The Story of My Life - Page 3
(by Loma (Groom) Harrison)
After dad and step-mother married, we moved to the Panhandle of Texas, where again dad pastored Baptist Churches. We were living near Wellington, Texas when step-mother found out that she was going to die. She made all of us many new clothes and put them in "trunks" which she made of orange crates and covered with attractive material. We all kept our trunks under the bed, and we were very, very proud.
Her brothers came from Kaufman, in their surrey, to take her home to her parent's to die and to be buried in the family burial plot. Soon after she left, our house burned to the ground, plus the buggy which was parked at the side of the house. Dad left us with neighbors so he could be with Celeste during her final days. She died an excruciating death.
At the same time, in Hood County, Texas, which was about a two days horse back ride from Kaufman, dad's beloved father died of pneumonia. Dad was in deep grief that he could not go to be with his father. They were always very close and had a lot in common since they were both Baptist ministers.
A lesser man than my father would have been defeated by all this, but dad had a Divine Call from God and his faith gave him the courage to carry on. Again, dad had to give up, for three years, being a pastor so that he could stay close to us, keep us together and to care for us. Then he became missionary of Hall and Donley Counties and we moved to Memphis, Texas where we lived till I was twelve years old.
Through those years I remember our family devotions every morning, when dad read the Bible to us and we had prayer. We read good religious books together, each taking turn reading out loud. I made good grades in school and had my first "chum" (as we called our very best friend, in those days), Thelma Walker. We confided our inmost secrets to each other....
We then moved to Crawford, Oklahoma where dad pastored two country churches. I finished Junior High School and rode horse back five miles each day to school. It was here that I began singing solos in church and directing congregational singing. I was fourteen years old.
My fondest memories of those years, were the happy times I had with my first really close friend, Vera Haight. We shared all our hopes and dreams and became almost inseparable. Also, I had my first "puppy love", Lloyd Harper. Our first date was to go to the Fourth of July Picnic with Vera and her boy friend, Doyle Walker. Vera's mother made both of us pretty new gingham dresses for the occasion and I spent the night with her to get ready for the big event. The next day, when I saw HIM coming over the hill, in a buggy, drawn by two beautiful gray mules, my heart almost stopped beating. There he was, that gorgeous "man of my dreams", coming to get me and take me away with him!
That year, I participated in everything in school and the community, I recited poetry at the weekly Literary Society, won my first ribbon in forty-yard dash, and played basketball, wearing my long pleated bloomers. One Sunday night at Church, before B Y P U, one of the boys took us for a ride in his new Buick car and we went 60 miles an hour! "Whew"! Were we ever frightened. One of the boys said when we got back to church, "I was so scared, I could smell brimstone a-burning".
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