I was born July 13, 1906, in a small two room house in the back yard of my great-grandparents, Nancy and Joe Beaver, a few miles north of Hico, Texas. The first word I learned to speak was “toddy”, and Grandpa always gave Grandma one in the mornings before she got out of bed. Then she would get up, light her cob pipe filled with Twist tobacco and have a smoke before she ate her breakfast of hot biscuits, ham and gravy. And, by the way, my grandma lived to be 95 years old.
They kept me, and petted me, while my mother, Elizabeth Beaver Ratliff, who was just 16 years old, helped my father, Joe, gather in the corn, cotton, maize and other crops. My first gift that I can remember was a necklace of blue beads that Grandpa gave me. I wore those beads for a long time without ever taking them off.
Sometime after I was five years old, and with two brothers added to the family, we moved to a house near Duffau, on the banks of Big Duffau Creek. It was there that I met a 9 year old neighbor boy who was to become my husband about fifteen years later. It was there on this farm that Mama and Dad worked hard and dug us a living. We all were happy working in the field, and at sundown, in the summer, we would have our baths in the Big Duffau Creek, where we all learned to swim.
We lived there ten years, and by that time Mama and Dad had seven children, all healthy; not one had ever been to a doctor. However, one of my brothers, Wallace, wasn’t happy at home, I guess. At the age of nineteen months he ran away from the house and got nearly a mile down the creek bank from home be fore we found him. At the age of two he jumped in the creek when it was raging after a big rain. Mama, the only one who couldn’t swim, jumped in the creek and was able to get him out.
In September 1921 Dad loaded the family into a covered wagon and headed for West Texas. We stopped at Santa Ana, in Coleman County to visit Dad’s sister Frankie Zachary and family. We stayed a month and picked cocton before going on to Girard, ‘e lived at Girard two years, and there another brother was born, Joe Beaver Ratliff.
Oh, the good times we had at Girard. I always enjoyed going to Granny and Grandpa’s house. They were known to all of their friends as Aunt Minnie and Uncle Ed. I enjoyed helping Grandpa milk the cows. He used to tell me that I could milk a cow better than anyone that helped him. I believed that then, but now I realize that it was because I was his first grand child was why he would tell me that. I still say that my grand pa Beaver was the best man I have ever known.
Grandpa had a good dog, too. Old Watch. He went to church every Sunday and sat on the front bench with Grandpa. When Grandpa would get up to speatc or lead prayer, Watch would stand on the bench on all fours and never move until Grandpa sat bacx down, then he would lie down again.
In 1923 we moved to a farm north of Floydada, Texas where we lived until I married that boy that I had known since he was 9 years old, Gradus Partain. We were married October 12, 1926 by the County Judge in the Floyd County courthouse. We spent our honeymoon in the cotton patch, pulling cotton for my dad, then we moved to Girard where we started our home and family.
After the tragic death of Myrtle Beaver, Clay’s wife, we moved in the house with Clay. Gradus worked in the cotton yard for Clay and I keDt house, cooked and took care of four year old Merle for two years. Our first son, Donald Ray, was born at Girard September 27, 1927.
In 1928 we moved to Quitaque where Gradus went to work for the Ford Garage. Later, he became such a good mechanic that he started his own business, known as Partain’s Garage. On March 20, 1931, our second son, Wendell Bryan, was born. Our third and last son, Jimmie Dean, was born in Quitaque November 4, 1933.
In May of 1941 we moved to Dallas, where Gradus worked for Braniff for several years, later as a mechanic at several different garages. I worked 15 years as a sample finisher for Annmarie dress shop in downtown Dallas. We bought a home in North Dallas in 1951 where we have lived ever cents. We retired in 1969 and it was soon after that we learned that gratis had lung cancer. After long years of intensive suffering he died in August 1984. He is buried at wrestling cemetery in Dallas. We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary before he died. I am now in the process of selling our home and moving to Garland to be near my children, grandchildren, and one great grandson.
Our oldest son, Donald, lives in Garland with his wife, Betty, to whom he has been married since September 6, 1952. He’s retired after working 32 years for my period each. At the age of 16, Donald went to Belen, New Mexico, lived with an aunt and uncle, Zilpha and Ray Atkinson where he worked for Santa Fe railroad as a brakeman, the youngest they had ever heard of the time. He later joined the Army where he served at Fort Bliss for several months. Dan and Betty have three children:
- Marshall Ray, born October 28, 1958. He attended Richmond college and works as a computer operator in Dallas. He married Kim Coburn, and I have one son, Mathew, born January 20, 1982.
- David, born October 22, 1959. He is attending college in Denton.
- Kathy Lee, born May 27, 1961. She married Paul shine. She is secretary at Vera manufacturing company in Garland.
Our second son, Wendell, is married to Helen Stansell Partain. Wendell is a survey engineer and has his own business in Mesquite. Helen owns a frame and art shop in Garland. Their children are:
- Denise. born September 29, 1952. She is vice president of a bank in Dallas. She is married to John Volde.
- Rae Lynn, born February 13, 1957. She is a dental hygenist and works in Dallas. Her husband is Bob Lambert.
- Bryan, born April 29, 1959. He works with his dad in his survey office. He is married to Terri Mason.
Our youngest son, Jimmie, married Lavada Avery May 16, 1953, when she was just 14 years old. Jimmie has been cotton classer in Dallas for many years. His hobby is playing the guitar and coaching soccer. Lavada, after having three children, is attend ing college preparing co be a nurse. Her hobby is raising beau tiful flowers. Their children are:
- Russell Dean, born April 3, 1959-, when his mother was 15 years old. He was a talented guitarist. He was killed in a dune buggy accident May 13, 1970.
- Brenda, born April 5. 1956, now lives in Florida.
- Curtis, born April 6, 1969. lives in Garland, plays soccer and loves every minute of it. He has a collection of beer cans.
I just had a complete physical checkup and my doctor told me that he hoped when he is 73 years old he can check out as good as I did. I ride my stationary bike or 5 miles every day. I am still so very lonely. I didn’t dream one could possibly be missed so much as I miss Gradus. But I have much to be thankful for, my children, in-laws, and grandchildren. I don’t drive except to church and the grocery store. Lois, I hope you can use this in your book. My love to all of you.