Friday, November 13, 2015

Grandpa "Shorty" Robison Out West

My grandpa it is said, left home about the age of 14, to find work. Times were tough and there wasn't enough jobs in Doniphan, Missouri, to keep food on the table. As you saw from my prior pictures he worked in the oil fields of Oklahoma, which may have been in Mayes Co., Oklahoma, as that was where his grandparents, William Tehcumseh Sherman Robison & Mary Ellen MacDandel were living, by the 1920's.

We know where Grandpa Shorty was in 1930, for it is clearly written on his marriage license, which I have put below.
The story goes, according to Grandma Lillie, is that they both lived and worked in Goodwell, Oklahoma, but they feared that if their friends found out that they were getting married, that they would get up to high jinks and shivaree them. Now a shivaree was a party where the whole community could get involved. They would go to a newlywed couples place, and bang pots and pans, making a loud racket and demanding a party, until they were given one.

Grandpa and grandma didn't want to be shivareed, so they got on the train and went up to Guymon, Oklahoma and got married there in secret, hoping no one would find out. Well the plan didn't work and word leaked out, so that when Grandpa went back to work the fellows there grabbed him, and dragged him up the street to where Grandma worked at a restaurant. They meanwhile had got hold of an old wooden wheel barrow, and the women at the restaurant made Grandma get in it. The whole crowd then proceeded to make Grandpa wheel her up and down the main street of the town. They were yelling and banging things and teasing the daylights out of them both. After a while they let them go back to their work, but threatened to really shivaree them for sneaking off and getting married like that.

Now Grandpa and Grandma had got a small place out of town, in hopes they could have some peace and quiet and avoid the shivaree. That night when they went home, they took a blanket and hid out in the bushes on a small hill overlooking their place. They had just about decided to go in, for it was long after dark, when over the hill from town they saw a line of headlights, as cars began coming to their place. Soon the air was filled with the sound of banging pots and yelling voices, shouting for them to come out, and give them all a party. When no lights came on in the house, the revelers really began making a racket. It worried Grandma for fear they might do some damage to the house, so she and Grandpa came down out of the brush, and gave the whole gang a party.

Things in Oklahoma just got worse and worse. The depression made it near impossible for Grandpa to get steady work, and by the time my father was born, he was working in a gypsum mine. As if the depression wasn't enough, the howling winds of the dust bowl hit, and life became a living hell.

Grandma said when they left Oklahoma it was just with what they could stuff into their old Model-T Ford. Her folks had gone out ahead to Washington State, and they wrote letters telling them to come on out, for there were jobs to be had, and it didn't feel like there was a depression going on there at all. So that's what they did.

Grandpa and Grandma did many things and live several different places when they first came out to Washington, but they finally bought a place and settled on the Cedar Falls Rd., near North Bend. It was there that they started G & L Mink Farm. Grandpa also worked for the State of Washington as a trapper, and Grandma Lillie worked for the Mar-T Cafe in North Bend, which featured largely in more recent times, in the series called, Twin Peaks.
 Here's the restaurant Grandma worked at, as a dish washer, which was called the Mar-T, at that time.
Here's Grandpa Shorty with a bunch of his pelts.
Here's Grandpa with one of his mink. This one is albino. They were mean critters, see how it is biting his leather glove?! That is the peak of their house roof in the distance, and a couple of the mink sheds. We kids used to help Grandma feed the little beasties, and she warned us never to go too near the cages or put our fingers in them, because we would be badly bitten. 
Here is Grandpa with his 1952 Ford sitting in their front driveway, with Mt Si in the back ground. He bought another in 1954. Do you think he liked red trucks or what?! I wonder if the portable cement mixer was when they were putting in the front sidewalk to their house?

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