Saturday, February 09, 2008

These small children........


are my dad and his siblings. He is the cute little towhead in the middle. They had an interesting life. They were born in Claremore, OK at the turn of the 20th century and were children of the Great Depression and the Oklahoma dustbowl. Their parents divorced about the time my dad was 10 years old. The depression hit a few years later. My grandmother worked managing resturaunts and my grandfather worked in water districts plants so they moved from one town to another trying to make ends meet. At one point my dad and uncle had to go live with a farmer for room and board because their mom couldn't afford to feed them and their dad was working in another town. They didn't like that too much so they set out on an adventure and rode the rails along with the hobos looking for odd jobs and some adventure. They were 13 and 14 years old at the time. At one point they ended up on the corner of Hollywood and Vine selling oranges for spare change. Their "boss" took all the money and deserted them. They had no choice but to contact their mother and she wired them enough money to get them home. They no more than got back to the farmer, they took off again, riding rails and staying with the hobos in hobo jungles. This time they ended up in Flint, Michigan. They shared a coat that a kindly conductor had given them from the lost and found and it saved them from freezing to death. They tried to get work at the man camps working lumber, my uncle got hurt and made his way back to Topeka, KS where he met and married his wife at the age of 16. Dad stayed a while longer and enventually made his way to where his brother was and settled in Topeka also. He met and married my mother nearly 8 years later while working as a donut maker at the local dimestore. My aunt went back to Oklahoma, married a lawman and settled down near her mother after a little escapade with a rodeo tramp at the tender age of 15. (We were never allowed to mention this when she was alive.) They never talked about these times as being a hardship, they spoke of them as adventures.

They never were famous, they all grew up to be productive members of society and they used their pasts as an example of what it is like to have nothing but one another. Family was the most important thing in their lives and you can understand why. Here is the journeling, in case you can't read the page.

These moppets were the Sutton children. Grace Elaine Sutton was born Dec 8th 1913, Richard Arden (my dad) was born Feb 2, 1915 and Henry Alvin was born Feb 22, 1916. Times weren’t always easy for these stairsteppers. They experienced a broken home and many moves with one or both parents seeking work in the dust bowl days of the Oklahoma depression. Grace ran off with a rodeo rider at the tender age of 15 and Dick and Henry (he named himself Jimmy) rode the rails with the hobos from one end of the country to the other after being farmed out while their mother worked restaurants and their dad found work in water district plants. Always vowing to keep in contact with one another, they kept that promise. They left letters in general post office boxes and would check in when they could. They would meet up whenever and wherever they could. Their parents would wire them money to get them home when they had money to spare. They all married, Uncle Jimmy and of course my dad having children of their own and Aunt Grace decided never to have children. Through it all, they stayed very close to one another until the last one died. Uncle Jimmy, the youngest went first, followed many years later by Grace. My dad at 89 was the final sibling and the last word that he uttered before he took his last breath was Grace.
I know that they are all together again. That is what family is all about.

5 comments:

Donalda's Blog said...

That is so precious !!!!!!!

Wanda H said...

Cindy, this is a beautiful page!!! Wow, they did have some adventures, didn't they. Thanks for the comments on my blog!!! Hugs, Wanda

Lori Roberts said...

Just beautiful Cindy! When you have a moment stop by my blog I have something for you my friend!

Stampmouse said...

darling pictures and page cindy

Sue said...

You are so talented! I love all of the work on your blog, it inspires me to learn more so I can create things as beautiful.