Friday, January 5, 2024

Brenda Ballew, guest

When we lived in Corsicana, I was fortunate to get to play in the Corsicana Swing Orchestra.  We'd practice once a week.  I enjoyed playing last chair trumpet. The main "boss" was Jerry Ballew.  His wife Brenda was the singer.  They lived south of Corsicana in Teague, Texas.  

Since I moved to Salado, we correspond at times.  They are on my Christmas Card list (see blog entry babble below).  She sent me a couple of emails which I found interesting/fun.  So I asked her permission to put them here as a  "GUEST BLOGGER!!!"


Going through our Christmas cards this morning , I thought I’d share with you that the one you sent us showing Santa using a wooden box-on-the-wall telephone is very familiar.  When my family moved from Odessa to Donie about 1959 or 1960, we lived in a rent house that had a similar phone.  I had to stand on a stool to reach it, and we had to ring the local operator (“Miss Lela”) and tell who we wanted to call. Sometimes she’d say something like, “Oh Honey, he’s not home. I saw him drive by a few minutes ago”. There was a party line so you had to know your ring (two longs and a short, etc) so you wouldn’t answer someone else’s call. AND you could pick up on their call and eavesdrop if you were so inclined.  

As I said, we moved to Donie from Odessa, where we had a black rotary dial phone. So the Donie phone system was quite a shock.  Gee, seeing that box phone on a vintage style Christmas card makes me vintage too, I guess. 

My great granddaddy, in his lifetime, saw the Jesse James gang AND jet airplanes. So I guess box wall phones to cell phones really isn’t that much of a stretch. 
And that’s my blog for the day!

Sure. I don’t mind being a guest writer. 

I remember you’ve told me before that you also attended school in Odessa. I  attended Burnet Elementary. I think it was a new school; it had a central building with wings coming off it. Every wing had its own concrete extension— like sidewalks but very wide. All the concrete was still white and new looking. We (mostly the girls) played Jacks using golf balls at recess on these walks. So much better than using little rubber balls!  We were very good at it—we could go through our onesies to sixes so easily that we started picking up one, then two, then three to get through the easy part faster. Then on to Cart Before the Horse, Sheep Over the Fence , Shooting Stars, Around the World, and lots more. Group games were supervised and  included Flying Dutchman and Drop the Handkerchief. I went to school there from the second through fourth grade. Then my family moved to Donie, as I said in my previous message. Sadly for me, the kids there weren’t interested in playing Jacks. Instead they played team games like Annie Over, Red Rover, and Little White House On the Hill.  I think I’d still enjoy Jacks now if I could get down on the floor in the proper position and then get back up again.  

Do you remember the sand storms and the tumbleweeds? I would play cowboys and Indians with my neighbor, a boy named Jerry about a year younger than I, on a vacant lot in our neighborhood.  It was a very authentic setting— sandy and gravel, big rocks, and tumbleweeds rolling by!

Almost every house was cooled with water fans, most installed on the roof like central air conditioning. It was very effective because of how dry the air was. And in the new housing addition where we bought a small brick home on Melody Lane, the back yard fences were made of concrete blocks to keep the sand from blowing against the house. But still Mother would put tape around the windows to stop it from sifting in. 

Later I’ll tell you about the difference in the Odessa and Donie schools. 
I hope you enjoyed that little bit.
You want to be a guest - send me something.  I might post it.
By the way, she talks of water fans.  In my day we called those Swamp Coolers.  They could freeze you right out.

No comments:

Post a Comment