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Russett, Oklahoma

The William (Bill) Earl Griffin Family

by Linda (Griffin) Brown

When my father Bill Griffin, his wife Ruth Lea and children moved to Russett we were very poor. My dad worked for Fred Chapman as many did during that time. We lived, for a short time, practically on the banks of the Washita River. I remember snakes being all over the place. I was bitten by a snake and an old lady that lived up the hill (wish I could remember her name) made a potion and I soaked my foot in it and it got well.

I remember having to walk across a field with cattle in it, walk up a stile (steps leading over the fence) up a hill to that house to catch the school bus. I was so afraid of the cattle, but had no choice but to go through that pasture. That place was a muddy mess when it rained.

The day I was snake bitten, there had been a rain and my sister and I were outside jumping in the mud puddles. A snake came out from under the house and bit my little toe. Dad was off working. We didn't have a car, so Mom picked me up and carried me up the hill to that house and the lady doctored me. Later we went to the doctor and the doctor didn't believe I was actually bitten by a snake. I know that old lady probably save my life or the snake wasn't poisonous, because I never got sick. That is a very vivid memory.

I just went to Russett School my first year of school in 1951-52. Mrs. Portman was my first grade teacher and I remember her husband as being the Superintendent. Mrs. Portman took me under her wing and was very kind to this skinny little girl that was so shy. I rode the school bus to school. Then we moved closer to the school and I walked every day. I remember Mrs. Covington being such a good cook. Mr. Covington was the school janitor and the bus driver.

I wore glasses from the time I was 5 years old. One day, at recess, the wind blew me down and I broke my glasses. I was heartbroken as I knew my parents couldn't afford to buy me new ones. Somehow, they managed to get me more glasses.

Because we had no car I remember Bill Wilcox driving the truck that took us to Tishomingo to shop on Saturday nights. I remember being crammed together like sardines in the back of that truck, but it was the highlight of the week. Wow, what a life we lived.

I am the oldest in our family. I have a sister, Nita and brother, Earl, that lived with us in Russett. A sister, Joyce, was born later. We moved from Russett to Nida where I finished my 2nd year of school. Then I started 3rd grade in Tishomingo where I finished school in 1963. My siblings all went to Tishomingo schools.

My dad died in 1974 at the age of 59 and my mom passed away in 1994. We don't have many pictures as we didn't have much money in those days and our house burned in Tishomingo destroying many pictures. My dad was burned over 80% of his body and carried scars from the fire for the rest of his life. I was ten years old at the time and just recovering from polio. The year was August, 1955. Mom had just bought us new clothes and shoes for the coming school year and they all burned up. The community came together and helped us get back on our feet.

Dad was real skinny, a very quiet humble man. He was very smart. He just finished 8th grade in Milburn, but he was knowledgeable in many areas, as he read any magazine, newspaper or book he could get his hands on. My mom was a large woman and was such a good mother, sewing, cooking and cleaning. When Dad died, they had 2 grandchildren. When Mom died, there were 9. She never lived to see great grand children. My son and daughter are married but no children yet.

I stayed around Tishomingo for several years after graduating from high school. I never finished college but took classes through the years. I regret never finishing. So glad my son has a college degree and good job in Anchorage, Alaska. My daughter, who married last year and lives in Texas, has tried many things, gone to school and is thinking of finishing her degree. I worked at the Madill sewing factory, took classes at Murray State College and lived at home. Church was my social life. I moved to California in 1969 and stayed for a few years. My son was born in San Diego. Then we moved to Sherman, Texas in 1974 when David was 6 weeks old and have been here ever since that time. I have worked in banking, hospitals and Texas Instruments in the insurance department. My daughter was born in Sherman, TX eight years later.

I believe we had a water well, in Russett. My sister remembers one as well. I know we didn't have electricity. We didn't have electricity until years later when we moved to Tishomingo. I remember, everywhere we lived, we had a garden and mom canned food. I always loved gardening and still have one every year and I also can fruit and vegetables. I also made all of my clothes when I got old enough to sew. I sewed for my sisters and my friends too. I still sew and quilt.

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Last modified: 05/27/07