John took care of the
buying and selling of their land and improvements. He had a way with real
estate and made a fine profit. With his carpenter-skills he had built his
own home and outbuilding. When the railroad track came through and missed
their settlement, the town’s people moved all the buildings to that
railway. John was instrumental in this and did much of the work. But that
was neither here nor there. Now was a time for moving on-to another place.
If they could live where Zona and his son might breathe in an easy way
free from the hated asthma then that was good enough for him.
John’s brother Billy lived
where they were going and he at least would have family. Zona’s mother,
Elizabeth Ann, kept in contact with her grown children and somehow or
another was able to make the trek from one of their homes to another. Her
light-hearted ways and true respect for her son-in-law made him know Zona
would never be lonesome and totally without family. It was a pleasure for
him for his mother-in-law to visit. She always made sure his favorite
foods were on the table. With her lilting sweet voice she sang her hymns
and old folk tunes and it made the house a home. All her children played
instruments and no matter where they were living there was always a
congregating of family for some occasion. He was sure it would be the same
in the panhandle where they were going.
’ll just go through the
house one more time to make certain we haven’t left anything.” Zona
actually wanted to say goodbye to her home. She wandered through the empty
rooms. This strong little woman wouldn’t allow herself to weep but as she
stood at the window, looking out over the beautiful terrain of the
Oklahoma land she was sad to have to leave.
“I’m sure going to miss
seeing our calves frolicking on that hill." The nostalgia of the moment
threatened her composure. Clouds drifting over the landscape made her want
to reach up in a foolish effort to capture their memory.
She slowly walked from one
room to another. The bare floors rang with her steps because she had
gathered all the woven rugs up. Her children’s rooms were stark and bare
now but she could see them playing in her mind, on the floor, or sleeping
in their beds as if they were still there instead of just this empty
space. As Zona walked through the kitchen, she noticed her colorful
gingham, curtains hanging on the windows. They stood out against the
emptiness of the room.
“I’ll just leave them, they
are probably dusty anyway. Maybe someone else will need them more than I
do.” With that last observation she closed her eyes, whirled around and
walked out the front door without a look backwards. The wagons were loaded
with their possessions and her family was waiting for her.
“It’s a far piece from here
to Guymon and I suppose we better be on our way.” John was watching his
wife to make sure she was taking this stressful time in stride. “We’ve got
some good weather for it.” He encouraged her and as soon as she was up on
the wagon they began their trek of approximately 264 miles. Once again
they were traveling in a slow-moving wagon pulled by oxen. None on board
were without hope. They believed the move was to a better place. They had
no idea or clue to the fact that the new location was actually located in
the center of where the great dust storms were yet to happen.
End of Volume 1