Riding the Dam – meet the characters

The book I’ve been working on is about my father’s growing up years.  I hope you’ll enjoy meeting some of the characters in this almost all true story. The setting in San Angelo, Texas in 1952 and the story is told from the perspective of ten-year-old Allan.

My family - Mom, Dad, me, Ellen Ruth, and Booger
Dad at the airstrip
Dad was what you would call a fixer. He could fix anything and  I gave him several projects. Dad worked for the CAA as an air traffic controller. He had taken flying lessons as part of the G.I. bill and he knew a lot about airplanes. In fact, he knew a lot about everything.    Dad was a bargainer, and I don’t think he ever paid anyone their asking price. He believed in a zero-sum world. If someone gained, then someone had to lose. Dad was the kind of person who won every argument, knew how to solve every problem, and was never taken by anybody. Except maybe once.
Mom and me

Mom was the youngest of twelve children. She was part Cherokee. Mom never talked much about her family. I guess the life and family she currently had was too overwhelming to allow her to reminisce much about her former one. Her family settled in Texas by way of Mississippi in the early 1900s. They lost everything in the Civil War and the Reconstruction Period that followed. If Mom had a hate list, Yankees would be at the top.

                                      Me and Raymond (that’s me on the left)

Raymond was my best friend. Mom said we met at church. I was sitting in mom’s lap and Raymond was sitting in the lap of his mom, Virlet Hodge. Story goes, Raymond saw me from across a few pews and let out a little squawk. I returned his hello with a howdy-do of my own. Raymond then blew a long raspberry that was so loud it woke up old Mr. Lewis who was sleeping in the back row of the choir loft. So as not to be outdone, I let out a gas bubble bigger than the state of Texas. Dad always referred to it as the fart heard around the world. Thus began a perfect and enduring friendship.

The Sisters: Grandma Ruth, Aunt Hope, and Aunt Rosemond

My Grandma Ruth had two sisters, Hope, and Rosemond.  Grandma Ruth and Aunt Rosemond owned a beauty parlor and they kept all kinds of potions and other things to make ugly women look less ugly in a huge cabinet. They called it The Beauty Cabinet. I always thought that it would have been better to have a big cabinet full of liquor to give their husbands so they would think their wives looked better. Aunt Hope was different. She taught me how to catch, kill, and fry up chickens and wrangle snakes. Once, Aunt Hope saved me from a bucking bronco.  It wasn’t the last time she came to my rescue.

I hope you enjoyed meeting the characters from Riding the Dam. Let me know what you think.  Thanks for stopping by!


27 thoughts on “Riding the Dam – meet the characters”

  1. Photos like these are so rich in history, I just want to spend hours poring over them. I love the significance they have to you and your family. Very nice post. Thank you so much for participating! 🙂

    1. Thanks A.E., Melodie, The Golden Eagle, Wendy, and Carrie! This was a fun post. It helped give me new motivation and encouragement to keep writing. And Wendy – maybe we’re related! FYI – the boy in the pictures is my father.

  2. I can’t wait to read the book! I love the pictures, especially the way the women dressed. Thanks so much for sharing.


  3. I love that the story is about the people in the photos, instead of the photos trying to live up to the story (which is the case in my character bloghop post). Anyway, sounds like a really cool (mostly true) family history and I wish you the best of luck with it!

    1. Thanks M.J.! I really appreciate your comments. It is so strange to look at these pictures and think about the story of their lives. I never knew any of these women, but the tales that my father has told me are so interesting. I’ll hop over to your blog soon!

  4. I came via the Casting Call bloghop. You’ve go a great story! And I love the old pictures. I begged my mom for some then made a family photo gallery in my upstairs hall. It’s a kick to gaze at those old pics and wonder about their lives and families, knowing that the little girl is my grandma or the old guy is my great grandpa. What a cool thing it would be to write about them. Good luck to you and your story!

    1. What a great idea, Nancy! I have tons of photos of my kids displayed. I should put together some of these old photos and display them, rather than keep them in an album or on a CD. Thanks for stopping by! I’ll be hopping your way soon.

  5. Love your photos! I hope to write a “mostly true” story too, of my great grandmother. I have a pile of letters she saved from my great grandfather, and want to weave them into her story. Reading this post inspired me, though I may not get much further than “inspired” as I work full time (also a teacher) and am usually weary to the bone. But, I love reading blogs, and writing on my own!
    Glad I stumbled onto yours!

    1. Sandi, that sounds like a lovely story! You must write it! Carve out some time when you can write. I did most of my writing during the snow storm we had in January – we were snowed in for a week! The news reports now say that there are record births 9 months later! I guess this story is my baby. :>)

  6. Something about your post stayed in my mind, and I had to come back today for another look. I love the part about Aunt Hope – she reminds me of my Great Aunt Grace and one of my neighbor ladies at the same time.
    I was considering writing a historical fiction story for this year’s NaNo, but the research I felt I needed to do seemed daunting, plus I already had my story “On One Wing” partly plotted out.
    Based on the title of your story, are you writing about Dam building? The base of the historical fiction story I was considering was going to be the building of the Grand Coulee Dam . . . and I’m still thinking about it . . . but I think it’s going to rest until after NaNo.

  7. Tyrean, you are right – there is a bit of research that goes into a period piece. A dam was built in San Angelo in the late 1940s. My dad rode on his friend’s bicycle handlebars all the way down this really tall dam. It is a small part of the story – and then used metaphorically throughout the story. Kind of like – life is thrilling, but also scary. I know if you keep thinking about your story, you will eventually have to write it. Good luck!

  8. These people and events seem mighty familiar. Keep the effort rolling and watch out for those gohldarn rattle snakes.

  9. Water skiing was a new thing when your dad and I were about it. It started with what was called an aqua-plane, a rope towed plywood sheet that was home made and likely was a Popular Mechanics project; it was really great fun. Shortly thereafter, someone got the idea to saw the board in half and put on ski straps and, thusly, we have now arrived. Wow, that was quick. Oh well, I muse too often and too long about the things that have changed and been invented during my brief moment on God’s good ground; fortunately, the ole man has kept his hand on the shoulders of the likes of your dad and myself to get us this far. Thanks for writing about our times, I wish you a healthy dose of discipline to keep that pen a plowing.

  10. Allan told me you were writing a book about him; enjoyed the intro; looking forward to reading more chapters.

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