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The Fletcher Family Story
As Told by Mattie Tucker
Written by Pattie Carter
In those days we made our own toys to play with. I played with what we
called rag dolls. I would make a whole family of htem and make a house and furniture
too. I just had a ball playing by myself. My brothers would tie ropes to long handled
hoes and they called them horses or donkeys and they would ride them just like
horses. They would nail four pieces of wood together about four inches long and
stand them up, they also made good horses to play with.
My mother made Bud, Cub's and my shoes out of canvas. She used the
old cotton sacks. They were nice shoes and we were proud of them. I wish I had
kept a pair. My mother could do anything that she set her mind to doing.
We also had what we called play parties. Someone would give a party,
especially on the weekends. The yard would be so full of kids that you couldn't
stir them with a stick. Our parents never let us dance, but they would let us play
a game called 'Snap". This game was just for fun of course, a boy and a girl would
hold hands until they were caught. Maybe like London Bridges. Alot of times we
would play spin the bottle. Momma would let us have kids over anytime we wanted.
Sometimes three or four of the kid's parents would come over and talk with Momma
and Papa while we played. We would have these parties until eleven o'clock or even
midnight. There was times we would play a game with chairs, we would give everyone
a number. If I was in the middle and called your number. You would have to get to
another place before I beat you. Kinda like Duck Duck Goose, but not quite the same.
These are just some of the games we played. I can't remember them all.
Cub and Bud was playing with a big box, using it for a wagon. They had
a team of horses and on their way to town. I guess they were cussing their horses
and did not realize momma had snuck up behind them. I would guess they would not
ever want to cuss again because momma paddled their rear ends pretty good.
In the winter time we would go into the woods and the canyons to gather
wood to burn. Momma and Papa would but cactuses, burn the thorns off and feed it
to the cows. Son and Clyde cut the firewood and Bud and Cub too turns bringing in
the wood chips to build the fire every morning. One time Bud forgot to get the kindling
before dark, someone finally noticed that it had not been done yet. He had to go out in
the dark alone to the wood pile. Son and Clyde grabbed two sheets and wrapped up in
them and got behind the wood pile and started making noises and sounds. When Bud
looked up and saw them, wood chips went everywhere and Bud headed for the house
screaming. Son and Clyde were laughing and laughing. We all had fun and didn't know
that we were poor as an ol' church mouse.
When Bud was young he was scared of everything. One night Momma
was holding him trying to get him to sleep. She made up an old song about a black
dog, Hoop-ee. She was singing this song to him and Bud just happened to look at the
window and saw our dog Coaley looking in. Bud screamed like he was dying. He was
so scared. Of course the rest of us thought it was funny and we laughed and laughed.
My mother had an organ that she brought with us from Oklahoma. Most
every night she played and all us kids would stand around her and we sang. We had to
leave it in that adobe house there in Colorado. She also left two big trunks of stuff. She
left a big picture of her and dad when they first got married.
When we went to school, we would sometimes take a team of horses with
a wagon and keep them there all day so we could get home. Sometimes when it was
cold we would have to cover the wagon to keep the cold out. When the school moved
closer to us and when it was not wet, cold or snowing we could either walk or ride a
horse. I actually learned to ride a horse just a well as the boys. We all walked about
three miles to school in those days and the boys would tease me. One time they had
killed a snake and hid it beside the trail and waited for me to get there. They ran me
the rest of the way home with it saying they were going to wrap that snake around
my neck. The next morning I got up and went to school an hour early, I was so scared
of that snake. I never saw or heard of that snake again.
Something else that my brothers would tease me about, was James
Durrett. James was alot younger than I was and I was so timid. I was afraid of my own
shadow. I had said something about James one time and they all started saying,
"Mattie says Buster has big ears!" Buster is what we called James, I never said that
about Buster, but he did have big ears.
Our little school house had a great big wood stove that kept it warm in the
winter. A teacher would come in or a girl, and we would all go to school. I waded in
snow three feet deep getting to school and then again getting back home many a days.
There was about 30 of us kids that attended school there when we were able. Some of
them were of course us Fletchers, the Durrett kids, The Lopez kids, The Oatney kids,
and The Bailey kids. There were more that I can not remember. I've had teachers to tell
people that I was one of the girls that never cried. We always played with the boys, and
when I got hurt, I never cried. If I did cry, my brothers would of had a fit.
I got a whipping at school one time when I stood up with my brothers. Son
and clyde were in trouble for doing something to the teacher. They put something in
her desk that she did not like. So I stood up and told the teacher that I was right there
with them, and I was just as guilty as they were. The teacher made the boys go get the
switches. Son and Clyde both said, " Were not going to cry, Mattie, and don't you cry
either!" She did not hit me very hard, but she did switch me. I wanted to cry, but I didn't.
My brothers told me not too, they didn't cry, so I didn't either.
At home, Momma blistered our back ends with a board. I never did get
very many whippings. My dad never hit me a lick in all my life that I can remember. He
said I never needed a whipping. He whipped the rest of them tho. When momma told
you to do something, you had better get to doing it. When Son was little, momma was
going to give him a whipping. I don't remember what he had done. She started to whip
him and he ran away. He took off down the hill and he was gone for quite some time.
When he thought momma had forgot about wanting to whip him, he come home. When
he got into the house, momma never said a word to him. She got ahold of him and she
wore his britches out, he never run from her again when he was in trouble. Son when
he was little he cried about everything. Momma would tell him when he started to cry,
"You go to the barn, if you are gonna cry, you go to the barn!" As he got older, when he
started to cry, he would pull his britches up and head out to the barn. Momma never
had to say a word
On Saturday night my father wanted us all home. We couldn't stay the
night anywhere. He us all home on Sunday mornings, I suppose to make sure we was
in church. Then the same thing for Sunday night, he wanted us all home on Monday
A Peacher had come by one time and made a talk on sunday morning. He
was telling us about when boys were away from home. Son had been away for awhile.
He got mad one day and left, he had just gotten back home. The Preacher said, "That
boy right there, when he's gone away from home. He'll get down in the dumps and
think about his dad!" Son said under his breath so the Preacher would not hear him,
"When I'm away from home, I don't think about my dad, I think about my momma!"
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This page was last updated 23 August 2003
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Web Site Part Five of The Fletcher Family Story
As Told by Mattie Tucker
Written by Pattie Carter
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