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South Texas Living


The Goode family played, loved music


The Goode family played, loved music
Clare Goode and Billie Jean Watson walk on Houston Street in downtown San Antonio circa 1944.


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Rainy Days and Starry Nights
September 25, 2013
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My aunt Clare Goode loves music. Grandma played a guitar and Grandpa played the fiddle. Her family would gather together on the front porch on summer nights, as they played and sang old folk ballads and old hymns. The family moved around a lot to work in the fields. They picked cotton. When Clare was a toddler, she sat on a blanket in the shade, watched over by her older brother Johnny, and she could hear the voices of her mama and daddy and sisters out in the cotton field, singing the ballads and gospel songs. She says she can still hear my grandma singing “The Old Rugged Cross,” as her voice rang out over the cotton field.

Her sisters, my aunts, Sallie and Faye, always sang in church. After they moved from Wilson County to San Antonio, around 1935, they sang on Sunday mornings at the Assembly of God Church where Brother Blakeman was the pastor. When they came to see us on the farm out near Kasper School, they sang for us and taught us many old folk ballads when we were young. My mother loved to sing too, and taught us those old songs like “The Isle of Capri,” “Red River Valley,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and so many haunting sad songs like “Black Jack David.”

I was watching a documentary on the PBS channel yesterday with my sister Margaret about the Queen family in North Carolina, which has several generations of fiddle, banjo, and guitar players playing and singing those old ballads. The Goode family did just that. Listening to Grandma Queen as she sang “Black Jack David” really brought back some good memories of my mother and her sisters singing that song.

Clare loved music. She told me once, “When my good friend, Billie Jean Watson, and I would play together, we pretended we were movie stars or singers. I loved to dance and sing. And I loved Betty Grable. We sang and danced and put on our own shows for whoever would watch them.”

Music was in Clare’s blood and she learned to sing and play the piano and guitar. She sang in a trio in a little Baptist church in Georgia after she got married and moved to Georgia. They were invited to sing all over South Georgia. She still plays the piano and guitar. She lives in Georgia, is 82 years old, and I still call her “Betty Grable” when I talk to her on the phone.

My Aunt Clare was the baby of the family and now she is my only surviving aunt and still lives in Georgia. Her oldest son Jimmy Price and his wife Pat Price are musicians and songwriters in Nashville. Pat has written songs for many well-known singers, including Faith Hill.

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 loiswauson@yahoo.com.
 

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