The summer in
Tulsa, Oklahoma was undoubtedly the strangest, most unusual time I can
remember as a young person. Mother had never been able to become
acquainted with her father because of her parent's divorce when she was
only two. For some reason it was her wish to move to Tulsa so she could
give us a chance to get to know our grandfather. I really think it was
Mother who wanted to know her father more than anything.
Here we go. Dad
finds a job. Mother rents a nice house and the whole family moves to
T-town. Most of the children adjusted well except one brother. I think it
traumatized him for life. When we were moving back to Ponca City he was
asleep in the back seat. Just several miles out of town he sat up and
said, “Oh smell that wonderful aroma.” He was referring to the strong
refinery smell we all knew well.
But for the
moment we were in Tulsa, like it or not.
Sam Johnson was
just getting into the restaurant business and had designed what is now one
of our leading drive-in eating places. He had a steak house behind his
first drive-in. Mother and Dad both worked in the steak house and I worked
the same evening shift as they did up until twelve o'clock as a curb hop.
That was a great experience. The hamburgers were then called Aristocrats
and Plutocrats. They were delicious, better than they are now.
During the day
I worked as a maid for a family in their home. The house was literally a
mansion with five bathrooms to clean. Each suite of rooms had its own
bathroom, you see. The gentleman of the house had his own suite and it was
the only one I had to worry about as far as making the bed. He had
colors of black and sky blue tile in that bath room. The towels were of
the same color as were the sheets on his bed. His suite had to be tidied
every day. He was meticulous so there wasn't that much work there.
His wife was a
beautiful woman with black hair and striking blue eyes. She was such a
classy lady. Of course, I wasn't required to make her bed and I was glad
of that. It was a huge tall off the floor piece of furniture when it was
all made up with white lace. Her suite of rooms had a smaller bathroom
than the gentleman's and she only asked for me to clean in there once a
their married daughter would come home with her husband and they used the
guest suite. They took care of it and I never had to go in there.
The other two
girls were close in age but as different as night and day. The youngest
was only fourteen so she was my responsibility. Her father bought an old
Jeep for her. He painted it pink and named it Earth Angel. What a lot of
fun we had as I chauffeured her around town, to the Country Club to swim
and where ever else she decided to go. This girl was really like an
obedient child and was never a problem.
girl was another story. On occasion I would have to stay over in order to
to chaperone her while her dates were there. That was impossible. One
night after begging her numerous times to come in from the car where she
was with her boyfriend I finally threatened to call her parents. That did
the trick. She was into the house, all right, but with a very little
girl pout on her face. She wasn't very happy with me over that.
neighbor told on her and did she ever get into trouble. At the time I was
eighteen and she was sixteen. I can't believe I was the baby sitter.
This was the
summer I ran into a Navajo boy I knew from school and we were tight
friends up until he died. He could hardly speak English but we enjoyed
each other's company so much. He had a girl picked out for him to marry so
we didn't date as such. Our friendship was very strong though. He was a
secure port for me for many years up until his death..
There was a
villain in the story and it happened to be a girl with whom I went to
Bible studies. She was a tiger in the tank. Her parents had spoiled her
miserably. She owned her own new car, never worked, but always had all the
money she needed to joy ride with her friends. Her mother was desperately
trying to work with her. I suppose our Mother's wanted me to help with
her. That was a such an imposition, I felt.
mother was just a jewel. She treated me so beautifully but I couldn't
stand having to try to find a way to cope with her daughter. The last
straw was when the girl took my two younger brothers and me swimming one
night. We went to some pond out of town frequented by the young people. On
the way home the girl was drinking, driving, and tearing down the deep,
sandy, road. The fish tailing of the car frightened me so much, for myself
but more so for my brothers. When we got out of the car I told her,
“Don't you ever ask me to get in a car with you again.” I didn't care how
much help she needed. I was through with her. I did feel a prick of
conscience though when I saw her some years later at a religious
convention. She had a child, looked very mature and seemed to be a totally
different person. I was sure I had nothing to do with her changes though.
other great happenings that year too but for the sake of brevity I'll save
them for another story.