True Tales of Life In the Old Days - Part 11, Recollections of Gladys True, A Vintage Vignette

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True Tales of Life In the Old Days - Part 11
Recollections of Gladys True

A Vintage Vignette by John P. Rankin


Long-time Madison resident Gladys McFarlen True in her book “My Life from Wagons to Rockets” described her high school years. Excerpts from the book are given below, continuing the series about her life, 1913-2004.

“We had to line up to go to the bathroom, just like we did in grammar school. We had a drinking fountain at the high school, and we lined up for that, too. The water at Gurley High School was sulfur water. Oh, boys and girls, you have never tasted anything like hot sulfur water! It was from a drinking fountain, but it was not cooled. Well, if you are in a hot room in the middle of the afternoon, you will drink something no matter what it tastes like! You would see people holding their noses to get a drink out of that fountain. I will never forget how that hot sulfur water tasted. Now when it got cooler in the fall, we were not as aware of the sulfur taste.”

“By the next year, thermos bottles had come out. My mother got one for me, along with whatever else was new in the Sears Roebuck catalog. I had a hatbox when they had just come out. My mother worked at the post office, and she had a lot of time between customers. She looked at the catalogs when they were mailed in so she kept me in style. She also ordered three pairs of rayon underwear for me when everybody else was wearing homemade underwear. They were peach, pink and white. When those girls saw my fancy bloomers when I went to the bathroom, they thought I was rich! It was the most fun I ever had from any piece of clothing in my life! I really made a hit with my fancy underwear.”

“The lady I was boarding with got sick so I had to have another place to stay. I ended up going back home for the rest of the year. We had a new boy at Gurley that transferred from Trenton, and I got to ride with him and some boys every day to school at Gurley. We would leave Trenton, and then go by Paint Rock to pick up a preacher’s son and another boy.”

“These boys wanted to drive through a creek (that we had to cross on a bridge). I had always said ‘no’ but I finally said, ‘Just go on through there.’ This was the only period of time that I can remember when my daddy owned a car. He had always driven a wagon prior to that time. Who do you think came along in his car? My daddy! We were stuck out in that creek. Well, Daddy went on across the bridge, and he said, ‘Just wade on out and I’ll go up the road and get someone to pull you out.’ He did. They came back with mules and chains and got the car out, but I went on home with my daddy.”

“I lived at home that year, and the next year times were getting very rough financially all over the country. This was about the time that Wall Street fell, and life got very hard. Mama and Daddy insisted that I go on to school and finish my education. When I went back to school in Gurley at Madison County High School, I roomed at the Acuff's (J. T. Acuff's grandmother). They lived in a nice two-story house, and I could have kitchen privileges. I did not know the first thing about cooking, but I was game to try anything. I did not fare too well in the kitchen, and Mrs. Acuff did not like me messing up her kitchen. I did not get the kitchen cleaned up right away, and I did not stay too long at the Acuff's, about one-half year. I moved over to Viola Keel’s in Gurley and that worked out much better.”

Viola (“Vidy”) Keel was the mother of Madison’s historian and letter carrier Percy (“Tootsie”) Keel. She was also an aunt of Gladys’ husband-to-be, Robert E. “Pud” True.

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