Friday, February 22, 2008

A New Venture

For some time now I have been considering putting together a collection of my stories about growing up in the Texas Panhandle. This first post will be my introduction, and as I polish the snippets of my memories, I will add one from time to time. See what you think:


I grew up in the small Texas Panhandle town of Pampa in the 1940s and 1950s. Pampa was a thriving oil town with a carbon black plant, and refineries that belched black smoke and malodorous stuff into the air which combined with the stench of the open oil and gas wells. I often wonder about the health hazards of growing up in such a foul environment but all of our family seems healthy enough. After all, Daddy lived to be 93 and Mother is still alive at 92.

Summers were hot and dry most of the time, and winters were cold and often snowy. It seems that the wind blew year around…hot and dry in the summer, and cold and frigid in the winter. We had no air conditioning, but Daddy put a swamp cooler in the dining room window the last few years we lived in Pampa. The heat in our house came from the oven in the kitchen, a gas stove in our living room false fireplace, a floor furnace in the middle of the house, and an open gas stove in the bathroom. I think we all burned our feet on the floor furnace as we were learning to walk, but it was great to stand over that furnace to warm up on a cold winter’s day.

Daddy was a traveling salesman for a wholesale hardware company and was gone most of the week “working his territory.” On Fridays and Saturdays he sold hardware products to the stores in and around Pampa and sometimes let me accompany him on those days. I had a wonderful time visiting in the hardware stores and wandering around lumberyards. To this day, the smell of wood can transport me straight back to a Saturday afternoon in a Higginbotham-Bartlett Lumberyard with Daddy leaning on the counter chatting with the men working there and writing down their orders in his order book with everything in triplicate!

Mother made most of our clothes and was a wonderful cook. She read to us, played games with us, and also did needlework, and many arts and crafts. All three of us children grew up doing arts and crafts with her and learning crafts of our own. I remember beading, copper tooling, needlework, paint by number books, shell jewelry, copper enameling, leather tooling, and many, many other crafts. It seems like we tried them all at one time or another, thanks to Mother’s help and encouragement.

Our lives in Pampa were busy and full, and I remember that as a very happy time in my life.


  1. I loved reading this! Thank you! Is the house you grew up in still standing?

  2. I love your description of Pampa. Isn't it strange that your son and family would move back to this small town so many years later...Connie the house is still standing and I'm trying to remember the street. It's a little yellow house sort of near the library. I'll have to get the address:)

  3. This is very interesting! By the way, thanks for listing my "Write Your Life!" blog as a favorite.

  4. Thanks, Senior Writer. I really enjoy your blog, ""Write Your Life!"