SAMUEL MARVIN DAVIDSON
SAMUEL “Sam” MARVIN DAVIDSON, fifth child, son of William Edmund and Mary Pauline (Roller) Davidson, was born 20 January 1933 at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. He married Martha Rowena Vance 26 January 1952 at Bernalillo, San Doval County, New Mexico. She was born 18 December 1932 at Cogar, Caddo County, Oklahoma. Her parents were Charles and Charleen (Varney) Vance. Sam and Rowena have two children. They are:
(1) Samuel Marcus born 15 July 1953 at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, married Cynthia Gail Gibson 21 July 1972. They have two children: Samuel Myles, born 12 March 1975; and Daryl Denton, born 25 August 1981. Myles married Marilyn McDow 18 November 2005 at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
(2) Charles Edmond born 11 March 1956 at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma; married Beverly Lanor Ingram 23 February 1980. They have two children: Ashley Elizabeth, born 9 February 1981; and Casey Edmund, born 16 October 1983. Ashley married Allen Stephenson 12 June 2004 at Wickline Methodist Church in Midwest City, Oklahoma. Casey married Laura Alice Smith 10 June 2006 at the home of his grandparents, Sam and Rowena Davidson, in Norman, Oklahoma. Casey and Laura have one child, Liam Edmund, born 26 March 2007.
Marvin was the youngest child. His parents lived at 2709 NW 40th Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, when he was born. They 540 William E. “Bill” Davidson Family 541 SAMUEL MARVIN DAVIDSON
lived there until 1935 when they moved to 3608 NW 13th Street. In 1937 they moved to the Johnson Place northwest of Moore, Oklahoma. Marvin attended the first grade at Moore. He tells about one of his earliest recollections:
I have only a vague memory of this, but my brother, Gene, tells that one day we were all going somewhere in the old Windsor car on a sandy country road. Mom and Dad were in the front seat and the five kids were in the back seat. I was six years old.
As usual there was a lot of noise and commotion in the back seat which Mom and Dad usually tuned out. All of a sudden the back door flew open and I fell out. I got a face full of sand, but even worse I saw through the swirling dust the car going away. I was terrified they would never stop and come back for me.
I jumped to my feet and ran through the swirling dust toward the car that was getting farther and farther away.
Gene told me that the kids were all screaming to stop, that I fell out. It was a full fifteen seconds before the realization filtered through the noise into Mom’s head what had happened. Dad slammed on the brakes. Dust swirled everywhere. Dad put the car in reverse to back up. Mom screamed, “No, you’ll back over him.” They all jumped out of the car to go back and look for me expecting to find the worse.
Gene told me that suddenly through the swirling dust they saw this little figure of me frantically running toward them crying out, “Don’t leave. Come back. Don’t leave. Come back.”
Life at the Johnson Place was not easy. It was a small wood-frame two-room house with a lean-to on the back. The three older boys slept in the lean-to. One room was the kitchen and dining room. The other room was the bedroom for the parents, Bill and Pauline. Marvin slept in the room with his parents. Meta Lu (Ann), the only girl, slept in a small closet between the two rooms.
The state required that school age children be vaccinated prior to the start of the school year. Marvin and his siblings experienced an unusual incident on the way to get their vaccinations.
When we lived on the Johnson Place Mom was taking us five kids and the three Lagali kids in the old Windsor to Norman for our vaccination shots. As usual there was a lot of noise and commotion, especially my two older brothers who argued and fought a lot.
We had gone about five miles south on old Highway 74 when we came to a sharp ninety-degree turn to the left. Mom steered the car too close to the outer edge that had a lot of gravel. The car began to slip over the edge toward the bar ditch. She turned the steering wheel sharply to the left. This caused the car to gently slip into the bar ditch and turn over onto its side against the embankment.
Poor Mom. Here she was with eight kids in a car turned on its side in the ditch. Thankfully, a truck with four workmen stopped and helped get all us kids out. Then they did a heave ho and righted the car. One of the men drove it out of the ditch for Mom.
The rest of the trip was subdued and uneventful.
Two years later the family moved two miles south to the Turk Place. It was a larger and much nicer house though it did not have any of the modern amenities like running water or indoor bathrooms. Marvin was just a tyke. The fierce competitiveness of his older brothers was so beyond him that Marvin would often seek solace in his own small way.
When we lived on the Turk Place I was seven years old. I had three older brothers and an older sister. I had a hard time trying to keep up with them. They always seemed to take the limelight. I was just the “baby” and often teased by the others.
One day our old cat came dragging a baby ground squirrel to the house. She laid it down on the front porch as though she wanted to show off her trophy. She waited for it to move so she could play with it. I made her get away and picked up the little guy. As I held him in my hands he opened one eye and peeked at me. That melted my heart.
I took him in the house. Mom helped me revive him and clean him up. We fed him a little milk with an eyedropper. He rallied and became a household pet.
He was a cute little guy and was my special pet. He climbed around over me and ate from my hand. When the cat came in the house he would make a dash for the foot treadle on Mom’s old sewing machine. He would hide under it. She had a footpad on the treadle. The cat would stand on top looking down at him but couldn’t get its paws through the pad over the holes of the treadle.
He was my favorite little pet all that summer, but he met a sad ending. He had learned to jump up on the buckets of skimmed milk on the back porch. We placed them there to take to the barn and mix with ground corn and wheat bran to feed the hogs. He would hang on the side of the bucket and drink the skimmed milk.
One day we found him floating in a partial bucket of milk. He had leaned too far to reach the milk and fell in. He drowned. I was heart broken. Mom and I put him in an empty matchbox and buried him near the garden. I missed my little pet.
After a year at the Turk place the family moved a mile east and a quarter of a mile south to the Sullivan Place. The house wasn’t an improvement over the Turk house, but it had a better barn and the entire hundred and sixty acres. It also had an old croquet set in the front yard. The older boys usually played croquet and Marvin was mostly left to be very much the spectator most of the time, except for one day.
One day when we lived on the Sullivan Place my brother, Gene, and I were playing croquet. Being several years older than me he was able to “roquet” my ball just about any place he chose. Did he bother to “stake out” and win the game? No, he wanted to tantalize me. Every time I got set to where I could make a wicket he would “roquet” my ball out of position. He did this over and over. I became very vexed with him.
The next time he bent over to “roquet” my ball I swung my mallet like a golf club and smacked him squarely in the nose. Blood splattered. He ran to the house screaming bloody murder to tell Mom on me.
I was severely scolded and made to sit in the kitchen with Mom the rest of the day. Gene went upstairs to lay on the bed and nurse his sore nose. I had the keen satisfaction I had settled an unfair score.
Marvin was in the fifth grade when his family moved from Moore to Evening Shade, Arkansas. Marvin’s older brothers did the chores and worked with their Dad on the farm. Marvin and his sister mostly stayed around the house and helped their mother as they could. Marvin had a harrowing experience while living in Arkansas.
I was about nine or ten years old when we lived in Arkansas. Grandma Davidson lived across the river from our house. She liked fish and often fished in the river to catch a few for a meal.
I heard some older boys talk about dynamiting fish. I thought I would give it a try only on a smaller scale. I twisted the fuses of four T-bomb firecrackers together and filled a large fruit jar about half full with small gravel.
My plan was to light the T-bomb fuses, drop them in the fruit jar, rapidly screw on the lid for a water-tight seal, throw the jar as far out into the river as I could and wait for it to sink a few feet under the water and explode. I would dive into the river, get the stunned fish and surprise Grandma with a mess of fish for supper.
Needless to say, my timing was off. I successfully lit the fuses, dropped the T-bombs into the jar, and tightened the lid to make it waterproof. With a hefty heave I threw it high into the air for a successful trajectory toward the water.
BOOM!! The glass jar exploded with a deafening clap of thunder nearly bursting my eardrums. Suddenly pieces of glass and gravel exploded in all directions with the speed of light about five feet in front of my face.
Both arms were still extended outward and took the first onslaught of the shattered glass and gravel. This gave me an automatic reaction to close my eyes thereby preventing 544 William E. “Bill” Davidson Family 545 SAMUEL MARVIN DAVIDSON
blindness, though today I still have several tiny pieces of glass embedded in my face near my eyes.
My entire frontal body took the explosive onslaught with numerous cuts and bruises. I went screaming toward the house over a hundred yards away. I was bleeding from head to toe. Grandma came tearing off the porch. She heard the explosion and my terrifying screams. When she saw me covered in blood she just knew I was dying.
She got me to lay down on the porch and poured ice cold spring water over me and started the hours long process of picking the many slithers of glass and small pieces of grave from my tattered body.
Fortunately, I had no real serious injuries. In those days a doctor or hospital was not anywhere within a reasonable distance. Grandma soaked me down in kerosene until the bleeding stopped. She ripped strips from clean flour sacks she was saving to make shirts and dresses. She individually bandaged my more intense cuts. Then she bound my head, arms, legs and torso with these strips.
I never again tried to dynamite fish.
Marvin was in the sixth grade when the family moved back to Oklahoma City from Arkansas. He went to school at Linwood. World War II was in full force. His older brothers went to school and worked after school hours. His oldest brother, Bill, was drafted into the Navy. When Marvin was a little older he got a paper route. Gene sometimes helped with the route.
One weekend Gene took his little brother, Marvin, on an outing to Turner Falls in the Arbuckle Mountains. They swam in the pool under the falls and climbed the rocks beside the falls to dive into the clear cool water of Honey Creek. The last day they climbed to the top of the tallest peak downstream from the falls. The view was magnificent with an unobstructed view of old Highway 77 winding through the mountains next to Honey Creek. Gene and Sam decided to build a monument atop the peak. They worked all afternoon stacking a rock pyramid about six feet high. For years afterwards their rock pyramid was visible from the highway far below.
In 1946 Marvin’s three older brothers were in the military. Marvin and his sister, Meta Lu (Ann), were the only ones at home with their Mom and Dad. They and Meta Lu (Ann) worked. Marvin was fourteen years old and had much too much unsupervised idle time on his hands. He fell in with a group of boys that resulted in him getting into trouble. He was sent to a training school for errant boys.
It wasn’t long before Marvin realized the training school was not the best of environments and he had trouble adjusting. His solution was to get away and join the Navy at age fifteen. He took basic training at San Diego. Afterwards he was assigned to the destroyer USS-Hollister. He also served on the destroyers USS-Orlick and USS-Gerke.
Marvin occasionally corresponded with his brother, Gene, while he was in the Army serving on Occupation Duty in Japan with the 11th Airborne Division. By then Gene was going by his first name, Don. This was according to military protocol (last name, first name, middle initial). Marvin also was going by his first name, Sam.
Sam’s ship put in to Yokahoma for a couple of weeks. Don arranged with his commanding officer to write a letter to Sam’s ship captain stating that his unit would provide quarters and meals for Sam to take leave and visit Don at Camp Schimmelpfennig near Sendai where he was stationed.
Don was a buck sergeant and the battalion Recreation NCO. He was in charge of all the company day rooms, recreational facilities, and organizer of sports and competitive events such as ping-pong and table pool tournaments for the troops. He was also permanent CQ (charge of quarters) for the battalion headquarters and was allowed to have his own private quarters in the headquarters building. Don moved a bunk bed into his room and Sam lived there for the week. They took their meals in the Headquarters Company mess hall. Sam in his Navy outfit caused quite a sensation in the mess hall and around the general camp area.
It was around Christmas time when Sam visited Don. In keeping with the holiday spirit they both decided that since neither had ever been drunk to do so. Don paid fifty dollars for a fifth of bootleg whiskey from the Officers’ Club. They both got sick and threw up before they got drunk. They decided that wasn’t a fun thing to do.
Sam returned to Yokahoma and his ship. Early in 1949 the 11th Airborne Division was ordered back to the states. Shortly thereafter Don was discharged and took up civilian life while Sam continued in the Navy.
In the summer of 1950 the Korean Conflict broke out. Sam was serving on the USS Gerke. The Americans entered the conflict in the fall of 1950 and pushed the North Koreans back to the Yalu River. At this point China entered the fray and thousands of Chinese troops came pouring across the Yalu River. Many American troops were cut off from escape to the south. Their only chance was to retreat and be rescued from the beaches of North Korea.
The USS Gerke was one of many Navy ships covering this retreat with naval bombardment. Sam was working near one of the gun mounts when it prematurely exploded killing the gunners inside the mount and severely injuring several, including Sam, outside the mount. He was treated and transported to the hospital at San Diego.
Sam’s Mom went to San Diego to visit him in the hospital. It was then revealed that he had fraudulently entered the Navy, but by then he was eighteen and of legal age for military service. He received an honorable medical discharge.
Shortly after Sam got out of the Navy he bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He got a job with a drugstore delivering prescriptions and anything else they had to be delivered.
Don, was in college at Oklahoma A&M. He was out of school for the summer and working part-time in Oklahoma City. One day after work I went by to see him. I badgered him into taking a ride with me on my Harley. He finally got on behind me. I took off going kind of fast. I took corners so fast we had to lean in sharply to go around the corners. Don was yelling to get off. I had a great time putting a little fear into him.
When we got back Don got off and said, “I’m never getting on one of those things again, especially behind you.”548 William E. “Bill” Davidson Family 549 SAMUEL MARVIN DAVIDSON
My Harley was not in the best of condition. I was having a problem with the gearshift. It would not shift smoothly and I had to jiggle it to make it shift. One day I was west bound on NW 23rd Street. I stopped for a red light at Classen Boulevard. The light turned green and I took off. The gearshift handle stuck. I looked down to jiggle it to make it shift. It shifted and I looked up to see a sedan automobile crossing the street right in front of me. I did not have time to react. I smashed into the left rear of the car. The impact catapulted me over the back of the car landing me on the pavement on the other side. This occurred right in front of the Smith-Kernke Funeral Home. Some of the guys I knew worked there. They came rushing out to see what happened only to see me laying unconscious in the middle of the street. They thought I was dead.
An ambulance was summoned and I was taken to the hospital. When I finally came around the first thing I said was, “Get rid of that motorcycle.” I never got on one again.
In January 1952 Sam and Rowena Vance were married. They have differing accounts of how it was they first met. This is Sam’s version:
I first saw Rowena when I was home on leave in 1950 at the Melton Drug Store at 14th and Portland. This was a block from my parent’s home. She worked part-time as a soda-jerk while finishing high school.
This is Rowena’s account of their first meeting and consequent romance:
Sam’s father frequently visited the store for cigarettes, ice cream or a cup of coffee. He would tell me of his sons that were not married. One day he told me he had only one son left unmarried.
I first saw Sam when he and his sister came into the drug store. Sam’s sister was dating Fred, the son of the storeowner. Sam walked up to me, placed his arm around my shoulders, and told his sister, “This is the girl I am going to marry.” I was surprised because I had never seen him before.
I had heard a lot about Sammy from Mr. and Mrs. Melton, his sister, and his father. He was a very good looking fellow; however I was not particularly impressed or excited because he had a mustache, and I had heard about SAILORS.
It was the following year in May before I saw Sam again. He was working on a car with his now brother-in-law, Fred, in front of the drug store when I walked by to go to work. I had on a special dress I had worn to my senior high school graduation luncheon. He came into the store and asked me for a date, which I accepted. The date is an old argument between Sam and me. I say it was May 9th, and he says it was May 11th. We went to a drive-in movie at the Northwest Drive-In and saw a double feature. We don’t remember the first movie, but the second movie was “Ma and Pa Kettle on the Farm.” During the movie we saw a large fire several miles away. It was later we learned it was the Baptist Church a block away on the street where Sam lived.
January of 1952 over a weekend Sam and I eloped to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We had planned to elope the weekend before, however Sam informed me that we had to wait another week because he was not of age. This really surprised me because he had served three years in the Navy, and you had to be seventeen years old to join. I had never asked him how old he was, but figured he was nineteen or twenty years old.
Actually I had never told Rowena I joined the Navy right after my fifteenth birthday. The minimum age to join the Navy was seventeen with your parents’ approval. My father and mother falsified a birth date in a family bible which was acceptable at that time in the Navy recruiting office. So, at age fifteen I became seventeen and after three years in the Navy I was still only twenty years old by any acceptable legal document. Every document left me a year short. Rowena was nineteen and of legal age, but I was still one year short. In Oklahoma a male had to be twenty-one years of age to get married.550 William E. “Bill” Davidson Family 551 SAMUEL MARVIN DAVIDSON
We wanted a small church wedding. However, there were several things that made us reconsider. First, my parents were divorced and both remarried. I could not begin to think of their meeting at my wedding. There were still very bad feelings between my stepmother and mother, and between my stepfather and father. There also was the financial factor. We knew our parents were not in a position to assist us. We made the decision to visit my favorite uncle in Albuquerque, and get married there. New Mexico did not require a blood test or the three-day waiting period.
The courthouse was closed on Saturday so my Uncle Floyd telephoned a neighboring county (Bernilio) to find an open courthouse. We obtained our license, and inquired about a Justice of the Peace to marry us. The clerk informed us he was a J.P. and could marry us. He was Hispanic, could speak very little English, had a bandage over one eye, and several bruises over most of his visible body. We understood very little of the ceremony, but when he finished he asked for sixteen dollars. Sam asked him if he meant pesos. He answered, “Dollars.” We left Oklahoma City with only sixty dollars so this left a big hole in our pocket.
My aunt was a Seventh Day Adventist and would not prepare or eat meat. Uncle Floyd took us to a diner for a fried chicken dinner. When we returned to their house we had a small cake and fruit punch for the four of us.
Early Sunday morning we started back to Oklahoma City. There were times on long hills when Sam would coast for as long as he could to save gas. There were times we were sure we would not make it back home. We returned home with only sixty cents in our pockets.
While Sam and Rowena were dating and during their early marriage Rowena dreaded going to Sam’s parent’s house for family gatherings. When everyone was there with their spouses the house was overflowing with about twelve people. Sooner or later an argument would start.
It didn’t have to be about anything serious. In fact, most of the time it was about which was the best–Fords or Chevys. I don’t think it made much difference. The two older brothers were always on the opposite sides of the argument. The others would enter just to keep the argument going. I never told Sam my feelings until after we were married.
Today at our house when a discussion becomes an argument I likely will say I personally like Fords. Everyone laughs because the discussion was about something completely different. They have all heard my stories.
After a few months of marriage Sam and Rowena began to discuss the building of a house. They liked the idea of building their own home. Rowena’s mother gave them an acre of land that faced the street and was adjacent to her five acres. They started very slowly paying for materials as they could. Rowena helped with this endeavor.
We dug the foundation and poured the floor. Sam finished the concrete. We poured the floor in sections so we could pay for it after each payday, and the sections were easier for Sam to finish. The walls were concrete blocks. They were very heavy weighing forty-eight pounds each. My job was to hand the blocks up to Sam and mix the mortar to keep Sam supplied as he laid the blocks. I was pregnant with our first child at the time. We have joked that was why our son looked like a football player when he was born.
As soon as we had enough of an apartment finished we moved in. We didn’t have running water so we ran a garden hose from mother’s house. After dark we went behind the house to take a shower in cold water. It was our plan to build a double garage with an apartment behind, and when we finished that phase we would build a house.
While we were building our garage apartment Sam’s grandfather Davidson visited for several days. He helped with the block walls. He told us stories about his life. This was shortly after Sputnik. His feeling was, “If God meant for us to fly he would have made us with wings.”552 William E. “Bill” Davidson Family 553 SAMUEL MARVIN DAVIDSON
Sam worked the late shift that ended at ten o’clock at night. Pay days he went by the concrete block company and bought enough blocks to fill the trunk of the car. That made the back of the car ride very low. This was during probation in Oklahoma. One night the cops thought they had a bootlegger. They stopped Sam and made him unload all the blocks so they were satisfied there was no moonshine or illegal alcohol. They drove away and left Sam in the dark to re-load all the blocks.
When Sam and Rowena were first married they had limited funds for recreation. One of their favorite getaways was to camp out for the weekend in the Wichita Wild Life Refuge. They would leave home as soon as they could after work. It was usually after dark when they arrived at the park. Rowena fixed sandwiches which they ate on the way and did not need to prepare supper. They set up the army style cots and quickly settled down for the night. On one such occasion they awoke in the night to strange noises.
There stood the biggest buffalo I ever saw. He was very close to the front of the car. I quickly woke Sam. He used the flashlight to shine in the buffalo’s eyes. He slowly ambled away and we went back to sleep only to awaken again by the strange noise. This time we were surrounded by a herd of buffalo. I definitely was afraid though the buffalo were not making threatening moves. Sam shined the flashlight on them and they ambled away to another nearby campsite. The campers threw fire sticks from their campfire at the buffalo. It was sort of amusing as we imagined what was happening.
The next day we drove to the top of Mount Scott and had a picnic. We left the car doors open to listen to music on the radio. We ran the battery down and engaged the help of some other campers to give us a push downhill to start the car.
The last time we went to the park we saw a herd of elk about a quarter of a mile away near some trees. Sam set out with his camera. A short distance and Sam realized there was a swamp area between him and the elk. He waded in sinking to his knees but that did not deter him. As he approached the elk made threatening moves and Sam ran for the trees.
Sam went to Classen to finish his high school education. He played football and was a member of the 1953 graduating class. That fall he enrolled at Oklahoma A&M in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The first semester he lived with Don and his wife, Pat, in their apartment at 910 McElroy Street. The next spring semester Rowena and their newborn son, Marc, joined Sam at Stillwater. Rowena enrolled at Oklahoma A&M and later obtained a degree in Dietary Science. They rented a house north of the campus. It was a real struggle to just get by with both in school the same time.
Professor Baugh was my economics teacher. Don had several under graduate courses under his tutelage and had spoke highly of him. One evening Rowena and I invited Professor Baugh to have dinner with us and Don. It was an interesting evening. Professor Baugh and Don had a great time reminiscing about their teacher-student relationship.
The first job Sam had when he finished college was with Wilson meat packing company in Oklahoma City. He had taken some courses in time and motion study and was hired as a junior time and motion study engineer. Only in the meat packing business time and motion studies functioned in reverse as the animal is disassembled.
One day I got permission from management to take my brother, Don, on a tour of the plant. I took him to the Hog Kill. The hogs were herded into a pen about twenty feet square. There was a big ‘bull wheel’ on one side of the pen. It was about fifteen feet in diameter. It had evenly spaced hooks about every four feet.
Two black men were in the pen with the hogs. They were Shankers. They shanked (snared) the hogs by the right hind leg with a hook that had a chain and O-ring attached. As the bull wheel turned around they slipped the O-rings onto one of the hooks. This yanked the squealing hogs up as it rotated to the top. There the hooked O-rings automatically transferred to a 554 William E. “Bill” Davidson Family 555 SAMUEL MARVIN DAVIDSON
hook on a double wheel transport mechanism on a downward sloping rail.
The hogs were hanging head down over a trough slowly rolling down the line to the Stickers. They were workers with long sharp knives. They stuck the hogs and severed the main artery in the neck. The hogs bled to death draining blood into the trough to be used for commercial purposes. The saying, “They use everything but the squeal,” was never more true.
Sam always had a creative spirit. The job at the meat packing company was mundane and the company culture had little room for creativity. One day Sam suggested to one of the supervisors a way to try an innovation to improve the efficiency of the operation. The supervisor asked, “What for?” Sam replied to make the operation easier and more efficient. The supervisor’s caustic reply was that the workers had already found the easiest way to do their jobs. Sam soon left after that.
Sam then went to work for Brown Optical Company as a traveling salesman. He thought that would lend itself to a form of individual creativity with sales presentations and without pre-conceived notions of what was effective and what was not.
After a year selling optics Sam decided that was not his “cup of tea.” The company sales manual left little room for innovation and the supervision was overly “hawkish.” He wanted to use his creative bent to make things. So, he started a swimming pool construction business. This way he could do it his way. If he succeeded or failed it was his own doing. One of his early experiences building pools was a real shocker.
I was just getting started in the business of building swimming pools. It was 1960 and backyard swimming pools were a rare novelty in Oklahoma City. Only the most prestigious and expensive homes in Nichols Hills had backyard swimming pools. It was a struggle just to get started and build a few pools so I had some to show to prospective buyers.
One day I was giving a man my best sales pitch. He asked if we could go look at a pool I had built. I told him we could. There was one not far away.
We jumped in my car and drove to an address about a mile where I had built my second pool. No one answered when I rang the doorbell. I told the prospective customer that I was sure they would not care if we looked at the pool in the backyard.
The yard had a high stockade fence. I opened the gate and we walked in. There was no pool. I was astonished. I thought, “Good grief. I’ve gone to the wrong address.” I double-checked the address. It was correct. All this time the customer was looking more and more suspicious of me and my motives. I assured him I had built a pool in that backyard. I did not know what happened. He looked at me with a suspiciously jaundiced eye that said, “Yeah, sure. And I’m Superman.” Needless to say, I did not make the sale.
I could not wait to find out what happened. I went back to the house and waited until the man came home. He said he had the pool filled in and grass turf laid over it. I asked, “Why?” He said, “Because my life was no longer my life. All kinds of people at all hours of the day showed up to swim in the pool. One Sunday morning I was sitting in the family room in my underwear reading the paper when four people I did not know paraded through the room and out to the pool. That was it. The next morning I called a dirt contractor.”
Sam continued in the swimming pool construction business and at one time was the largest builder in the Oklahoma City area. Sons, Marc and Chuck, and Chuck’s wife, Beverly, also worked in the business for several years.
Sam was very good with creative design and state-of-the-art construction techniques for swimming pools, but lacked a little in business acumen. His brother, Don, on two different occasions spent several days doing business audits of Sam’s business. The result of one such audit revealed that Sam’s superintendent of construction was taking inventory from the warehouse to build pools on the side in competition with Sam, his employer.556 William E. “Bill” Davidson Family 557 SAMUEL MARVIN DAVIDSON
Rowena worked awhile at the Anna Maude Cafeteria in downtown Oklahoma City as manager. She later became the managing dietician at the Midwest City Hospital and later the Head Dietician. She worked there until her retirement in 2001. Over the years she visited China and Australia as a member of a delegation of visiting dieticians.
In 1959 Sam and Rowena took their first family vacation with the two boys, Marc and Chuck. Their destination was Yellowstone National Park. They had two weeks and a budget of two hundred dollars. They had a 1959 Edsel station wagon. Since they had most of the camping equipment the plan was to sleep in the station wagon.
The first night they spent at the home of Sam’s oldest brother, Bill, in Liberal, Kansas. The next night they camped in San Isabell National Forest west of Pueblo, Colorado, as described by Rowena.
We found a pavilion with two tables and a campsite, primitive and very isolated. There were no other campers. We were completely surrounded by tall pine trees. When the wind blew through them it made such a wonderful sound. As darkness set in it got a little scary. As the years passed that sound became very special to us and we planted thirty pine trees at our home in Norman.
The next morning Marc and Chuck ran around and helped Sam gather firewood. We cooked a large breakfast. Perhaps it was the mountain air but one item became a favorite every time we camped. I heated oil in a small pan. The boys poked their fingers through store bought canned biscuits. We dropped the doughnut looking biscuits into the hot oil. When done the boys rolled them in sugar and cinnamon. They were great when hot, but not so tasty when cold.
After breakfast Sam and the boys built a rock dam in a small stream next to our campsite. This became another tradition at our camp outings. We always looked for campsites near small streams.
Next Sam and family went to Colorado Springs. After seeing all the attractions there they camped at the Garden of the Gods campgrounds that night. The boys fed crackers to the chipmunks. The next day they went to Yellowstone. They stopped at West Thumb for a break. The facilities were rather primitive. When Marc opened the door to leave a bear was sitting near the door.
We had been watching the bear waiting for Marc to open the door. His eyes were as big as silver dollars. He looked at the bear and the bear looked at him. Marc didn’t know what to do. He just stood there frozen. After a few minutes the bear ambled away and Marc ran for the car keeping a sharp eye on the bear all the way.
They found a more modern camp ground with pine trees for the night. They slept in the station wagon. They covered air mattresses with blankets. Marc slept in the front seat, Sam and Rowena slept behind the front seat with Chuck at their feet. Sleeper, the dog, slept on the front floorboard. It snowed that night, the Fourth of July.
While driving in the park they saw two cub bears beside the road and stopped to look and take pictures. They didn’t see the mother bear. Sam started the car slowly forward only to have the mother bear rear up and place her paws on the open window on Sam’s side. Her nose was about twelve inches from his face. He was very concerned. Rowena continued to take pictures of Sam and the bear. They slowly rolled forward as the bear held on and walked beside the car. Finally some cars from the other direction honked and the mother bear turned loose and walked away with her cubs.
The next afternoon a fellow camper gave Rowena some trout to cook for supper. Sam and the boys went to service the car while Rowena cooked supper. She rolled the trout in corn meal and put the trout in a skillet of hot oil. This almost immediately attracted a bear. It wanted the fish. Rowena was determined not to let it have the fish. They circled the table several times with Rowena carrying the skillet but the bear was gaining on her. A fellow camper saw Rowena’s dilemma and came running with a bucket and broom. 558 William E. “Bill” Davidson Family 559 SAMUEL MARVIN DAVIDSON
He beat the bucket and hollered. Several other campers joined in to make noise. The bear finally ran away. The fellow that gave them the fish angrily said to Rowena, “Lady, give the damn fish to the bear. I have more I can give you.” Sleeper, the dog, was tied to a tree. He didn’t even bark. He just peeked around the tree.
They decided to store the ice chest with food items on top of the station wagon to keep it from the bears. They slept in the car to be safe from the bears. During the night they woke up. The station wagon was shaking violently. Sam thought it was an earthquake. He opened the car door only to jump back into the car and slam the door shut. A bear was on top of the car helping itself to the contents of the ice chest. Sam beat on the window and the top of the car. The bear finally left.
Sam and Rowena’s boys, Marc and Chuck, attended the Midwest City Schools. They played youth sports. Marc played football in highschool while Chuck was on the high school wrestling team.
Sam has a great flair and taste for fine art and collectibles. He and Rowena have collected several pieces of fine art. He particularly likes eagles. He bought a number of prints of eagles by Ted Blalock, a noted painter of eagles in action. He also collected fine statuettes of eagles in bronze, crystal, and gemstone. They also collected original paintings and scrimshaw. Rowena did quilting and made some beautiful quilts.
Sam also has a penchant for writing tidbits of insightful wisdom. In June 1975 he wrote:
Knowledge is a servant to those…to those, who seek it…and serves them well, who understand how to judiciously, with solicitude, apply it.
July 1980 he wrote:
That’s What Life is All About: You are deserving of the best possible life that you can achieve for yourself. Do it! Learn patience, dedication to purpose, a positive attitude, the skill of achieving, the fortitude to never give up, the energy to prevail, the knowledge to seek knowledge, the ability to accept life’s little gifts graciously, the warm feeling and the joy of happiness in giving the gifts of knowledge.
To which his brother, Don, replied in December 1995: “The only problem is it takes sixty years of living to learn all this.” In October 1995 Sam wrote this to his Aunt Elsie Runyon:
Ecstatic Love: This love I dream about…
A lovely woman dreams of
Ardently entwined in love, now is the time…
This is our moment into eternity.
Inamorata, intenerate, fervent, intense desire.
Ecstatic Love together my darling at last.
We are much more ardor
Than we were ever, ever before.
Love’s reward is love itself !
Never let it go…Love…without saying so…Love.
Love reassured is love everlasting…Love.
Rhythm of Love sings its song…Love
April 4, 2006, Sam wrote: “I am amazing. January 20, 2040, at midnight I shall leave this worldly earth to join the Universe at 107 years of age. After a trillion times a trillion times a trillion there shall never be another person exactly like me. Now, that’s AMAZING!!”
Sam wrote this epistle of worry in 2005:
I worry about all my family, my darling wife and her family, my two very great sons and my two wonderful daughters-in-laws and their families, and all my lovely grandchildren. I worry about my health and my family’s health. I worry about the medical profession being able to take care of us as individual persons. I worry about clean air because I have asthma. I worry that the government doesn’t see fit to build a medical 560 William E. “Bill” Davidson Family 561 SAMUEL MARVIN DAVIDSON
research facility on the order of the National Space Agency. I worry about whether the national health system is capable to provide adequate health for everyone. I worry about the Social Security and Medicare systems running out of money. I worry about lawyers getting super rich with multi-million dollar verdicts. I worry about we, the people, who end up paying for these lawyers’ windfalls with higher prices on our products. I worry about my banker approving my next loan. I worry about how high taxes are going to go. I worry about the economy, and who will control inflation and/or deflation. I worry about all the fees being tacked onto all of our bills. I worry about the stock market as I depend on it for my living. I worry about my dogs running off and not coming home. I worry about the honesty and capability of our business and government leaders. I worry about who is setting the proper examples for our future leaders. I worry about what kind of leaders we will have for our future. I worry that they will be willing and capable to accomplish the necessary tasks. I worry about computers and cell phones taking away the human to human touch and contact. I worry about becoming a nation of unemotional robots. I worry about solar energy. I worry about will solar energy be in abundant supply before the earth runs out of energy? I worry about the progress of education that never seems to make the grade. I worry about professors not teaching both sides of the whole subject. I worry about the political parties and whether they can set aside their egos and differences to pass laws for the true benefit of the people. I worry about Congress giving away so much money on frivolous waste and programs. I worry about the security of our borders. I worry about illegal immigration. I worry about who we allow into this country. I worry about how our forefathers went to great pains to select the finest from around the world to build this into a great nation. I worry that this nation of people is being rapidly downgraded. I worry about my grandchildren and great-grandchildren being a minority. I worry about the children no longer being able to enjoy a United States of America that I have been able to enjoy for seventy-three years. I worry about being able to live the next thirty years in the home I built for my wife, myself and my family. I worry about the weather, the extreme hot and cold, dry and wet. I worry about living in Oklahoma that has one hundred miles per hour straight winds and over three hundred miles per hour tornadoes. I worry about staying alive during a tornado. I worry about the Oklahoma Sooners football team wining another national championship. I worry about road rage and the effect it has on people. I worry about the dangers of automobiles and the indifference of people to the thousands of lives lost every year in accidents. I worry that the next automobile I see will send me to my Maker. I worry that our leaders no longer value our lives. I worry about gangs that run rampant, kill and destroy everything in their path. I worry that this is the future for America. I worry that the news media no longer takes the time and effort to inform the people of the true story. I worry that we are misled on important subjects that affect our individual lives. I worry about the world being capable of ample amative relationships. I worry that hate is overcoming love of fellow man. I worry that the United States of America and the world are being overrun with hate. I worry that our leaders and governments no longer have the best interest of the people. I worry that the people no longer have the interest or desire to take the time and effort to direct our leaders and governments in the right and proper directions to benefit the people. I worry that this nation, the United States of America, will fall into and become a third world nation. I worry that I, Samuel M. Davidson, only hope that I am not here on this earth to see it happen.
Sam’s brother, Don, replied, “Wow, Sam, you sure have a lot to worry about. When you worry about something over which you have no control, you have assumed a heavy burden God never intended for you to have.”