Tag Archives: 1947

The Runaways – 1947

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I wrote this post a year-or-two ago, but never posted it because it was overly long.  But because the nightmare post below seems to lead here, and the only news I have is Tabby-news, I’ll post it despite the length. 

The Runaways 1947

Causey, New Mexico, was a dot in the road.  Pavement from nowhere to nowhere running between a scattering of frame houses, a small roadside store and gas station.  A rock schoolhouse, a church, and a few rusting hulks of worn out farm machinery in the weeds.

Our cottage was on the same side of the road as the schoolhouse.  Most of the village was on the other side, including the windmill across the road from our house where my sister and I went for water and carrying the bucket between us to tote it home. 

To my tiny, four-year-old mind, the center of town was the store, diagonally across the road, to the left of the windmill.  Everything of importance happened there.  Cars from other places stopped for gas.  The store had Milk Nickles.  Ice cream on a stick, covered with chocolate.  Pure heaven that didn’t come often.

If the store was heaven, behind our house was hell.  The toilet.  A ramshackle tower with dust flecks floating in the shafts of light that came through the cracks between the boards, light coming through underneath where the ground had caved away from the wall.  Home of black widow spiders and the occasional rattlesnake.  The place was a chamber of terrors for me.  I was always certain I’d fall through the hole to the horrors beneath when I used it.

Our little cottage had two rooms.  A sort of kitchen, living area in front also had a little counter where my mom tried to operate a little variety store.  Keychains, trinkets, a handkerchief or two.  Things that wouldn’t be found across the street at the store. 

She was also a seamstress.  Most of my memories of that time include her huddled over a treddle sewing machine working on the felt curtains she was making for the stage of the school auditorium.  Mom was a woman twice divorced.  In 1947, that was no small thing.  In that time and place broken marriage was considered to be the fault of an untrained, unskilled, unwise, probably immoral woman.  Two divorces, three children, and no resources made my mother the subject of mistrust by the woman of the community, and disdain by the men.

Memories have probably faded and altered with the half century since all this happened.  The perspectives of a child plagued with fears and insecurities seem real in my recollections, but they, too, have probably been twisted with the turns and circles the planet has made around the sun; with the endless webs of human interactions, relationships formed and ended.

My sisters went to school in that village.  Frances, my sister who died a few years ago, must have been in the second grade.  Becky, maybe in the 5th.  I hung around doing whatever preschoolers do in that environment when everyone else is busy.  I have flashing memories of standing by the road throwing rocks at cars; trying to get the little girl down the road to show me her ‘wet-thing’. 
 
I remember being lonely; of wishing aloud my mom would give me a little brother to play with.  “I wish I could,” she’d reply, “but you tore me up so much when you were born, I can’t have any more kids.”

That trauma of my birth was a favorite theme of my mom.  She was fond of telling me how the doctors were long arriving when I was ready to be born;  how a nurse and my dad held her legs down so I couldn’t emerge until the proper people were there.  How it damaged her insides and caused her to have to undergo all kinds of surgery later.

I recall I felt pretty badly about that. 

During harvest season it seemed to me the entire community turned out to work in the fields.  We’d all gather in the pre-dawn at the store, then ride together to the cotton fields in the back of an open truck.  Mom and the girls were all there, along with the neighbors and some of their kids.  Two of the kids were about my age:  Wayne and Sharon Landrum.

In retrospect I doubt we pre-schoolers helped much.  My mom had put a strap on a pillowcase and promised a Milk-Nickle every time it was filled.  This was probably more to keep me busy and out of trouble than it was to pay for the ice cream bar.  I can’t imagine that a pillowcase would have held the ten pounds of cotton it would have taken to pay a nickle.

The lure of sweets weren’t sufficient to occupy smaller kids, I suppose.  There came a time when Wayne, Sharon, and I wandered off from the field.  At first it was just to take a walk, but the road was long and we must have made some turns.  Before too long we’d gotten so far from the farm we didn’t know the way back.  We were frightened and kept moving.

In the end we found the lights of a farmhouse sometime after dark.  The family brought us inside and fed us something.  We sat around a stove trying to keep warm until some of the searchers came and picked us up. 

In the morning at the store all those field workers who’d had to lose part of a day of wages wanted vivid descriptions of the spankings we got.  They wanted to make sure.

That was my first experience with running away, at least on my own part.  My mom had done some of it, running away from my dad and her second husband.  My dad had done some of it, letting his kids go off, first to Arizona into the shelter of a brutal, drunken step-dad, then into the shack in Causey.

Afterthought, July 9, 2013

Reading through it this morning I find it difficult to create a context for this anecdote that isn’t submerged and overwhelmed by 21st Century value judgements and popular perspectives created by generations of affluence and ease for the general population of the US. 

This isn’t a tale of ‘oh shit, we had it hard’, ‘oh damn, life is sure tough’, whining and complaining or just bragging.  It’s a statement of perspective.  In 1947 things were a lot different in a lot of ways. 

Every adult had been alive through the Great Depression.  Hardship was no stranger to most of them, and the yardsticks for measuring hardship would have all placed what happened with our tiny family as ‘challenging’.  Not easy, but certainly not ‘hard’.

What our little capsule of humanity went through wasn’t poverty.  And what’s measured today as poverty sure as hell wouldn’t have qualified, by any standard that existed at that time.  Compared to the conditions a huge part of humanity was enduring in 1947 we could as accurately been called wealthy, as poor.

Old Jules

An Afternoon with Aunt Loretta (Proctor)- Roswell, 1947

Kay, the wife side of the couple owning the cabin where I live, is part of the family owning the property adjoining the ranch where the Roswell Incident happened in 1947.  Her Aunt Loretta was the step-mother of Dee Proctor, the youngster with Mac Brazel when he discovered the debris on his land.

Loretta was there when Brazel brought Dee home that day carrying pieces of what they’d found.  She sat at the table with the rest of the family considering while Mac Brazel tried to make sense of it, tried to decide what he should do.

“The piece he [Mac Brazel] brought looked like a kind of tan, light brown plastic. It was very lightweight, like balsa wood. It wasn’t a large piece, maybe about four inches long, maybe just a little larger than a pencil. We cut on it with a knife and would hold a match on it, and it wouldn’t burn. We knew it wasn’t wood. It was smooth like plastic.”

“According to Brazel’s neighbor Loretta Proctor, her 7-year old son Timothy or “Dee” was with Brazel when he first discovered the debris field. But he was also with Brazel when he discovered something else at another site 2-1/2 miles to the east that left him deeply traumatized for the rest of his life.”  This is frequently quoted from numerous locations on the web and in books about Roswell, but it provides a good summation or paraphrase of what Loretta had to say about that part of her experience during our visit recently.

Dee [the accounts continue] never told her exactly what he saw there but did take her to the location in 1994 saying, “Here is where Mack found something else.” Dee Proctor would also duck all attempts at interview and died in 2006.

However, Dee never ducked any conversations with Aunt Loretta, nor with his step-sister regarding the incident, though he was reticent to a degree according to the two women.

The popular accounts continue:  “However, other rancher children are believed to have visited the site, including Sydney “Jack” Wright, who said that two sons of rancher Thomas Edington and one of rancher Truman Pierce’s daughters got to “the other location.” Wright in 1998 would state, “There were bodies, small bodies with big heads and eyes. And Mack was there too. We couldn’t get away from there fast enough.”

—————

A while back Gale, Kay and I went up to Comanche to visit her Aunt Loretta for an afternoon.  I’d recently read Thomas J. Carey and Donald R. Schmitt’s book, Witness to Roswell.  Even though I ‘d thought before reading it the subject had beaten to death several decades ago, the book renewed my interest, so I was enthusiastic about meeting Aunt Loretta and discussing it with her, so I carried a recorder with me.

Loretta lives with her daughter now, raising goats, dancing one night a week, sharp of mind, intelligent and quick of wit.  At 95, she’s a woman with a lot still to say, but careful about how she says it.

I was prepared by recent readings mentioned above, ready with questions, as were Gale and Kay, who’d also done the reading of Witness to Roswell.  We sat for several hours, asked, and she and her daughter answered, sometimes drifting into nuance, squinting with loaded, pointed implication.

As we drove back Gale, Kay and I talked a lot about what Loretta and her daughter told us that afternoon.  It all boiled down to what she’d personally observed, remembrances of Dee when he and Mac arrived at their ranch, asides about Dee, afterward, almost certainly still in possession of the ‘memory metal’ after it was supposed to have been all turned over to the Army.  “A certain little brat kept it hidden away his whole life!” Loretta declared with a measure of smiling venom.

According to Aunt Loretta, Mac was in a quandry over what to do about the mess on his ranch.  He’d heard somewhere the Army would pay a reward for anyone who found a ‘flying saucer’, but he had a lot of qualms about whether to get involved with the government.  Like a lot of people of that time and that area, Mac didn’t have a lot of trust in them.  A huge tract of land not far away had been confiscated from the families owning it just a few years earlier to create White Sands Proving Grounds, and the Trinity Site of the first atomic bomb detonation was just down the road and only a couple of years in the past.

There, in Loretta’s kitchen, Mac decided to go visit his wife and kids in Las Cruces for the next few days to think it over.  It wasn’t until his return from Cruces he went to Roswell and reported what he’d found.  Because of that delay of a week a lot of people in the Corona area knew about it a considerable while before the government did.

She’d provided a vivid description of the site, almost without seeming to realize she was doing it.  The way the ridge was scoured of any plant life, the ‘remembrance’ of the ‘impact’ zone as she gazed at the wall telling about it.  I came away believing Loretta probably visited the site herself, sometime shortly after the event.

But of all the questions we asked Loretta that afternoon the one thing that didn’t happen was any hint of denial of anything related to her, Dee, the events of those days as described in “Witness to Roswell”.

Whatever happened back there in 1947, there’s not much room to doubt that Loretta’s interpretation of it all doesn’t agree at all with government accounts and seems to agree in all ways where her personal experience and observations come into the events, with just about everything the ‘other side’ has been saying all along.

http://www.alienresistance.org/roswellufocrashsitephotos.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witness_accounts_of_the_Roswell_UFO_incident

Witness accounts of the Roswell UFO incident:
http://roswellinvestigator.com/witness-to-roswell-1.php

http://www.angelfire.com/indie/anna_jones1/daily_record02.html

Old Jules

The Byrds–Mr. Spaceman