This and That Newsletter

Vol 21  Issue 1,067     Circulation 5,000      July 6, 2017

Ardmore, Oklahoma

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James Baxter was born in 1929 to Manuel "Wig" Baxter and Minnie Baxter. Dr. James Cox officiated at the home delivery in Northeast Ardmore, a location convenient to Manuel's job at the refinery. One day when James was still a young boy his father stood at the kitchen window watching a storm when a bolt of lightning followed a fallen electrical line through the water filled yard right up to the window and killed him where he stood.

James grew up quickly. At 15 and in the 7th grade he got on a bus and went to California his brother was in the harvesting business. James went to work for him "swapping spuds". Big and strong, he loaded sacks of potatoes in the fields and unloaded them at the doc for shipment, sometimes as much as 200,000 pounds a day. But the pay was unbelievable, $100 a day on good days. The potatoes were dug by German boys from a nearby prisoner-of-war camp.

After the harvest season was over, James returned to Ardmore and married an older woman, Dora Alice Roberts, who was 16. He went to work for her father, Felix Roberts, as a painter and stonemason. One of his first jobs was the laying of the stone for cabins at Lake Murray. Construction work was not foreign to James. His own father Manuel had built the concrete overpass on Lake Murray drive before his death.

In California, James went for his first haircut, the barber asked him where he was from. His answer, Ardmore Oklahoma prompted another question, "have you ever been down on Caddo Street." This man must have read Robert Ripley's Believe It or Not column in which he called it "the bloodiest pioneer street and United States for Street of its length." The Caddo of James memory was less bloody than the olden days, but it was still a street to be reckoned with. Cret Elliott ran the Dew Drop Inn and the Ford family was still in a group that was best not to provoke. Although Felix Roberts was a cousin of Bill Ford, the family alliance did not guarantee his immunity to violence, and when he failed to return to work Monday, James located his father-in-law unconscious in an empty building down on Caddo Street where someone had knocked him in the head. Territory Town, The Ardmore Story published 2006

Speaking of books, I mention the first part of June about my friend James Clark's book, A Journey Through the Mind of a Lawyer. I have been reading through the 500 page book and learning so much about this area's colorful history that I did not know and I was born and raised in Ardmore. There is even mention of Yours Truly in Chapter 14 about a terrible car accident Cliff Easley and I went to in the ambulance on I-35 south of Ardmore. If you haven't got to read James' book and a glimpse into local history, I encourage you to do so. The Bookseller on Main Street in Ardmore keeps it in stock.

By the way, on the front of James' book is two Carter County deputies I made friends with in 1970. On the left is Lloyd Hudson. What a lot of people did not know was Lloyd was quite a boxer in is early years in the military and could knock your lights out with one punch. Standing on the right of James is John Sigler, Records and Identification Officer for Carter County. I remember going to John's house at 502 D Street NW in 1979 to take him to the hospital in the ambulance. As I started to close the ambulance doors, John looked at me from the stretcher and said, "Don't spare the horses." I knew what he meant. John died a couple days later in the hospital.

By the way, there is a copy of Through The Mind Of A Lawyer at the Ardmore libraries.

Here is a 1976 group photo of the Carter County Sheriffs Office deputies. John Sigler and Lloyd  Hudson are both picture. As I look at the photo, nearly all but a couple in the picture have passed away. I knew them all and miss every one of them.

June 1989 - Brad Archer, son of Larry and Debbie Archer, was the first Carter Countian to carry the U.S. Olympic Festival Torch in the parade across the country. He began his run with the torch just west of Jay Norman Road on Highway 70.

You can find current gas prices for a particular Oklahoma town by entering the name or zip code in the GasBuddy search box.

Q. Where in Oklahoma is an impressive, eight-story performing arts venue that attracts prestigious international tours such as the Russian National Ballet and the Vienna Boys Choir and it's interior is extravagantly decorated with Swarovski Strass crystal chandeliers, a royal purple carpet, and a crystal candelabra that was used by the Shah of Iran to celebrate the Persian Empire's 2,500th anniversary?
A.  The $20 Million Armstrong Auditorium in Edmond, Oklahoma

Q. Where in Oklahoma is the Cave House?
A. Answer in next week's newsletter

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of July 1, 2005

Eric Fields is an Ardmoreite and most of you probably never heard the name before? I know I had not, but then I'm not

Here is a campaign card for former Carter county assessor Henry Sampley
In the mid to late 1950s I remember going to the Civic Auditorium at C Street and West Broadway and take a polio vaccine. From reading the info at the website below, I learn there were two vaccines. One by way of a shot.... the Salk vaccine. The other was the Sabin, a drop of live but weakened polio vaccine administered to us on a sugar cube. It was this Sabin vaccine given to us kids at the Civic Auditorium during the 50s including myself. The sugar cube was in a little paper medicine cup, and after we swallowed it, the paper medicine cup was thrown in a 55 gal drum used as a trash receptacle as we left the auditorium. Boy, since most kids were like me, and hated shots, there would have been a fight in that auditorium had they tried to give us all the Salk vaccine via the needle.
Dee Cordry lives in the Oklahoma City metroplex and has published a book dealing with Oklahoma during the 1920s era that many of you history buffs will want to check out. Here is Dee's own words: "Butch, as you know, I have been a law enforcement officer for over 20 years and I have also worked in the past as the president and editor of the Oklahombres Journal. I currently am the webmaster of the web site. I have put a lot of work into this book and I am glad it has finally been released.." Just go to the Mailbag below to find out more about Dee Cordry's new book!

Note: On June 30, 2017 the website expired. I hope Dee Cordry renews his valuable history website.
A Reader recently bought an etching by Oklahoma artist Sandy Scott. She took the piece of art and framed it, turning it into an even more valuable painting by Ms Scott. It is called "46 Geese of Tucker Tower" and was done in 1995 by Sandy Scott. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, Sandy Scott became one of the foremost animal sculptors in the Southwest in the late 20th century. Her subjects include all kinds of birds as well as domestic and wild animals. At age two, she moved with her family to Tulsa, Oklahoma where she lived until enrolling in the Kansas City Art Institute from 1961 to 1965. She then worked for in animation and worked as a flight attendant and also earned her pilot's license. Following her training at the Kansas City Art Institute, Sandy Scott worked as an animation background artist in the Calvin Motion Pictures. In the 1970's she focused on etching and printmaking moving to sculpture during the 1980's. A licensed pilot for over thirty years, she feels her knowledge of aerodynamics has been helpful in achieving the illusion of movement in her sculpture of birds. Sandy enjoys traveling between her studios in Colorado and Canada. In both settings, she is surrounded by wildlife, the source of her compositions. The overall shape and gesture of the animal is her focus as she seeks to convey its essence. Ms. Scott has been acquired by the National Wildlife Museum, Jackson, Wyoming, the RW Norton Museum, Shreveport, Louisiana, the Museum of Arts and Crafts, San Antonio, Texas and Margaret Thatcher, Great Britain. She has received awards from the National Academy of Design, New York, Allied Artists, New York, American Artist's Professional League, the National Academy of Western Art (Gold Medal for Sculpture) and the Thomas Gilcrease Museum (Tulsa) which held a retrospective exhibition.

"A landing net is a rope net knotted in about 18 inch squares which the Navy throws over the side of the landing ship and the Marines crawl down into smaller landing craft. Marines are taught to hold on to the vertical risers, never the horizontal ropes since the Marine above you may step on your hands if you are holding onto the horizontal ropes. During the Korean war Sailors took pride in tying a secure landing net. The ropes were very rugged, about one inch in diameter as I recall. You must be very careful not to fall off the net and into the water because if you do you drown since Marines are loaded down with as much as 110 pounds of gear. If you fall into the boat below you can hurt the Marine you fall on and you can break your own arms and legs. So, crawl down very very carefully and then jump into the landing boat just as it crests and you be off to the beach. That can be very exciting." -Jerry Brown
"Today I heard about an old school near Millcreek named the Bellwood school that is still standing. The outside looks like adobe. Has anyone ever heard of it? I didn't find it on a search on your website."
"Noodlin in Mud Creek over in Jefferson County." -Ken Updike


Some mail from this week's MAILBAG.....

In last Thursday's newsletter you answered for the previous week's trivia question:

Q. Where in Oklahoma is the world's largest bottle of hair tonic (advertisement)?
A. Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Liquid Life bottle is outside the headquarters for this "magic elixir" that has been sold for many years. It is not a hair tonic but it is a miracle concoction containing every vitamin and nutrient ever known to man, made into a super yummy tasting liquid and good for everything from snake bites to hangnails.

It seems the bottle appeared alongside I-44 in East Tulsa back in the 80s and still remains today. I am not so sure the company still exists although I did find another Liquid Life product on one of those internets but it appears the new life form of the company may have surfaced in Houston, Texas.

I remember my wife buying one of those bottles when the product was popular. She took one big spoonful and then the bottle sat in our refrigerator until we finally donated it to our local landfill to provide vitamins and nutrients to the organisms living there below the ground.

Gerald Whitworth
Glenpool, OK
"Butch, The last week's archives for 2005 at the bottom. The Mrs. W.K. Havely is no other than Millie Jane "Jennie" Hix Kilpatrick Havely-- Clara Bridges mother, our great grandmother. At age 77, she must have written the article in 1947. She died in 1955." -Jim Bridges

"Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom." -John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1917 - 1963

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges
"Friends Make Life Worth Living"
PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443

Vicious Dog Attacks in Oklahoma
Oklahoma Bells:
Bill Hamm's Cemetery Database
American Flyers Memorial Fund - Administration Webpage
Official American Flyers Memorial Website
Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Base Website
Mirror Site of the Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Website
Carter County Government Website

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