You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Reminiscing: Aunt Clare’s memories of childhood
Clare Goode and Lois Zook (circa 1941)
Clare Goode Fussell is my aunt. She has shared her memories with me many times. Clare is my only living aunt, both on my mother’s and daddy’s side. She lives in Georgia. She was born in April 1931, the year after the Goodes moved from Coleman to a farm in the Camp Ranch community. The house is still there today. She was only 4 years old in 1935 when she remembers a trip to Floresville in a wagon.
Clare said, “I remember going into Floresville in a wagon with your daddy, mama, you, Margaret, and Junior. Your daddy tied up the mules to a post under this big shade tree and there were these big barrels of water for the horses to drink.”
If she was about 4 years old, I was about 3, Margaret 2, and Lawrence Jr, 1 year old! We lived down the road from them in the Camp Ranch community. Going to town in a wagon and mules with four little kids (under 4 years old), I hope my grandma came with them! But Clare doesn’t remember her mother being there -- it was just my mother and daddy and the little kids. Maybe Mother took Clare (age 4) to help her with the baby and toddlers! I guess Mother carried the baby, Lawrence and Clare held my hand, and I held Margaret’s hand. I am sure Clare was the boss!! But I was the boss of Margaret!
My grandparents moved from the Camp Ranch community to the Fairview community shortly after that. They lived there a couple of years before they moved to San Antonio in 1937. Clare has one more memory of living at the farm in Fairview, one where her mama and daddy made homemade ice cream and the Connally brothers, who were teens, came down the road that night to eat ice cream with the family. I shared that story in another column.
Clare, the baby of the family, started school there in San Antonio. Her mother, my grandma, got a job at a sewing factory. My grandpa didn’t work because of ill health. Her older sisters had to quit school and go to work. Her brothers got summer jobs pushing ice cream carts. They were 14 and 15 years old then. It was in the early 1940s.
Clare went to grade school at Robert E. Lee Elementary and then Emerson Junior High. She worked for a lady down the street after school and on weekends. She cleaned the fish pond out back, and did little chores around the house, and answered the phone if the lady was gone. She gave the money she earned to her daddy to save for her school clothes.
My grandmother died unexpectedly in 1943. She fell stepping down from a transit bus on the ice, breaking her hip. She got pneumonia and passed away in Robert B. Green Hospital. Clare was only 12 years old. She was the baby, and had been her mother’s pride and joy. After that time, Clare’s life spiraled into grief, sorrow, and loneliness as the family split apart trying to survive. When Clare was about 14 or 15, she went to Kingsville to live with her married sister and her husband.
I went to spend a few weeks with her after Grandma died, when they lived at the house on Mesquite Street in San Antonio. That was a special summer for me. What I remember was walking downtown to Sommers Drug Store and going to the Aztec or Majestic theaters to matinees, and just hanging out in her neighborhood, going for walks around the block at night, and sitting on the front porch steps with her friends. It was heaven to me because if I had been at home on the farm, I would have been working in the hot fields all day.
I remember that summer as the one that changed my life. Determining to leave the farm after finishing school and moving to a city where there was a different world and life, I did just that, because graduating from Poth High, leaving the farm, I returned 60 years later to Wilson County. I have lived in big cities, and I have seen things and experienced things, just like I would daydream when I lived on the farm. My Aunt Clare always was an adventurer. She had a very hard, difficult life, but despite that, she is the most optimistic person I know, and she has a sense of humor that keeps me laughing every time I talk to her. I will always be grateful for her, for showing me the other side of life that summer when we were just kids, just on the verge of growing up! I am so glad she has a good memory and has shared many of them with me.
Lois Zook Wauson is the oldest of eight children who grew up on a farm in Wilson County in the mid-20th century. After many years living in other parts of Texas, she now lives and writes in Floresville. Her two books are available from the Wilson County News office. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Austin’s oldest museum offers daily tours (June 22, 2016)
Dine out with The ROCK (June 22, 2016)
Esparza reunion planned for July 9 (June 22, 2016)
Free guided hikes at Enchanted Rock (June 22, 2016)
Getting your hands dirty — in the garden with Iris Seale (June 22, 2016)
Men: Pay attention to your health (June 22, 2016)
Movies in the Park (June 22, 2016)
New Pioneer Playroom offers hands-on learning (June 22, 2016)
Old newspaper makes memories ‘Local and Personal’ (June 22, 2016)
Poth church to celebrate 90 years (June 22, 2016)
See Legacy of Leadership exhibit in Washington (June 22, 2016)
SS museum plans meeting (June 22, 2016)
Tips for a safe trip to the beach (June 22, 2016)
Wall pocket (June 22, 2016)
Area seniors invited to Bingo Tuesdays (June 15, 2016)
Art Walk America contest deadline is June 23 (June 15, 2016)
Attend picnic at Dewees-Remschel House June 15 (June 15, 2016)
DRT receives honors at state convention (June 15, 2016)
Hear patriotic tunes in Pleasanton (June 15, 2016)
It’s gone! The Spot is gone! (June 15, 2016)
Join WASP for summer season (June 15, 2016)
Jubilee offers fun for the whole family (June 15, 2016)
Martinez Social Club keeps you dancing (June 15, 2016)
Meet 2016 Stockdale Watermelon Jubilee, rodeo court candidates (June 15, 2016)
Moms walking group invites members (June 15, 2016)
Napoli Glass (June 15, 2016)
Oak Hills Church plans yard sale (June 15, 2016)
Ramirezes celebrate golden anniversary (June 15, 2016)
See free movies at Arcadia (June 15, 2016)
Sutherland Springs seeks volunteers (June 15, 2016)
Vendors needed for Freedom Fest (June 15, 2016)
Witness Summer Solstice performance (June 15, 2016)
Add amphibians to your landscaping (June 8, 2016)
Enjoy free summer movies at Rolling Oaks Mall (June 8, 2016)
Enjoy Pilgrim Opry (June 8, 2016)
Gene Watson in Kerrville (June 8, 2016)
Hear ‘Bach to Luckenbach’ (June 8, 2016)
Hummel plate (June 8, 2016)
June dances in Geronimo (June 8, 2016)
Meet for Play Dates in the library (June 8, 2016)
OLPH names 2016 Mother of the Year, May Queen (June 8, 2016)
Prepare to enter cool creation in Ice Cream Freeze-off (June 8, 2016)
Remember Flag Day June 14 (June 8, 2016)
Running group plans June 11 run (June 8, 2016)
St. Ann Teen ACTS plan 5K Color Run (June 8, 2016)
Take Dad out to FatherFest June 19 (June 8, 2016)
The old Wagenfuehr house in Bleu Casa Village (June 8, 2016)
Tracking an icon in the ‘horned lizard capital of Texas’ (June 8, 2016)
Building communities (June 1, 2016)
Cowboy penknife (June 1, 2016)
Garcia receives Linda West Scholarship (June 1, 2016)
Garner State Park celebrates 75 years (June 1, 2016)
Libraries prepare to launch ‘Reading Is So Delicious!’ summer program (June 1, 2016)
Lutheran Church windows relocated for a little TLC (June 1, 2016)
St. Helena Men’s Club plans picnic (June 1, 2016)
Stockdale’s early beginnings (June 1, 2016)
The progression of the classic ‘koozie’ (June 1, 2016)