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Russett, Oklahoma

Pollard Family

by Earl Pollard

 

I was born in Love county in a village that is now gone. I was born at Simon in 1922.  At that  time Love county had several little towns in that area. One was Simon and one Oswald and one Orr, and my grandfather on my mothers side, was Justice Of Peace at Orr and My uncle owned a blacksmith shop there. My grandfather was an Englishman who came from England and my grand parents on my fathers side lived at Wilson but later moved to Ardmore. There were seven kids in our family. The oldest was Voncille who was married and next was me then Veda, J.D., Kenneth, Bobby Nell and Deloy.  My father, Montie Pollard, knew Boss Easterwood many years as we all lived in the same community
 

We were living in Ardmore when my dad met Mr. Chapman and he said that he would furnish us a house and rent some farming land to us as share croppers so we moved to the Lewis Chapman farm in a house that was about a mile east of where Wayne Easterwood lives now. I was up there a few years ago and that old house was still there as well as the house just east of it where my sister and husband lived.


We farmed land just north and west of that old barn and some land down in the bottom northeast of the barn and it was called the rough 20. We lived two or three places there. Later we moved UPTOWN RUSSETT near the church. Once east of the church and once north of the church.

 

I  went to school at Russett for a short time before dropping out of school and started working for Mr. Fred Chapman Sr. feeding cattle at the Lewis Chapman farm with a Claude Hudgens and Archie Airs.  I fed cattle from the silos there as well as others. My brother-in-law Herbert Briscoe fed the old silage cutter in the summers to fill those silos.

 

In 1937 on my 15th birthday my dad gave me a 22 cal. riffle that cost $6.35 new. This was when we lived in Ardmore before moving to Russett but it became a life saver when we were at Russett as we almost lived on Swamp Rabbets and Squirrels in the winter. I just hope I didn't deplete them. I still have that rifle and now the book shows it to be worth over  $150 but I wouldn't take that for it.

 

I later went to the CCC Camp at Sulphur and Grand Lake Colorado. Then as World War II started I went into the army and took most of my training in Georgia and after training we were sent to Europe where we chased the Germans around. I was in the 10th armored Division and was a tank gunner. In the tank we were trained in all five  positions in the tank but in Europe I was always the gunner.  We had two tanks destroyed and the third was hit by a bazooka but it only knocked the right track off and we put it back into action the next day. So much for that.

 
Most of the friends I have had in the past are gone on and mostly from the war.

 

My sister and I were sitting in an old Model A Ford  on the streets of Blair and I was watching the girls go by when I saw this beautiful blond go by and I told my sister that there goes the girl that I'm going to marry. I had never met her but a few months later on December 7, 1943 , I arrived in Oklahoma City on the train on leave from the Army and she was working at Douglas Aircraft in Oklahoma City and that day we were married. Nearly 52 years later. we buried my most precious wife, Olga Faye (Sprabary) Pollard.

 

After getting out of the Army I was unemployed for a few months as it was very hard to find work here then but after this, I went to work at the Altus air base wrecking the WWII aircraft and we wrecked the B-24, B-17, B-26, B-25 B-32 (only 4 B-32s) P-51, P-47, P-38 and the A-20 and I'm sure a few others. I worked there until it was shut down and I went to work at the ice plant here in Altus for a few months until I got a better job seismographing for SSC. I did this until my oldest son was getting ready to go to school and as we were having to  move from place , I quit that and went to work at the  Knox Hardware and plumbing where I got was training in plumbing  and electric and I worked there for four years and moved from Blair to Altus  and went to work at the Hinkle appliance where I learned the repairing on most appliances and I did this for four years and applied for a job at the Altus Air Force Base in Heating and after getting this job, I was assigned to keeping all the kitchen equipment on the base up for a few years and then I got back into the job that I applied for in the heating shop  but later I was put into the Air Condition and Refrigeration shop for a few months and later back into the heating shop where I spent the rest of the time I was there. I was foreman of the heating shop the last three years and lead man before that.

Altogether, I spent a little over 25  years at the base and counting my Army time, I retired with a little over 29 years.

I will tell you a couple of stories of things that happened at Russett that a few may remember.  I kinda hesitate telling them as the person has gone on to meet his maker and don't get it wrong, the guy I will mention is no more guilty than the rest of us but he had more nerves than the rest.

One night at the gym when a Christmas tree activity was taking place and most of the people from Russett were there, we  were outside setting off fireworks when some one mentioned setting off a red devil in the gym so Junior Metcalf said he would so we opened the door just enough to toss it inside and a short time later, we opened the door enough to see in and everyone was on the top bleachers.

Another time when a revival was going on and all the windows were open in the church due to no air conditioning and the heat from the gasoline lights, several of us boys were standing outside of the windows whispering to the girls when Junior pulled up a rag weed and stripped the leaves off and tossed it into the window and whispered snake. This set off a chain reaction. One of the girls screamed and they all stuck their feet up to the seats in front of them and those old seats were slat seats and one of the girls toes punched a lady in the bottom side in front of her and this lady had been bitten by a rattlesnake in the past and she heard the word "snake" she fainted and had to be carried from the church. We were told that there were three lawmen walking around the church the next night  but we were inside that night being good.


Like I said, Junior wasn't any worse than the rest of us, he just had more nerves.

 

My memories keep drifting back to the Russett days as they have for many years and it seems as those were the best days of my life as we were all happy then. We had nothing but most everyone was the same. None of us had running water or inside plumbing or electricity. Our place of business was a little shack behind the house and a bathtub was a number two or number three wash tub behind the old heating stove. We all bathed in the same water  and some time it seemed to be very dirty. We all drank from the same bucket of water and used the same dipper. We all ate the same food whether we liked it or not but it all tasted good in those days. We never went to the doctor and we got by without it. We didn't know what a vitamin was and about the only medicine we kept was Vicks, Caster Oil, Cole Oil or Kerosene and Aspirin.


My best friends were Jr. Metcalf, J.D. Garner, Lonnie Holbrook and Gordon Pfortmiller who later became my brother-in-law as he and Veda were married about two miles south of Russett in the highway by Brother Mousser who also worked for Mr. Chapman.
 

Those were the good old days as we had our mothers, fathers and sisters and brothers but I hadn't met my beloved wife Faye that I had for 52 years before she went on to be with God and my four sons that he gave me although I lost the oldest in 1989 with brain cancer.

 

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Veda (Pollard) Pfortmiller & Friend    
Courtesy Carolyn Day    

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Last modified: 05/27/07