Raeford, North Carolina
Rather than face another bitter winter at the ranch, Dad decided to re-enlist in the army and was ultimately assigned to Ft. Bragg, N.C.
Our family was put on the waiting list for military housing. In the meantime we rented a wonderful old farmhouse just outside Raeford, N.C. It was so nice to have all of life's luxuries such as indoor plumbing, electricity, heat, and individual bedrooms for all. I even had a real bus to ride to school, although I did really miss Brownie!
Dorene's birth created a lot of excitement in the family. She was a very welcome addition - a new sister to play with and love! Her first name "Evea" is after Aunt "Evea" Birdie. Dorene is just a name that mom and dad had heard and liked.
Sylvia and I could hardly wait to meet our new baby sister. Children were not allowed to visit in the hospital, however, Dad had a brainstorm - Mom's room was ground floor level with a low window. Dad took us with him when he went to the hospital to visit Mama and tiny Dorene. We anxiously waited outside the window while Dad went inside, closed the door to Mom's room, opened the window and helped us climb inside and meet our new little Dorene. Oh how we loved her!
After school was out for the summer, Dad's name came to the top of the list for on post housing. The family moved to Ft. Bragg where we were assigned housing in Yadkin Area. It was an area of barrracks that had been converted into apartments suitable for family living. Our family received a 3 bedroom unit in a 4 family building.
Dorene had her 1st of two bouts with Spinal Menengitis. Doe was my favorite toy. Everywhere I went - there she would be - riding in the basket on my bike! One evening at dusk, mama told me to go to the PX (just a few blocks)for bread. I wanted to take Doe, but this time Mama said "No". She had had the sniffles and Mama felt she shouldn't be out in the evening air. I TOOK HER ANYHOW!
That night she became very ill, high fever and convulsions. Mom and Dad rushed her to the hospital. It was Spinal Menengitis! I thought it was all my fault because I had disobeyed Mama! I just knew she was going to die because of me!! I was SO SCARED!! I loved her SO MUCH!
Doe was placed in isolation at the hospital and we were quarantined, not allow to leave our house. Mama and Daddy were allowed to visit the hospital, but could not enter her room. They could only view her through a window. Because of the nature of the disease, her tiny body wanted to stiffen in a backbend type shape, therefore, she had to be strapped to a board. It was really terrifying for us all.
There was big excitement on post. President Truman was paying a visit. There was to be a big review followed by a reception.
The powers that be asked Daddy to make a hand tooled leather briefcase
to be presented to the President from "Ft. Bragg". Because of the
briefcase, daddy and family (us) were allowed to attend the reception.
I was so proud of daddy and thrilled to be able to actually meet the
president and have him shake my hand!
Due to our age/grade difference we rode different buses. At the end of the first day, Sylvia's bus pulled up next to mine. Her poor, frustrated driver was really at a loss about what to do. He had completed his route several times, but still had a couple children aboard! Sylvia was one! I identified Sylvia who joined me on my bus for the ride home. I was so surprised that she hadn't recognize our home and bus stop. When questioned, she told me "I knew where I was. I even saw our SECRET persimmon tree three times and I didn't tell anyone! I liked riding the bus!"
One Sunday morning when Sylvia and I returned home from Church, Mama asked about the service. Syl excitedly told her it was great! It was about doing the laundry. "Doing the laundry?"......Yes. We sang a song about "Bringing in the SHEETS" (the actual hymn was "Bringing in the Sheaves")!!
The buildings in our area were heated by a large coal burning furnace located in what we refered to as the boiler room. Dorene and her little friend's favorite place to play was, you guessed it, in the boiler room in the coal pile! She would get soo dirty, but was so cute you couldn't get angry with her!
One day a very young Dorene, disappeared! After searching the area, a very franic Mama called the MP's who also started looking for her. Finally, she was found, with her little friend, at a play-ground I frequently took her to, several blocks away. The MP's tried to bring them home. Her friend went with them, but not Dorene! She was afraid they were going to take her to jail or someplace terrible! She threw such a tantum they had to return without her and I had to go bring her home.
We made frequent trips to Tracy City, Tennessee to visit Dad's family.
They were always such happy times - being with grandparents, aunts,
uncles, cousins, etc. Dad's parents lived near the fairgrounds. Trips
were frequently planned at times when there was a fair or carnival.
The wonderful memories...at night after going to the fair or carnival,
we children played in the big front yard, catching fireflies, while
the adults congregated on the big old front porch (2 porch swings)
laughing and talking. Dad's Dad, such a gentle, loving grandpa, could
always come up with new, fun games and stories...wonderful stories....
I was very wrong. Dad's father,Martin Bowen, had died of a blood clot. At that time, funeral homes were not used as they are now. His casket was in the living room of their home. The aroma of all the beautiful flowers filled the air. There were many, many visitors, most bringing food to feed the family as well as flowers. It was a very sad time. He was a very good man,loved by many, especially his grandchildren. The actual funeral had to be postponed for several days. Dad's brothers, Uncle John, Uncle Jim and Uncle Henry, were all in the navy and, I don't remember which ones, but some were on ships at sea. They had to be notified and given time to travel to Tennessee.
After the funeral, while still in Tennessee, Mama became ill. We children didn't know until much later in life, she had a miscarriage. The son she and Dad had so longed for was still born. We returned home not knowing the added pain Mama and Daddy were feeling.
Dad and Mama decided to take us and Granny Bowen, Dad's Mom, on a trip to Colorado to visit Uncle Alton and Aunt Birdie and see the ranch again. They bought a brand new car, green/cream, Nash Ambasador, for the trip.
The trip going was uneventful. It was wonderful visiting with old friends.
In the cellar, an underground room used for storing canned foods, etc. I discovered years old dried up "mud pies" that I had made when we lived there. Aunt Birdie told me she couldn't part with them. They had my tiny fingerprints on them! That's when I realized just how great her love for me was.
Good-bye's were said and we left to return home. That evening, about dusk, a horse ran in front of the car. Dad couldn't stop quick enough and hit it. There we were - stuck in Alamosa, Colorado, 6 people in a single motel room, for 3 days waiting for the car to be repaired.
Much later, after returning home, Dad would laugh about how the
horse must have thought that was the biggest "DEER" it had ever
Can't have a family history without a fish story. Dad took
Syl and I fishing at the spill way below Mott Lake. We didn't have
real fishing tackle. We always used cane poles with the line tied to
the end. Suddenly I got a big bite. The fish was stronger than me!
I couldn't bring it in! Dad quickly took my pole and after a bitter
hard battle, including walking the top edge of a thin board fence,
finally landed a 9 1/2 pound bass. Dad was so proud of that fish he
had it mounted. That fish was always the source of teasing between
us! We each claimed ownership. I hooked it, but he brought it in!
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;
What is essential is invisible to the eye.
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,
The Little Prince