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The Fletcher Family Story
As Told by Mattie Tucker
Written by Pattie Carter
When we finally reached Colorado, it was snowing. We pulled our
wagons under a tree and by a big bank, and put up tents beside the wagons.
We stayed in the tents until papa and the boys got the Dug Out built. That's
what papa called the old house he built there. Papa and the boys dug about
three feet into the ground, then built walls up around about three feet high.
The walls were made out of adobe. Momma, Tinker and Jennie took some old
newspapers and papered the walls to make it look cleaner. It was also to cover
the dirt around the bottom of the Dug Out. We had a dirt floor and momma
watered it to make the surface hard enough to sweep. It was clay like dirt there.
The Dug Out was just one room. The back part we used as bedrooms. We all
slept in the same room, we all had beds. I slept with Tinker, Jennie slept with
Cub, Son slept with Clyde and Bud slept with Momma. While we was in
Colorado, we did not have an outhouse. Momma had painted pictures on the
walls, tables that she put things on. The eating table and of course our beds.
We had a dresser we brought all the way from Oklahoma with us. We had coal
oil lamps that had globes. We never did use candles that I knew about.
My father homesteaded three hundred and twenty acres of land
there in Colorado. It was cattle country though and all Papa knew was
farming. Papa also built a chicken coop that was made of rock. When we was
there in the mid 1980's the chicken house was still standing. The roof was
gone, but the walls was still there.
The shopping was done in Branson, it was about 30 miles from
where we lived. The way they bought grocery's then, was when Mr. Durrett
would go to town, he went around to all the places, he would buy grocery's
for everyone needing to get something at the store. If Papa went to town
he would buy all the grocery's. They would bring back a wagon load of stuff
out there. Then at times, two or three of them would go together.
One time Papa and Mr. Durrett went together. With Mr. Durrett
being the horse trader he was, was always trying to get one of Papa's horses.
They slept in a wagon yard when they went to town. Papa come home and
just died laughing. He said he went to bed and Mr. Durrett said to Papa. He
said, "Frank, I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll trade you a certain kind of a horse for
one of your horses!" Papa just laughed and he said, "Charlie, I'm going to
tell you something. You just wait. I'll go home and I'll ask my wife what she
thinks about me trading my horse. If she says to trade, then I'll quit her!"
Mr. Durrett, from that day on, until the day he died, never tried to trade horses
with my dad again.
My father was always doing something. Somebody would come up
hime and introduce themselves and ask my father what his name was! Papa
would say, "Now wait a minute, just wait a minute. I'll tell you pretty soon. I can't
think of it right now, but I will tell you. You know, its just a common ol' name. I'll
tell you just as soon as I think of it." Then a while later when he got ready to tell
them, he would go up to them and tell him his name.
My parents did make a living in Colorado. Whatever it took, they did
it. They's save their money. My dad always a few dollars in his pocket. Enough
that he fed us. I don't ever remember Momma and Papa having a bank
account. My dad always carried his money in his pocket.
My father did go broke in Colorado, it not being the farm land he
had hoped for. When we needed to, we packed up and headed to Rocky Ford,
Colorado to work in the sugar beets and canalopes. Mostly Papa, Son, Tinker,
Jennie and Clyde would go there to work. Momma didn't like to travel much.
At that time Papa had bought a Ford Touring Car. In the winter time, we would
get into the old car and go to Clarington, Donley County, Texas to pick cotton.
Papa, Son and Clyde would ride in the front seat. Momma, Tinker, Jennie,
Bud, Cub and me would ride in the back with our dog Coaley. Coaley went with
us everywhere. He was just like one of the kids. We would all pick cotton and
then we would go back to Colorado.
We had a little one room school house and when we got back to
Colorado, all the kids would go to school. We used the little school house
for church. There wasn't a Church of Christ there, or even a Baptist or a
Methodist Church. My mother, Mrs. Durrett and some of the other women
who lived near by would fix the school house up for all to have church
services every sunday morning. They took us kids up there and taught us
the Bible. They done this for all the time that we lived in Colorado.
We all worked together, had fun and enjoyed living. We never
realized there could ever be anything better than what we did.
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Web Site Part Three of The Fletcher Family Story
As Told by Mattie Tucker
Written by Pattie Carter
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