Janet Coyle was my third grade teacher. She was a good teacher and a wonderful person. We have been friends for many years and she had helped me in so many ways. She is also a cousin by marriage. I missed a lot of school growing up. I had the whooping cough and then I got the mumps, Lou Velia told me during an interview around 2005.
I played with the Oliver children. Christian Oliver, Mary Margaret and Gladys Oliver would all come over and take turns spending the night. Gertrude and Halen Herbert, Katheren Hargrove and Emma Naylor would also take turns spending the night. I also spent a lot of time with Thelma Rae Bolden. We liked to catch butterflies and bugs.
Sometimes there would be a boxing match or a medicine show in Rowlett on Saturday night and sometimes us kids would go out looking for a watermelon patch.
In the fall of the year a family named Nesmith would come and pick cotton for us. They had five boys and one little girl. They lived in a tent down by the river. My step-dad, Lewis Shipley, let them stay one winter in the little house by the barn. It had a well and a wood stove. The boys would hunt rabbits and mom would give then sweet potatoes.
Thelma Rae and I decided to give them Christmas presents. So we saved all our lunch money and got tops, balls and jacks, yo yos and hard candy. We both got our dolls, cleaned them and made dresses for them. Mother found out what we were doing and made a dinner for them. She cooked a hen, made dressing and blackberry pie. We put it all in a wheel barrel and took it down to them on Christmas Eve. Mrs. Nesmith cried and said that they had never had a Christmas before. It was the best Christmas I ever had.
Note: Lou Velia let me borrow the photo for this story. She quietly spoke as I took notes. Tried to return the photo but no answer. Janet Coyle told me that Lou only lived a short time after our visit sometime around 2005. More information on Janet Coyle here.