My Memories at Russett (The Ott Looney Family)
By Tena (Looney) Greer
What is it about childhood memories that tend to enchant us and become such a vivid recollection in each of our minds?
The joys of growing up and becoming a part of a small community like Russett, Oklahoma is nothing new but to each of us that was a part of that time it will forever be something special and enables us to contribute by sharing all of these wonderful memories.
I must start at a point in time before we moved to Russett. That time would have been at a small filling station and grocery store in Powell, Oklahoma. I have been told by those older than me at the time that I attended the two room school at Powell. I can remember riding on the handle bars of someoneís bicycle at the age of 5 or 6 and ending up with a cut lip after toppling from the bicycle and that scar is still with me today.
I remember trying to convince my parents that I had worn out my shoes by scooting on the gravel outside the house and that was attached to the store. I wanted a new pair of shoes so bad and because that did not convince them I tried cutting between the sole and toe of the shoes. Needless to say that was not convincing either and if I recall my Dad was none to happy with me. Donít remember the pain but Iím almost positive some type of punishment relating to my backside was applied.
I remember happy memories of the store that included the lay down ice boxes filled with ice and those wonderful soda pops, Grapette, Chocolate Soldier and RC Cola.
I remember ad posters on the wall with movie stars advertising the different kinds of sodas.
What does all this have to do with Russett? Well, I was told that because of the War and people not having much money, my Dad gave people credit that were unable to repay so we had to leave the store and that was when we moved to Russett.
I remember the house we moved into when we came to Russett. It was about 1950 and I was around 8 years of age. Mr. Fred Chapman owned the house and land and we worked the land and paid our rent to him from the crops.
Being the young one in the family I got to drive the tractor so other could pick the corn. I was the water girl while others were picking cotton and sometimes I dozed off to sleep at the end of the cotton row. We picked up pecans to buy our school clothes for the coming year.
My first year at Russett I would have been in the second grade and Mrs. Portman was my teacher. I remember someone making fun of my last name (Looney) and I pushed them down on the ground.
Mrs. Uptergraff was my 3rd and 4th grade teacher and I remember very well saying the Lordís Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, probably every morning of school. Those vivid memories of learning our multiplication tables from those written on the blackboard and they were blackboards not green boards.
I was trying to remember my teacher that I had in the 5th and 6th grades and I was told his name was Earl Rogers. He was certainly not the Mr. Rogers that kids grew up with on TV because I thought he was the meanest man on earth. He was probably a very nice guy. (LATER: I was told by Richard Easterwood that that mean teacher was Clem Yancey. He had been a sergeant in the army and had a loud voice.)
My Dad was on the school board and that didnít seem to matter one way or the other as to how we were treated in school, which is good.
Mrs. Rood was my 7 and 8th grade teacher for English and also Mr. Murk. The thing I remember about Katy Rood was that she taught me good penmanship. This is about the time the memory of seeing Donald Hall walking to school and eating from the garden that was planted between his house and the school, onions, turnips you name it.
Mom belonged to the Home Demonstration Ladies and there was a small building in back of the school where all the ladies met to quilt. I guess this was one of their things to do. Not sure if this was to raise money or the purpose for the quilts.
My fondest memories of school at Russett was all my dear friends and being chosen as basketball queen candidate and I ran against my future sister-in-law Laurice (Pinky) Pierce, later Looney, that was chosen queen. As I look back I am so glad it turned out that way.
The way you became queen was by the amount of money you raised. One of the methods of raising money back then was to gather as much metal products and you could scrounge around and find to sell to raise the money and I am sure my brother helped my opponent in every way possible. (Ha Ha)
The community Christmas tree and program was the highlight of the year. Christmas sacks of fruits, nuts and candies were such a treat under that great ole big tree in the Russett gymnasium.
Let your imagination run wild and help visualize me at one of the school carnivals dressed like Elvis Presley and pantomiming to his music. Remember I was a girl not a boy.
Other memories that come to mind were being a part of the Rhythm Band. I wanted so much to be the leader but all I could manage was the sticks or cymbals. Someone may have told me I could dance because I do remember dancing on that big stage in the gym at a young age of 8 or 9.
I donít remember how this came about but some of us from Russett was asked to be a part of a radio program and I got to sing on the radio by myself.
More later from Codeen and Carl.