Weldon wasn’t gone yet, he was still working, driving
trucks somewhere in Texas.
“I’m socking every dime I can get back. It takes more
than “chicken feed” to operate a ranch.” Weldon grinned as he talked.
Never was he still for long and he seemed always to
be working on something, while he did exchange a few words with whoever
was close to him at the moment.
For me, I suppose this was the absolutely most,
miserable time in my life. We lived in shacks but there was always the
goal, the dream. The wish to work together for a purpose. All that
changed, when we moved to town. Probably, Velma was worn out with trying
to make something out of nothing as the Joneses seemed to be happiest
Consequently, we moved to town. The house they chose
was a tiny one, next door to my Indian grandmother. It must have seemed
like a good selection at the time. There would always be someone there
How we all lived there I’ll never know. There was
very little privacy.
Uncle Dean had tried to make it more comfortable and
brought a sofa from the ranch. He brought along a radio and record
player combination with all the records of the era, “It’s Only a Paper
Moon, some western music, and, of course, the old Bob Wills favorites.
This cold, blustery evening after walking home from
school I pushed the door open to our house. No one was there, as usual.
Dad was working in the foundry at Tonkawa and Mother was working in a
café. Dad’s Republican background would never let us take any kind of
“hand out.” If we wanted money we had to find a job, babysitting,
cleaning for neighbors or doing yard work. I was too inexperienced at
the time to boldly go looking as the boys had done. Instead, I tried to
make the house as pleasant as I could. No food in the kitchen made it
seem empty, so I put on a pot of beans. Uncle Dean was in and out, and
he kept a stash of wine in one of the cabinets. I poured a glass and
proceeded to sip on it.
Was it the wine? The total coldness of this world
where I was caught? Where were the goals we always knew. No crops would
be planned and not even a place for a garden. I was lonely, so alone.
What had happened to everything and everyone I dearly loved? The school
I had known at Foraker was filled with art, music, socials and a whole
love of life.
At this school there was just a continual, treading
through boring, drills, totally lacking in interest. Routine walking
through wide hall ways seemed to be the only recreation. Very often Dad
would drop me off at school as he had always done through the years.
These days, sometimes, I would just walk through those empty wide halls,
early in the morning and exit through the opposite doors. No one was
home so I went there and did nothing, listened to music, cleaned house
or whatever I wished to do.
This evening was different, somehow.
I put on my heavy coat and walked out the door.
“I’m sick of this, I’m going to where Weldon is?” No
thought, planning or anything else led me. The fact I didn’t know where
in Texas he was, never crossed my childish mind. Walking through the
freezing weather began to awaken me from my foolishness. I was freezing,
or felt like I was. A truck pulled up beside me. The chubby driver
pointed ahead and mouthed the words.
“Want a ride?”
Something of common sense was returning to me and I
shook my head, “No.”
I had walked a considerable way out past town and was
in a residential area where Mother had a small café for a while. By this
time I was literally shaking all over from the cold. To my left was the
home of the woman who Mother had rented the café. For some reason I
walked up to her door and knocked. After she gave me hot coffee, we sat
quietly and visited. Not about my showing up on her door, but simply
things we both knew. I had been friends with her granddaughter and I
asked about her as I was reminded of the girl, when I glanced over at
the old piano, where we had spent happier times. The woman was elderly
and never asked questions or was critical in any way. She wisely brought
the telephone over to me after a while.
When Mother drove up she thanked the lady and I was
in the car.
Velma was still in her uniform and I remember seeing
how beautiful her appearance was, even in her working clothes. Something
about the fear on her face had made her youthful, like a girl in a
frightening situation. She used no angry words on me.
“Where were you going?” She wanted to know.
“To find Weldon, I answered. He's somewhere in
Texas." And that was the total dialog between us.