Memories by Myrt

Christmas, 2000
                                 by JimMyrtle Rogers

     Even as a small child, I wanted to play the piano.  I would sit at the kitchen table and pretend it was a piano keyboard.  I moved my hands and fingers up and down the edge of the table playing an imaginary tune and gave a wonderful “concert.”  Mama saw how much I wanted to learn to play, so she sold chicken eggs to pay for my piano lessons which I received from a nice lady named Mrs. Redmon.  She attended a nearby Assembly of God church.  I’ll never forget her, because she recognized how much I wanted to learn and helped me so much.  She charged Mama twenty-five cents for each of my lessons.  I walked to and from her house on Oak Street in Pelly to take my lessons.  I did that for two and a half years and never missed a lesson.
     That was the extent of my piano lessons.  With encouragement from our pastor, Brother V.A. Guidroz, and other church members, I started playing for our church, Peace Tabernacle, when I was twelve years old.  I never learned to play anything but church music; that was my first love.  When I heard a hymn being sung, I could play it without any music copy…it just came naturally.  To this day, I still love to play the piano.
    When I was about eight years old, I suffered a severe case of diphtheria, a serious respiratory illness rarely seen today.  Because it was considered contagious, our whole house was quarantined by the city health authorities.  A sign was posted on our front door by the county nurse.  For days, we were not allowed out and no one was allowed in our home.
    As a small child, I remember wash days especially.  These were always on Monday and were whole day affairs.  Needless to say, we had no washing machine.  Mama had a large black pot in the back yard that she would fill with water and soap.  We would build a fire under the pot using sticks, paper, and whatever else we could find that would burn.  After the clothes were boiled in the hot, soapy water, they were lifted out with a broomstick and placed in a tub of cold water to rinse.  After rinsing, they were then placed in a washtub filled with “bluing” water and re-rinsed.  “Bluing” additive was some kind of stuff you added to rinse water that was supposed to make your clothes whiter and brighter.  Finally, they were placed in a washtub of clear water, rinsed, and then rung out by hand. Their final destination was the clothesline where they were dried by the sun.
Carl with my sister Coya
I met Carl Rogers at church when I was fifteen.  The first time I saw him, he was on crutches because he had injured himself while tumbling in gym class at Robert E. Lee High School.  He was a senior and I was junior.  We dated for a year, and on July 24, 1942, we were married.  The marriage ceremony did not take very long…it was after a Wednesday night service at our church.  The service was dismissed, we had our marriage ceremony, and that was it.  By this date the United States was deeply involved in the war, and young men were being drafted right and left…and we wanted to get married before he got “called up.”  We had six months to ourselves before Carl was drafted.  He went into the service in January, 1943, and was active until the war’s end, finally being discharged in October, 1945.  He was a medic, serving on the front lines, for most of his active service and was involved in the Battle of the Bulge in Europe in 1945.  As the result of that battle, he was the recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
     We had our first child, Michael, on May 8, 1948, and four more followed: Delene, Kevin, Velda, and Larry.  We lost Velda to breast cancer on September 20, 1988.  After the war, Carl went to work for Shell Oil and remained there for 43 years until retirement.  After a few years of enjoying retirement, he contracted Alzheimer’s Disease and passed away on April 13, 2003.  We had been married for 61 years.
     I now live at Remington Park Senior Living Center in Baytown, Texas.  I am blessed to have my brother, R.L., living next door to me, along with many long-time close friends, such as Ilet Smith.  Her husband, Chester (Chuck), was a childhood friend of both R.L. and Carl.  Also Maudie Starling, mother to my son-in-law, Weston (married to my daughter, Delene,) is here.  Then there is Dena, cousin to my sister, Daris, by marriage, and Nell Shirley, who is the mother of Mike, the husband of my niece, Pam.  I am thankful that the Lord has brought us together at this time in our lives.  We know how we are blessed!