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Earl decided that he wanted to move to Paducah, Kentucky and work for a guy he knew named Harold Rhear. Harold had a distributorship there for Gordon's (a snack food company). So, we sold the house and moved. We bought a cute little house that was on a corner, with two bedrooms, a living room and kitchen, dining room and bath downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs. It had a screened front porch that reached all the way across with glass windows that you could let up or down and use it both winter and summer. With only one bath and it downstairs, I had to go up and walk Bill down in the middle of the night. Don't know why I didn't put in a pot up there. This house was the first and only time in their lives that Patty and Bill had a room of their own. Bill started first grade at Jefferson Davis School and Patty started Junior High at Brazelton Junior High School. She never liked it there. We joined the Emmanuel Baptist Church and Patty, Bill, and I went to church and Earl was on the golf course (as usual). We enjoyed our friendship with Harold and Lorene. We played cards together and they had a place on the lake and a big boat, so we got to go there with them often. I painted and papered the house and soon had it all nice and pretty. One night, I was cooking supper and went out to see what all the kids were doing, and when I looked back, I saw my kitchen on fire. I had left the fire on under a skillet and burned up my kitchen. Well, we put it out and repainted. That was fire number one. Oh yes that wasn't the last time I set the house on fire. I guess we had lived there about two years when Earl got to wanting his own business. There were two distributorships open for Gordon's at the time. One was in Joplin, Missouri and the other was ElDorado, Arkansas. We had never even heard ElDorado, but that's the one he wanted. We sold our house, loaded up the car, and took off like gypsies, heading for a place we had never seen or heard of and where we didn’t know a soul.
We came into ElDorado on Northwest Avenue and thought we saw a big fire. We followed it and found it was the Lion Refinery. We didn't know about plants like that. We went back and got a motel room while we looked for a house to rent. We looked for several days and there were no rental houses so we started talking to people to get some leads. We ended up on Yocum Street and met some people named Gaddy. They had relatives that lived next door who were working out of town at the time and they said we could use their house. They never even charged us rent. They made us food and let us use the house like it was ours and didn't know us from Adam. They had to have been angels. Second Baptist Church was 1/2 block from there and Patty and I joined and Earl went to the golf course. The pastor was D. Wade Armstrong. Then the miracle happened. We were having a revival and Wade and the visiting preacher came to visit Earl. He was saved right in the living room and baptized the next Sunday. He joined the men's class and never played golf on Sunday again. Those men became his close friends. We stayed on Yocum Street until our furniture finally came and we moved to a apartment house on Bellott (now College). It looked yucky but not bad inside and Earl could use the basement for his warehouse. It was an upstairs apartment and the first thing, Bill fell down the steps and broke his foot. We lived there awhile and found a duplex on Oak Street. Earl built up his route slowly and times were hard for a while. I took a beauty course and became a real beauty operator to help make ends meet.
Earl and Michael
Wade and Eleanor left the church and we got Lehman and Virginia Webb to be our pastor. I loved them and always thought they were the epitome of the perfect pastor and wife. Earl loved those men in his class. Now all of them are gone but one. Patty got married here and had a little baby boy named Michael Dwayne Hooks. We thought he was something. Earl began to have health problems but wouldn't tell me and wouldn't go a doctor. Bill would tell me that his Daddy had a bad stomachache or had to throw up while out on the route. We bought a house on Lauri Street and for some reason, we took out insurance to pay for it in the event of Earl's death. We had never had any insurance on anything before. One day, I was cooking supper and walked out and left a fire on under a pot, and burned the kitchen up AGAIN. This was fire number two and it wasn't the last either. Earl kept having these spells. He would let the doctor send him medicine and then he'd be okay for a while but then he'd have another spell. Then one Sunday morning about five am, he had a terrible spell so bad that he had to go to the hospital. Dr. Moore said he thought it was a ruptured ulcer and he operated right then. He said that he had never seen anyone’s stomach in that bad a shape. The acid from his stomach had spilled out on his pancreas and it looked like it had been run over by a truck. He laid up there and suffered for six weeks. They did another surgery but it wasn't to be, I guess. He died on March 7, 1962. All of his family and mine were here off and on through the whole time. The people of the church took care of us and gave me money, kept everyone fed, and the men in his class paid for around the clock nurses the whole time. All of Earl's family said they had never seen such a outpouring of love in their lives, before or since. Patty and Cecil had moved in our house to keep the bills paid and to stay with Bill. We had no savings, no money, and none coming in.
Gerrie, Helen, Monnie, Billye and Naomi
I really thought that I couldn't live without him. He was my love but with the help of my children, my church and most of all my Lord, I made it through. I kept working and busy. Gladys and Carolyn stayed with me about a week and Gladys helped me to tie up all the loose ends. I didn't know anything about Social Security or Veteran's Benefits etc. Thanks to the Lord's guidance and provision we had taken the insurance on the house, so it was paid for. Bill and I could then make it on what I made. Carolyn was married and lived in Deland, Florida. Then in August 1963, Gladys lost her husband, George. I had bought a Volkswagen and Bill and I went to Tampa. All the 18-wheelers were so nice to us and they looked out for us when we were between them. When I got to Tampa, Gene was there and he checked the car out and found I had driven all the way without signal lights and he fixed them. Gladys came back with us to Arkansas for a visit and then went on to Memphis for a while. In 1972, Walter lost his wife Willodene in a car accident. In 1973, he married one of Earl's sisters, Billye, and they are still happily married today.
Dorothy, Walter and Gladys
Please continue on to Chapter Nine
© 2000 Patty Garrison
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