Tintype of myself, taken at Smithsonian in 1974.
Clara Etta Wilson (my paternal great grandmother) was born on 27 Jul 1877 in Geneva, Nebraska as the third child of George Franklin Pierce Wilson and Nancy Minerva Lightbody. She had six siblings, namely: George Franklin, Charles Isaac, Dollie Elizabeth, Clarence Cornelius, Jessie May, and Maude Lovina. When she was 18, she married Wirt Wells Fuller, son of DeWitt C. Fuller and Augusta S. Wells, on 24 Dec 1895 in Andrew, Missouri. Wirt and Clara had four children, two of which survived to adulthood. Their children were Gladys Fae Fuller born on 03 Feb 1897 in Savannah, Missouri; Bertha and Dollie Fuller born on 18 Mar 1899 in Omaha, Nebraska (sadly the twins died on 20 Mar 1899) and Ruth Frankie Fuller( my grandmother) born on 05 Nov 1900 in Omaha, Nebraska. Clara died on 03 Apr 1966 in Geneva, Nebraska at the age of 88.
El Paso, Texas. I lived in El Paso as a child from 1959 through 1965. Most of my first memories are from there. We lived on the outskirts of town in an area called Loma Terrace. We lived on Loma Terrace Drive, went to Loma Terrace Elementary School and even swam at the Loma Terrace Pool. Within a block of our house was the desert. It was always a big adventure every time we took off into the desert. In those days, you could pretty much go where-ever you wanted during the day, as long as you were home for dinner.
This is a picture of the house we lived in, along with our station wagon, Cecil! We always named our cars. This one was after the show “Beanie and Cecil”, where Cecil was a dragon. Our favorite show. That’s my Dad and my sisters standing outside. The house always seemed huge to me. There were 3 bedrooms. My mom worked at the time, sending shock waves through the neighborhood! We had a live-in maid from Mexico that stayed with us during the week and then returned back home on weekends. Her name was Maria. She had her own room at our house…there were five kids, my parents and Maria. We three girls shared the master bedroom. I remember that my mom hung a fish net with shells in the master bathroom, as decoration, that just scared us girls silly. We would never use that bathroom at night. We would wake up one of our parents to take us to the bathroom across the hall! My two brothers shared a room, Maria had her own room and my parents slept out on the fold-out couch in the living room! What an arrangement. The backyard had a patio that my dad made using mexican tiles. It was beautiful. There were also 7 trees in back. One for each of us…we used to say. There was also an alley that ran behind the houses. Another great place to play.
My dad worked for an oil company and one thing about oil companies is that they transfer their employees around about every 5 years. So off we moved to Denver Colorado. Never thought I would see this house again. But when I was older and driving from Houston to San Francisco, my younger sister and I stopped off in El Paso. What an eye opener it was… We hardly recognized the place and it seemed so tiny. The desert was now subdivisions. The neighborhood was run down. We were both so disappointed. Almost wished we hadn’t stopped. But one thing it did was make the long drive onward much more enjoyable as we reminisced about our memories of how things used to be in our little part of El Paso.
My parents (Earl Eugene Pyatt, 1922-2010 and Zella Stephens Pyatt, 1928-2009) met in 1947 at the University of New Mexico. They were both in the college band. My Dad played the tuba while Mom played the oboe. Their first date was when the band traveled down to Las Cruces for a football game and Dad asked Mom to the dance afterwards. My Mom had to borrow a prom dress from a friend and she and my Dad danced the night away. They rode back on the bus together. My Dad went on to get his degree in Music/Education and became of high school band teacher in Santa Fe, New Mexico. During their early marriage my Dad played with many different groups/bands…in the first home that they built there was a stage. Only after four of us were born and another was on the way did my Dad realize that he would have to find another profession to support this growing family. He returned to college and obtained his degree in Chemical Engineering. All of us kids played instruments. My Dad would compose music that we all played together. We attended weekly symphony concerts. He never lost his love of music. One of his most enjoyable times in later years was when my brother and I would visit him at his assisted living apartment and my brother would play classical music on the piano in the main entertainment room just for him.
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