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Vol 13  Issue 647  June 18, 2009

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

Email: butchbridges@oklahomahistory.net

Gene Autry resident Annie Conway will be celebrating 98 years on June 22nd.  Her nephew Joe Dale Black would like to invite anyone who wants to wish her a happy birthday to send an email to him, and he will pass it on to her.  Let’s really make Annie smile with birthday wishes from all over the country and overseas!

I would like to use your weekly column, to wish my aunt Annie Conway a Happy Birthday. She will be 98 years young on June 22, 2009. She still lives on the old homeplace that she and Uncle Bernie Conway (deceased) built in 1938 on a bluff overlooking the Washita River, located about a mile east of Gene Autry Oklahoma.”  -Joe Dale Black  joedblack@juno.com

“Dearest Aunt Annie, Your great niece Mary C. Dalla Betta, daughter of Joe & Carol Black, wishes you a blessed birthday on June 22nd and many more to come. You are an inspiration to all women by your example of strength and wisdom. God Bless you and keep you all the days of your life. With gratitude and love.” -Mary Carol

I hope many of you will join in with Mary Carol (and Jill and I) and email Annie Conway a happy birthday wish on her 98th birthday on the 22nd. Just send it to:   joedblack@juno.com

As I promised last week, below is a link to the audio recordings of “Once Upon a Time” by Ardmoreite Betty Carroll.  I only have about half of the recordings ‘ripped’ from the CD, converted into MP3 files, and uploaded to my website. I will get the rest in a few days. The recordings are really a step back in time and lessons in southern Oklahoma history!


The chickens are doing great. The past few days they are all going inside the chicken coop by themselves, with no human involvement. Generally by 8:50pm they are inside perched on the roost, waiting for me to raise the gang plank.  We have really got some laughs from their antics, as the run around in the pen.  The other day some big flying bug flew into the fenced area with them, and the Barred Plymouth Rock rooster, Deese, spotted it, and moved toward the bug.  But it flew outside the fence for a few seconds.  When it re-entered the chicken run, Deese snapped it right out of the air in 2 seconds flat. And then the chase was on. The rest knew he had a morsel of food, and took out after him.  We laughed as Deese ran all over the run, each one trying to get a bite of that bug in Deese’s beak.

After all that chasing around the pen, sometimes they settle down under the coop and take a siesta in the afternoons.


Ten cheapest places to buy gas in the Ardmore area……


Q.   Who was the first woman from Oklahoma to serve in Congress?
A.   Alice Mary Robertson

Q.   What tribe was once the richest people in the world?
A.    (answer in next week’s T&T)

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..“I am currently and successfully growing Mexican Fire Trees. These are a tree common to the deserts of Baja Mexico and look somewhat like the Locus varieties here that are pests and weeds, but Mexican fire trees are extremely beautiful with a bright red flower each spring that covers the canopy and appears as if the tree were on fire. At other times, the tree has a wonderful low canopy that is slow growing and seldom needs attention. They will grow successfully in very hot dry areas because the tap root grows straight down until it reaches the water table. In some areas that may be as much as 50 feet. They have a seed case that looks like a custom made hardwood container with individual pockets for each seed. I have never seen them grown in the states, and so far I have eight in 4″ pots. In this size pots, they will reach about six inches and not much more. From what I have seen so far, the ideal pot for this tree would be about six inches wide and ten feet deep. Interesting, eh?” -John in TX

“Hi Butch, I’ve used golf balls, a que ball, empty aspirin bottles, even white blocks of wood as nest eggs. They don’t seem to notice the cube shape. They’ve all worked perfectly.” -William Davis in Corinth, TX

Chester and Joyce Hitchcock LIVING ESTATE SALE (not an auction), June 26 and 27, 2009 at 5393 Gene Autry Road, Ardmore, Oklahoma. Watch for signs. Everything must go.


“Butch, We raise pineapples year around here in South Florida. The best fertilizer to use is “Peters”. All of the major growers use it. You need to fertilize them two times each month.” -Larry Martin

“These are my elephant ears that I just started this year, I planted them in the Okie dirt that the City of Ardmore makes from the sludge of the sewer plant, it is composted for 4 months and when they give it away there are hundreds of people lined up to get it.”  -Doug Williams


“I tried to get photos of the two kinds of “Ace Of Drinks” bottles and also I included a 7 oz. bottle from a longtime Perry dairy (Forney’s) of yesteryear. The Forney’s bottle was used for orange drink, grape drink, and chocolate milk. The family dairy was south of Perry on state Highway 86 and they also operated a dairy store on the west side of our courthouse square (selling ice cream and other dairy products). The “Ace of Drinks” bottles show two different sizes of lettering (from the two glass companies). The one showing a smaller size lettering is embossed also with the larger size lettering on the opposite side. If I read the date code on the bottom correctly, I think it was made in September of 1918 (by Owens-Illinois glass co. in Ohio). The other ones that I have were made by mTc and have the number 40 in a circle in the middle of the bottom of the bottle. They are lettered on just the one side of the bottle and I don’t know whether the 40 in a circle was for the year 1940 or perhaps the particular bottle mold.” -Roy Kendrick in Perry

“My Dad (Herbert Mason) had the truck stop on HWY 77 and then had a station in the Broadlawn Center. My grandparents (Jess & Julia Mason) had a station on the corner of 8th and Commerce across from the Super Dog (Phillips 66).”  -Donna in Washington

Problem:  “Butch, I think your my last chance on understanding tomatoes growing. I’ve tried the last two years with no luck. This year I’m trying the upside down route and I thought I was doing pretty good, till a couple days ago. I used the Miracle Grow soil for tomatoes and flowers. The plant grew like crazy. I still have plenty of blooms and a few very small tomatoes, but I noticed that two of the larger ones were developing end rot. I’ve hung the plant on the side of my porch that get full sun from noon till around six thirty. I was told they like full sun, but I’m having to water everyday because the plant was wilting. I found if I water every day around 11 AM it doesn’t wilt as much. Now I’ve read on line to add lime to increase the calcium and I did that and I also sprayed with stuff for end rot. I don’t know what else to do. I’ve read I might have the get rid of the plant altogether. Should I hang it on the other side of my porch were it will get just the morning sun from around seven to noon. The sun wouldn’t be as hot and maybe I won’t have to water everyday. I’ve also been told to add Epson salt. I have not clue what to do. I hope you can help.”
-Sue in Covington, GA

Answer:  “The right variety is essential to having a bumper crop. There are 7,500 varieties, with 600 heritage and a dozen species. Not all are suitable for upside down growing. Also, is it a determinate? One should stick to determinate tomatoes when attempting to grow upside down. This is really important. Also, a determinate should never be pruned. If you do, you will lose much of the harvest. Only prune the indeterminates. These are the vines that grow and grow, and every ?sucker? is another vine in the making. I limit the really healthy young plants to 3 vines and the lesser ones to two, pruning out the rest as they begin to form. I will also remove all the stems below the first flowering group.

The determinates are ?determined? to grow to a particular height and then produce all the fruit at once. These are the commercial varieties that allow growers to harvest all at once. The indeterminates continue to grow and produce all through the season, but can reach lengths of 10 to 12 feet.

I?m growing six indeterminates on my porch in pots and they are all over seven feet right now. Next, I will connect all the stakes they are tied to, to new stakes that connect the verticals with something side to side and begin training them sideways so they can continue. I have four more varieties in the back garden, but they are not showing a crop yet. I sort of expected a poor showing as they went in late, the soil is bad, and the sunlight is not optimal. I moved up here from Mexico where the climate is good in the winter, bad in the summer, and tomato growing is excellent until the temperature goes over 95 during the day and over 75 at night. Tomatoes will stop producing at those temperatures.

Sunlight. If there is any three things that tomatoes need, it is sunlight, more sunlight, and still much more sunlight. It?s difficult to get a bumper crop with less than six hours a day.

She mentioned she is having blossom end rot. This generally stems from watering, and either too much or too little can cause it. Either too little or too much water and the plant is not able to draw the right quantities to compensate for what is list through the leaves to the atmosphere, or transpiration. As a result, the plant will draw moisture from the fruit, causing the bottom of the fruit to desiccate (dry out) and turn dark. That is blossom end rot. In an upside down plant, if the soil is too sandy, it will not hold moisture. If too much like clay, it will hold too much, the soil should be loamy and friable.

Additionally, it is bad practice to water mid day. If you must, be very careful not to wet the foliage. If you do, you can damage the plant. Blossom end rot or fruit cracking is almost caused by poor watering techniques or soil moisture, but it is also attributable to calcium. It is so imperative that any tomato grower have the soil tested, that I?m sure she has done this. Tomatoes will not produce well in a soil that is under a ph of six. Send the sample to the county extension agent.

To best water an upside down plant, water before sunup, or after sundown. Earlier if before sunup so the foliage can dry before the sun rises. Upside down growing can easily have problems with watering because of wet foliage and sun burning. Also, tomatoes do not tolerate ?wet feet? Moist, but without pooling is the key.

So, I think that should be enough to be completely confusing, so I will stop here. Please have her send me all the information I wrote about and I can go further. It would be my pleasure. I do need to have this problem taken care of before I can write any articles. I seem to confuse easily. I wrote for about three hours today and not a bit of it made any sense.

Now, if this makes any sense I hope I have helped–or will help as the questions are answered. Now I have to go to bed. I am feeling seriously weird and off balance.I just enjoyed my first of what appears to be a bumper crop of Better Boy, three vine indeterminates. Delicious! I pick them before completely ripe so the birds don?t enjoy them too.

So you know, there is absolutely no difference in taste between a vine ripened tomato and one picked when good and pink, showing some softening, and placed on the window ledge to ripen fully.  Vine ripening only opens them up to bird damage.

Really! This is actual truth, fact, and reality.

Try it for yourself and be totally objective. Many people swear that the vine-ripened tomatoes are much better, but these folks are usually the type that make the statements and then have to prove themselves correct. They can?t be totally objective, looking to determine precisely the reality of the subject. So of course, to them there can never be any other truth?even if the window ripened one was so much better they were shocked, they could not admit it.” -John Cook in Texas

“I enjoyed the very interesting story Doyle Williams shared about the Bert Casey gang and his father’s involvement with them. My ggrandfather Levi Newton Casey moved to Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory (Ardmore) in the 1890s. He and his daughter (Sarah Jane, my grandmother) and her husband James Monroe Flippo and family all moved there together from Arkansas. Although Bert Casey is not in my direct Casey line (his family was from Illinois) the lines do connect many generations back in South Carolina. Several years ago our Casey Family Association held their annual reunion/conference in Oklahoma City and on one of our day trips we went to visit the cemetery were Bert Casey is buried. We also visited the location of the campsite where Bert Casey was killed and saw a reenactment of the shootout. The president of our Casey Family Association is (or was at that time) a member of the Oklahoma City police force and they allowed him to participate in the reenactment. That was one of our most entertaining Casey reunions!” -Vonda Dihm

“I would like to also let everyone know that the Berwyn School Reunion will be held on Saturday, July 4, 2009, at the Gene Autry Museum, in the auditorium, starting at 3:00 PM. Thanks.”  -Joe Dale Black  joedblack@juno.com

“Butch, S&J Deli, 321 Highway 76 South, in Healdton, OK, is now out of business. I thought you might want to remove it from your listing.” -Anne

“Hi Butch, I can tell you plenty about that belt buckle. “GOTT MITT UNS” is German and it was used by the Nazi’s for a long time. Literal translation= “GOD WITH US!”  Just google “Gott Mitt Uns” and you will find all you can read or want to know on the buckle. I am sending this link as well, I have read a lot on Ernest Hemingway and there are many pictures of EH wearing this belt buckle after the war up and until he killed himself in 1961. He got it from a German soldier in WWII. I don’t think he would be able to wear it these days though. Hope this helps.” -John


“Butch the belt buckle is a Nazi era Wehrmacht belt buckle. It is not an SS
soldiers buckle but just regular Wehrmacht soldier. The inscription of Gott
Mit Uns means “God with us”. I couldn’t find any info on the maker CID but
the 1941 is the production date.”  -Bryan

“Butch, Was talking to My neighbor the other day and was standing in front of a storage building that His Brother and Dad had moved in around 1963. They had used it for painting cars etc , while talking to Him noticed a Viceroy Cig sign on a window pane, going inside a found an old Whistle drink sign hanging on the wall.

On further questioning of My neighbor found out this was the First Shug West Store, on the back of the store was an old push button that if you came in Shug’s store and if he was not there you were to push the button to let him know you were in the store, and he would come down the hill from his house to the store, don’t you wish people were that honest these days ? It even has the original old single fuse hanging on the wall that the store ran on for electric, the poles for the canopy is still outside and at one time they even had the old gas pumps standing out front but are long gone now.

When riding the Dickson school bus to school I remember this old building but was not in it but did visit the new store that was built behind it before it was moved. Will be sending pictures of it in the near future…..

Mike West and I went to school together which was Shug’s youngest Son, am sure Mike can tell you a lot more about this store His Dad had and ran for years before building the new one, my neighbor thinks the store was built somewhere around the early 1920s or 30s but I do not know maybe We can get Mike to give us a little more history on it.

I would think that Babe Summers was the one whom moved it to where it sits today on E Street SE. He was a house mover who lived across the street from Me while I was growing up and him and His son Bill Summers did house moving. The Dripping Springs Area had two stores in my youth, Sears Grocery store and Shug West Grocery. Mr Sears use to come out of his store each morn and sit in an old lawn chair in front of the store and whistle a tune, 6 am sharp you could set your watch by it.”  -Allen Young



“Butch, the web link below is a story on the new Marshals Museum that was unveiled in Fort Smith, Arkansas last week. They’ve been working on & planning this for several years now and it is finally going to be built. The link includes a photo of the architects design. It’s supposed to be designed from a Marshal’s star badge. It’s going to quite fun, especially since Fort Smith played a pretty good size roll in the old west with Judge Isaac Parker and such. When it’s completed and opens I plan to drive down to visit and I will be sure to send you some photos. 🙂  -Kathi G. Fayetteville, AR


“This past weekend the Heartland Flyer celebrated it’s 10th Anniversary of passenger service between Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Fort Worth, Texas. Amtrak had ceased operations in Oklahoma in 1979 and after a 20 year absence of passenger rail service here the Heartland Flyer took up the challenge in 1999. To celebrate the 10 year mark a special train was operated carrying the flags of the state of Oklahoma and the state of Texas.

The link below shows the special train approaching the old Rock Island/Frisco Overpass and Trestle System in Ardmore, Okla.


Photo of rail dated 1909. Highly worn, the rail is barely wider than the quarter shown on top. This rail is part of the old Rock Island/Frisco Overpass and Trestle System in Ardmore.


-Dwane Stevens, Ardmore, Okla.

“Butch, going to Sulphur on 177 just north of Baum up where Goddard’s ranch is there is this new gate with the brand paddle GW. Now Goddard ranch has always been paddle G but does anyone know what this is or means.” -Doug Williams


“Pray don’t talk to me about the weather, Mr. Worthing. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else.” –Oscar Wilde

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges
Ardmore Oklahoma
PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443

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Oklahoma Bells: https://oklahomahistory.net/bellpage.html
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 schools, past and present
Carter County Government Website

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