The ongoing writings from my mother Eunice, who now resides in Utah after her second retirement with my father Kenneth. Neither one of them got the retirement thing right the first time so they had to do it twice! Hard workers those parents of mine.
I was born October 26,1938 to the greatest parents, Edward William Hargett, Jr and Sarah Thelma Boren Hargett in Phoenix, Arizona at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
I was the fifth of 6 children. The oldest was Odessa Joy, then Zoma Lee, Garry Ronald. Mitchell Norman, me Eunice Evelyn then the youngest, Nona Olean.
Your Dad, Kenneth Blevins, was born in Globe, Arizona July 27, 1935. Your dad’s parents and siblings lived in Payson, Arizona just before they bought their farm in Arkansas, about a mile south from Rodney. The roads were all dirt.
My mom and dad and Ken’s parents had been family friends as far back as Dad can recall. His parents knew my grandparents years back. There weren’t a lot of people and I suppose most everyone knew each other. Our families had always been friends with each other.
Wow, strange to really think of this. Ken and I the only ones in this family to get together. Hmm, destiny I guess. By the way Ken recalls that Grandpa Roy had been ‘sweet’ on one of my dads sisters; that would have been one of my aunts on the Hargett side of the family.
My family and your dad’s family were good friends. They were close throughout all the years. Your dad had lived with my grandparents sometime in the past, many years ago. Roy Blevins, as your grandfather was called, had no one back in those days when he was younger. At the time Grandpa Roy lived with my family, Ken doesn’t know where Grandpa Roy’s father, John Henry Blevins was. Grandpa Roy had no place to live so he lived with my grandparents on Grandpa Ed Hargett’s side of the family.
Your (paternal) grandparents, Lee Roy Blevins and Johanna had talked your grandfather and grandmother, Edward Wm. Hargett, Jr and Sarah Thelma Hargett into moving to Arkansas. I will refer to them as Ed or Dad and Thelma or Mom as that is how everyone knew them. Ken says that Grandpa Roy had always heard about Arkansas, and that was why they sold out in Payson, Arizona and moved to Arkansas. Before moving to Arkansas, Grandpa Roy and your dad, Ken made a trip to Arkansas to look for a farm. The looked at different places and bought the one near Rodney.
Then Aunt Dora (Grandpa Ed’s sister) and Uncle Roger and their large family had also bought a farm farther south in a town I don’t recall the name of in Arkansas.
After Dad went to Arkansas and bought the farm in 1950, we made the big move. As I previously said Gary and a family friend, drove the Model A Car to Arkansas before we made the big move so he could get the house ready for us. I’m not sure what they had to do to get things read for us to move in though. I asked Ken about that. He said he didn’t have any idea what they were supposed to do. Ken recalls that Gary had a 22 rifle and had shot at something in the attic and shot holes in the roof.
I recall that Mom made a statement about wondering what Gary did do before we arrived. By the way, Ken and I don’t know who the guy was that went to Arkansas with Gary. Gary went to Arkansas about a month before we made the move. Ken recalls the guy staying in the house with Gary, but was gone by the time we arrived and was never heard from again.
When we moved to Arkansas, It was like a caravan. Grandpa Ed drove a Model A truck. Mitchell (Uncle Butch) was with Grandpa Ed. Mom, Grandma Thelma, drove a large truck. I was with Mom the whole trip. Uncle Roger drove another big truck. I don’t recall which of his kids were with him. Nona usually rode with Aunt Dora in her big white car with all the other kids and their baby. They had a really full vehicle.
I was eleven years old and did the map reading the entire trip. I remember having to keep Mom awake as she got so sleepy a lot. It was such a very long trip. I don’t even know how many days it took to get to the farm in Arkansas. It seem that we traveled many days, but not really long hours each day.
We tried to make contact at different times during each day so we could all know where everyone was at. We had no radios in those days. We didn’t even have a TV before we moved. Grandma was carrying the freezers and heavy household appliances. The freezers were full of food. At night we would plug them in at a motel. I remember them running a long cord from the truck through a window into the motel room.
I remember once when they checked into a motel, Aunt Dora didn’t go to the motel till after we were all checked in, then she came with the kids. I remember some of the kids going through a window. I guess they were cutting down on expenses. I wouldn’t swear to that though.
There were times when we would have to wait for someone or another to catch up. Once we couldn’t find Aunt Dora and all the kids. Later we found that she had stopped at a swimming pool so the kids could go swimming. We had really worried about them though. Once we had to wait for diapers to get dry that had been hung on bushes where we had all stopped.
Well, there was some confusion in which way we were to go when we entered Arkansas. We were going the southern route as we were going to Uncle Roger and Aunt Dora’s place first. Dad told Mom and I which route we should take, then later we found that it was not the right way. Mom and I were the only ones to go the way we did. It was really scary. We ended up on real narrow dirt roads. It had been raining really hard most of the way and the rivers were flooded. We kept looking for tornados but thank God we never did see one. There were many bad looking storms though.
Mom and I finally came to a river, that was really muddy and real high into the trees. There was no bridge. We saw a ferry that could haul one vehicle at a time, regular vehicles, not trucks, especially one loaded as heavy as we were.
There was a cable across the river that was hooked somehow to the ferry. I remember Mom telling me not to tell the man running the ferry that we had a heavy load.
By this time I was really scared. I didn’t want to get on the ferry. The ferry operator talked to Mom and said he didn’t think he could get us across the river because of the flood and us being a truck. Mom told the ferry operator that we only had household goods, not too heavy and that we would have to drive so very far to get back to the regular highway. We had driven on the dirt roads all day I think and we didn’t know where everyone else in our group was. Finally the ferry operator said he would take us. He told Mom he would get the ferry as close to the bank as he could, so he wouldn’t get stuck when we got on. The ferry operator told Mom to get a run at the ferry so we could drive onto it. We had to drive through water to get to the ferry. Mom got on the ferry and it nearly sank, at least I thought so. I was hollering and jumped out of the truck, while Mom was calling to me. I told her I was scared and didn’t want to be in the truck so she let me stay out. The ferry operator said we were too heavy and didn’t know if we would make it to the other side of the river. He didn’t know if the cable would hold us. He could tell that we were overloaded when we got on.
Mom barely got the truck stopped before we ran off the far side of the ferry. The truck took up the entire ferry. The muddy water was swirling around the ferry, it was very late in the day and into evening just before dark. I think that was why the ferry operator let us on. He said he was just shutting down as the river was so high and late in the day when we got there.
The cable and ferry made all kinds of groaning noises, but finally we did make it to the other side. Before we got to the other side I had to get in the truck, the ferry operator told Mom to gun the truck and drive as fast as she could so we could get through the mud and water to the road when we were getting off the ferry.
I look back on that day and thank God that he got us through. I recall standing on the up side of the ferry, I don’t know how I thought I could swim in the river and save myself or Mom and me, but that was all I could think of. There were logs and trees floating down the river as we crossed. I didn’t think we could make it across the river. I was only 11.
Read page one of Mom’s writing.