"THE BEULAH MAE & MARVIN O'DELL MC CLURE YEARS"

Page Two


Hefners Store

Mother, Beulah McClure won a small diamond ring in a beauty contest at  Joe
Hefner's store in the mid-thirties. Joe had initially offered a round  trip
to Little Rock but he didn't get any interest from the public,  because  no
one could understand why anyone would want to take  that  long  boring  bus
ride to Little Rock, when we had so much at home and besides all  of  those
sky scrapers would be enough to give a person a migraine. 

Joe would give a tremendous number of points  to  a  contestant  for  items
purchased in his store. On certain days he would give extra points  if  the
person bought a broom when they shopped at his  store.  The  next  week  it
might be a person with red hair, blue eyes  or  any  gimmick  to  keep  the
customers coming back into the store as often  as  possible.  This  contest
went on for many weeks. Mother won second  place  and  Aunt  Jullean  third
place by a margin of only about 10,000 points. Pop had the  ring  converted
into a stickpin after mother's death.
Return to TOC

Getting Married for some folks 

A couple could get married across the state line in Piggott,  Arkansas  (1)
in a large vault at the court house for $20.00, without a blood test. Which
was required in Missouri. This was also where most of the kids at home went
to get married. Most of the couples had to lie about their age, because the
girl was supposed to be 18 and the boy 21. Jamie  and  Glenn  were  married
there by Judge French (a shirt-tail relation on the Mc Clure side), so they
got a Freebie. Saturday was the big day there for marriages. This gave  the
couple the entire weekend to make whoopee.
see endnote(1) 

Aunt Lillies Cafe

Aunt Lillie operated her cafe in the tavern for many  years,  cooking  some
great hamburgers, bar-b-q's, (beef and pork cooked until  she  could  shred
it) chili, stew and cheese sandwiches. During  the  Second  World  War  the
price control board established and controlled the  prices  of  just  about
everything that was sold. They notified pop that Aunt Lillie  was  charging
20 cents for a bowl of stew and the ceiling price was  only  15  cents  and
that she was charging 15 cents for a cheese sandwich when the ceiling price
was only 10 cents. It was hard to make a dishonest nickel back then.
Return to TOC

Carnivals, Tent Shows and Traveling Medicine Shows

During the thirties and into the forties a large portion of Pop's  lot  was
used by traveling carnivals, tent  shows  (the  first  movies  were  silent
films, talkies hadn't reached this part of the  world  yet)  and  medicine-
shows. If we didn't have enough money to buy a movie ticket, we would use a
grass ticket, by lifting the edge of the tent and slipping  under  it.  The
free  Medicine  shows  generally  stayed  in  a  town  for  about  a  week,
entertaining with skits, tap dance, black  face,  musical  instruments  and
above all, those lovable clowns. While the hucksters would pass through the
crowd selling their patent medicine, along with peanuts and taffy. Some  of
the boxes contained prizes, not unlike the cracker jack boxes of today. The
tonics sold by the staff were derived from special  herbs  and  roots.  The
tonics were good for coughs, colds and anything else. 
  
All of the Doc's had their own spiel. Red Skelton(2) worked in  a  medicine
show as a drummer and of course as a clown, telling his  corny  jokes.  The
Doc that owned this show also extracted teeth. When he was  ready  to  pull
the tooth, he would tell Red to play the drums. The noise  from  the  drums
helped to conceal the scream of the patient. Even  Mark  Twain(3)  traveled
with a medicine show for a period of time.
    see endnote(2)and (3) 

Our Doc Beaver (none of them were doctors) was a pitchman  of  the  highest
caliber. He was a very distinguished man with wavy salt-n-pepper hair,  who
could really sell the old snake oil, as it was frequently  called.  It  was
reputed to have a high alcohol content, so it probably did  kill  the  pain
for a while. If not, who cared? This Medicine show returned to our hometown
for many years, to sell their harmless concoctions and to entertain all  of
us local yokels.

The clown of this show was "Dynamite" Huggins,  who  was  so  good  at  his
trade. We, country bumpkins  enjoyed  his  old  tired  jokes  and  cornball
routines, year after year. He always used the same routine each year about:
going around his big fat girlfriend with a piece of chalk  in  his  hand  a
huggin and chalkin and a chalkin and huggin away and when  he  got  to  her
back side there was Crip Mc Clure with a piece of chalk in his hand  busily
huggin and a chalkin and a chalkin and huggin  away.  This  annual  routine
always got a big laugh from the crowd. Most of the live bands that appeared
at the theater in later years also used this same corny routine.

Dynamite became well known during the many years  that  the  medicine  show
returned and he and his family eventually settled here.
Dynamite later became a successful minister at our Methodist church.  There
were large crowds that attended his  revivals,  because  they  enjoyed  his
forceful and emotional sermons. Everyone agreed that he could sure  preach-
up-a-storm and truly had a gift. This was back when everyone knew three  or
four dozen gospel songs by heart, even kids, who were only knee-high  to  a
grasshopper. Such songs as: The Old Rugged Cross, Love Lifted Me, Peace  in
the Valley, What a Friend we have in Jesus, When  the  roll  is  called  up
Yonder, Will the Circle be Unbroken and oh  so  many  great  heart  warming
songs of inspiration. We loved to belt them out. (raise the roof and  shake
the rafters)Return to TOC


Church no AC in those days

The churches were not air conditioned, not even with fans back then. So all
of the women and a few of the men would fan themselves with cardboard  fans
with a wooden handle, which were donated by the local funeral  home.  There
was usually a religious scene on it. It's unfortunate that we  were  unable
to tape his  heart  rendering  sermons,  because  his  preaching  certainly
inspired a lot of amens!


Board Sidewalks  and Hitching Rails
In the good ol days, we had boardwalks at home  until  the  mid  thirties.
With so many saw mills and lumbering in this area, it was  cheaper  to  put
down long thick boards than it was to pour cement. Betty Scott and  Sally
Carter's fathers owned saw mills. The walkways were muddy after a  rain  or
the ground thawed after a freeze, prior to  the  boardwalks.  Most  of  the
houses had boardwalks with much smaller boards that were laid horizontally.

1940's, some of the farmers still drove their teams into town. I can recall
Marcus Evan Cobb trying to smooth out some of the potholes by  driving  his
team through town as fast as he could, when he was about  three  sheets  to
the wind. It didn't work and he had a sore southern pride for  a  few  days
after.

During the first few years of operation Pop had a hitching rail beside  the
first tavern. There were still a few young men who rode their  horses  into
town. Especially the young men from Glenonville, a small Dutch settlement a
few miles southeast of home.

The streets continued to be a mess until they were eventually  black-topped
many years later. Till then a person had to avoid the mud and  manure  when
crossing the street. Return to TOC


4th of July Picnic / Dancing in The Open Air

Each year there was a 4th of July  picnic  in  a  grove  of  trees  on  the
Southwest corner of Black River bridge, about 3  miles  north  of  town  on
highway 53. Pop always had the beer concession and other venders sold  food
and drink. 

There was a singing contest at this picnic,  with  "You  are  my  Sunshine"
being the most popular song of the day. With "Pretty Red Wing",  "Beautiful
Brown Eyes" and "Ida Red" competing for second  place.  "Playmate",  was  a
favorite with the young kids. It went something like;  "Playmate  come  out
and play with me, bring your dollies three, climb up my apple tree,  holler
down my rain barrel, slide down my cellar door and we'll be  jolly  friends
for evermore. It was a rainy day,  she  couldn't  come  out  to  play,  her
dollies had the flu, boo hoo boo hoo. Ain't got no rain barrel,  ain't  got
no cellar door, but we'll be jolly friends for evermore."

There was a portable dance floor for a lot of good down-home  dancing.  One
of the customers kept bugging Pop for more beer, after he had been  told  a
number of times that he had already had enough to drink. Pop finally  broke
a quart of mustard over his head. Needless to say, this convinced the drunk
that Pop wasn't just "whistling Dixie". The drunk gave  up  drinking  after
this incident, because he never realized that drinking could cause a person
to see yellow. Barbecued goat over an open pit was the favorite food of the
day. Yum yum, good! The 4th of July was a fun day for everyone, except  for
ole mustard head, that is. Return to TOC

The Shooter Returns to Qulin

The only time that I ever heard of Pop being afraid of anyone was when  the
gunman, who shot-up his  first  tavern  was  released  from  prison,  after
serving a term of about fifteen years. Delores Chaney, Pat McClure and  Pop
were in the liquor store when a small man all dressed in  black  approached
the building. No, it wasn't Johnny  Cash!  Pop  recognized  the  man,  even
before he entered and told the girls to relax. So they knew instantly  that
something was amiss.

The man approached the counter and "asked Pop if he remembered him." We can
be sure that a person doesn't have another person  shoot-up  his  place  of
business, kill his bartender, shoot the town constable and himself, without
remembering him as vividly as a bad dream. He then asked Pop for a  package
of Chesterfield cigarettes from the glass topped show case.

The man then withdrew a pocketknife and slowly sliced the  cellophane  from
the top of the pack of cigarettes. This was surely the high-point of  Pop's
fear for his life, because, the man could have leaned  across  the  counter
and slashed Pop's throat at this point. Although, I'm sure  that  he  would
have gotten a chest full of lead in the process. For the survival  instinct
would have prepared Pop to push away from the counter and  get  off  a  few
rounds. Pop would have automatically checked to see that  the  gun  was  in
it's usual place under the counter, within easy reach,  when  he  cautioned
the girls to relax.

He informed Pop that he was back to settle an  old  score  with  him,  Bill
Brent and Guy Scott who  were  witnesses  to  the  killing  and  subsequent
witnesses at his trial. Noting that the man was heading toward Poplar Bluff
where Bill Brent was still sheriff. Pop immediately phoned  Bill  and  told
him of the situation. It didn't take Bill long  to  locate  the  man  in  a
tavern on Broadway Street and instantly confronted him by telling him  that
he had heard that he had made a threat against him and if he  didn't  leave
the county at once, that he would be a dead man.

The ex-gunman knew that he was staring death in  the  face.  So  he  didn't
hesitate in leaving the  county  and  was  never  heard  from  again.  Bill
personally followed him to the county  line  to  be  sure  that  he  didn't
double-back.  Return to TOC

Bank Robbery and What Happened To The Bank

The Second Bank Robbery in Qulin. One resident was identified in the second
bank robbery at home, but never  served  any  time  because  the  gang  had
already disposed of the money when the posse from the Bluff apprehended the
gang at the Ruth and Hargrove Bridge. So they  were  never  prosecuted  for
this crime.

Irvin Waller, the bank manager recognized the citizen by his clothing  and
his horse tethered outside the bank. Even the bandana didn't  fool  Irvin.
Irving recognized the citizen before he said, "Give me all of your  money,"
in his well known gravely voice. The bank was  moved  to  Malden,  Missouri
after this holdup.

The old bank building was utilized as a mattress  factory  after  the  last
bank robbery. A person could sew together a  straw  mattress  for  only  20
cents. Initially the farmers didn't charge anything for the straw, but at a
later date, they charged a whole dime for enough straw to stuff a mattress.
I don't recall us ever using a straw mattress, but we probably did, if  any
mattress was used at all when we first moved to Missouri.

Our life styles have never been the same since World War 11  brought  about
so many changes in our lives. The building  was  used  for  school  lunches
later and the historical society is in the process of obtaining it as  part
of the museum, which is the oldest house at home. This house  was  recently
renovated to its original state and moved to the center of town.

All of the homes had the spirals  of  sticky  fly-paper  hanging  from  the
ceiling of most of the rooms. There were many places of business  that  had
so many of these festooning the ceiling that a person  would  have  thought
that it was part of the decorations, until they noticed  all  of  the  dead
flies studding the sticky paper. We also sprayed flies  with  a  spray  gun
that contained bug spray. This spray was probably responsible for  some  of
our respiratory problems. The odor and taste was enough to make a dog puke!

Before Electricity and Indoor Plumbing:
My brothers and I took our weekly (Saturday) bath in a round #3  galvanized
washtub, with our knees  crisscrossed  in  front  of  our  face.  We  later
purchased an elongated galvanized tub for bathing.(some of the farmers used
these for watering their livestock) We were one of the  first  families  to
have indoor plumbing. It was greatly appreciated by all. 

This same #3 washtub was used on blue Monday  (standard  washday  for  most
families) to wash their (4) clothes on a washboard and lye  soap.(the  more
talented ones would make music on the washboard come  Friday  and  Saturday
night at some of the local honky-tonks). The lye soap, which  was  made  by
boiling a mixture of ashes and water to remove the lye. Then  the  lye  was
mixed with lard and water and  boiled  in  a  cast-iron  kettle,  until  it
reached the proper consistency. This mixture is poured into a tray to  cool
and setup, then cut into bars of soap. (some people also used ashes or  lye
to make hominy from corn)
 see  endnote (4)

The mothers also added a small cake  of  bluing  to  the  wash  water  when
washing white clothing to brighten them. This was  years  before  wash-and-
wear, so the mothers had to starch most of the outer  garments  which  were
difficult to iron with one piece molded flat irons,  some  with  detachable
handles, so that more than one could be heated on top of the (wood  burning
cook) stove at a time and a few gas irons were used. 

I can still hear Pop yelling at us at bedtime during the summer  months  to
wash those rusty feet before we went to bed, (it was never dirty feet).  He
would also tell us to wash our teeth. Some people did use  a  washcloth  to
clean their teeth. A large number of people used  a  mixture  of  salt  and
baking soda for brushing their teeth. Most  of  the  women  collected  rain
water for laundering their hair.

Thankful for indoor plumbing, because the old outhouse was dreaded  by  all
during the winter months when the old north wind came whistling in.  During
the summer months the heat and ammonia odor was  so  overpowering  that  we
would sit on the throne with our eyes  closed  and  breathing  through  our
mouth, while trying not to inhale. We were afraid that if  we  inhaled  too
deeply, we would suffer permanent brain damage. It wasn't a  pretty  sight!
Infrequently we would have to rescue, someone who had neglected to inhale.

WWII War Years:
Pop also  provided  taxi  service  whenever  someone  needed  to  be  taken
somewhere. He drove a group of ladies to and from a large victory garden at
Crane Roost and Oglesville each day during the war,  as  part  of  the  war
effort.

Many items were rationed during the Second World  War,  to  include  tires,
gas, meat,  sugar,  ladies  stockings  and  even  the  green  Lucky  Strike
cigarette package was replaced with a white one and their slogan was: Lucky
Strike green has gone to war. In 1943 the copper penny was replaced by  the
introduction of the steel penny, so that  the  copper  could  be  used  for
defense purposes.

The candy bars were smaller during the war. One night when Pop opened a box
of Butter Brickle bars, which were only about half the size  of  the  small
Heath bar, he said, "Aw hell, these damn candy bars are too small to sell,"
so he passed them out to everyone in the tavern. He was quite a character!

He sold used cars on the lot next to the liquor for a short period of time.
Pop and another man or  two  would  drive  to  the  car  auctions  at  Cape
Girardeau or St. Louis. They would tow  the  cars  purchased  home  with  a
special hitch made for this purpose. The cars would be serviced and resold,
at a profit, of course.

Page Three -- Family Doctor and School Days --

Endnotes: (1) A few wedding ceremonies took place in Piggott, Arkansas, the following manner (without the knowledge of the JP) if the couple getting married did not look the required age, (because they were not old enough) a friend would stand in as the bride/groom or couple. The ceremony would take place and the license handed to the waiting young person/couple by the couple or person who "stood in,"(as it was called) when away from the court house. Return to (1) (2) RED SKELTON: Bernard Richard "Red" Skelton (July 18, 1913 - September 17, 1997) was an American comedian who started in vaudeville as a teen-ager, worked his way up to Broadway shows He is best remembered for taking on the persona of circus clowns in traditional makeup - a role that may have come naturally to Skelton, since his father, who died shortly before his birth, had worked as a clown for the Hagenbeck & Wallace Circus. His best-known clown persona was "Freddy the Freeloader", who had traditional tramp clown makeup. Another popular character was goofy "Clem Kadiddlehopper". (3) MARK TWAIN: Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835-April 21, 1910), better known by pen name Mark Twain, was a famous and popular humorist, writter and lecturer. He was also a steamboat pilot, gold prospector and journalist. His classics Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are widely read in schools across the U.S., as well as in many other western countries. Also popular are The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court and the non-fictional Life on the Mississippi.Return to (2) (3) (4) Laundry was done out side by heating the water in a kettle over an open fire. The water was pumped by a hand pump, carried to the kettle, carried from the kettle to the washtub, next a tub with rinse water in it. The water was removed from the cloths by wringing or twisting the cloths by hand, then hung on a line of fence to dry by the outside air. This was done winter and summer, as was the ironing with the irons headed on a wood stove inside the homes. Return to (4) (5) Crank Type Victrola - The fore runner of todays music CD's. Victor Brand, Victrolas, were marketed, ranging from small tabletop models selling for $15. to a high dollar of $600 considered the high point of the development of the commercial wind-up phonograph, offering audio fidelity seldom matched by most home electric phonographs until some 30 years later. These machines had to be craked by hand for each record. The needle tracked the grove in the record and produced sound. It was a real treat even to know someone who had a Victrola.Return to (5)


(c) Taken from: "My Memories," written to my children, nieces & nephews. Charles McClure in Owasso, Oklahoma
(c) and Contributed by: Charles McClure


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