Monday, January 6, 2014

The Beginning ( a reprint from January 2011)

January 2011 - The beginning   reprint from 2011
Last week I found myself in Shidler, Oklahoma  wondering around and discovered a passion for
my roots in Osage County, Shidler and of course Grainola.  I stopped by the Review Office and discovered it now belonged to Shelly’s daughter. Now I know everyone has a name but what was important was that Shelly (Rowe) Wilhelm had a daughter who was very pleasant and she now owned the Review.  Shelly was one of the most pleasant classmates and I still think of her as a high school girl with pretty hair and a pretty smile.  It warmed my heart just to think about our friendship back then and how time has crept away.  But the most alarming thing to me is how much I wanted to just remember all the good times and good friends and to just start writing them down.
Before I do that I should also tell you the reason I was in Shidler, Kaw City and Grainola was to celebrate the life of Don Kelsey.  Don was my first boss outside of mom and dad.  Don and his son, Kenny, and I hauled hay for all of three summers.  Don was a WW II veteran of the European
front.  Anyway there are a lot of stories to tell about Don,  Dorthy, and Kenny but
I will save that for another day.  Right now I just want to say that Don was a great man and we will all miss him.  Keep an eye out in my writings because someday I will tell you about Don’s helicopter – home made.
That brings me to this. The first installment of Home on the Range, memories of growing up in the Osage and the people who made it special.  So if I can keep it up I am going to share with you my life stories and how it was in the early days and how it effects my life today.  Oh ya, Mrs. Head is not allowed to read this
because she might flunk me.  And Miss Shumate has long passed but she always said my writing and my penmanship was terrible so she will not be allowed to read in Heavan.
My earliest recollection was growing up in Grainola, one mile north and three west on Beaver Creek. This is now the house of Dee Johnson and Jim Heath once lived there as I remember.  Probably no one will remember this but our first house became the Grainola Post Office and Mrs. Heath’s house when it was moved in about 1959 to its current location.  They moved the whole dang house on a truck! By the way if you try to find the house it is down on its luck as it set next to the tennis courts on highway 18 and before Dale’s grocery store which is gone now as well.  For those of you who are local, REMEMBER THE OUTHOUSE behind the grocery store.  Ask David Harris if he ever did anything he was not supposed to relative to that outhouse.  I bet he threw a rope around it a few times and tipped it over and if he did not Bob Harris did and there were a lot of other folks who were guilty as well.  Thank goodness you could not go to jail for those things.

This is where there should be a picture of the old house

this is not the old house but Ruby Jackson's Gas Station
Anyway back to the farm on Beaver Creek.  Dad and I built the new house (Dee or Jim’s house later) about three feet from the old house.  I never did give Larry or Debbie (bro and sis) credit for helping as they were always in school and I was too young to go to school.  It was a brown house and I remember Mom (Opal) looking so young (she still says she is 29).  It was a great house because it now had that new tile on the floor.  Remember those 12 in by 12 in tile?  We had a huge fireplace which we used to heat the house even though we had one of those brown furnaces in the hallway to heat up the back of the house.  The other interesting thing about that house is that you could crawl under it (crawl space).  That is where all the new puppies were delivered.  In the kitchen we had copper colored appliances which were pretty snazzy in those days.  Dad came up with this idea to have a drawer that would open to the kitchen or to the dining area to make it easy to get silverware both ways,  TECHNOLOGY. 

Thinking about technology I remember getting a record player  at that house.  Today most people don’t know what that is or what it looked like but EVERY Beatle recording was on a plastic disc called a vinyl and Suzie Snyder owned everyone of them (Gladys Snyder’s daughter).

We did have telephones then and each was black and as I recall that was the only option on color and everyone was a rotary phone.  Now for the young folks reading this that means when you dialed a 9 you stuck your finger in a hole and drug it in a circular motion back to the little stopper then let it go.  You repeated this step 5 times, yes 5 times,  because that is all the numbers I had to dial to call Eddy Harris, my cousin, up the road.  Today our phones have family shared minutes but in those days we shared the entire line with our neighbors.  As I recall we had the Weavers or was it the Shumates (Mrs. Shumate and her daughters Sally and Janie), Vea Harris (Norma, Bob, David, Janis, and Eddy), John and Linda Murphy plus kids and us (the Olson’s) on one line.  When you wanted to call someone you had to make sure no one else was on the line but if someone was already on the line you could listen in until they caught you and told you to get off. 
I don’t know how much of this you can take at one setting but I will start working on the next segment.
Happy Trails,

Gary Olson

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