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Upside of R&R Home


    My dad's upbringing was filled with crops to be tended, cows to be milked, and wood to be cut. He was the 4th of 10 children, who, when not working in the fields at home, would work for .75 a day, if they could find the work and they were grateful for it. Ever see the movie with Henry Fonda called, "The Grapes of Wrath"? Yes, a great one. My family's history is not that far off the mark from that movie. Even the final destination of Fresno, CA in the movie was mighty close. I have family there. Pickers, they were. Crops and such was the lifestyle. Times were hard. If the crops didn't come in, you were in trouble. You grew what you ate, fed the cows that gave you milk and didn't have running water in the house or a refrigerator. Only in the later years did they have an ice box. It sat out on the porch WHEN they had ice. Salt was the preservative of choice. If you had meat at all, it would usually be chicken, (freshly killed by ringing its neck) or pork, from a hog that you had butchered in "hog slaughtering season." This was done when it was starting to get cooler, in October or November, so the meat wouldn't spoil so quickly, and you had more time to salt it down and/or smoke it in the smokehouse. The Allsup's rarely had beef because they had dairy cattle, Jersey's and/or Guernsey's. No beef cattle. Carbohydrates were a big part of their diet and you can understand why. Grains and milk gave them biscuits and gravy, etc... There were beans, and legumes galore. They had a huge garden ( 2 acres) of fruit trees, corn, tomatoes, nuts, etc... They also had berries growing down at the bottom land by the creek, on the North end of the 80 acres. Cotton? Yes, they grew cotton. This was their major crop for making a living. Hand picked it all, for selling, to make through the year. You went to a school that housed multiple grades in the same room. There were Indian residents that often resented you and the feeling was mutual. Though, this was not the case with all of them. It was mainly between the older generation. You'd shoot a neighbors livestock if he repeatedly let them wander into your feed crops. The reason you went barefoot so often was that if your shoes were worn out - you had to wait till the crops came in to get a new pair of shoes. Ten kids, two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room. Bathroom? No way. An outhouse? For a good number of years, no. Just go out behind the barn or the wood pile. When they finally did get an outhouse it was a "one holer" with no pit beneath it. Just a bucket that occasionally was emptied by one of the kids, before papa had to tell you to do it. Toilet paper? Try a corn cob or a tree leaf. A Sears Roebuck catalogue was great for this use. Newspapers were scarce, but so much more absorbent than the slick pages of the catalogue. Outside was a smokehouse and a barn. Tales of Great Grandma Davis, lifting the back of her skirt and "squirting number 2" on the wood pile makes for good dinner time conversation, don't you think? Henry Fonda in Grapes of Wrath? Not too far off the mark at all.

   Take a look below at my Grandma in 1936, bringing my Grandpa Bob Allsup some water, while he was plowing the fields in Oklahoma. (Please forgive the slow load time due to me insisting on having a large pictures.) This is the same Grandma Nettie Allsup that I referred to in my "Blues Roots Schpiel," concerning her picking cotton with a kid on her back. Just stories, eh? It's so real you can almost feel the Oklahoma red clay on your bare feet. You could easily add some miserably hot, dry weather with a little wind and dust to give you the feel of things. Life went on, though. They were happy and "making it." Grandpa? He was 37 when he married my Grandma, who was only 15. She always told her kids she was 16, like it made a big difference. It did to her.


   Below: A picture of the original Ryal schoolhouse. Although, this picture was probably taken around 1950, it IS the original school building except for the new windows, the power pole and the added building on the left. There used to be a gate in the fence about 8 feet to the left of where the power pole is standing in this picture. At Ryal school, there were only two classrooms, 1st through 4th, and 5th through 8th grades. All 10 of the Allsup children attended grade school there. In fact, even the first son of Bonnie Allsup, Don Parrish, went there for a year.


Below is my Dad, Fred, at age 9 on Easter Sunday, 1927. These were all schoolmates.

Back row, left to right: Roy Watson, John Popejoy, Odessa Wynn, Paul Sexton, Ida Mae Allsup, Clifford Watson, Bonnie Allsup and Elmer Nix.

Front row, left to right: Fred Allsup, Vanvetta McKelvey, Claude Popejoy, Ernest Wynn, Weldon Nix, Jewel Bryson and (teacher) T. J. Sexton.


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