Sunday, October 04, 2009
Random Stories and Thoughts from Tataw
One of Grandpa Johnston's sisters was married to a man named Marceles Davis. He was a Colonel in the Civil War. He was also a lawyer. They lived in Dardanelle, AR. I remember he had some old pistols and stuff from the Civil War on his office walls. He also had his old saddle from the Civil War. It was a confederate saddle. It had an opening down the middle over the horse's backbone. She had it under the house and she gave it to Uncle Frank. I don't know what he ever did with it.
I remember reading in an old copy of the Post Dispatch about a wharf on the Arkansas River in Dardanelle. They said it was the "Cotton and Johnston" wharf. I think they loaded cotton on steamboats there.
I wanted my sister, Nina to be a brother. I was 6 years older than her. Momma said, "I don't know why you'd want a brother." She said it'd be like cousins Bink and Frank Lee. Bink was 6 when Frank Lee was born and he didn't want him tagging along all the time. Nina was the last kid she could have. She was 40. I guess she would let us nurse for a long time, so she didn't get pregnant very often. She said she'd had all the babies she could. There were 5 of us and they were all born over about 12 years. Most were about 2 1/2 years apart. I had 4 sisters.
Papa (Tataw's dad) was married before to Ethel Cates. She died in childbirth and her baby did, too. For years, we just had a rock to mark the grave. Many, many years later, my mom had a small tombstone made for them. Papa remarried and they had Tataw and his sisters. Grandma Johnston was 3 years older than him and she told Tataw that she was the one who proposed. She was 26 and he was 23. She was getting to be an old maid... I suppose Grandma Johnston knew his first wife. They were neighbors and when I was growing up, she had relatives that were our neighbors. There were a few Cates left up there and they were buried at New Hope Cemetery. I don't think there are any others up there. *side note- when I was born (Nikki), Papa came to the hospital and cried like a baby when he found that mom and I were healthy and well. Tataw said Papa was emotional*
Boyd George married my sister, Mary. I knew him and his brothers and sister. His sister was a good friend of Rena's (my sister). Boyd was 6 years older than me. I remember Boyd coming out when he was a teenager. He bought 2 or 3 banty chickens from us. I guess he walked out from town. At that time, it was about 2 miles. Boyd's family lived in town. I never knew what his dad did for a living, other than bootlegging. He and his wife didn't live together too long. The wife raised the kids. He lived in town. His name was Sam George. *Side note- Memaw's brother, Boug went to Boyd's mother's house when he had his leg amputated as a child (rather than staying in a hospital). She took care of Dr. Christian's patients at the time and took in boarders. Memaw was always close to Mrs. George all of her life because she'd known her for so long. They were good friends, despite the age difference. *
Tataw's version of when He and Memaw got married: B. McElroy was going with Reba Fay on a date and he set us up. He was going on a date and wanted someone else to go. He said, "She's a cute girl!" and so I told him, "Well then you take her and I'll go with Reba Fay"... So we went on a date. When we dated, we'd go over to the honkey tonk a lot and to Lake Nimrod for picnics and fishing. *Memaw piped in- We just dated on two furlows we had until he got out of the military. I was living in California and I came back just to see my grandmother (Grandma Bell), but I went straight from California to Little Rock and saw Tataw. He was living with his sister, Mary there in Little Rock. We decided one night that we were going to get married, so the next day, we went to the Yell Co. Courthouse in Dardanelle. David McClure filled out the paperwork. There was a 3 day waiting list, but he back-dated it for us. We went out to the Centerville store and picked up Reba Faye, first. Ol Pockus was a justice of the peace and he had a store and barber shop. At the time, they were both dating someone else... Bud didn't like it because she was going with someone else, so Sallie said, "Well we might as well be married!" so they got married. Bud didn't go see his girlfriend in Little Rock for 3 or 4 days... He'd gotten married. His girlfriend was named Dorothy Gaden. She called the fire station to ask what was wrong and he told her he'd gotten married. She cried. Bud never talked to her anymore. She'd been married before, but he and his mom were mean to her. After they married, they lived in Little Rock with Boyd and Mary for about 6 months. Butch was a baby. Grandma Nell and Grundy and all the family was glad. They all liked Bud because he was such a good guy. Bud's family were all allright with it. He supposed they were glad he was married. He was 26 and she was 20. For a while, they just wrote letters. When he was in parachute school, he sent her a jump jacket, a bouquet of flowers and a packet of chewing gum. Chewing gum was hard to come by during the war. Sallie wrote back and said that she'd come home to her apartment and those flowers were waiting for her. She was living in Crockett, CA then. That was when they'd dated.