My mind is flooded with memories as I begin to write my chapter for the Beaver Book. Some happy, some sad. but all precious memories. I, Mary Beth Craig O’Neal, was born to Samintha Beaver Craig and Jess Thomas Craig on November 2, 1943, in Paris, Texas. I am the third of their three children. I suppose my brother Larry, already having one little sister, just took another in stride. But Janie, not quite three years old, I have been told, ordered my mother to take me back to the hospital. Needless to say, I was not a welcome addition for her. In spite of her demands, I stayed. Janie and I fought as sisters do, but through the years we have become very close. Larry(whose brotherly advice I some times did not appreciate as a child) is now the perfect big brother whom I can depend on for anything.
Childhood days bring back many memories. My first five years of life were spent living in five different towns. My father, being a roofing contractor, had to go wherever he could find work. We moved to Ft. Worth when I was four years old. Uncle Charlie and Aunt Stella lived there, and they be came very special to me. When we first got our telephone it fascinated me like a new toy. I promptly learned Uncle Char lie and Aunt Stella’s number, and theirs only, and I dialed it repeatedly, keeping Aunt Stella on the phone many times during the day. She always took time to talk to me.
Soon after moving to Tyler, Texas in 1949, Gramp Beaver died. I remember seeing him only once in my life, but I do recall his laughing and having fun with us grandchildren. I know he must have been special, and I regret not knowing him longer.
Granny Beaver, after Gramp died, became a welcome visitor to our family for several weeks each spring. She was a dear sweet lady. She liked to listen to religious music and I can still see her sitting by the radio for hours to listen to a religious program. As her vision dimmed with age she could no longer read. Janie and I would read to her from the Bible every day. I knew that when God called her home she was truly happy.
My school years were scent in Tyler, Texas until we moved to Abilene when I was seventeen. This was a drastic change for me after so many years in school in Tyler, besides I was engaged to a boy in Tyler. The miles did not seem to separate us as Charles O’Neal became a regular weekend visitor, driving almost 300 miles to see me. My parents finally consented for us to be married. Our wedding took place June 16, 1961, in Abilene. We then moved to Tyler where we have made our home ever since.
On August 14, 1962 we were blessed with a baby girl, Kimberly Jane, a precious baby. At the age of six months Kim was found to have a congenital heart defect. She became quite a special baby to her young, inexperienced parents who soon be came pros, because when Kim came along she trained us well. She spent a lot of hours in hospitals and doctors’ offices in her young years. Now, Kim has come a long way from the frail child that she was. She attended school in Tyler and graduated from John Tyler High School, then attended Tyler Junior College. Kim, not being pnysically able to participate in sports or strenuous activities, became involved in debate in high school. She won numerous awards and tropnies, of which we are very proud. At 22 she is a beautiful young lady happily married to Robin McInnis. She is employed as a florist nere in Tyler, and Robin is Assistant Manager for McDonald’s. We thank God for Kim and for her improvements in health through the years.
Our son, Daniel Craig, arrived on March 24, 1966. After Kim we thought we were prepared for anything, but no daughter can possibly prepare one for all of the antics of a son. All boy, Danny was so energetic and full of mischief that Kim never had another moment’s peace. The teen years changed Danny, somewhat as he began karate training at the age of fourteen, and worked diligently at this for four and a half years. He received his black belt degree in 198^+. He is now 18 years old, a graduate of John Tyler High School, and working in the landscaping busi ness with his dad, and considering college in the near future. He has made a handsome, fine young man of whom we are proud.
Our third and final child, Kelley Lynn, was born March 19, 1968. She, being the baby got the experienced parents that knew it all, but not half of the attention. Hers were used toys and hand-me-down clothes, and she and Kim fought over everything. Kelley attended the Tyler Schools for eight years, then we moved to another part of town and she started school at Winona High School. It is a small school and she was readily accepted. She has excelled with straight A’s and many awards. She has taken twirling lessons since she was 6 years old, and dreamed of being a majorette. That dream became a reality when she entered the 10th grade, and she is currently enjoying her second year as a majorette. She was recently named Homecoming Queen of Winona High School, a beautiful young lady of sixteen who matces her par ents proud.
Raising a family has been my main achievement and career in life. There are trials and heartaches, but the finished product of our grown children make the struggling years worthwhile. My parents were a great influence in showing me the value of a good family life. Mother took us to church as we grew up, and she in stilled her deep religious beliefs into us. My daddy was so very special to me. He always introduced me to everyone as his baby, even after I was well into my thirties. October 29, 1976 he was suddenly taken from us with a heart attack. The loss was so hard to bear, we wondered how we could survive without such an import ant person in our lives. After eight years the hurt is lessened. but the loss is still there. Mother was grief-stricken, but she held up for her children (who were no longer children). She with the help of God, went on with her life, only to be faced with a life-threatening disease four months later. Cancer of the stomach was the diagnosis, and she was given little chance for survival. She had much determination, telling us that she would make it through the drastic surgery. Make it she did, and after seven years she has made much progress. I thank God for sparing her life. She means so much to me, always listening to my daily troubles, and making me feel better after she hears them. God could not have given me a more perfect mother.
Charles and I have been married twenty-three years. V’e built a new log home three years ago on land given us by his parents. Charles is very creative, and he built this house himself. We own and operate our own business, O’Neal Nursery and Landscape.
I feel honored to be a Beaver descendant, and to contribute a small part to this book.