Childhood Memories of Stony
By Peggy Thatcher Stroup
Our family, the Thatchers, lived east of Stony until 1935 when we moved to Uncle Billy and Aunt Willie Neal Green's place who were unable to care for themselves or their farm. Aunt Willie was sister to Grandma Sallie Virginia Neal Christal. The Green place had a big two-story house with lots of woods to play in and the Denton Creek to fish and swim in. Many happy years were spent at their place. Although old and unable to farm, they entertained us young ones with many stories of their lives. Uncle Billy who was born in Missouri recalled the Civil War days and how he hid from the Union soldiers in the thick, rich woods of Missouri. He told many tales of Missouri farm life and how fast pumpkins and cucumbers would grow when the seeds were planted in the fertile Missouri soil.
Uncle Billy and Aunt Willie operated the Stony Telephone switchboard from their home for many years. They had no children of their own. They adopted a daughter, Minnie (Goodner) who also help operate the switchboard. Minnie had two children, a daughter, Pauline, and a son, Clyde who died at an early age. Pauline Goodner (Chadwick Perkins) married and lived in California. She died when her son, Percy, was born in 1930. After Pauline 's death, Aunt Willie and Uncle Billie continued to receive letters and pictures from Percy and his father. Aunt Willie and Uncle Billie were very proud great-grandparents. [NOTE: They are both buried in Stony (Green) Cemetery in Stony, TX. The Greens originally donated land for the cemetery. This past October 2000, a headstone was erected for them by the families of their nieces and nephews.]
All of Momma ( Agnes ) and Daddy's ( Frank) children attended Stony School . My sisters, Jane and Edith, graduated from Ponder High School in 1936 and 1939 respectively. Jane married Huston Higgs in 1937 and lived in Sanger. They have a son Joe Christal and daughters Jackie & Marinel.
In the middle 1930's Stony had two maybe three grocery stores:
Morin's Grocery (Duane's dad); Mr. Elmore's Grocery (Louise Taylor's step-father); and Mr. Snellgrove's Grocery (Cecil's father). The churches of Stony would have a big Christmas Party for all the community at Stony Baptist Church. A live cedar Christmas tree was decorated with popcorn and colored paper chains. Mr. Curt Ripy, a jolly great man, would dress up in a red Santa Claus suit. He would enter carrying a large burlap sack on his back and give fresh fruit and a gift to each child. We would sing carols, play games, and have a great community spirit of Christmas together.
While living at Aunt Willie and Uncle Billy Green's we had access to a big fruit orchard with peach and pear trees and blackberries and Dewberries. We ate fresh fruit and berries in the summer. Momma and Daddy would can the fruit and we had peach and berry pies and cobblers in the winter months. Across the road were good neighbors, Henry, Louise, and Carmen Taylor. They gave us many happy times together. Momma and Louise would can our garden vegetables:
tomatoes, corn, beans, and black-eyed peas. Louise and Momma would help each other at our house. This was done outside with a big fire. Daddy and Henry's job was to keep the fires going and the pressure steady on the big canning cooker and to remove it from the fire when done. Everyone had to gather fresh black-eyed peas early each canning day. Bushels and bushels...it must have been thirty bushels..sure seemed like it! All of us kids had to help shell the peas. It was good that we liked lots of snapped peas, because I (Peggy) would pick these for my share of the shelling. We would set for hours shelling and snapping. Carmen Taylor also had to help shell, but as I recall, I don't believe he worked as hard as we did. He still teases me about shelling peas..even sixty years later. Carmen would pick and play his guitar and sing. He also hunted rabbits and squirrels. He was a great hunter and pretty good on the guitar too. Louise, his mother was a school teacher and played the piano at the Stony Methodist & Baptist Churches, she also sang hymns.
Henry and Louise enjoyed children..they helped us kids a lot making life pleasant during the Depression years. I remember my legs hurting so painfully when I was about ten years old. Louise would rub my legs and tell me my bones were "really growing fast". This helped the pain because she really cared and nurtured us.
In the late 1930's and early 1940's Stony had become a small dying community. Only Mr. Morin's Grocery was still operational. A vibrant and pretty young lady named Betty Hall came from Denton to teach at the Stony School and lived with Mr. & Mrs. Curt Ripy. Betty and her dad built the tables and little chairs for the school from nail kegs. The furniture was painted such clean sparking white we kids did not want to get them messed up. Betty would take us around Stony and had places for us to explore like the small stream and trees. She married a special young man, Allen Foster, and they lived east of Stony on a farm. Betty brought new life to the community. She would invite all the kids to Easter egg hunts and award special prizes.
In 1943 Momma and Daddy moved our family to Fort Worth. Daddy and my sister, Edith, worked at Consolidated Vaulte (later Convair, General Dynamics, now Lockheed) and she met her future husband while working there. They married in August 1945 at his niece's home who also worked there and had introduced them. Our brother, Billy, also worked at Consolidated for many years.
Momma was quite skilled in sewing and fancy handwork. She sewed the children's' clothes and her own. Daddy was a machinist at Consolidated; he crawled all over the planes because he was agile and willing. On his days off he took the kids, including half the neighborhood, to skating, ballgames, and the circus. Anytime one of us kids got in trouble we would head for Daddy as he was the peacemaker. He was the one to keep things on an even keel. He also had a knack for picking the best and sweetest watermelons. Whenever we ate one we kids had to have a seed spitting contest. Momma could make the best tasting banana pudding, but Daddy would make the greatest gingerbread. He also would make homemade egg
noodles that were "to die for".
In 1964 Momma and Daddy celebrated their 50th anniversary in Fort Worth at the home of their daughter and son-in-law, Edith and Robert Cleere. They had 56 happy years of marriage. Daddy died in 1972 and Momma in 1981, both are buried in Eakins Cemetery in Ponder, TX. Many family members continue to return for the Stony Schoolhouse Reunion , the 1st Sunday in October , since it's beginning in the 1970's.
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