by Louise George
- "Personal interviews with Texas Panhandle men and women born in the early
years of the twentieth century rewarded me with hundreds of stories illustrating
their everyday life. I like to share those stories just as they were told to me.
" - Louise George
Every Sunday Morning
We went to First Baptist Church.... It
was a beautiful church, and they just had it demolished [when they built the church
in its present location.] I've often wondered what happened to all those stained
Little Problem 6-14-05Hired
"Fields" in 1930 4-13-06A
Determined Young Lady
Scary Thing - Dust Storm in the Texas Panhandle, April 1935 9-15-05Masterson,
Life in a Camp 8-27-05Quite
an Experience 8-8-05Dumas,
Texas, 1920 6-15-05 More
Back then, it was dry land farming. We didn’t make very much. From
Place to Place 4-17-05
in the bed of a wagon over a bumpy trail across the prairie hour after hour under
a blazing sun, or in a sudden downpour, a dust storm or a cold winter’s wind,
with only an old quilt to sit on or use as a shield against whatever elements
the weather threw at you...."
Work, Work 3-12-05
Zuleika O’Daniel: “I don’t
remember how old I was when I learned to milk a cow...."
Reba Guess: Droughts, dust storms
and the depression years in the Texas Panhandle
Mean Old Grandfather 12-12-04
Boyd: "I could hear them talking about shearing the sheep and then dipping
them before they shipped them...."For
Better or Worse 11-1-04
In their own words
some of yesterday’s brides tell about their weddings and the early days of their
Real Character 10-16-04
Mill Boyd: “There’s
a funny story about my Grandmother Burnett. You talk about a character, she was
a character." Buyer
Ola Covey: “I knew from what they said around the courthouse that the bootlegging
was going on...." For
Sheldon: “I don’t remember when I got my first doll. We tied things up and made
dolls out of it..."How
I Got My Name - Zuleika Kendrick O’Daniel as told to Louise George 9-1-04
The Way To School 8-17-04
Column began August 17, 2004
was born in 1932 on a farm southwest of Tulia, Texas. When she was six, her family
moved to Cushing, Oklahoma. She has joked through the years that when her dad
realized his mistake, he got them back to Texas as quickly as he possibly could.
The family moved to Amarillo permanently in 1945 and Louise graduated Amarillo
High School in 1950. The following year she married J.A. George. They had five
children. J.A. went to work for the Bureau of Mines, Amarillo Helium Plant in
1956. The following year he was transferred to the Exell Helium Plant at Masterson,
located between Amarillo and Dumas. The family lived there for over eleven years.
In 1969 they moved to Dumas where Louise worked twenty-three years as an employment
interviewer for Texas Employment Commission.
Louise never gave a thought
to becoming a writer until she was nearly sixty years old. It was almost an accident
that led her in that direction. While preparing photograph albums as Christmas
gifts for her grown children, she decided to write each child’s story with the
idea of preserving their early memories. Friends and family members who read the
stories encouraged her to continue in the newfound hobby. In 1992, the committee
compiling a book about Moore County’s history in connection with its centennial
celebration, enlisted Louise as a contributor. She researched and wrote a chapter
on the history of churches in the county for the book called 100 Moore Years.
Years earlier when J.A. went to work at Exell Helium, the family moved
into one of seventy-five houses built near the plant for workers’ families. The
housing area was commonly called a camp. A nearby camp had thirty-two houses.
Approximately five-hundred residents in the two camps and on surrounding farms
and ranches made up the community. Other than the camps, there was a school, a
church, a tiny country grocery store and not much else. Living there was a unique
experience and the George family remembers the years they lived there as their
“best” years. By 1984, Masterson was a “ghost town.” (That is if you could ever
call it a town.) The camps, school, church and store were all gone. After retirement,
Louise wrote her first book to record the history of the community. No City Limits,
The Story of Masterson, Texas, was published in 1994.
A desire to pay
tribute to the women of her mother’s generation was the inspiration for her second
book entitled Some of My Heroes Are Ladies, Women Ages 85 to 101 Tell About Life
in the Texas Panhandle. The nine women featured in the book were chosen because
they spent all or most all of their lives in the Panhandle. As the one-hundred-one
year old said, “We just pretty well saw this area settle up like it is today.”
As they were watching the area settle up, they worked hard and faced hardships
that we can only imagine and they did it with a quiet dignity that is difficult
to find in following generations. In the book, in their own words, they tell all
sorts of stories - from hilarious to positively heart wrenching.
articles, speaking at various clubs in the Panhandle about her books, and interviewing
for and writing the next book keep Louise busy nowadays. In fact, she rather resents
the ordinary things that take her away from those activities. No one is more surprised
than Louise about this unexpected calling that came to her so late in life, but
she’s having a ball!
Louise George can be reached at (806) 935-5286, by mail at
Box 252, Dumas, TX 79029, or by e-mail at lgeorge@NTS-online.net.