A Patchwork of Memories

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MAYE STILES

I was born Maye Evelyn Bieber, May 18, 1907, in Osborne, Kansas, the 12th child of 14 children. Two boys had died at an early age, but 12 of us grew up and attended the grade and high schools in Osborne. In fact there was a Bieber child in the Osborne schools for 50 years. My father was a very strict person, whereas my Mother was considered an "Angel" by everyone who knew her. How lucky we were.

I attended Tulsa Business College upon graduation from high school, entered the business world, and was quite successful. My two marriages were not happy ones, and I have enjoyed the single life since 1960.

My philosophy in life: Do a good deed each day. Don't lie or cheat, and if you have friends that do STOP THEM in their tracks. If I can't eat, wear or drink it - I don't need it. It's not what you know - but WHO. I don't believe in Religions that teach Hell Fire and Brimstone. Every family has a skeleton in the closet. <complete>

1930 DAYS OF THE DROUTH AND DUST BOWL

By: Mary Stiles

Howling winds started at sunrise causing clouds of dirt to move in covering everything with a glaze of dust. Keeping house in those days was futile.

I went to Madill where a brother-in-law worked on an Oil Lease. Cracks had developed in the ground 3 to 6 inches wide and quite deep. You could break a leg by falling into one of them. This was due to the drying out of the land. River beds were cracked and without a trickle of water.

Driving on the highways tumble weeds would pile up on the hood of the car cutting down vision and making driving hazardous. You would see jack rabbits dead in the fields - no food or water for them.

Farmers could not raise any crops and they were leaving for California packing their cars with as much as they would hold, plus the family. They were known as "Okies", it turned out times were hard for them there.

I was called home to Osborne, Kansas due to the impending death of my Mother. Arriving at night, it wasn't until the next morning as I went outside, I knew that something was wrong. Going back inside my sister Bert told me, "The drouth has killed all the trees in town." - and we had had so many trees in our yard.

Air conditioning was unknown then, but Dad fixed up a box in one of the windows in Mom's bedroom with a lining of excelsior, which was kept wet by dripping water and electric fan played against the sides. This did help as Mom had a high fever with her cancer. The Fire Dept. would come by each evening and wet down the house, this helped too.

At dusk the winds would stop DEAD - the air was suffocating inside and out.

DEPRESSING DAYS INDEED.

CRICKET PLAGUE

By: Mary Stiles

It was August 16, 1953 when the Cricket Plague struck Tulsa. This invasion was happening particularly to the downtown area where places of business were well lighted. It was learned that the lights attracted the crickets and the downtown area was darkened for a while.

Upon arriving at my job one morning I found the entire Maintenance Department shoveling up CRICKETS by the barrel full. In fact they were using oil drums, taking them to the incinerator to burn. I went to town just to see what was happening. The crickets were curb deep and Brown-Dunkin's windows were full - up the walls, on the ceiling - in fact, JUST EVERYWHERE. They ruined much merchandise.

I think everyone was losing their appetites - I did. You didn't want to eat one of the pesky things. Mike Connors and his wife were over from Oklahoma City - he was the Oklahoma Tax Commissioner. They had dinner at Bishop's and when they came out Mrs. Connors slipped on crickets and broke her hip.

One of our Service Salesmen was Roy Kerley. He opened up every morning. One morning he breathed the fumes from the poison being sprayed to kill the crickets. He developed a lung ailment from the fumes and had to retire. I remember a time when we were paid in silver dollars and Roy would walk around the Service Dept. rattling those silver dollars. (Sure wish we had saved them.)

My desk was underneath a ceiling vent. One morning a cricket went down my bosom, I yelled like a Comanche and moved as fast!!

WHERE DID THEY GO? WHEN WILL THEY BE BACK?

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