Naomi 'Nancy' and Red always had True Story magazines, but they kept them hidden from Vivian and Mary Louise
because they were romantic stories about a boy and girl hugging and kissing and falling in love. Later they had a baby; usually
the girl had the baby alone after the fellow said good-bye. Wouldn't you just know, the girls found them and read them. One
night Happy brought Nancy home and Vivian saw them kissing in the hall. Vivian couldn't sleep that night. The next morning
she said to Granny, "I am so sorry to have to tell you this but Nancy is going to have a baby." "No she isn't," replied Granny,
"she's not even married! Why do you think she is going to have a baby?" She answered, "Because I saw Happy kissing her last
night!" Granny laughed and told her not to worry about it. Vivian soon learned it took more than a kiss to have a baby, but
she was only ten years old and kids were not as well informed about sex in those days
A map of Craddock, TX. northwest of Paris. The red dot
shows the school. Vivian attended school here and completed two grades in one year.
After they had been in Craddock for a year they loaded the wagon and moved back
to their home in Lake Creek. This was in 1929, the year the stock market crashed, sending the country into the Great
Depression. Immediately the economy collapsed and in most of the nation there were no jobs. The jobs that could be found only
paid only about one tenth of what they did before. The depression hit Granny and her family hard and they had to depend government
food supplement programs. She or one of her older children would go to Copper to get the groceries that were allotted them;
sugar, chocolate, mustard, canned meat, flour, beans and other staples.
That same year, 1929, Granny's daughter Sue Ann got married. She married a man named Cook Flowers
and they lived with Granny.
Also the same year in August 1929, Granny's sister Cuma died. As I said earlier, Cuma and her
two sons Johnny and Calvin, had moved back to the Wilson home after her husband Charles Skeen died. Cuma was found in bed
hanged by her neck with a piece of cloth tied to the high bedpost. Her death was ruled a suicide by the authorities, although
some family members and some of the neighbors believed that she was murdered. Cuma had short arms and not much in the way
of hands, just stubby fingers on her elbows and could not have positioned herself that
Winnie and Pat still lived in the Wilson home. (They lived there until shortly before they died.
Pat died October 16, 1971. Winnie died January 16, 1977. Winnie had received the home place as part of her inheritance).
The authorities asked Pat if he and Winnie would like to keep Johnny and Calvin and raise them.
Pat said, "I will take Johnny since he is old enough to work, but Calvin is too young to do much work and will only be a burden
to me." So they gave Johnny to them and sent Calvin to an orphanage until he was twenty one years old. Johnny tried hard to
please Pat and worked hard for him. My daddy (Wes Ton) believed Pat took unfair advantage of him and made him work too hard.
Sue Ann and Cooks first child was born August 27, 1930; a girl and they named her Katie Bell
Katie Bell (Flowers) Cannada
In addition to the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms causing
major ecological and argricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936 (in some areas
until 1940). With the grasses destroyed, the soil dried, turned to dust, and blew away eastwards
and southwards in large dark clouds. At times the clouds, sometimes called Black Blizzards and Black Rollers, blackened
the sky, reaching all the way to East Coast cities such as New York and Washington, D.C.
Much of the soil ended up deposited in the Atlantic Ocean. The Dust Bowl affected 100,000,000 acres. This caused
severe drought to the mid-weatern states and parts of Texas. Fortunately, our part of the state was not
affected too much, but some of our people living in Oklahoma were greatly distressed. Talk about a double whammy! Hundreds
of thousands of families (often known as "Okies", since so many came from Oklahoma) had leave their farms and
move to other states to find jobs, mostly to California. They had to pick fruit and other crops at starvation wages. John Steinbeck later wrote the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath and also, Of Mice and Men,
about such people.
On July 10, 1931, Wes Tom Johnson and Nell Stone (my parents) got married. They did not have a place of their
own to live so they lived with Granny. The following year November 25, 1932 Sue Ann and Cook had their second child; another
girl and they named her Mary Ann Flowers. They all still lived at Granny's house.
The next year, 1933, Wes Tom and Nell had their first child, a boy and they named him Lloyd
Earl Johnson (me). We still lived in Granny’s crowded house, but Mama desperately wanted us to have our own place because she
and Granny did not get along very well. It seemed that Granny wanted to do everything for Daddy as she had always done, but
Mama felt left out and could not do for her man as she pleased because it was Granny's home.
On June 23, 1935 Sue Ann and Cook had their third child, a boy Everett Lee, who was born dead.
The next day Sue Ann also died. Cook let Granny take Katie Bell and Mary Ann into her home and raise them. Granny did so gladly,
and raised them until they were grown and married.
In those days the Sulphur River (the dividing line between Delta and Lamar Counties) had not
been dug out and widened. When it rained a lot the river would overflow and flood the bottom land. If Pat's cows were in the bottom land when it flooded he would send Johnny on horseback to get them. Wes Tom was worried
when his friend Johnny had to go into the flood water, for there were many unseen ditches, holes and other objects the horse
might encounter and Johnny was not a good swimmer. On one such occasion Pat sent Johnny to get the cows. Later the horse returned
without him. Pat called Daddy and some of the neighbors to go look for him. They looked until dark then called off the search
until morning. They looked for him three days.
It was getting late on the third day and many of the men took their boats and went home. Daddy
asked some of the men to stay a little longer as he just couldn't leave his friend in that cold muddy water. In a short time
Daddy hooked something and when he pulled it up it was Johnny. He said that as he was pulling it up he knew it was Johnny
before he saw him. When Daddy talked about it I could tell he blamed Pat for Johnny's death, and I'm sure he had a right too.
Johnny drowned May 12, 1935 and was buried in the Lake Creek Cemetery.
Go to: Sankey T. Johnson