One of my most memorable experiences during these eleven years alone was of Tarbaby. Following is an essay I had written eaarlier telling of his life:
Tarbaby is dead. He wasn't an ordinary cat. I called him my talking cat, because he meowed any time anyone gave him any attention, or if he was hungry. I can't remember the exact date that he was born, but as near as I can remember, he must have been about ten years old. He was born to my female cat, Ashtabula. I named her this because she was the color of ashes and I called her Beulah for short. Tarbaby was the only cat left living from a string of cats that Paul and I had over the years we lived in the country. Beulah never had large litters, one or two kittens in each litter. Tarbaby was one of either two kittens or three. For a few years, he shared his meals with another cat that just happened along. I called him Jiggs, because he had the habits of a gigolo. Jiggs and Tarbaby were both males and so sometimes they would get in awful fights, but when it came to eating time, they were as tame as kittens.
Tarbaby would sometimes disappear for several days, but would always come back, so I usually didn't worry when he was absent for several days at a time, this being the nature of a male cat.
He was very affectionate and I never was able to sit on my front porch in the summer without his jumping into my lap and falling asleep. He was also very friendly with everyone and would rub his side against anyone's ankles, all the time voicing his pleasure.
Tarbaby was one cat that didn't want to come into the house. On several occasions, when the weather was very cold, I would try to coax him inside, but he wanted no part of being inside. He was strictly an outside cat. When he was young, he caught mice and I seldom had mice in my house; however, when he got older, he got lazy. I probably fed him well and so he had no desire for an additional meal.
About two weeks ago, he disappeared, but this time when he returned, it was obvious that there was something wrong, because he seemed to be bleeding internally. I tried to feed him, but he couldn't digest his food. I finally decided that he must have been hit by a car, or truck, and it didn't look as if he would get well this time. He had been through other illnesses and always eventually got better. And so, on March 20, 1989, I asked my neighbor to put him out of his misery.
I will miss him, as he was always there to greet me when I came home from town, but some day, I may get another cat; however, there will never be another cat with the personality that Tarbaby had.
BACK TO TEXAS
In 1985 I went to Corsicana for our high school class reunion. Jack and Sissy McDaniels were in charge of the reunion. They were remodeling the old farm house in which they live and invited me, as well as some of their former classmates, to stay with them during the reunion. They are not changing the basic plan and to get to the new bathroom, everyone had to walk through the guest bedroom which was assigned to me.
Jack had been a used car salesman in Ennis, Texas. After he retired he continued to farm on the acreage where they have lived for many years. They have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They raise beef cattle. In Texas it takes hundreds of acres to raise one animal. Because of the lack of rainfall, pastures are dry and sparse of vegetation. (In east Texas beef cattle are raised on farms. They are raised on ranches in west Texas.)
I also visited Carolyn Dublin who had lived with her family in the house on Park Row that was later occupied by the Peters family who gave me my first job. Carolyn, who is five years younger than I, graduated from Baylor University and taught in Corsicana schools. When I visited her in 1985 she had me come to lunch and I remember the cheese cookies she served and that she was 58 years old!
My high school commercial teacher was Manette Wilson. She could not attend the 1985 reunion and sent a letter from the Otterbein Methodist Home where she lived in Lebanon, Ohio. When I returned, I contacted Miss Wilson and visited her a few times. She had a painting of blue bonnets, the Texas State Flower which is one of my favorites. About a year before she died in June 1994, she gave me that picture which hangs in my home. She had celebrated her 100th birthday on December 26, 1993. After looking at it for years, I have discovered the actual painting is not of my favorite - blue bonnets - but of some purple flower that I don't identify! I still look at blue bonnets when I see the picture.
AN INTEGRAL PART
From the time of my birth I have always been associated with a church. The first church I remember was the First Baptist Church of Corsicana, Texas. This is the one that my Grandfather Seale helped to establish.
My first recollection of Sunday School teachers was a lady that was related to my Dad. She was his half-sister and I called her Sister Abby. I really enjoyed her class and she knew the Bible and made the stories so interesting. She was much older than my father and was probably into her sixties at the time she taught me. Many years later I was chagrined to find out that she dipped snuff.
I remember Mrs. Davis who was our Sunday School Superintendent at the time that our church was having a revival. At this time I made a profession of faith during Sunday School. We were to be baptized at a later date. When I went home and told my father that I wanted to join the church and I wanted him to go with me, he said he had no objections but I would have to wait until after the revival to see if I still felt the same way. Shortly after the revival I did join our church, I think at that
time I was twelve years old. My mother brought an extra set of clothing for me to put on after my baptism because in the Baptist Church one is fully immersed. The baptismal in our church had a stained glass mural in the back which depicted the picture of Christ being baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.
I remained in that church and participated in the BYPU (Baptist Young People's Union) which was later renamed BTU (Baptist Training Union). This organization taught us to get up in front of the group and be a part of the program.
After I moved away from Corsicana and obtained a job in Dallas I became active in the Gaston Avenue Baptist Church and joined their young people's group. This is where I met Billy Brown and he was my first love. The only dates we had were at the church. After he introduced me to his parents, they invited me for lunch several times. I really thought I was in love with Bill. As a matter of fact I know I was.
One night when we came home from a date he walked me to the door. Our apartment was on the second floor, the first one on the right of the steps. It was an efficiency apartment with a Hide-A-Way Bed which folded into the wall during the day to make the living room. At night the Hide-Away came out of hiding and made it a bedroom. He kissed me goodnight and I opened the door which was unlocked. What a surprise we both got when we discovered there was a couple asleep in the bed. This couple sat upright in the bed and screamed. I said, "I beg your pardon,:" slammed the door and ran. We had come to the apartment of the building next door.
I made it a habit of always changing my church membershp to whichever community I moved. My membership stayed in Gaston Avenue until after the War. By this time I had married and Paul and I lived in Columbus, Ohio. We visited several large churches in Columbus to decide which one we would like to attend. We attended the First Baptist on Broad Street, a Methodist Church somewhere. I had been raised in the Baptist Church, Paul had been raised in the Methodist Church, then we attended the Broad Street Church of Christ where Dr. Floyd Faust was the minister. This is where we decided to join.
Dr. Faust was the first person I remember visiting me in the hospital after Tim was born. When he was six weeks old, we had him dedicated in this church.
Back in California in 1960 to 64 we were members of the Montclair Methodist Church. This was a new church with folding chairs instead of pews. The minister was Joe Nunsiato. Linda took organ lessons from the church organist, Lila Haage, and played a public recital on the church organ when she was 16.
The summer we came back we went to Franklin Methodist Church on Route 83 South. Since there was no youth program in this church we went into Coshocton and joined Calvary Methodist Church. In 1969 this church merged with United Brethren Church at 122 Park Avenue which is now Park United Methodist Church. E.J.'s marriage was the second performed after the churches had merged. Tim, Linda and I are still working members in this church - choir director, organist, and Sunday School teacher with lots of interesting one-time involvements besides.