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

Page Five

     
Ma Melton
   Ma Melton would have been an interesting case study.  She  was  as  near  a
   female counterpart of Pop as anyone at home. She and her entire family were
   large people, who were not fully accepted by the  rest  of  the  community.
   They were a little different. (good Lord, who wasn't) The girls wore  their
   hair long and coiled around their head.

   Ma Melton like Pop never blushed in her life or felt they had a reason  to.
   I remember the time that she brought several pairs of  brogan  shoes  (Ltl'
   Abner/high top) from Joe Hefner's store into  our  fifth  grade  class  and
   completely disrupted our studies; while she tried the  shoes  on  her  son,
   Franklin.
   On another occasion, when she passed the tavern she yelled  (which  sounded
   like a beached whale with a  head-cold)  at  me,  that  Mr.  Patterson  was
   looking for a few good cotton hoer's (choppers), which sounded like  cotton
   whores, loud enough for half of the town to hear. She  never  talked  in  a
   normal tone, always yelled every single word and did everything at  a  lope
   (double time).
   As I reflect back I feel sure that we all sold her short. She was really  a
   unique person who was either partially deaf or thought that the rest of the
   world was. They were a nice family that unfortunately most of us didn't get
   to know. I  regret  that  I  didn't  pay  more  attention  to  all  of  the
   interesting people and activities while growing up in a small town.
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MA Scott
    Ma Scott, her daughter Zelpha and grandsons, Jackie (Leland Ray) and  Dewey
    Piatt lived in the house across the street from us. The  boys  mother  died
    early in life and their father of TB a  few  years  later.  The  boys  were
    raised by Ma Scott. Claudie and I visited  them  quite  often  and  enjoyed
    eating her biscuits and gravy, especially her chocolate gravy. Claudie  ate
    there more than I did. He was never bashful when it came  to  food  or  any
    other time for that matter. She enjoyed going barefoot as much as  any  kid
    in town

    Ma Scott and most adults saucered their coffee by pouring a  little  coffee
    from their cup into their saucer, so that they could blow on it to cool  it
    before they slurped it from the saucer. You can imagine just how  noisy  it
    was in a dining room of a cafe with a bunch of adults  slurping  coffee  at
    the same time. It was a common practice then. As kids, we wanted  to  drink
    coffee, but our parents would never let us. They told us that it would turn
    our feet black and goodness knows it was bad enough that we  had  to  worry
    about them being rusty most of the time. Some of the adults drank a cup  of
    hot water and a teaspoon full of sugar in it as a laxative the first  thing
    each morning.

    Ma always had a quilting frame  suspended  from  her  living-room  ceiling.
    Often ladies were there sewing  the  fine  uniform  stitches,  required  in
    quilting. There were a lot of signature/history/farewell quilts sewn during
    this time.

    When Ma Scott was on her death bed at the Lucy Lee Hospital her last  words
    were that Claudie had been born in March rather than April. She and Pop had
    an ongoing argument about his birth date with neither giving an inch.
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Zelpha

    All of us boys were fascinated with Zelpha, Ma's daughter, because she  was
    older and had a endnote5crank  type  Victrola
    which she loved to play her records on and always seemed to be looking  for
    a needle that still had a little life left in it. They had to  be  replaced
    quite often. Zelpha was also  an  avid  jigsaw  puzzle  worker.  Frequently
    working until the late hours at night. (about 10 PM) All of  the  sidewalks
    were rolled up at 8 o'clock 
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Jackie Piatt

    Jackie Piatt was  a  very  serious  boy,  who  quite  often  serenaded  the
    neighborhood with western songs  from  their  front  porch  swing,  in  the
    evening. He had a very mellow voice.    (May 3, 1929 - Nov 14, 2003)


My Dog Bobby

    We only had one dog by the name of Bobby, who followed me everywhere. I can
    recall vividly Pop cutting off his tail and placing it under our front door
    step (for good luck to anyone who entered our house).  Which  was  a  short
    section of a railroad tie at that time. He then poured some kerosene on the
    stump and the dog didn't appreciate it.  Bobby  and  Bruce,  (Boogers  dog)
    followed us to the ditch south of town once too often and Bobby was  struck
    by the Moose, the train that passed through our town.
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Granny Mc Kay

    Like most small towns, we  had  more  than  a  few  colorful  and  slightly
    tarnished characters. Granny Mc Kay was one of our  favorites.  When  there
    was a shortage of men during the WW-I, she and a group of ladies  formed  a
    work (gandy dancers) gang to maintain the roadbeds of the railroad  tracks.
    She was their foreman. Granny was also the  town  constable  at  one  time,
    which surprises me. She was a small, (90 pounds, if a nickel) frail, humped
    lady, who seemed to have a corncob pipe  growing  out  of  her  mouth.  She
    taught a bunch of us ham-bones (Tom Sawyer types) Sunday School  and  Bible
    study at our Baptist Church. Granny gave me my first New Testament  at  the
    age of nine (and she was on the south side of seventy-six at the time)  for
    perfect attendance for the year. The testament and my  third  grade  report
    card are the only items that I've retained over the past fifty  years.  She
    always baked a cake and made lemonade once a month for her  pupils  with  a
    birthday during the month. Of course we all received an equal share so  all
    of us knot-heads looked forward to this special day. Everyone loved Granny,
    who was a little jewel with her own style and grace. With her  we  were  as
    comfortable as the family dog
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Treatis Glass
    Good ole Treatis Glass was our town drunk,  but  in  his  own  way  was  as
    beloved as Mother Mc Kay. He didn't do any  social/community  service  work
    but just having him around made life a little more bearable.  He  was  left
    with three boys after he lost his wife. Bobby Gene was adopted by the  Fuch
    family after his mother died.  His  brothers,  Glendell  and  Red  (Irving)
    stayed with their father. I went home with Glendell one evening  (any  time
    after noon was called evening by most people at home while growing  up)  at
    supper time to their small shack between the sawdust  pile  and  the  water
    tower for the trains. Treatis was in the process  of  cooking  a  cast-iron
    skillet level full of dough on top of the stove. Which as we all know would
    be enough dough for several pans of biscuits in the oven. Needless to  say,
    I didn't stay for supper. When a friend asked Red how far he went in school
    he answered, "About a half mile. I live between the sawdust  pile  and  the
    water tower." He also said that Glendell went one day in his place. It  was
    a cold day and Glendell came home before lunch (dinner) with an extra  coat
    and two dinner buckets. Red was a hoot.

    Treatis had a bad habit of taking a leak next  to  our  house,  instead  of
    using our outhouse. On the morning after Jamie and Glenn's honeymoon, which
    they spent in the bedroom that we boys had slept in while growing up. Jamie
    looked out the window and told Glenn there was a man urinating next to  the
    house. After looking out, Glenn told her that it was only Treatis and  that
    she shouldn't worry about it because he's well lubricated, about half blind
    and that's his p----n' place. On another occasion  Granny  Van  Gilder  was
    visiting from Rector, when Treatis stuck his nose up to the bathroom window
    while she was on the pot and said, "Is that you, Lillie?"  Granny  screamed
    and ran out of the bathroom pulling up her panties  and  told  Aunt  Lillie
    that there was a man peeking in the bathroom window. Aunt  Lillie  went  to
    the bathroom window to discover Treatis  moving  away  from  the  building,
    shakin his head. He wasn't used to such a noisy greeting so  early  in  the
    morning and besides his head was about splitting. "Hell, I was  just  being
    friendly he probably said to himself." Aunt Lillie told Granny it was  only
    Treatis and she shouldn't worry  about  because  he  is  suffering  from  a
    hangover and is half blind. He probably enjoyed more peep  shows  than  any
    man, woman or dog in the county. Treatis didn't have a vision problem which
    I'll prove a little later.

    He went with a bunch of us knuckleheads to Reese, Michigan to work in a pea
    vinery. A plant where pea pods were stripped from the  vines,  shelled  and
    sorted to size. The machine that sorted the peas  had  several  screens  of
    various sizes. We called this machine the pinball machine and we all wanted
    to work on it. It was easier than tossing the vines on  the  conveyer  belt
    with a pitchfork. Our immediate supervisor was a tall drink of water,  that
    we called "High Pockets or Daddy Long Legs." He immediately took a shine to
    lovable Treatis and even let him keep track of his own hours (always seemed
    to be  on  the  verge  of  saluting,  would  have  whistled  "Michigan,  My
    Michigan," if Treatis hadn't been from Missouri) and  would  have  waved  a
    flag if he'd had one handy! This was a mistake  because  superman  couldn't
    have worked the hours that Treatis claimed to have worked.

    We lived in small shacks with corn shuck mattresses,  that  kept  us  awake
    about half of the night. You can imagine how noisy they were when one of us
    turned over. We took turns cooking. Regardless how bad the meals  were,  we
    made a point never to let the cook hear us complain or  we  would  have  to
    take his place. Dewey almost slipped one day when he said  the  beans  sure
    are salty. He quickly redeemed himself by adding, "But this is just the way
    that I like them."

    The screen on the bottom of our pump had evidently rusted away because  the
    water contained an awful lot of sand. None of  us  were  crazy  about  this
    sandy water but Booger flatly refused to drink it.  Even  though  the  sand
    settled to the bottom of the glass in a short period of time. Each  evening
    we would all go to the drugstore in town for fountain cokes and  cigarettes
    for Treatis. We would have stepped  on  a  couple  of  young  lovers  while
    crossing the lot next to the drug store if it hadn't been  for  ole  "Eagle
    Eye" Treatis. Each time I saw him after this trip he  would  ask  me  if  I
    remembered the young lovers. Whenever I asked him how he was doing he would
    always reply that he was dog tared, hongry, and out of cigarettes.

    Treatis had a good sense of humor. A friend told him he had been drunk  for
    the last forty years. Treatis said, "Well, maybe it ain't helped  my  looks
    but hell, it shore ain't hurt my career any!" He said he wasn't  afraid  of
    work because he could lay down right beside it and go to sleep.  He  was  a
    typical alcoholic with nicotine stained fingers, whiskers that were  always
    two days behind his razor, hair looking for a comb, eroded cheeks,  cistern
    eyes, liver lips,  elongated  ears,  fleshy  nose,  forehead  like  an  old
    wrinkled boot, furry eyebrows, a deep throated laugh,  rundown  shoes  that
    were rarely ever tied and he looked like the a-- end of hard times. Treatis
    could never live to be as old as he looked. A person might say that he  was
    long in the tooth at this time, in his case. Other  than  this,  he  looked
    great! I'm not poking fun at Treatis he was a neat man, a joy to behold and
    everyone enjoyed his company. Today he would be called a real p----r.  Come
    to think of it, we did too.

    Bobby Gene was killed in an auto accident. He and Treatis are  buried  next
    to each other in the Brosley Cemetery. Treatis is in an unmarked grave.  As
    his name suggests he was a "TREAT" to all of "US" that he  touched.  I  was
    informed Red and Glendell died in Chicago. Details unknown so I had a brick
    made for Treatis and his three sons at the pavilion in Qulin.
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Bill M.
    Bill M. had an interesting nasal sound and claimed to be the unluckiest man
    in the world. He said that if he arrived at home at five minutes  to  five,
    supper wouldn't be ready yet, there wouldn't even be a  fire  in  the  cook
    stove. But if he came home at five minutes after five all of the darn  food
    would be eaten and the dishes done-up. Bill said that when you've  been  to
    one party, you've been to them all and before he had a chance to  look  the
    place over, they would turn out the lights and say that the party is  over!
    His whiskey was Hill & Hill when he wanted to get likkered up or  tried  to
    kill the hairy dog that bit him. He would tell Pop it was Hill &  Hill  now
    but it will be Hell & Hell when he got home. When he  needed  a  bottle  of
    booze he would tell his wife that he had to see a man about a dog. Also his
    biggest challenge was walking down that long long aisle to be fitted for  a
    double harness. You would have to  know  many  of  these  people  to  fully
    appreciate their humor. It would really floor you!
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Pete Cook
    The Cook brothers were an interesting pair. Pete was a  dapper  little  man
    with a cute little jelly belly. He was our barber when we  were  young  and
    haircuts were only a quarter. Pete only charged the boys twenty cents,  but
    if they came with only that amount, he would send them back  home  for  the
    other five cents. Then he would give the boy the nickel for  an  ice  cream
    cone after he had cut his hair. Pete gave me my first shave,  to  the  head
    that is! Mother and I cried for days after this and if you saw the shape of
    my head, you would know why. I really got fed up with everyone blessing  my
    little pointed head. Pop wouldn't allow me to come into  the  joint  for  a
    couple of months. Glenn refused to walk to school with me and  when  asked,
    disavowed any relationship and told everyone that I was a  rinky-dink  from
    Little Rock. I never knew why Pop had my head  shaved.  It  must  have  had
    something with Pete demanding  that  extra  nickel.  I  didn't  return  for
    another cut until my hair was so long that it looked as if  I  was  wearing
    ear muffs.

Ed Cook
    Ed sold second hand junk of every description  and  color  and  dabbled  at
    preaching at the Pentecostal Church. He  was  a  "Jackleg  Preacher"  there
    until he realized that Crip and about half of the other men  in  town  were
    making more money selling moonshine than he was at preaching. Ed preached a
    lot of fire and brimstone. So he started dabbling in a  new  direction.  Ed
    was one of those individuals that always  had  three  or  four  hound  dogs
    lazing at his feet that would follow him wherever he went. They  were  both
    very independent.
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Lollypop Doyle
    became our barber after Pete Cook took down his shingle.  His  son,  Bubble
    told a group of us at the American Legion in the Bluff a  couple  of  years
    ago that his dad was passing through Qulin and heard that  there  wasn't  a
    barber in town. So he said, "Well, why not," and became our barber. Without
    an ounce of training he acquired the  necessary  tools  and  with  hands-on
    experience as student/teacher became our barber for  many  years  to  come.
    Well anyway, this revelation by Bubble came as quite a surprise to  us.  We
    just thought that his specialty was "bad hair-cuts"!
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"Humpy Yeley"
    (he said that his surname was as good backwards as it was forward) deserves
    a few lines due to the well-known fact that he was such a lovable old hound
    dog! As I'm sure that you have guessed he was  terribly  humped.  He  could
    have just as well been called the "tambourine man", because he  never  went
    to any social function without his musical instrument.  We  would  see  him
    pass our place quite often in the evening heading  to  a  social  gathering
    with his brown felt hat, white dress shirt  and  his  ever  present  sleeve
    garters bloused above the elbows and of course his well used tambourine. He
    was a very popular person and was invited to most of the to-do's in town.

    He attended the Pentecostal Church religiously and with a few shakes of his
    tambourine and a hallelujah, amen brother, love you, sweet Jesus  or  bless
    you Lord, at the high points of the sermon  and  always  sat  in  the  amen
    corner.

    Humpy was nine days older than dirt and frequently said that you can't keep
    a good hillbilly down. He also said that if he didn't have  silver  in  his
    hair, gold in his teeth, and lead in his ass, he wouldn't be worth  feeding
    to the dogs! He thought about $1.25.

    Humpy like most people would promise to dance at your wedding, if you would
    do a favor for them, but with him a person knew that he wasn't just blowing
    smoke. Humpy would say that a person was just camping out  if  they  didn't
    live in Missouri. He was not a happy camper. He never missed a square dance
    because he loved to make that old rusty tack hit the floor and do that  old
    back-step. He said that square dancing was a pleasure  and  a  half.  Humpy
    enjoyed any activity that encouraged  a  lot  of  hand  clapping  and  foot
    stomping. He would say, "If you can whistle the tune I will do the  dance."
    He enjoyed dancing more than eating an ice cream cone. He was always  there
    till-the-last-dog. Humpy had a happy heart.
 Return to TOC
    
Flora Reese
    One of the most unfortunate individuals was Flora Reese. Her nose had  been
    severed from her face  in  an  automobile  accident.  People  were  not  as
    concerned with disfigurement then and cosmetic  surgery  wasn't  nearly  as
    advanced as it is today. She  spent  countless  hours  and  consumed  large
    quantities of beer in Pop's tavern. It fascinated us all at just  how  long
    that she could go without using the throne in the  back  house  considering
    how fast beer goes through most people. She evidently had one of those five
    gallon bladders. When I consider how  it  looked  and  smelled,  after  the
    drunks had hosed it down, it wasn't surprising at all that we all  held  it
    longer than we cared to.

    Flora always seemed to find someone who was willing to  buy  the  beer  for
    her. She knocked on our screen door one cold winter night told Aunt  Lillie
    and Pop that she was freezing to death and didn't have any place to go. The
    folks took heart and allowed her to  sleep  with  my  step-sister,  Poodle.
    Flora was an attractive lady (except for her missing nose) who was  perhaps
    a little on the big bone side.  She  was  a  very  sweet  person,  a  great
    conversationalist, who was liked by everyone.

    Flora eventually moved to Chicago where her condition came to the attention
    of a plastic surgeon who envisioned the possibilities  and  the  tremendous
    challenge in reconstructing her face. After many appointments and  surgical
    procedures, he made her a nose from other body parts that  were  compatible
    that not only made  her  nose  look  fairly  normal,  but  also  created  a
    beautiful face. When  she  went  to  the  doctor's  office  for  her  final
    appointment to have the dressing and  sutures  removed.  She  was  euphoric
    about the final results of the surgery, but was depressed when  her  doctor
    invited her into his private office for the  final  instructions.  She  had
    fallen deeply in love with the man who had made her feel wonderfully  whole
    again and she was afraid that she would never see him again. So we can only
    guess at how astonished and filled with love she must have  been  when  her
    doctor told her that he didn't want to lose his most beautiful creation and
    had hopes that she would prevent this by becoming his wife.

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F.G.
    F.G. frequently drank to excess. She was once arrested for walking  through
    town without clothes. Beetle-bomb and some of the local  jerks  had  gotten
    her drunk and taken off all of her clothes and threw them in a trash barrel
    that still had some live coals in it so you can guess the rest.  Yes,  they
    burned. So, she strolled over to Ma Loshes cafa and juke joint. Who did she
    meet as she entered the front door? None  other  than  Jackie  Piatt,  like
    myself, was so bashful that he wouldn't say boo to a  turtle  until  he  was
    about eighteen. Her first words were, "Do you have a cigarette?" Just as if
    she was fully clothed. Jackie, having never seen anything like this  turned
    as red as a beet and almost bowled her over as he charged out of the  cafe.
    If this had been brother Dewey he would have  given  her  a  cigarette  and
    invited her to one of the booths for a little conversation and  a  bowl  of
    chili.
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Booger
    Booger got an  early  morning  scare  one  Sunday  when  he  delivered  the
    newspaper to a service station/restaurant. Some girls had been drinking all
    night and had a snoot full, and were higher'n a kite. They  both  had  eyes
    (bloodshot) for his young tender body so he quickly dropped the  paper  and
    scooted out the door. Booger made just enough each day to buy sodas for his
    Pepsi habit which he consumed at each place of business that he stopped  at
    the better part of a dozen.

 Return to TOC

Guy Scott
    Guy Scott was an interesting man, like ol' shade tree (Oney) Scott he could
    do many things well. Guy was the only person  at  home  that  had  his  own
    icehouse. It was about 5 or 6 feet square. The walls, roof  and  door  were
    double boarded with about six inches of sawdust in between for  insulation.
    He and Bo would cut ice from the #1 ditch north of town and store it in the
    icehouse for refrigeration of the food for most of the year. Guy  did  some
    logging with Bo north of Qulin. He did some carpentry and he  and  Margaret
    always had a big garden. He spent a lot of time  at  Pop's  place  shooting
    pool and playing cards. It was surprising that he did  everything  so  well
    because his hands were gnarled from a dynamite explosion.


Some of the ladies at home worked at the shoe  and  shirt  factory  at  the
Bluff. But I don't believe any of the men did. There was  a  bus  to  and
from the Bluff each day.

I regret that I didn't pay more attention to all of the interesting  people
and activities while growing up in a small town.

 Return to TOC

General Mac Arthur (our very own)
    I would be remiss if I didn't include a short  blurb  on  our  General  Mac
    Arthur. He was a family man of great dignity  and  sterling  character  who
    would have been a general if our country had a bicycle corps.  General  Mac
    Arthur rode his bicycle with a ram-rod stiff  back  and  military  bearing.
    With his Ike jacket, (he wasn't  able  to  locate  a  Mac  Arthur  jacket),
    chauffeurs cap' (most men wore hats and a lesser number wore hunting  caps,
    mackinaw cap, Scottish plaid with earflaps or  chauffeurs  caps  during  my
    youth. and his six cell flashlight. Our General Mac Arthur was not quite up
    to par with his namesake, because he had a little slow but  he  could  sure
    ride that two-wheeler and make those babies!

Ma Losh
    Ma Losh (Loshes Cafe) was a petite lady (wasn't big as a minute) who seemed
    to disappear when she was driving her "big black Buick". The only  part  of
    her that a person following could see were a  pair  of  white  knuckles  on
    either side of the steering wheel. It was sort of spooky, like following  a
    phantom, who was so short that she had to sight through the steering wheel.
    Her husband died from ingesting minute slivers of glass in  a  sandwich.  I
    don't recall the details of his death.
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I would be remiss if I didn't add a few lines about Rod and  Julie  Watson,
one of the sweetest couples at home. they enjoyed  every  aspect  of  life.
Even chopping and picking that white stuff. (cotton)

They were a part of a group that went to the Blue Moon at Poplar  Bluff  in
the early fifties, where they did the  old  fashioned  dances.  there  were
always a few singles, so the broom dance was popular. A single could tap  a
dancer on the shoulder and pass the broom on to them and take their  place.
There was a live band and when there was a square  dance  tip  one  of  the
dancers would make the calls.  Today  records  are  used  and  professional
callers.

On one outing Pop, Aunt Lillie, Rod and Julie, Merle and Donna Jean (Cruse)
Chaney, Billy Dale McGee and Barbara and I took a trip to Reel  foot  Lake,
Tennessee. This was when  vehicles  were  ferried  across  the  Mississippi
River.

We cooked out on the open fire. One such meal was fish cooked in  one  iron
skillet, while potatoes and hush puppies in other. With bermuda  onion,  it
made for a feast.

We stopped at the first picnic table available after leaving the  ferry  on
the way home to eat a 90 some pound water melon that  had  been  bought  at
Broseley. Due to the sandy soil in Broseley some of the melons were in  the
excess of 100 pounds. After we had eaten the heart of the melon, it  seemed
a waste to throw away so much of the remaining melon. So, we did  the  only
thing civilized people do; we had a royal watermelon fight.

After leaving the messy picnic area, we stopped at the first large body  of
water that we came to and jumped in with our clothes on to wash off some of
the watermelon stains. Some of us felt that we had a few scores to  settle,
so a water fight quickly ensues. this was probably one of our most  unusual
trips and one of the most fun ones. A person could always count on having a
good time with Rod and Julie. Rod and Julie lived  in  the  Gentzen  school
house after it was moved to Qulin and they  were  janitors  for  the  Qulin
schools. I'm sure that life wasn't always easy for them,  but  they  always
had a positive attitude.



US statistics for 1903.... Only 14 Percent of the homes in the US had a bathtub. Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars. Charles McClure in Owasso, Oklahoma

  

(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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