STEVEN JOE DAVIDSON
Born November 3, 1951
When I was about 1 1/2 years old, my mother (Dorthy White) dropped me off at my Grandma and Granpa Davidson’s house at 3223 NW 11th in Oklahoma City and never returned. My Grandparents raised me for the next 4-5 years until my dad married Bonnie Fleschman.
I had a lot of great memories while living on 11th street. My Grandma was always the glue that held the family together, and she was always having my other cousins over for the weekend, at which point we were always getting into mischief. Probably my earliest memories were of climbing a huge tree in the back yard, and building a tree house in the top of that tree. About 40 years later, my daughter bought that very house from a realtor and when we moved her in, a few boards from the tree house still existed in the top of that tree. My cousins and I used to sit in the top of the tree and watch the oval dirt track racers over at the fairgrounds. It was far enough away that we could not really see the racecars, but could hear them and see the dust rising thus felt we were there.
I also remember as a youngster the black garbage men would come around for the trash cans a couple of times each week and when they did my grandma would fix them a cup of “joe” (coffee) and they would take a break in the back yard sitting on cut tree stumps drinking coffee and playing “Mumbly Peg” which was a game they would play with their pocket knives. Being a young boy I was facinated with the pocket knives as well as the game. A few years later when I was around 4 or 5, my cousing Marc and I got into a sword fight, where I was using an ice pick and he was using Grampa’s straight razor. About the same time I poked him with the ice pick, he sliced my index finger with the razor. Needless to say, when we went running into the house screaming at the top of our lungs, grandma about had a heart attack when she saw the blood and weapons, but we both survived. (I still have a scar to this day)
We also used to set fires in the alley between the two garages in the back which would get my Grampa’s blood pressure going, and I remember Randy Gene my cousin talking us into going down the street and throwing rocks through the greenhouse roof of the neighbor.
I used to go down to Maysville, OK in the summer and spend a few weeks with my cousins, Gary and Glenna Sue Huffman and Patsy and Judy Roller. One summer while down there, Gary came out to the barn and told me that his momma, (Aunt Dixie) wanted us to kill a chicken for dinner. Being a city boy, I didn’t know the process, so I pulled out my trusty Boy Scout knife and began to chase down a chicken. I picked up a board and threw it at the chicken and killed it. Gary yelled, “momma is gonna kill you!” At which point I realized it was a ruse. So to hide the kill, we decided to bury the chicken. Gary brought a set of post hole diggers from the barn, and I began to stab them into the hard soil. Of course they were much larger than I, so progress was slow. I would take a stab at the ground, then Gary would brush the dirt away from the spot, dig…brush….dig….brush…..dig….eowwwwww! I had brought the post hole diggers down on his index finger and almost severed it into. To this day he is double jointed in that finger, and generally greets me by waving at me with the index finger…..
I don’t remember anything about my mother, Dorthy White. I met her once or twice when I was around 17, but I don’t recall anything about her specifically. I used to go to my Grandmother White’s house which was at 1147 N. Douglas in OKC about every other month for a weekend. Paula my sister would generally come, and mostly we would sit around looking at each other all weekend, watching TV, and walk to the corner store for candy, but that was about it….
In 1959 my Dad married Bonnie Fleschman and we moved to 711 N. Towery in Midwest City, OK. I went to grade school at Steed Elementary and played baseball in a YMCA league. Our family immediately grew to include another sister Karen, and brother David. We had some great baseball games in the back yard of the house on Towery. After a couple of years my folks went to an auction in Lubbock, TX and purchased 80 head of Black Angus cattle. My Dad had been in the insurance business working for himself, and he sold his book of business and bought the cattle. They came home and didn’t have a place to put them, so they leased 80 acres just outside Forest Park and had the cattle delivered there. The cattle were kept there a little over a year and then they bought a 40 acre farm in Guthrie, OK. that had a 800 S.F. house on it. The bedrooms were so small you could sit on the bed and open the drawers that were on the opposite wall. We transferred from a grade school in Midwest City to Meridian, OK 1st through 6th grade in Meridian had 8 kids. Steed Elementary had 300 kids so this was a real culture shock. We had a an hour and half of chores to do before we caught the school bus at 7:30. We had pigs, chickens, cows, horses, all of the basic farm animals. When I showed up at school the first day with a skateboard, the kids there were mesmerized…..Meridian had a large gym with a wood floor and you could skateboard around the gym. The next day two or three kids showed up with homemade skateboards that were made from roller skates nailed to 2 x 4’s. The gym had been used for years for donkey basketball thus the wood floor was buckled and warped, but we rolled around and around anyway. This was during segregation and there was a school across the road from the Meridian School where the Blacks went to school. They would ride in the back of our school bus, then after the driver dropped us off, he would drop the black kids off. I was so young I didn’t really think much of it at the time, but years later when we moved to town the black/white issue really became more real and evident. Meridian was pure country living, they had a monthly social where they would have auction for box suppers that the women had brought. Then they would play musical chairs for pies and cakes. As a youngster I thought it was pure boring, but I am sure that for the farmers it was the highlight of their month. We were up to our ears in livestock at home. Had 40-50 pigs, sometimes more, over 100 head of black angus cattle, chickens, horses, dogs and cats. Each one of us had our own horse, and in April during the 89er parade we would get all dressed up and ride in the parade. We never had much as kids because we never had much money (the livestock ate it all)! but we never lacked. My dad was working at Jones Truck Lines in Oklahoma City, thus he would commute each day from the farm to OKC in a Ford pickup that he had rolled down a ravine when someone ran him off the road. The radiator leaked in the pickup, and he would carry a couple of buckets so he could stop 1/2 way to OKC and put water in the radiator. I guess eventually he fixed it, but we hauled a lot of hay in that truck. We would haul alfalfa in the summer time and would get paid .03 cents a bale from the field to the barn. During the winter I worked for a local rancher and would drive 6-7 miles to his place and feed his 300 cattle. That was where I really learned to drive in rough weather because some days the country roads would be muddy or snow covered and there was no one around to help you out if you got stuck. When we started school in town I joined the FFA (Future Farmers of America). We would raise calves and pigs and show them at the local fairs as well as in Oklahoma City at the spring stock show. We would halter break them, wash and shampoo them regularly, and walk them for exericse daily. Growing up on a farm certainly taught us all about responsibility and hard work. One of my favorite stories was when the four of us kids would play “fox and hounds” where two of us would take off across the pasture and hide, then the other two would come find us. One day Paula and David had run across the hill and were hiding behind a terrace when Karen and I topped the hill. Paula yelled, ” hit the dirt!” and David dove down direct into a large fresh cow pile of manure. I also remember riding across the pasture on Buck, a large gray buckskin we owned, during December and Buck was always cantankorous, as I was walking near a pond just as I went past the pond he did a quick right turn and into the pond he went. And then he proceeded to lay down and unload me from his back. He was so large and onery that he wouldn’t let me back up on him, so I ended up having to walk him all the way back to the house. Of course when everyone saw me walking leading him and both dripping wet, they all freaked out and came running outside, really worried about Buck getting a cold or something. It seemed like one of us kids was always falling off a horse or getting kicked or something. It seemed like one of us was always walking around with a cast on an arm or leg, being a parent later just reminded me how we must have driven our folks crazy. Our cousins would visit us from the city sometimes and we would have a great time showing them the country life. There was a cemetary nearby that we would take them to late at night so we could hunt “snipes” in the cemetary under a full moon. Once we set them out with their “Snipe bag” a whistling and thumping on the bag, we’d sneak off and go home and sit around laughing waiting on them to wise up and figure out what was going on.