The Life and Times of Bobbie Nell Teer Creel & C.B. Creel
Bobbie: January 1, 1934
C.B. : June 2, 1933—May 24, 2012
Written by Bobbie Creel
My family moved to Baytown in the summer of 1948 when I was a junior at Cedar Bayou High School. My sister (Claudine) and I both started practicing with the Blue Battalion, Cedar Bayou’s drill team. When school started, I met C.B. for the first time. He would come down the hall to meet me and he always told me to “straighten up and fly right!” He was a sophomore, but a good football player, and popular with all the students. He actually asked Claudine for a date first. I ran around with 5 or 6 girls, and we would spend the night with each other, and since C.B. had a car, he would offer to drive us home after these sleep-overs. He started taking me home last, and we got to be friends. Then, on Halloween, he asked me to go to the movies, but I almost didn’t get to go. We lived out on Tri-City Beach Road in the caretaker’s house at one of the big summer homes. C.B. had an old car (coupe) with no floorboards and he brought a blanket because it was cold. My daddy walked out to see his car and almost didn’t let me go with him. C.B. used his key to start the car, then took the keys out and hung them on the choke knob so they wouldn’t jar out and fall through the floor.
Granddaddy Creel worked at Roseland Park, and C.B. worked for George and Jingles Smith’s Humble Service Station. George and Jingles both drank. Because C.B.’s car was very hard to start, he took one of the Smith’s old whiskey bottles and filled it with gasoline to pour in the carburetor. He placed this whiskey bottle full of gasoline in the glove pocket of his car so that it would be available for every start-up. Granddaddy Creel found the whiskey bottle in C.B.’s car and informed C.B. that he needed to talk with him. C.B. had a hard time convincing his dad that it was only gasoline that was in the whiskey bottle. Mr. Creel told C.B. that the seal on the bottle had not been broken. Finally, C.B. was able to convince his dad that even though the seal on the whiskey bottle appeared to be unbroken, it was indeed an empty whiskey bottle that had been recycled as a gasoline supply for a cranky, old Chevrolet with no floorboard.
Granddaddy Creel began to suffer from swollen feet and legs. As he became sicker and was diagnosed with Bright’s disease, (this is known as End Stage Renal Disease, which C.B. was diagnosed with later), he was finally hospitalized at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston. Granddaddy Creel worked 12 hours per day, seven days per week. When he got sick and could no longer work, there was no income. C.B. asked me to go with him to see his Dad on a Sunday. During our visit, Mr. Creel teased me unmercifully, despite being so sick.
We dated steady during my senior year in school. I was a cheerleader and C.B. let me wear his letter jacket, which was a real honor. C.B. picked me up after school one day and I had to be back for play practice that evening. We went to Morrell’s for a Coke and I wanted a hamburger, so he bought me a hamburger but he did not eat one. I found out later that he did not have enough money to buy a second hamburger for himself.
I graduated from high school in 1950, and after attending Southwestern Business School in Houston went to work at Culpepper’s Furniture Store as secretary to the buyer. Mr. Creel passed away in 1950 of Bright’s disease due to kidney failure. C. B. graduated in 1951 at midterm, as he was eligible to play football one more year, and my parents took me to all of his ball games. We married in November before he graduated, and he worked, went to school and played football, and although he earned a football scholarship to Sam Houston in Huntsville, he wanted to go to work and stay in Baytown. He felt that he should stay near his Mom to help, and he also thought that I should stay near my parents. Our first apartment was in the attic of Mr. & Mrs. Simmons house on Dyer Street, just down the street from Granny Creel, and I remember Buadda going in and cleaning the apartment before we moved in. C.B. worked construction work, service stations, even tried to be a door to door salesman selling WearEver Cookware, though the only thing to come from that was that we got a nice set of aluminum cookware! He went to work for Ted’s Auto Parts shortly before R. L. went into business for himself in Highlands. Then, in 1954, he went to work for Consolidated Chemical Co., a small plant located inside the Humble (now Exxon) Refinery, and retired after 33 years, surviving several mergers, and transferring to their Houston plant ten years before he retired. C. B. suffered a major heart attack in May, 1973, and was off work six months before being released to return to work. I had been working part-time for R. L. as bookkeeper for his auto-parts, then he started selling insurance and real estate, and being advised that C. B. might not be able to work again, I went to Lee College and got my real estate license, and later my broker’s license, in case I had to make a living for us. I did work a little in real estate under R. L. and continued to work for him until we went to Greece in 1988 to see Debbie and Jim for a month. Afterward I did not return to work. We were blessed to have Jimmy, Debbie, and Jerry to complete our family.
My parents transferred to Pt. Neches, Texas, in 1954, so we rented their house out and moved to our own home on Fayle Street. I had Debbie shortly thereafter, and C. B. went to work for Consolidated Chemical Company a few days later on the graveyard shift, however, he was late his very first night because we were so sleep deprived because of a new baby. He was never late again! In 1955, we bought our first new house in Wooster, and lived there 40 years. Jimmy was 3 and Debbie was 8 months old when we moved to Wooster, and Jerry was born there in 1956. In 1995 we bought our house on Sterling Street when Exxon bought our house in Wooster to turn the entire neighborhood into a Green Belt around their refinery. While we lived in Wooster, we bought our first new car, a 1955 Chevrolet. One night we got a call around 2 a.m. that a possum was after Granny Creel’s chickens, so C. B. got dressed and took off over to her house and killed the possum. He put it in the trunk of our new car, came home and went back to sleep, and forgot about the possum, until we started smelling something really bad. We really had trouble getting the odor out of that car!
We loved to travel and camp, and started out with a sheet of plastic, cots, and a campfire, then C. B. built us a fold-out trailer, which we used for several years. C.B. worked shift-work, and had a long change week-end off once a month. We graduated on to a Ford Van, which C. B. converted with bunks, and a fold down kitchen in the back, which we also used several years. While the kids were in high school, we bought a Mobil Scout travel trailer, and I thought I was in a Holiday Inn because we were able to stay dry and had clean floors and good beds! We went to Cloudcroft, New Mexico, with R. L., Thelma, Bill, Mark and Mary after Christmas a couple of years where we had lots of snow. We put the boys in a tent with an extra tarp over the top of it, and put a small electric heater in it, and R. L., Thelma, Mary, Debbie, C. B. & I slept in the travel trailer, but the floor was so cold, R. L.’s shoes froze to the floor!! The second year we went, we took a larger tent, and put it at the end of our travel trailer. Early the next morning, the boys woke us up, so R. L. rolled the window out and told them to be quiet…people were trying to sleep. Bill replied “That’s nice that some people can sleep, but we can’t because we’re wet and cold!” Their tent had let the floor leak and gotten their bedding wet also. We rode snowmobiles, went inner tubing and had lots of fun. Another year, Buddy, Claudine, Gary and Terry went with us, and I took skiing lessons with the kids, and Claudine, Buddy, and C. B. sat in our motor home and laughed at me and drank hot chocolate! The boys took their future wives with them once, also. We bought our first motor home in 1974, after C.B. had his first heart attack and was no longer able to hook the travel trailer to our car. During that time, Jerry played football on a scholarship at Blinn Junior College two years, then transferred to Howard Payne University in Brownwood for two years. Because C. B. was off work during much of that time or could take vacation time, we were able to attend every one of his games. Most of our camping was with family and friends, mostly with Alton and Annette Doucette, as C. B. and Alton had the same long changes off. In later years, we traveled to Colorado and Wyoming with Carl and Myrt, Ralph and Jeannette, Don and Coya to visit George and Dee, Lemuel and Anniedeen, and Steve and Daris. We joined the San Jac Wheelers Camping Club in 1978, and met many wonderful friends, and had monthly campouts all around south Texas and Louisiana, and the hill country. C.B. was especially happy reading maps and planning our next trip. He read maps like most people read books! C.B. was very witty, had a great sense of humor, and loved practical jokes, both planning them on friends and on the receiving end, also!
C. B. went to Lee College a couple of years, taking courses to help him in his work. Because he had enough college hours, he offered to substitute teach for Jimmy, who was principal at Baytown Junior High, but Jimmy was afraid he would whip one of the students and get put in jail. Ha! I also went to Lee College and took some courses in computers, bookkeeping, and Real Estate. Even though I became a real estate broker, I only worked a little in real estate sales with R. L. and mostly kept books for him and was a general flunky. I worked for him 20 years and enjoyed working with him and his family. I was able to go with C. B. to some of his seminars, and also was able to be off when my kids needed me. C.B. and I went to Steamboat Springs with R.L. and Thelma one summer to a New York Life trip and had a really good time. On our way home from that trip, Thelma wanted some peaches, which aggravated R.L., so he pulled in beside a fruit stand that didn’t have any produce in it. He got out of his car to go to the door of the house, and was met by a huge dog, that jumped up and put his paws on his chest and scared him and C.B. nearly to death! We stopped at the very next stand that had peaches, and bought some!
C. B. was a volunteer fireman at Wooster, where he helped evacuate several people before and after Hurricane Carla, and because he had to work at Consolidated Chemical, we were unable to evacuate, so we had Granny Creel come and stay with us during the hurricane. Wooster Volunteer Fire Department served the Lakewood and Brownwood subdivisions, so during the aftermath of the flooding in those subdivisions, we washed all day several days, even spreading linens out on our lawn to dry and sun, most of them had oil on them. Jimmy never forgave us for helping, because the entire family had to take typhoid shots! C. B. was also a Deputy Constable several years, doing security services for new buildings and also for the fairs and rodeos in the area. One year after Christmas, he found a really nice Santa Suit which started many years of playing Santa to our family, friends and even for different groups at Humble and for his plant. He was a really good “Santa” and really enjoyed the season. That was the only time he wanted me to drive, because he wore his Dad’s glasses and couldn’t see to drive, and besides, he loved waving and watching for the little kids to notice him. He especially loved playing Santa for our grandchildren and our friends’ children and grandchildren. His wig and beard totally wore out, so Jim and Debbie gave him a really nice set that he enjoyed very much.
We were married in Cedar Bayou Baptist Church and attended there until Jimmy started first grade, then we moved to Wooster Baptist, where C.B. joined and was baptized. He later became a deacon at Wooster Baptist, and was active until he had his first heart attack. We worked with the youth there several years, and accompanied them on several mission trips to Espanola, N. M., Leadville, Co., Manitou Springs, Co. and had planned to go to Pueblo, Co. when C. B. had his first heart attack in 1974. We were members at Wooster until 1995, at which time we moved our letters to Cedar Bayou Baptist, where Jimmy and Jerry were both deacons, since we had moved to the east side of Baytown and after C. B. had recuperated from open-heart surgery. Jimmy and Jerry both moved their families away from Baytown and left us at Cedar Bayou Baptist, where I still attend.
C.B. had his first heart attack (one that is normally fatal) in May, 1973, and was off work 6 months recuperating, then went back to work. He had two more light heart attacks, and even though he never fully recovered his energy and stamina, he enjoyed his family, friends, gardening, camping, and vacations, and even did some wood crafts. He worked in Baytown at Consolidated, which later became Stauffer Chemical, and then transferred to the Houston plant in 1979. He retired in1987, after we had traveled to Athens, Greece, to spend a month with Jim and Debbie. While he was recuperating from his first heart attack, we made several trips to Brenham, where Jerry was in College, and to Brownwood to attend all of his football games, and to A & M where Jimmy and Debbie attended. In 1993, he had to have open heart surgery, 4 by-passes, and an atherectomy, and from that time on, we made regular trips into Houston for doctor visits. He was bothered a lot by arthritis in his back, shoulders and hips and took various medicines for it, but did not enjoy much relief. He developed diabetes after the open heart surgery, and was also diagnosed with sleep-apnea, for which he was put on a Bi-Pap breathing machine to sleep under. Six weeks after the heart surgery, he was violently sick, had to have his gall bladder removed. In 2001, he endured pancreatitis and was hospitalized 21 days, receiving no food by mouth. He was diagnosed with asbestosis in 2001, also, and started having some signs of kidney problem in his blood work. In 2004, we had to rush him to St. Luke’s emergency room, where he was admitted and had surgery for Fournier’s Gangrene (flesh eating bacteria.)He was in the hospital 38 days that time. In 2007, he had another light heart attack, and had a stent put in. It was a shoulder replacement surgery in June, 2008, with complications, including kidney failure. After seeing a kidney specialist, he was constantly switched on medicines and diets, and fluids. After developing atrial fibrillation in 2009, he had a pacemaker put in, and it became necessary to administer the paddles on him to shock his heart back into rhythm, without much success. He had a total of 5 Cardioversions, and had to have surgery to replace one of the wires on his pacemaker later in the year, and put on full time oxygen. In April, 2009, he was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease, and put on dialysis, which he endured 3 days a week until the Lord called him home on May 24, 2012. Through it all, he kept his good humor and easy going way and was a good patient!eH