Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Father's Birthday

Willard Marvin Carriker
July 18, 1923 - June 27, 1987
Frances Carriker Mesneak
November 22, 1924 - February 15, 1996
Photographs taken in Drumright, Oklahoma, 1926 & 1983

This priceless photograph was sent to me recently by my father's younger brother, Gene Carriker, along with his story of the day it was taken. Uncle Gene writes:

"The picture of Willard & Frances was taken in Drumright, October of 1983 when we made the "memory lane" trip back there. Had to have been around the 20th of October for they bought me a birthday cake and celebrated my 57th birthday. The four of us, Robert [eldest brother; April 21, 1920 - February 1, 2006], Willard, Frances [younger sister] and I met at a motel in Cushing, OK (close to D'right) and did the old nostalgia bit for two days. We went to every "homestead" we had lived in during the 14 years living there . . . and also many other places of interest known only to the 4 of us. An unforgettable trip. Willard especially liked it and was healthy enough in '83 to be fairly active, which was great. He made us a great map of the area and things he remembered of Drumright.

"Robert came from Pauls Valley, Frances came back from Longview, Willard from St. Charles; and I came down from Wichita. We had a great time going to all 14 of the former places we had lived from 1926 to 1941. It was a wonderful weekend.

"This picture was taken at the site of the first place we moved to when we returned to Drumright in 1926. It also happens to be my birthplace and was called locally, "Rumpus Hill" due to all the fighting that went on with all the kids that lived there during the height of the oil boom.

"Looking at the picture, your back is toward the southwest so naturally you are looking north-easterly. At one time there were many oil lease houses all over the hill, but by 1926 the boom was waning so there were only two houses on Rumpus Hill at this time. We lived in one, and Grandpa & Grandma Ulrich lived in the other. The house would have been directly behind where Willard & Frances are standing, and the small picture was taken in that exact area some time during our tenure living on Rumpus Hill. That's why the picture is so neat for it is the same two in almost the same spot only 57 years later: 1926 - 1983.

"We probably lived on Rumpus Hill for at least two years, if not a bit more. Then for some unknown reason we moved about a mile away to a lease house on the Jennette Richards Lease belonging to the Pure Oil Company. Seems many of our homesites had specific names we gave them to distinguish their individuality:

Rumpus Hill
Jennette Richards Lease
Cowan's Place
Section 14
Minnehoma Lease
The Joe James Place
Tiger Corner
Poverty Hill in Drumright
Thomas Long Lease.

"You can still get to within a very short distance to all the places, even though not a vestige of any kind remains of a one of them. Lots of stories about every one of the places."

Thanks for sharing these memories Uncle Gene, and for imparting these little gems of family hitory!


Last year on this day, I received the following tender e-mail from Uncle Gene:

"I'm sure I don't have to remind you that this is your pappy's 86th birthday. It never rolls around but what I think of him. G'ma Carriker called him Peter for some reason, or sometimes, "Old Pete."

Sadly, he died far too soon.

I still miss him. He passed away on the first day of my retirement, June 27, 1987 . . . or possibly the night before. 22 years ago . . . a long time ago.

Uncle Gene"


I can't say that I ever knew about my grandmother calling my father "Peter" but it is funny to think of! It's also funny how nicknames like this can take on a life of their own and keep on going long after everyone has forgotten how they got started.

I'll save the long story for a future blog post, but through a series of little mistakes & jokes, I now refer to my older son, Ben, as "Reggie," and have done for quite some time. Of course, I can still remember how it all came about (well, right now I can; who knows what will happen when I become more forgetful?). However, Uncle Gene's reference to my father being called "Peter" for some long-forgotten reason made me imagine maybe someday years from now, some little child asking, "Now, why did Grandma always call Uncle Ben "Reggie"? And no one will be able to explain why! It could happen -- you never know!


  1. Kitti,

    Thanks for sharing. Those old photos have so much to say about who we are, the history of the planet, the history of us. It seems that time has just really flown, especially the last 20 years. The only way I suppose that we can turn back time is to grab these kind of memories brought to us by photos! Thank you Thomas Edison, etal.

  2. Thanks for posting this Kit. I agree with Uncle Gene that not a year goes by that I don't wish Daddy was here to share our lives. I feel so bad that he never got to meet either Brittany or Kiyah since they're so much the sunshine of my life. Daddy had a soft spot for girls so I know he would have loved them, too.