As an only child growing up in the oil fields of Conroe Texas it was the perfect recipe for the birth of my entrepreneurial spirit.

With my dad gone all week as an oilfield welder for Brown & Root, my mom and I spent many hours on the old home place there off Stidham Road. It was a very humble place, but one that I have later grown to know was the best place on earth to grow up. Of course, I didn’t think so at the time.

It was an old two-story house, small, with all the living quarters on the second floor. It hadn’t seen paint in lord knows

Kay Clark – 1st Grade – Anderson Elementary

how long. The old tongue and groove siding of homes built in those days was so dried out and flakey, that the idea of putting new paint on it – well, you’d never be able to buy enough paint to soak in that old, dried out wood. So why bother.

Upstairs there was a big long rectangle room that was everything. There was only one small bedroom, a very small bathroom and a small kitchen. The one bedroom was probably 8 feet x 9 feet and I got it. I had a three-quarter bed, a small chest of drawers and a small closet. It was so small, you could barely walk around the bed, and must less make up the bed.

Mom and dad had their bed at the end of the big rectangle room, then the couch divided the room to make a ‘living room’, then the round dining table (which I still have) was next, followed by a desk in the corner for family bookkeeping and in the end window, a large window fan.

No air conditioning whatsoever until my senior year, when mom and dad built the new house. Up until that time, I had a small little 8 inch fan that I put on the chest of drawers that pointed straight on my head. That fan was called “Zero” as the brand denoted, and I certainly hoped every day and every night, that it would make it zero degrees so that I could sleep, because it was hot and humid in Conroe, Texas.

Then, at the top of stairs was a big, screened-in porch that spilled into the ‘house’ starting with the kitchen. Momma had a long rectangle table out there on the porch and we ate out there most of the time, until the weather was too cold or it was blowing rain. She did all her canning of pickles out there as well as the two bushels of peaches she’d put in the deep freeze each summer. She and I would would get up early and go pick purple hull peas, black-eyed peas or green beans, which she would blanche and put in the freezer as well.  These vegetables, along with a calf we’d butcher, gave us our food supply for the winter. Plus momma always had a small garden patch where she’d grow tomatoes, peppers and green onions.

Humble, humble beginnings, but I didn’t know it. I was a happy, happy kid, with a momma that let me roam around and do just about anything I wanted. From the time I could walk, she took me to the library every week to get a huge stack of books to read. Then at about age 4, I took dance lessons – tap, ballet and jazz – because momma thought I was clumsy and she wanted me to have grace.  Needless to say, she never knew that she set in motion a long standing love of dancing that I cherish to this day. I also took swimming lessons in the summer at the Y in Conroe. Momma did not know how to swim, so she wanted to make sure that I could. I went there several summers, earning a life guard certificate. If you turned your back in the summer, I’d be over at the neighbor’s lake swimming and horsing around with big-truck tire inner tubes and diving into water that no one knew the depth.

I was allowed to be me and do whatever I wanted. I had huge amounts of space all around me at all times. You could not see the neighbor’s house from our place. I was a country girl. I knew no limits. I was granted many rights on a ‘just because’ basis.

I remember getting in my dad’s old red truck, I think I was around 5 and decided I’d drive it. I couldn’t see out the window plus it was a standard shift, which I had no clue what that was. There was a drive gate with a high posts on each side that gave passage to a large pasture. I got that truck going, hit those big posts and somehow managed to get through them and well into the pasture, when my dad saw me. He came running – and I was sure glad. At that moment, I had bit off more than I could chew, and a rescue was much appreciated.

I was a good student in school from the beginning. Because I was an only child, I had no other outside kid influence and didn’t have anyone yapping in my ear about anything. I rode the school bus in the mornings and momma would pick me up in the afternoon, because it was a 1-1/2 hour ride to get back home. In the mornings, momma would stand with me and I would put my hands around her waist to keep warm using her jacket and her arms. That drill occurred every morning until I was in the 3rd or 4th grade, when I was ‘too big for that stuff’. I took piano lessons on the lunch break at school and in the afternoons when she would pick me up at school, she’d either take me to Brownies, the lower echelon of Girl Scouts or dance lessons.

2nd Grade Dance Recital – Poinsett School of Dance

Momma was also the consummate seamstress and making everything we all wore. I never had anything purchased from a retail store until I was in high school and bought it with money I made working the Christmas break. Daddy always worked long, hard hours and made the money, momma managed the money like a hawk, and we always had food on the table and everything we needed. They, together, made a great environment for me to grow up. They made sane choices for me, and choices that worked for all of three of us. We were a close family and they made sure I had the best they could muster, so as to give me a good start in life.

They definitely accomplished that, and I am eternally grateful to them. They instilled in me an incredible work ethic that to this day, is my strongest attribute.

Many thanks to Barry and Ruby Clark for a job well done.

4 Responses to “About”

  1. What a lovely story so wonderfully written. I thought I would take a peek and could not stop reading! Well done.

  2. Sue Beri says:

    What a “Character Building Childhood’ you had in Conroe, TX.

  3. Susan says:

    What a delightful story, Kay! I’m anxious to read “chapter two!”

  4. Kay, hello there! This is such a wonderful story, and truly provides a “glimpse” in who you are!! Very well done!

One Response to “About”

  1. Tara Says:

    Beautiful.

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