long after my mother, Ida Pearl Swan, age 22, married my father,
James Bowman James, age 29, they moved from somewhere in Texas,
around Kirkland I think, to homestead 120 acres near Clayton,
was born on August 29, 1916, in New Mexico, on that homestead.
From what I remember hearing my parents and older half sisters
and brothers say about those years in New Mexico, they were
hard, unpleasant years, filled with poverty and illness. Farming
wasn't profitable because the growing season was too short.
Winters were long and cold.
dad built a two room house there. Connected to this house was a
half- dugout. A half-dugout is a room in which half of it is dug
in the ground. The other half was above ground and had stone
this place, my birthplace, lived my mother, 22 years old, my
father, 40 years old, my five half brothers and sisters, Artie
age 14, Rosey 12, Otha 10, Ruby 8, and Lorene 4. They were that
age when I became a member of the family.
tried to farm his land, but the summers were too short to raise
cotton. Then he tried to raise broomcorn. The whole thing turned
out to be a failure. My sister Ruby said we almost starved to
living there, mother stepped over a rattlesnake in our kitchen
with me in her arms. Our cow tried to swallow the floor mop. Dad
ran a broom handle down her throat and un-choked her. Sometime
before I was three, my mother gave birth to a baby boy named
Harold. He died two weeks later. They prepared him for burial
and he lay in the house until the grave, not far from the house,
half brother, Otha, took a trip up there a few years ago. He
said the stone walls were still standing, and he found the
little grave. The man who owned the property told him he would
care for the little grave.
mother was dad's second wife. His first wife was Margie Dunn.
They had seven children, five girls and two boys. Artie came
first, then Rosie, then a baby girl that didn't live long. Otha,
Ruby, and Lorene were the next three. Little Margie was last,
and her birth was the cause of her mother's death. Marrying a
man with six children, the oldest 14 and the youngest less than
a year, was quite an undertaking for a young 22-year-old
adored the baby, but the first tragedy of her married life
occurred when little Margie died from diphtheria a few months
after she and dad were married. I know very little about
mother's family. I just can't remember her father's first name.