She Went with the Sun


    The weekend of August 14,

1938, Maudie and Alvin and Dean

and Wanda came to Mulberry for a

visit with Gladys, Clayton and

Gregory. They took a picnic lunch

on Sunday and drove to Lake Fannin,

a new government project of that

time. Maudie seemed in good health,

but she complained to Gladys about

Alvin. The previous week his cousin

Anne— “Aunt Anne”—had driven

out from Gainesville. They sat in her

car, laughed and kissed. Through a

window Maudie watched. Finally, Alvin got out; Anne started the car to leave. Maudie walked out and said, “I don’t want you to come back to my house again,” and she told Gladys, “I’ve always had trouble with your dad like that.” Gladys made her mother promise that she wouldn’t hate Anne.

    The next week Mau
die became ill. Dean and Wanda were still at home; they wrote Gladys. The family’s customary doctor was out of the county, and another doctor ordered, in spite of severe vomiting, “no water.” On Saturday they telephoned for Gladys to come. When she got there, Alvin met her at the yard gate and said, “Sister, please don’t say anything.” Maudie was unconscious. Her last words were another plea for water. To Wanda, she said, “Here’s my baby. I know she’ll bring me a drink.” Maudie’s sister Allie was kneeling at the foot of the bed, holding her feet, weeping. She died that Saturday night (August 21), aged fifty-one, and was buried the next day at three in the afternoon, exactly one week after the picnic at Lake Fannin. Gladys could not cry. On Sunday morning, after they’d placed her in her coffin, Anne came to the house again. Alvin went out to meet her; they sat together in the next room. Gladys could hear them talking, then low laughter. She went to the door and said, “Dad, don’t you think you ought to be in here with us?” He took his seat again beside the coffin; in a few minutes left, saying, “I can’t stand it. I can’t stand it.” At the funeral the preacher said—and this was all that Gladys remembered—“She did the best she could.”

“I was there,” after the funeral

    1939 October 3:  (Dean wrote from Bixly, Oklahoma)  Sunday night.  Dear Rags, We have a fresh norther tonight and it seems cold, whether it is really cold or not. I’ve stayed home all day cause this is Annual Conference and our preacher was gone....

    We are facing a salary cut all over the state of Oklahoma. Dilly thinks his will be 20%, or already is.
We haven’t got one yet but Mr. Harvey (Supt.) says we are almost sure to get one. For that reason I am interested in having our family draw names for Xmas. Why don’t you see to it since we are to eat at your house Xmas Day. Or was it Xmas Day you expect the family? I don’t remember whether you said the exact day or some time during the week. We have to go to Pawnee some time during the holiday to see Dilly’s sister.... However, he knows we are going to your house...has heard so much about Greg that he is quite anxious to see him.

photo montage: (left) Clayton and Gladys,

with Gregory, on 10th Wedding Anniversary,

July 21, 1939


“Water jugs” at the Red House

below: from Dean’s letter

            She Went With the Sun

She lived and loved with us for years and years,

And walked wherein she knew no better way

Until the maker called at closing hour of day;

She went, so free from shadowed doubts and fears.

She left us blinded by our veils of tears,

With hearts pressed down by sorrow and dismay;

She went up high to worlds of ease, to stay

Throughout the timeless tide that never nears.

On gold-dust silken wings she soared out west,

A prize her life of faithful toil had won;

And there she whiles away her blissful rest,

So sweet because her earthly work was done.

She heard her Master’s call and loved Him best,

But darkness fell when she went with the sun.

    (Dean continuing in 1939)  If nothing happens we

will be married Dec. 2, but to present we do not

know if our schools are observing the same week end for Thanksgiving.... When they make it known over there, then we will know definitely. Here’s the

awful part. We have to keep it a secret for Bixly positively does not employ married teachers. I talked with Mr. Harvey the other day. He doesn’t care but is afraid to let it get out for they fired five married women here after school closed in the spring. So be sure and don’t made the mistake of saying Mrs. on my letter which I will get sometime between Jan. and May. I doubt that we will be able to keep it, but I’ll do my best, though Dilly has already informed me that he will not deny it to any one who might ask him. He said if the found it out and didn’t like it, that I could just leave. That sounds alright but I don’t want it that way.

    I haven’t gotten any of my things yet, except a coat which I bought in Sept. and put in the lay away.  I’ve been paying on it, since I plan to get blue velvet for a dress, but who knows, I might end up in slacks.

    I sent Wanda a skirt, sweater and couple of blouses last week. She wrote back that she is studying a lot—it’s hard, etc.  I’d like to see her.  I bet getting ready to go off to school for the first time, etc., was hard on the kid.  I’ve thought about her so much since she’s been gone.

    Must close.  Write when you have time.  Why don’t you just go on and order the magazine yourself.  It’s cheaper that way, for if it is sent here first, it takes an extra 9 cents to send it on.   Dean

    1939 December:  (Wanda wrote from Denton)  Tuesday, Noon

Dear Gladys,

    I have several minutes before class, so I’ll use it to drop you a note.

    Christmas is almost on us, and I cannot realize it. I think the name-drawing business is a good idea, because I for one do not have enough money to buy everyone a present like we always have. College is just one thing to buy right after another, as maybe you remember.

    I am glad we are all coming to your house on Christmas. And that reminds me. I suppose Dilly will be coming too, and I think I should tell you a few things about him. Please don’t ever let Dean know I said anything to you, because she wants everyone to like him, naturally.  And I do—he’s really a nice man, but... Well, I hardly know how to say what I mean. But he seems just a little bit particular and squeamish. I mean, you have to be careful how you look, and what you do and say, when he’s around. He won’t say anything, probably, but he can give you a look that makes you feel so cheap and little.... Well, I just thought I’d warn you. He may not impress you that way so much. And please don’t ever intimate anything about this to Dean.  Please.

    I don’t know what to get for Worth. Probably the conventional pair of socks.

    A boy I’ve been going with gave me a darling compact and bracelet the other night for Xmas. I’m really proud of them....

    See you soon. Tell Greg and Clayton hello. I bet Greg’s forgotten me. Love, Wanda  P.S.  I’d prefer that you didn’t mention that about Dilly to Clayton.  It might prejudice him against him, and he’s really nice. Just a little particular....

    After Grandmother Maudie’s death Alvin sold the farm, the land she received fro
m the Bugg family, and gave $5,000 to each of his children. Then, on a trip to Gainesville, I was aware that “PaPa is alone,” and my mother was concerned. But that soon changed when he bought another place, went into the dairy business, and took into his new home a young couple, just married. PaPa settled into a comfortable life. Fish, “tall and skinny,” helped with the dairy; Nellie, “fat and jovial,” always had a clean, warm kitchen and something good cooking on the stove.

    It was just that way, and although my mother went more often to see PaPa because we lived nearer, there were numerous times through the years that followed when her sisters, Dean and Wanda, came also with their families. Dean and Dilly lived in Lawton, Oklahoma. They had a son, Joe, nearer my brother’s, Gary’s age.


photo: Wanda, Ray, Dean, Worth, Gladys (1944)

        at PaPa’s house

        1967 August 18:  (Gladys)  This is the weekend my mother left this earth.  I am always saddened to the point of desperation.  I want to see her.  She was such a quiet, wonderful person.  Not like me: noisy, sassy, silly, peppy, and dozens of other simple, but true, words.

977 August 7:  ... Also approaching August 14th, the last day with Mama, on August 14, Sunday, and the days are right this year. So I’m beginning to feel and live the days over again.  I want to forget, but that’s what I did all my life.  I forgot that Mama wanted things I never gave her....

photo montage: (top) Alvin, Gladys and Gary, Clayton

(left) Gary... and with Gregory

(below) ... left in her sewing basket