Have you ever heard of Okmulgee, Oklahoma? Okmulgee means “Babbling Brook. “Not too many people have knowledge of this town. But I was born here and plan to grow up under its big wide sky. Oh ya, my name is Abigail, just call me Abby everyone else does. I was born in the house we live in. Upstairs in Mama’s room. Mama says it is real fine to have a baby in spring, life is everywhere. It is 1927 and I am 6 years old. My sister and brother are older than me. Cordilia is 9 and Thomas Jr is 11…we are the Thomas & Christina Murphy family. My Dad works for the Graham Glass and Bottle Company. Sometimes he brings home the strangest looking bottles. He calls them the miss fits, they go back in the big kills to be made again. Mama puts them on the window sill to show them off. Dad would talk about the company moving sometime in the future. The new plant would be in Checotah, Oklahoma. Would we have to move? Dad would smile and say, “It’s just a company rumor, never mind.” But the thought of moving from our town hung in the air like smoke from a fire. I could never leave Okmulgee.
Our farm is just outside of town. My Grandpa and Grandma built the house we live in. the history of our land is interesting because Grandpa bought the 100 ac’s from a Creek Indian named Roly McIntosh. There were a lot of Indian’s here. Grandma was not sure about the Indian’s, but soon called many Friends. Grandpa’s family was from Ireland. Grandpa was born in Philadelphia and so was Grandma. They got married at Grandma’s parent’s house when she was 16. Her Dad and Mom were not happy about her getting married to Joseph Murphy’s son, those Murphy’s are dreamers, always looking at the what if and not making stable lives for their families. So when Grandpa decided to leave Philadelphia Grandma’s Dad was fit to be tied. Day Dreamer, he will take my daughter Christina to hell and back. Grandma’s family owned a General Store in downtown Philadelphia. It had been in the family many years. Going west was never a thought for neither Marcus Dolan nor any of his family. Grandma said that Grandpa had an itch to move. So they bought the land without seeing it. They had very little knowledge of Oklahoma, but everyone seemed to think the land was good for farming. They built the kitchen first Grandma said, and lived in it until the house was finished. She said it took a long time. My Dad was born in this house along with his sister Elizabeth Murphy, Aunt Betty lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma with my Uncle Jack and 6 kids. We only see them on holidays…but when we are together it is like we were never apart.
I love to hear about the medicine and herbs that Indian’s taught my Grandma how to use. Grandma has a little patch of land where she grows roots and herbs. I try not to let her know if I do not feel well, she has no mercy when it comes to getting you well. If you get a cough, she gets out the kerosene can, puts some in a spoon with honey and heats it on the stove, and you drink it warm. Mama says this will either cure you or kill you. My Dad is going to put a inside toilet in soon. I am excited about the toilet because I am scared of the outhouse at night. My brother Thomas says there are snakes living in there and they come out at night. Mama say’s that is not true, but I just can’t get it out of my head. So I go out beyond the garden and pee at night. I know Cordilia dose too. But if you ask her she will just stick her nose in the air and walk away.
Grandpa and Grandma have their own bedroom. I love to set on the big iron bed with all the quilts of many colors. Grandma tells me stories sometimes while I get cozy. We love to play cards on the bed to. And sometimes I fall asleep right there while she is talking in that sweet low voice. The walls are filled with pictures of our family. If I ask her about a picture, Grandma tells all she knows about who the people are. Grandpa still plants about 30 ac. of Cotton each year. Grandma calls it the money crop. It is always a special time when the cotton is taken to the Cotton Gin to be weighed and Grandpa gets paid. He sets at the kitchen table with a pencil and his notebook…we all set around that old round oak table waiting for Grandpa to ask, “What will we do with the money this year?”
I can hardly wait for harvest time!
I go to school about a mile from home. I am in the first grade, Cordilia is in the 3rd grade but she should be in the 4th, she is so smart. Thomas is in the 6th grade, and he finds the whole school stuff boring. Dad gave him a spanking when report cards came home last week. I think he will do better next time. Thomas is a day dreamer, he wants to leave our sleepy little town and go to a big city. He is in a hurry to grow up…not me! I am having too much fun! Grandmas says he is just like Grandpa, she always says this with a smile.
One rainy day when I kept saying that I have nothing to do. Grandma said that I should go searching around the house for things that mean something special to me while she got out this old ledger from her trunk at the end of her bed. She took out a few pages she had written on and gave the ledger to me. This was fun, I got a few pictures that I drew at school, and Grandma said I should write stories about our family, or just thoughts that was special to me. And so now I have a place to share my secret world, I think it is a very nice place. I named my scrapbook “The house I live in.” I must find a nice ribbon to tie around it.
To be continued….