Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Glenn and Helen Rex Frazier, Part 5

Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh!

We lived in Grandpa [Frank Union] and Grandma [Emily Rufi] Frazier’s house the winter of 1949. My brother [Rex] and I were the only children on the Ranch. In the Spring Grandpa Frazier brought runt lambs wrapped in burlap sacks into Grandma’s kitchen. I remember him tucking one into a box and pushing it behind the coal stove. It was wet and limp. After a day or so it perked right up. I helped Grandma feed them from the back porch steps. After milking time, and the cans were pushed up to the house from the barn, the lambs got some warm milk, in pop bottles with black rubber nipples on top. The next Spring Rex and I were given two runt lambs as pets, Buttons and Bows. I don’t remember who suggested those names, but I’m certain they came from a Dinah Shore song that my parents liked.

Only sweet memories remain from those times. I’d walk up the hill with Grandma Frazier to the sheep pens. We’d pull tufts of lamb’s wool from barbed wire fences and fill Grandma’s apron with them. She wasted not a thing. And we gathered up wood chips near the woodpile to fill her apron. She needed them to start the fire in her Monarch kitchen range.

In Grandma Frazier’s kitchen, Grandpa would sit on the reclining caned ship-deck chair Glenn brought him from California. Pulling on his tall leather boots, and lacing them up, couldn’t be accomplished without sitting down. He always had some licorice for us. Dark black hard stuff he liked to suck on. He’d keep a little leather coin purse in the front pocket of his bibbed overalls, filled with licorice chips and pieces,.

Rex and I attended school in Woodruff, as did Glenn and his father, Frank Union. Someone from the Ranch would drive us down each morning. We were able to take our roller skates to school on special days, and after lunch, we would skate around on the wood floor in the 2nd floor auditorium. Sometimes we were permitted to skate in our class room. There were two classrooms; the younger grades in one, the older grades in the other.

The teacher would watch us safely cross the highway to the Church across the street on Primary day. There was a pot-bellied stove in our classroom in the church. Sometimes the ditch running around the school block had skeeters skating across the water. We’d lay along the ditch and try to catch them.

The Frazier's raised sheep, and every other kind of farm animal. And there were plenty of kittens to play with. Glenn Frazier was an apt sheepherder. His son is amazed recalling his Dad’s ability to whistle for his sheep. “The sheep would all be out on the back fence. Dad would whistle and the sheep would come to him.”

Once, some of his sheep became lost. His son remembers “looking out of the house and seeing Dad prepared to go hunt for them. He was sitting on his horse dressed like a mountain man in his sheepskin coat, hat, and saddle bags. He had three or four horses packed up to take with him, and go look for the lost sheep.”

That winter saw 47 degree-below-zero weather. Glenn’s ears got frostbite. There don’t appear to be any surviving pictures of the snow at the Ranch in Woodruff during the winters of 1949 and 1950. I do recall them. After the second winter Glenn declared, “I’ll never spend another winter here!” And there were other reasons for leaving Woodruff.

Helen arranged for tap dance lessons for me. We traveled the ten miles to Randolph, or the twenty-nine miles to Evanston, for lessons and the recital. In the picture above I’m the shortest girl on the far right. We tap danced to Anchors Aweigh my boys, Anchors Aweigh! I thought that was a World War II song. Not originally, according to Wikipedia. The only girl I remember in the picture is my cousin, Kathy Rufi [daughter of Jake and Mary Rex Rufi]. She’s the blonde, two to the left of me. I think the boy in the middle’s last name was Stuart. Our mother’s made our costumes; white satin with red bows and royal blue sequins. There was some misunderstanding about how many inches from the hem the blue sequins were to be sewn. I would like to know who the other dancers are. Can anyone help me with that?

(To be continued.)
The picture of the Woodruff School is on this post.
The picture of the Woodruff Church is on this post.

Author's personal account. Picture from Glenn and Helen Rex collection.

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