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The Fletcher Family Story
As Told by Mattie Tucker
Written by Pattie Carter
Tommy Durrett and Jennie owned a garage and filling station in
Tumcumcari, Quay County, New Mexico. Tommy took Shorty and I there after
Allie Bea was born. That left momma and papa in Haskel with no one around, since
Cub and Rilla was living over by O'Brien. My folks decided to move to Tucumcari
also, Bud was not married yet then. After they moved there, they went to work in a
dairy. They would milk the cows and Bud delivered the milk. It was while they were
living in Tucumcari that they're house burned down. I had seen the smoke that day,
momma was a lucky woman, she had laid down for a nap and went to sleep. Loydale
had come back to the house, he had been off working on a windmill out somewhere
where they had a bunch of cattle. He had a cigarette or something, and in one of the
rooms they had a bunch of cotton. Momma going to make a bed or something out of
it. Evidently part of Loydales cigarette fell into the cotton, momma woke up and got up,
when she had seen everything was on fire. It scared her so bad that as she left the
house she grabbed her old reo lamp. It had little things hanging all around it and made
good light. Maxie, Mildred and Jean had given papa a little canary bird for christmas.
Momma had forgotten the little bird and it was sitting right there by the door. She lost
everything that day, all but the reo lamp. Clyde, Blanche, Shorty and me lived side by
side in some little cabin houses. Clyde and Shorty was home eating lunch and had
just left to go back to work. Tommy and Jennie had gone somewhere, I looked up and
I could see that fire, and the smoke coming from momma's house. There was no wind,
and the smoke was curling around above the house. I run told Blanche that I think
momma's house is on fire and I was headed to the garage to get Clyde and Shorty to
go check on momma. I grabbed Allie Bea, she was just a little thing then, and I started
up the street. Some man came by that I had never seen before or heard of and gave me
a ride up to the garage, I sure don't remember his name, but so thankful for him coming
along that day. Shorty, Clyde and Mr. Durrett was there, Shorty and Clyde left Mr.
Durrett to run the garage and headed out to momma's place. They brought momma to
the cabins where we lived. Momma had screamed until she was so hoarse that she
could hardly talk. Papa was way out in the pastures. Shorty and Clyde went and found
papa and brought him back to the cabins too. Everything was burned to the ground.
They had an old car, it was big ol' thing. Some boys had been walking by when
momma was outside the house and she had asked if they would help her move the
car, it was up against the house. It would of burned up too if those boys had not of
come by when they did. They pushed the car way down the hill. Momma and papa
stayed with Jennie and Tommy, they had fixed them a place up in they're barn,
where they milked and all. They had a place up front they never used, they did not
stay there very long before they got them another place to live.
The last house that momma and papa lived in is still standing in Melrose,
Curry County, New Mexico. They bought this house and Bud sold it after momma
died in 1959. I don't remember why the moved to Melrose or what took them there. They
had a house on a lot and big garden. Momma was still canning vegetables. Right out
the back porch there was a big dug out that she always had full of canned foods from
her garden. The dug out was already there when they bought the house, they also had
an outhouse there too. Water did not come into the house there, they did have city
water that came up close to the house through a faucet. Momma would go out and
turn the knob when she needed water. After papa had died, momma stayed for about
a year or two more there in Melrose in the old house. Then Jennie and Tommy came
and moved momma in with them in Citrus Heights, Sacramento County, California.
Thats where she died in 1959. After her death she was taken back to Melrose and
buried in the same cemetery as papa right next to him. The house there in New Mexico
was never sold while momma was still living because she had always planned on
going back there.
When dad got sick, Clyde and Cub had told me that when he had to go to
the bathroom he would not go in a bed pan, his mind had gotten real bad. He insisted
on going to the outhouse. Cylde and Cub would hold onto him and walk him around
the house, just far enough the he thought he was at the outhouse. Then he would do
his business and papa was happy and would go back to bed. I guess thats all that
really mattered then. Making papa happy and confortable.
Dad was put into the hospital in 1955. We was there, Shorty, Glenda and I.
Allie Bea had already married and had Debbie and was not able to come with us. While
we was at the hospital, Glenda got lost. We was all so scared that something had
happened to her. She went to the bathroom and got locked in there for about an hour
before a nurse came along and finally found her. Glenda remembers while waiting
around at the hospital at this time, that someone had given her a coloring book and
crayons. She remembers that it was Joseph and the coat with many colors. She can
remember coloring Moses when he was floating down the river in a basket and Joseph
and his coat of many colors. She rememberrs coloring his coat many colors too.
Glenda thinks that Aunt Jane bought her that coloring book and crayons. When my
dad was in the hospital, someone had to be with him all that time. Rilla and I had
decided that we would go to mommas and wash up the clothes for the kids. Thats
when papa passed on.
This page was last updated 23 August 2003
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Web Site Part Eight of The Fletcher Family Story
As Told by Mattie Tucker
Written by Pattie Carter
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