Gail Parks Beaver – Grandson of Ed and Minnie Beaver

I want to thank Lois for inviting me to write one of the chapters in this book on the Beaver family. One of the things I am most proud of is my Beaver heritage and the influence it has had on me. And I would not, for a moment, want to limit all of that influence just to Clay, my father; although his was, of course, the strongest. Three years ago at Uncle Charlie’s funeral, several of my generation were talking about how long it had been since many of us had seen one another. Janie Craig Meigs mused aloud that she had forgotten that she had so many nice looking cousins, and I replied, “Janie, we came from some very fine stock.” So remember, if you are a.Beaver you have influenced, in countless ways, your nieces and nephews as much as you have your own children and grandchildren. Lois, Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express these thoughts.

I was asked to write a brief history of my life from the time I graduated from high school and took that first feeble and uncertain step away from home. That will be the main portion of what I will write, but I have too many fond memories of childhood to just simply pass over those things as if they did not exist. One might as well pick up a good novel and begin reading in the middle. I shall try to be brief.

The best place to begin is at the beginning. I made my kicking and screaming entrance into this world on March 15, 1937, in Abilene, Texas. Mother and Daddy lived in a white frame house at 513 Vine Street. Merle lived there and was in hign school. My parents were Bernice Parks Beaver and Clay Beaver.

My earliest remembrances are of living in Borger, Texas. I was about three years old when we moved to a white house on Whitten burg Street in Bormer. It was still there when I saw it three years ago. I had an old dog named Smoxey. He was a rascal, into everything. Daddy and I went co the city dump, one day, to I ook fo ay, to I ook for an old barrel to burn trash in (it was legal then). The sewage treatment plant was also at the dump, and oil Smotcey fell into one of the settling pits. I cried all the way home because Daddy tied Smokey up and made him ride in the trailer instead of the car. Before the war started Merle worked at a little gasoline plant on the Stinnett highway. There was a tin shed out there where company vehicles were washed. I went with Merle to wash his car, one day, and I remember grabbing hold of a water pipe that turned out to be the steam pipe. Suffice it to say. that I sure turned loose in a hurry. I’ll bet Merle does not remember that. Once I found a can of lye in the alley, I didn’t know what it was, and dumb me, I had to taste it. Did I ever scream? I still have one tiny scar from the experience. I do not remember exactly the start of the war in 1941, but I remember going to Amarillo to put Merle on the train when he left for the service. During the early war years Mother worked at the Pantex bomb plant northeast of Amarillo.

Our next move was to Amarillo. World War II was on and Merle was in the Pacific. Daddy worked for the Texas State Employment Commission in Amarillo, which was just one of sev eral moves we made during those first eleven years of my life. I can remember just a couple of things about living in Amarillo. There was a little Dark across the street from our house and I enjoyed swinging and playing on the monkey bars. We bought milk from a delivery service and I would always look out the window and watch for the white truck to arrive, then I would run out and get the milk One day I dropped a gallon glass jug of milk on the sidewalk. Of course it broke, and I was just sure I’d get a whipping. But no, mothers are somewhat like God, I guess. They can forgive and forget.

We lived in Amarillo only six or seven months when Daddy quit the State job and we moved to a little community northwest of Ralls where Daddy became manager of a cotton gin. The little community, called Farmer, was so small tnat both city limit signs were on the same post. It was really nothing more than the inter­ section of two dirt roads. Our house and the gin were on the northwest corner, along with two other houses on the northeast corner. On the southeast corner were a filling station and a two-room schoolhouse. I started school in that little building. Indoor conveniences did not exist, and our heat came from an old pot-bellied coal stove. I remember the house we lived in as well as if it were yesterday. Dad’s brother and wife, Uncle Kelly and Aunt Sadie had lived here, and Uncle Kelly died in that house. I vaguely remember seeing him at rest from earth ly labors, in the front bedroom the day of his funeral.

Farm life was a thrilling experience for me. We always had a cow and a few chickens, and one year some rabbits. Daddy killed a calf every year and occasionally a hog. By the time I started to school I could wring a fryer’s neck as well as anyone could. It used to really tickle me to see a chicken flopping a round without a head. School always started on August 15th, then after a month it stopped and we picked cotton for six weeks – not one of my fondest memories. Her neighbor across the road planning a big field of Cotton. He welded and all the cultivator seat on one fender of his tractor and let me ride on it with him a lot. Once in a while he would give me a little bite of his plug of brown mule. Mother never called me back, but I don’t know how it kept from making me definitely sick. It was during our years at farmer but another son was added to the family. Dennis was born January 26, 1944.

Before the war ended Debbie went back to work for the Texas employment commission and we moved to Brownwood, where we stayed only three months. It was a military base south of town and we could hear them shooting the artillery pieces day and night. Despite mothers reassurances, I was sure they were going to point one of those things in the wrong direction one day and hit our house. Daddy made a slingshot for me – you know the type, a small forked stick and two strips of rubber cut from an old innertube. We had a chicken coop and a garden in the back yard. One day I started shooting little rocks at those chickens and I hit one in the head. I don’t know whether Mother ever told Daddy or not, or why we were having fried chicken for supper that night. I think I would have been busted good if he’d known.

We moved to Stamford where we lived for three years. Olin was born September 10, 1945. The war ended and Merle came home, but he went back to Borger and to wont for Phillips Petroleum again. The one big event in Stamford was tne annual Texas Cowboy Reunion rodeo. We would go every year, and twice Daddy got me a job selling popcorn and peanuts in the stands.

I think Mother and Daddy were really happy to move back to Abilene in 1948. Dad worked there a few weeks before we moved. A moving company moved the furniture and we went on the bus, as Daddy had the car. That was our last move as a family.

The twelve years from 1948 to 1960 were filled with school and various activities a teenager finds to do. I had a paper route for four years, then came graduation from high school in the spring of 195^. Dennis had taken over my paper route so I could pursue full time employment during the summer. I enrolled in Abilene Christian College in the fall of 1954. and completed two years before dropping out in favor of a full time job. I worked at several jobs, never really satisfied with any one of them. In 1953 I began work with a seismograph company in the Abilene area and that started my career in the oil business. Those years at Abilene hold many fond memories, and some sad ones, too—the passing on of loved ones: Granny and Grandpa, Rollie, Hub, and lastly, Daddy in November 1959. Precious memories, how they linger!

In the early part of I960 the seismograph company I was work ing for nicked un everything and move: to Olney, Texas, and I made the move with them. It was difficult for Mother to accept my moving away, esoecially so soon after we lost Daddy. But it was near enough that I went home almost every weekend. I bought a small trailer house, and in the course of two years made several moves with it as my job demanded. In November of 1960 I quit the seismograph company I had worked for three years and hired on with another one in Midland, Texas and it was a reasonable driving distance of Abilene.

There is a point in every man’s life at which he begins to think seriously about finding a woman to share the rest of his life with. I don’t know whether it was living alone, or eating my own cooking, but it was while living at Midland that I began to think about it enough to do something about it. It was on one of those weekend trips to Abilene that I was intro duced to Lynda Gail Schwartz, a Junior at A.C.C. from the Dallas area, and a member of the same congregation where we were members. .Ve dated almost every weekend, but in 1961 I was transferred to Pittsburg, Texas and didn’t get to Abilene often. It was not long until the college term was over and she came home to the Dallas area, and we saw each other every weekend.

During Lynda’s senior year at A.C.C. I moved to Dallas and got a job with an automobile transport company as a dispatcher. I had to work both Saturdays and Sundays and could get out to Abilene only during the week. Lynda’s last year went by in a hurry, and after graduation she went to work for Mobil Oil Corp oration’s Field Research Laboratory in Dallas. We were married May 30. 1965, and for the first six months lived in my same lit tle trailer house. Living conditions were cramped, to say the least, but our space rental was cheap and we were able to put a little money in savings for a house.

In November 1963, we bought a house in South Dallas, where we lived for almost ten years. It was a short distance from where Lynda’s parents lived, and from the church where we all worshipped. In March 1964, I went to work for Mobil’s Exploration Services Center, near Love Field in Dallas. My career with Mobil has now spanned twenty-one years. In June, 1985, Lynda will have been with Mobil twenty-three years. For the last sixteen years our offices have been either in the same or adjacent buildings. We have had excellent careers, and we hope to both stay with Mobil until we retire.

As I think back over the 22 years Lynda and I have been married, my mind is so filled with memories I find it difficult without the Monday and an interesting, and emphasize the worthwhile. We have had a happy and exciting life together, just enjoying being with each other more than anything else. The greatest disappointment we have had in our marriage is our inability to have children, but we have tried to compensate (I doubt if one really can’t) by filling our lives in other ways. We have done some things we could not have if we had had children. But those things, the enjoyable, fella substitutes.

In the summer of 1973, we sold our house in South Dallas and moved to Farmers Branch, a suburb on the northwest corner of Dallas. Our move was prompted by a desire to be closer to our work, the want of a larger and newer house, and the increasingly undesirable nature of the area where we lived. It proved to be a timely move, just before inflation hit the housing market and everything else in the mid-1970’s. At the time we moved there were rumors Mobil was going to build new facilities in Farmers Branch and consolidate all exploration operations in one local ity. They owned the land, but years passed before they built on it, and then it was a research center. The exploration division was left out. It would have been nice, living just two miles from work.

As I said, Lynda and I have been able to do some exciting things together. We have tried to taxe one nice vacation a year and I suppose we have done more traveling than many couples. Our trips have included two to California, two to Western Canada, three to Washington and Virginia, several to Colorado, and a cruise of the southern Caribbean. But the most exciting trips have been the three we have made overseas. In the spring of 1978. we took a twenty-two day tour to Rome, Athens, Cairo, Jordan, Israel, Berlin and London. Mother went with us on that trip, as well as another trip overseas in the fall of 1978. Two years earlier Olin had been transferred to Brussels, Belgium, so the three of us went for a ten day visit. While there Lynda and I took a side trip on the train to Interlaken, Switzerland, and to Paris, France. In the fall of 1982, we vacationed for twenty-two days in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, on our own, with just a little Opel rent car that we got at the airport in Frankfurt, We are planning a similar trip this fall and will take Lynda’s parents with us.

In the fall of 1978, an opportunity presented itself to me which I relate with a small amount of inner pride, but first a Tittle background is necessary. In the Church of Christ where Lynda and I worship, one of the young men, who desired to preach full time, alternated with his brother-in-law preaching for a small group of saints in Decatur, Texas, forty miles north of Ft. Worth.-When he announced that he was moving to Phoenix, Arizona to preach full time, he gave the brethren in Decatur my name, and to me an invitation to preach one Sunday to see if they were interested in me. The association with that church lasted for over three and a half years. During the first year I alternated with the brother from Ft. Worth, until his job necessitated a transfer to Georgia. From then until the summer of 1982, I preached at Decatur almost every Sunday, except for an occasional vacation trip. I would have liked to preach there longer, but on the last day of February, 1982, I had emergency appendectomy, and because of complications following the surgery, my recovery was slowed and I did not get back to full strength as auickly as I should. It was getting harder and harder for me to hold down a full time job, take care of responsibilities at home, set two sermons prepared and then drive about 120 miles round trip each Sunday. But it was a rewarding experience for me, and I hope, for the brethren in Decatur. The association has not been totally severed; I have preached there several times in the last two years. Nor have I abandoned a desire I have had, that some day I might retire early, have a small farm somewhere, and work full time with a small congregation.

During the time I preached at Decatur, I had the joy of baptizing one young man into Christ, and performing one wedding ceremony, that of my brother, Olin, But it was also my sad task to preach two funeral services, one of which was for my beloved Uncle, Charlie Beaver. Aunt Lee, Lois, Sam and Jane, you can little imagine how difficult that was for me, but how grateful I am to have been considered worthy for the occasion.

As I sit here before my word processor and try to draw some conclusions to all that I have said, I am filled with mixed emotions. First, I am filled with thanksgiving to my Heavenly Father for my life, for the abundance of His blessings, for the sacrifice of His Son, and for the -hope of living eternally with Him. I thank Him for parents who were faithful Christians, and who knew how to bring up their children “…in the chastening and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4), for three brothers whom I very dearly love and respect as much as I hope they do me, and for all the familial relationships shared with aunts, uncles, and cousins. And I thank Him for a wonderful wife, who has walked beside me, filled my life with happiness, supported and encouraged me in all of the right things I have tried to do. I thank Him for her parents and her two sisters and husbands, Christians all, who are just as much a part of my life as you are.

Secondly, I am filled with love—love for the truth and right and freedom, for service in the Master’s cause, for the churcn, and for the gospel of Christ. I am filled with love for all things beautiful, the golden sunset, the majesty of God’s creation, and for the creative talents of man. And I am thankful for the solitude and peaceful reassurance derived from quiet moments in conversation with Him.

Thirdly, I am filled with sorrow–sorrow for the loss of those who have gone before, and for those whom I shall not see ere this life is over. I am sorrowful for lost opportunities, unwise decisions, inept actions, unkind words, misplaced trusts, and undeserved hurts.

Finally, I am filled with hope – hope in a better life someday in a land right and fair, of seeing my Savior face-to-face and hearing him say, “well done “. I am filled with the hope of a great reunion with family and friends gone before, with the hope and desire for genuine peace and unity of God‘s people, based on his word.

Today is March 27, 1985 I must now draw this chapter of the history of the Beaver Family to a close. There are many things I could’ve said, and some things said that maybe I should not have. But these are the things I wanted to say. I do not know what mother has written, with Merrill, Dennis or Olin have contributed, if anything that was not my assignment. I have worked on this, often on, for several months, starting almost immediately after Aunt Lois announced the intent to publish this history. It has been a genuine labor of love, written and rewrit ten, shortened here and lengthened there, added to and taken from. So, to all of you, I give my love, and my earnest prayer for God’s richest blessings.

Respectfully submitted,


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