there for three months. I really missed my family. When Mom would write Aunt Stella would read it and I’d go outside and cry.
Mom’s sister, Ethel and her children came for a visit on the train and Mom asked her to bring me home. I was six and my cousin, Dorothy was older. If you were under six years of age you could ride the train for free. Mom sent a check for my ticket. Dorothy rode the train free. At six I knew my Mom did the right thing. Our parents were a very good example for character, integrity and honesty.
When I arrived home Dora was about 9 months old and I kept trying to hold her. Lynn was in the bed in our living room. Arthur went over and picked up Roy Lee to show me. How proud he was of their son! I was so surprised (as a 6 year old could be).
A few years after I stayed in Kansas Mom, Dad, and Grandpa Fowler were going for a visit to see Aunt Stella and Uncle Julius. Since I stayed up there they decided to take me with them. In one story I read someone was talking about Mom having a heavy foot while driving. For some reason Mom did the driving. Grandpa set in front with her while Dad and I was back seat driver. Dad would often look at the speedometer, look at me and wink.
Dad bought a riding mare that was used for racing. Her name was Mabel (can’t tell you why). The man that he got the horse from told him not to let the kids ride it. When Dora had her tonsils out she started bleeding and Dad didn’t want to leave her and Mom at hospital. It was getting time to get the cows to milk. I couldn’t get Fred and Wilma to get the cows. I couldn’t get them to stay at home while I went to get the cows soooooooooo we all three got on Mabel to get the cow. Before we got home with the cows Dad came to pasture looking for us. He had a switch in his hand. He didn’t use it, but we did get what I guess you might call a lecture and we all three walked home with Dad leading the horse.
One time Bob Van Dusen was in Oklahoma while they were still living in Philadelphia and he was on Mabel and she started getting quite feisty. Bob did very well in controlling her but I don’t think I had ever seen my mother so upset.
Dad used psychology on us and I sure he didn’t know what it was – but our Dad was a very smart man, caring and had much compassion. (He couldn’t write where you could read it). He gave each of us our own cotton field and we did get the money from it. We made very sure all the weeds were out when we were chopping and we would see nothing was left when we were picking the cotton. We drove the wagon down on the land south of Lone Chimney to work in the fields. We took our lunch as it was a slow trip in wagon. We’d always try to get Dad to cook the lunch since it would take much longer and we’d had more time to play. We gave him a hard time about the potatoes. Seems they were charred on the outside and not done on the inside, but that didn’t slow us down on asking him to cook. When chopping the cotton we’d have cotton boll fights. Had my first and last taste of chewing tobacco in the cotton patch. Carney and Fred would beg Dad for some, so I decided if they could I could. I found out it wasn’t really that good. In fact, it was terrible.
We always had a garden and had a wonderful orchard east of the house. It had peaches, a cherry tree and couple of apricot trees. They were huge and had limbs near the ground. It was a wonderful, cool place to play in the summer time. One summer day we had several things going in the canning line. One of them was apricot butter. There was a big pan of butter on the stove and Mom went to milk and told Loweta when Dad got home from town to add sugar to the butter. Well, I want you to know not only did my Father get sugar, but also salt and you guess which one Loweta picked up and put in the apricot butter since it started bubbling and bubbling. Hated to pick those English peas and you know every time we kids did the picking Mom could always go back and find lots more peas to can. If you didn’t pick them you would not have to shell them. This might sound like I was a problem child, but I’m sure I wasn’t. We were canning corn one day and my job was to watch the pressure cooker making sure it stayed on the correct pounds and correct minutes. I kept the right fire to keep it on the correct pounds, but oh, my the clock went so slow and I knew the other kids were having much more fun, so I turned the clock up. Wonder how many jars of corn had to be thrown out that winter.
Another little trick I remember pulling was on a Sunday. We must have had a zillion people for lunch and more dishes to wash than that. I don’t know where it came from, but I got a candle and lit a match. When the candle melted I let it drip on my finger and guess what, it looked like a blister. I show my Mom and she was sorry and had sympathy. I don’t remember if and when I told her and if I had to help wash dishes or not.
Another time we were getting green beans ready to can out on west porch. I was married at this time and was at Mom’s. Several of us were there and I think Loweta may have been home from Philadelphia. We were all snapping beans and Leon came down. He went home and told his Mother that we were all working, but acting like we were having fun.
When I was watching the pressure cooker I was in the two south rooms that we used for kitchen and dining room before the rooms were build on the north of house. I remember when Dad bought those two rooms and the truck was coming down the hill with them. To connect the rooms and the other house they build a cement room. We called it the “hall way”. It leaked and seemed to always be damp. One day Mom was talking about the mess and Dad said the Lord willing he have some rooms added on to the north of the house soon. Mom’s reply was “let Him come down here and live for a while and He will be willing.”
One of our Mother saying was “I spend half of my time looking for the other half”. Heck, I’ve perfected that. I spend much more that half. Another one of her sayings was any thing worth doing is worth doing right. I didn’t know when I was growing up she was paraphrasing Ecclesiastes 9:10. And then my dear brother Carney had his favorite pair a phrasing from the verse in Ecclesiastes about blowing in the wind.
You know I could never get Mom to talk much about her experiences of growing up or dating. She did tell me one time when her Dad and step-mother went to town she cut out a dress for her and sew it up. When the step-mother got home she gave her what for because she used her new sewing machine. I guess no wonder she was a good seamstress she started so young. She made all of our dresses and so many for my girls. I didn’t think she was afraid of any thing. I had picked out lace material for my wedding dress and before she cut into it she had some cheap material that she made before she made the wedding dress and then I felt bad because it was a chore for her and that never enter my mind.
I’ve seen her kill a snake and do so many things. She had nerves of steel and was very strong and worked very hard for so many years. She did tell me she wanted to be a school teacher. One time she sent off for an English book, but was very secretive about it. She kept it in the trunk that was off limits to us. (So how do I know that?) She wanted more education. I remember there was a story about “Little Brown Kocoa” that was in a magazine that we got and she read that to us every month. And I remember only one book that she read to us, a western – /Lighting/. The main hero in it was names Slim.
Oh yes, I have another tonsil story. I was around 18 when I had my tonsils out in the Pawnee hospital. When I came out from under the anesthetic Mom told me I had not been very nice to Lola. (She was working at the hospital at the time). I would not let her come in the room. I told her she was trying to take my brother away from me. Guess she won that battle and aren’t we glad?
One day I was going to a pasture that Dad had rented to feed the cows. It was about a mile north of us. Tried to get Wilma to go with me and she refused. What a smart move that was. As I was making a left turn to get off of Hiway18 a car started to pass me and plowed right into me. I was driving a car called a Willis I think. Anyway, it was Wilbur’s car. In January there was the law passed that you had to have insurance on the cars. He did not. Soooooo not only could he not drive that car, but his better car he could not drive for a year. I doubt if the Willis could be driven after wreck, but his good one he put on blocks for a year. And do you know he did not ever say one word to me. I did love him more for that but it didn’t keep me from feeling bad about it. I also lost my driving license for a year.
After Carney and Lola moved to the City they lived near us and our families spent lots of time together. Our kids adore them. Of course, Carney teased the kids a lot. One day he was at our house when Gina started up the stairs he told Gina to go to the bathroom for him. When she came back down he asked her if she did go to the bath room for him. She said, “yes, but I didn’t wash your hands”.
When I was several months pregnant with the twins, I mopped and waxed the floor. It was a huge kitchen, but I got it done. Steven was 6 years old and he came in from school and it had been raining and he tracked mud on the floor. I said, “Steven Robert Baker I’ve been on my hands and knees mopping and waxing this floor”. He said, “did your stomach drag on the floor”? Nothing else was said about that incident. Shortly after Russel & Gina were born my sister, Hazel started a collection from my siblings for a dryer. I’m sure none of them had it to spare, but we got a new dryer. And how grateful we were! What a family!!
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