Less than a year after their marriage Dad was transferred to Lubbock, Texas as District Engineer for the Texas State Highway Department. Mom and I followed when I was three months old. We arrived in Lubbock in May of 1925. Incidentally, Texas Tech was also founded in 1925-or at least the first building was finished in 1925.
At that time Lubbock was a small town of about 10,000 people and had about four streets that were paved. They were paved with red bricks but the rest of the streets were dirt. You traveled at your own risk in wet weather. Heading west there was a little pavement of bricks from Ft Worth to Mineral Wells, but after you crossed the Brazos it was dirt all the way This is a picture of a typical “main Highway” in West Texas in 1925 being maintained with the most modern equipment. Mules had previously pulled the grader shown in the photo.
When they constructed a road they would have to move dirt to build up the roadway. This was done with Fresnos. A Fresno was pulled by about four mules and looked like a big scoop. It was about four or five feet wide and had a big handle that stuck out the back. The operator would hold the bucket down, scooping up dirt until the Fresno was full and running over. The operator would then hold the big handle down and drag the bucket to the roadway where at the proper spot would lift the handle up dumping the dirt. He walked behind with the reins from the mules over his shoulder.
We first lived at 1211 Ninth Street in a rented house not too far from Dad’s office. My folks were Presbyterians and I was baptized at the First Presbyterian Church in Lubbock August 9, 1925. Reverend Lewis was the Pastor.
After about a year, we moved to a duplex at 2113 13th Street across the street from Hub and Betty Jones. They had two daughters Billy Bob and Betty. Mrs. Jones was called Big Betty and was a dear friend of my mother as long as they lived. When I was almost four years old, I got in big trouble here. The lady next door was a rose grower and had a large number of very expensive patented roses, each of which had a tag describing which rose it was. One afternoon, I apparently was looking for something to do, so I took all the tags off for her and presented them to her when she rushed out to see what I was doing in her rose garden. Apparently, this was a big mistake. Things were very strained for a while between Mother and Big Betty.
In 1929 we moved to a larger single family home at 2629 22nd Street. There was not a thing west or south of us except cotton fields and playas (lakes formed by buffalo wallows). I was able to get into trouble here as well. A buddy of mine and I found a stalk of green bananas that my Dad had hung in the garage to ripen. We proceeded to eat a large quantity of these and both got very, very sick. Mom and Dad rushed me to emergency at the hospital where they pumped my stomach. I have a hard time even smelling bananas to this day-much less eating them.
This was before the days of electric refrigerators, and we had an icebox that sat in the back hall. Mom put a card in the window for the iceman to know how much ice to leave. The top of the card had 100 on it, the bottom 50, and one side 10, and the other 20. Whichever number was shown on top was what he left.
There was a little door by the icebox that went through the wall, and that is where he would put the ice. The milk, butter, and eggs were also delivered once a week.Another time I exasperated my parents was about this time at our church. A grown-up came into our Sunday school class and said, “All of you who are supposed to be baptized today come with me.”
Well, I was never one to be left out, so I fell in at the back of the line not knowing I had been baptized when I was about eight months old. We were marched into the main sanctuary and lined up in front of the congregation. My Mother and Father were horrified when they saw me at the end of the line. Not knowing what to do, they did nothing, so I was baptized for the second time. So you might say I am a double dipped Christian!
About this time my Dad left the highway department and formed a partnership with a friend of his, named McKelvey. Dad’s brother Hugh joined them about a year later and they named their new company Field Brothers Construction. Hugh moved to Lubbock with his wife, Vida, and son, Townsend. Hugh had been one of a very few Naval Aviation pilots in World War I. Dad was just a teenager and worked in the shipyard. Hugh smoked a pipe like Dad but was more studious and serious. He had a great sense of humor but was just more reserved. Dad was more the life of the party type; he loved practical jokes and liked everyone and everyone seemed to like him. Hugh was a few years older than Dad and had withdrawn from college so Dad could go, because finances were tight in their family. Dad appreciated that and never forgot it.