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BELLE STARR Rides in Haskell County, Oklahoma

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Scroll down to find the interview of interest...on this page you will find:
Faye Bankhead;
Nellie Beller;
Fannie Lou (Reavis) Henderson;
Johnny Ogle;
Nelson Pendergrass;
Burl Prentice;
Earl Pyles;
Dick Shelton

By Amy Stark
(Skip ahead to subject of Mrs. Bankhead's famously beautiful lawn.)

AMY STARK: Well, about when did you first start on this yard?

FAYE BANKHEAD: Oh the yard? Well when I started my yard, it was in the early fifties after I retired from the telephone company. I started my azaleas then and I've just had a pretty yard ever since. But I enjoy working in it.

AMY STARK: Did you and your husband just decide one day to start planting this big yard or was it kind of gradual?

FAYE BANKHEAD: No it was just after I retired.  I did quite a bit of church work and I worked. I come over here and visit people, see people, you know, a lot. So I just stayed busy like that. I went to Muskogee and bought quite a few azaleas and some in Fort Smith and I started planting them myself, and they're still there. My daughter-in-law helps me take care of them.

(Skip ahead--)

AMY STARK: What do you have in your yard besides azaleas?

FAYE BANKHEAD: Oh, I had dogwoods at one time. My yard's a big yard, the whole thing was dogwoods. I bought some and I had azaleas because I needed the shade. I liked to work and I like flowers. I had quite a few roses. I had a rose garden, but it seemed like the azaleas were prettier.

AMY STARK: I heard that some of those plants are 40 years old.

FAYE BANKHEAD: Oh yes, some have been there a long time. Most all of them have. I retired from the company and started in on that and I've had them for years. Well, I bought some dogwoods but the azaleas are big now and we've got some pecan trees. I can sit on the front porch here and see them in my back yard.

AMY STARK: People have actually gotten married in your yard?

FAYE BANKHEAD: We've had several weddings in the yard. We just let them come and do it the way they wanted to.  I have a long building in the back.  It started out as a chicken house and I got rid of that. I said I didn't want a chicken house out there. We just made a little house out of it. We had a garage down there and we built a top over one of the garages and we enjoyed that. It's grown. I have a magnolia in the back. It's big now. I made a swing; it's out there. I've got pictures over there.


(The above is an excerpt from the interview of Faye Bankhead, by Amy Stark.)

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by Brianna Cantrell

(Skip ahead...)

HILMA SPARKS: You're known by people all over town. You're just pretty well known.

NELLIE BELLER: Yes, I am. You know when John Mann wanted to run for Ruby Rainwater's job, I worked for him as his deputy. When Virginia got married she called and asked if I would like to work for John. So that was in 1960, in January she called and said "Nellie, would you like to have my job?" I said "Well, Virginia, why are you leaving?" She said "I'm getting married." I didn't have a job.

You see Claude Cason bought Mr. Stratton out and bought him out in September. Mr. Stratton wanted me to stay there in that rock building down there across from the log cabin was the building of the butane office. He said, I'm going to let you sell this since you know everybody. You sell this building and collect. It was September I got paid through September. Then from September I just went to work over at the court house. I didn't know I could draw unemployment. And uh, so that's how I got work at the court house.

I worked as John's deputy. And for $100 a month. But they didn't have but $100 for six months work. That's all I got for six months work and I uh, John never was there. It was left up to me to keep the books. I had to learn everything from scratch. I had never done anything like that and then after I, in 62 I guess it was, he ran for Ruby's job and I ran for the assessor's job.

He wanted me, he said he was going to run for Ruby's job, he said "What about you running for the assessor's job?"

I said "John I couldn't be elected."

He said "I don't know anybody has more friends than you have. You sure can." He said, "I'll do whatever I can to help." Anyway he talked me into it. Finally I decided I would. I filed. It cost about $200 to file. Well I filed and got everything set up.

Bob Young and Dean Cole came to the court house. I was working there at the time. They came to the court house and said, "If you pull out we'll pay you back all the money you've been out to not run."

I said "Are you kidding?" I liked to have never made up my mind that I'd run but I'll tell you one thing when I decided to do something I'm going to do it. I'm that determined. I said "No you can't talk me out of it."

Well they came back two or three times and they seen that they wasn't going to be able to pay me back with the money.

They said "You can't win."

I said "Well I'm going to take my chances."

They said "You've spent all money, you'd better take it."

I said "Nope, win or lose, it's my job or not." So I had two opponents. I didn't even have to have a run off. That's how good I ran. I had no idea but you know it's unbelievable at the friends I had to work. But having sold that butane everywhere, everybody knew me.

HILMA SPARKS: Knew you were honest?

NELLIE BELLER: I didn't know anything else.


(The above is an excerpt from the interview of Nellie Beller and Hilma Sparks, by Brianna Cantrell.)

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By Kendra
KENDRA: If you would state your name.

FANNIE HENDERSON: Fannie Lou Henderson.

KENDRA: And if you would tell me a little bit about your background, maybe some childhood memories, what it was like growing up.

FANNIE HENDERSON: Well, my family lived on Taloka Prairie. My dad was Dave, and my mother was Nell. They had eleven kids, I was number seven.


FANNIE HENDERSON: I was a third daughter of a third daughter of a third daughter. And my daughter, Holly, was a third daughter.



FANNIE HENDERSON: Grandma McGuire was my mother's mother, and then mom, and me, and then Holly. So there were four of us.

KENDRA: Well. That's pretty interesting.

FANNIE HENDERSON: We lived on a farm. Dad raised cattle and cotton. And I never did like to pick cotton. It was so hot, and I didn't know I had sinus trouble then, but I did, because I'd have headaches from the cotton. We had to stay out in the field, and it was hot. We didn't have fans. We didn't have anything like that. It was so hot. But I didn't mind the hoeing cause that was in the spring, and we didn't get so hot. We went to school at Taloka, we went to the eighth grade. I was born in 1921, and they had built the school the year before and that was the first year that they taught school in it. It was two rooms, and at first there was about sixty kids went, because it was during the depression and there were families that lived on forty acres, they rented forty acres. (Skip ahead) And the school lasted till about 1937. 1937 they consolidated with Stigler. We rode the bus and I graduated in 1939.

(Skip ahead)

KENDRA: What year did you get married?


KENDRA: How old were you then?

FANNIE HENDERSON: I was twenty. The boys were having to go overseas. Girls got married(?). World War II. A lot of our boys from high school had to go and a lot of them got killed, too.

KENDRA: Did your brothers?

FANNIE HENDERSON: I had four brothers in the Army. Estel was in Germany. Bob was in the South Pacific. Red was in high school, but he turned eighteen and had to go. I had a brother, Boyd, and he was married and went to California to work in the shipyards. They laid some of them off, and when they did, they took him, and he had three kids. But he didn't have to go overseas. It was over before he had to go overseas. My mama and daddy worried about my brothers so much.

KENDRA: And that was a hard time.

FANNIE HENDERSON: It was bad and I can't even read books about it now. My brothers just eat it up. They love it cause they have been there. Red just eats that up. He just loves it and it makes me so upset. I was worried about Estel cause he got shell-shocked. He was in the Belgian Bulge. He laid out in the cold and his feet got frozen. And he didn't know where he was at for a long time. About 3 months, mom didn't hear from him. It was just terrible.

KENDRA: Yeah, Mrs. Benham told us a little bit about the Belgian Bulge.

FANNIE HENDERSON: We didn't know where he was, they wouldn't tell us where they were at. We knew that Bob was in the Pacific, but we didn't know the battles. We didn't have television or anything, and all we could see were the news reels that they sent to the theaters.

KENDRA: So they displayed the war pictures in theaters?

FANNIE HENDERSON: In theaters, yes.  When I married Nat he was in the military intelligence, he wore a suit and he was undercover. It was kind of strange cause we lived where the around the base and the soldiers would look at him like he needed to be in the army, too.

KENDRA: Mm hmm.

FANNIE HENDERSON: And he was in the army!

KENDRA: They didn't know it.

FANNIE HENDERSON: And they didn't know it! And it was kind of strange.

(This concludes excerpt of the interview of Fannie Lou (Reavis) Henderson, by Kendra.)

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By Kara Bishop
May 15, 2002

Introduction: "Johnny Ogle lives in Kinta, Oklahoma, and has lived there all the 76 years of his life. Although he has been in two wars, went to three different colleges, and taught at three different schools, he has still remained in the same town, and even more remarkable, in the same house that he was raised in.
"Some things that weren't mentioned on the tape from my interview with Mr. Ogle are some of his most outstanding accomplishments. He coached for many years of his life, and after being retired, he was nominated for and named into the Oklahoma Girl's High School Coaches Hall of Fame. He attends annual basketball games in which he is honored for this achievement.
"Also, another thing that wasn't mentioned much on the tape is what a great fisherman Mr. Ogle is, and how much he loves it. In fact, we had to schedule our interview around his fishing plans.
"Mr. Ogle is truly a remarkable and interesting person. I learned so many things about basketball that I didn't know, and the area of Haskell County before I was ever in it. It was my privilege to be able to interview such a kind and generous man." Kara Bishop
(Skip ahead)

KARA BISHOP: You were drafted? (Skip) How old were you then?

JOHNNY OGLE: Oh I think I had been out of high school three or four years, I think I was twenty-six then.

KARA BISHOP: Twenty-six, so what did you do in the Army?

JOHNNY OGLE: The first time I was in the Army I was in a rifle company and then the Korean war. I was in a rifle company then in 1950 and a friend of mine who, he was a lieutenant in another part of the Army, and he told me he said, now we're going to Korea he said, this rifle company you're in is dangerous and you need to get out of it. And I said, well I don't know anyone, I don't have any strings to pull or anything. He didn't say anything else. And then we went from Camp Hope, Virginia to Camp Lee, Virginia to Camp Lee Louisiana to uh Japan.

Well we were over there in Japan and word came down to my company and they said well, your transfer to the military police has come through. So I was sent there to the Military Police and I was living out in a tent when that transfer came through and we were in the Northern-most island of Japan, Ochido. And I moved from living in a tent into brick barracks into a town which had 250,000 people.


JOHNNY OGLE: In fact it was a town where the winter Olympics were held once. And we would, two of us Military Policemen, would work together and we'd go to town and patrol the streets and if there any soldiers who got out of line we had a Korean, Japanese interpreter policeman who rode with us and he knew the language, naturally, and he would interpret for us and it was just altogether different from a rifle company.


JOHNNY OGLE: And my friend probably saved my life and he lived in Durant, OK. And I went to see him quite often after we got out of the Army because I, he is the one that might have saved my life by giving me a transfer into the Military Police, and he died oh, two or three years ago and I went to his funeral.


(The above is an excerpt from the interview of Johnny Ogle, by Kara Bishop.)

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By Sandie Perkins
May 14, 2002
Introduction: "My experience interviewing Mr. Pendergrass was a very pleasant one. Mr. Pendergrass shared information about his family and life while growing up. I admire him for his decisions made throughout his life. Not only has he served his country, but also he is a dedicated husband of a 51-year marriage. Mr. Pendergrass has lived well and had a great family to support him along the way. I believe that by interviewing him, I have learned many things. Anyone given the chance should take advantage of interviewing someone they know. The Historical Society has spent very much time gathering information for their records, and existing families of those in this county. To be able to add to those records is a great honor and privilege, and I am very pleased to be a part of that. I have realized the importance of keeping the history of your land and society. I am proud to say that I was able to interview Mr. Nelson Pendergrass on May 14, 2002." Sandie Perkins

(Skip ahead)

SANDIE PERKINS: Did you decide to join the service, or were you prompted?

NELSON PENDERGRASS: Well, after Ivy and I got married I was drafted. A year after I graduated from high school the Korean War broke out. My oldest brother was in the 2nd World War and was gone overseas about 34 months, the European sector of the war. He was over there when the war ended. And my brother just older than me went in the Navy near the end of WWII.

A year after I graduated, in 1950 the Korean War broke out. Well, then Ivy and I got married about a year later. And they, what they called the draft and a lot of guys from Haskell County were drafted. I was one of 'em. I spent 2 years in the Army, 16 months of that in Korea. I was with the 40th Division first and later went to the 2nd Division. In both places I was a surveyor. I reached the rank of Sergeant; I was in charge of the survey section.

What a surveyor does in the Army, or did at that time, you climb those mountains, turn those angles with a transit, and tell the Artillery pieces where they are. It's pretty important for the Artillery to know where they are because when they're shooting, we want them to hit the enemy and not us. So if they don't know where they are they would be shooting at random, and could hit our troops because the Artillery is (incomplete).


(This concludes the interview excerpt of Nelson Pendergrass, by Sandie Perkins.)

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By Russell Prentice
(Skip ahead)

RUSSELL: Do you remember about the Prentice that was in the Tamaha Jail?

BURL PRENTICE: (Skip ahead.) I remember the story, he was born in 1879, Uncle Frank, and that was my dad's brother, Ricky's grandfather's brother.

I never did know of uncle doing anything real bad, but he was always doing something, in some kind of trouble. Like cuttin' up in church or something like that, getting drunk.

Well he got drunk up at Whitefield and he was carrying the mail. Now Whitefield used to be the main town in this county, and the mail came into there, they didn't have any rural routes. He was carrying the mail horseback in big ol' saddle bags, leather saddle bags, to Tamaha, to the post office.
He started up there with the mail.  And he began drinking on the way and got drunk, and he lost a lot of the mail on the way to Tamaha. 
There was a dinky little jail, about a ten by twelve, built out of rock at Tamaha. When he got down there they had just got it built. So they tossed him in it to sober him up.  
Now there was two or three old men down there who told me this and every one of them told me this story the same way.

And whenever they put him in there they named it Fort Prentice, just as a joke you know.  So it went by Fort Prentice until the WPA.  Then Roosevelt remodeled the jail, cleaned it up, and put a new roof on it, and they called it the Tamaha Jail.  But it was known for years as Fort Prentice, just on the account of Uncle Frank's little trick.

When Frank got sobered up they turned him out and they gathered up the mail he lost, all that they could find, I guess. That wound up his little caper.

(The above is an excerpt from the interview of Burl Prentice, by Russell Prentice.)

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By Lyndee Smith
May 22, 2002

LYNDEE SMITH: I am recording Earl Pyles, and the first question I am going to ask him is, what war was he in?

EARL PYLES: World War II. Went in, in 1942, and stayed until I was twenty-one years old. I was seventeen when I went in and came out when I was twenty-one.

LYNDEE SMITH: Was you ever in the Navy?

EARL PYLES: I was in the South Pacific and I started out as an armed guard on a transport ship, taking people overseas. But then I got off of that and got put on an ammunition ship that was commissioned in Beaumont, Texas, and then we carried six thousand and seven hundred ton of ammunition all of the time to service the fleet.

And then a lot of the time we would carry the first marines, we, they would go in and invade those little islands in the South Pacific, like Guadalcanal, Guam, Sampan, Tania, and took those little islands that we went in and invaded.

A lot of times we would go and service a fleet, we would go out under a smoke screen because you couldn't see and the planes couldn't see you visually, and we would put ammunition on the fleet, to service them and keep them supplied. We did that for two years and eleven months just on that six thousand, seven hundred ton of ammunition, and I don't know if we need any of the gory details or not, but it was worthwhile. What we did was really worthwhile, and we knew we had a reason. It wasn't some political thing, it was because we had been attacked in 1941 by the Japanese in Hawaii.

I had, there was six of us brothers in the service at one time. And my dad took all the time he had, just to write us letters about once a month. And all of us came out all right except for one, and he got shot in the face and disfigured his face real bad.

But we had several of those island invasions that the Japanese had taken. Sometimes we carried amphibious stuff like small arms of drinking water to the first marines on the beach, and we got a boat or two sunk, and had to sleep in the water a little bit on shore. And as far as it being a political war, it wasn't, because it was a must. It was totally in defense of our country. So we didn't feel anytime like we were being forced upon some political motivation or something, not to make a name for anybody.

It was a terrible war, and the Japanese were really brutal people to our soldiers and stuff, and we saw a lot of difficult times. I am going to mention this because it is one of the things that just kind of sticks out and kind of shows you how the human race just gets in a state where there is no reason to them. In Guam in particular, that there is no place for hospitalization on these beaches, especially at Guam, and I saw 300 little children born there without any hospital facilities.

We saw at Sampan and Tania, barges that came across the bay, women and children in the front, and Japanese soldiers in the behind, crouched down, and we would try to fire over their heads to try to stop them from coming. They were still coming and I wore ear phones on a gun deck to where the air craft guns on the ship, and I had to say whatever the captain had to say, or the gunnery officer, and as they were coming across and each one of these barges carried sixty people. Each one. And they were coming one right after the other, and finally the captain told us to fire for effect and it hit the barges, and it was like windmills, human bodies, and it wasn't very good, but those are the things that war produces. Those are the things that must be done.

On Sampan there were seven hundred marines that gave their lives, and there were lots of civilian people down in front of them, women and children, and then our marines wouldn't fire on them because of that. They were compelled to because the Japanese were behind them, and started firing, and they killed seven hundred marines out here on this bald island, because they were reluctant to kill women and children. They were a terrible enemy; they didn't have human reason or something like that, you know.

War is not for humanity, but nevertheless, as long as we make weapons, we'll use them on each other. It was a sad, sad, thing, and I don't think it made me better in any way to say that I have served, and I never begrudged anybody if they didn't go, and it never did bother me. War is not a pretty picture, but there are going to be wars as long as man is in this world.

LYNDEE SMITH: How many brothers did you have in the war with you?

EARL PYLES: I had six brothers in there with me all at once.

LYNDEE SMITH: Was you forced to go or did you just go?

EARL PYLES: Three of us volunteered and three of us were drafted.

LYNDEE SMITH: What year did you move to Stigler?

EARL PYLES: I moved here in 1974.

LYNDEE SMITH: What are some of the differences in Stigler of how it is now and how it was back then?

EARL PYLES: Oh, my goodness. Crime, for one thing, is really up. Drug use is really up, because that was never heard of. All of the criminal activities were unheard of, and now they are rampant. I get to see a lot of this first hand, because I get to visit the jails and the people in prison. You used to go and see older people in their 30s, 40s, and 50 year old people. Now you see the 16 and 17 year olds, and crime is becoming more prevalent in the younger people than we ever dreamed it would. I asked a parole officer no too long ago, how many young people have been sentenced in Stigler, and he said 48. See, we don't think there can be that much of a change in that short of time. We are, according to our population, we are pretty involved in crime and stuff.

LYNDEE SMITH: Is our town bigger now than what it was back then, population wise?

EARL PYLES: Oh, well, yes we have gained in population. We have more homes, and most of the property is taken up by housing. I guess what I notice mostly is the neglect between parents and children. It was a rare case when you used to see that. The family institution is how we survive and is what our country is founded on, is the family institution, and it is being challenged every day. Marriage is also a big challenge, seems like we are more careless. I believe we are more prosperous, if prosperity cost all of the other things that surround it, I would rather be poor.

LYNDEE SMITH: Do you remember anything that sticks out to you about Stigler back then, community wise?

EARL PYLES: Oh. Why, yes, when I was first here it was the ideal place to live. The churches were fuller, people had more respect for their neighbor and now you hardly even see a neighbor. You can live within fifty feet of them and not see them for a week. People were really ready to help; they had many programs just to help people that needed help.

I am not a doomsday profit or a failest or anything, but if we don't get ourselves mindful of one another, and we all need one another sometime, then I just see what we got growing more and more all the time. We have enough laws to cover anything that might happen, but it is so common place now, that, well, ok, the thing that I notice more than anything right now is our children on the street. Friday night and Saturday night you go up there and there are a whole lot of them who know of nothing better else to do than drag the main, and think that there is nothing for them to do. There was not that much going on, and not so many cars. You used to go by the high school and it would just be a few cars or trucks and now there is hardly any room to park.

I guess prosperity we have been blessed with it, but I don't think that we have gained that much in our moral status and all of that.

LYNDEE SMITH: Well, I just want to thank you for letting me have this time to learn more about our country's past and our cities past. Thank you, Earl.

(This concludes the interview of Earl Pyles, by Lyndee Smith.)

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By Sara
(Skip to subject of the war)

SARA: And by then you and Mrs. Shelton were already married?

DICK SHELTON: Yah, we met while I was in the army. I guess she thought I looked good in a uniform.

SARA: That must have been it.

DICK SHELTON: But, anyhow, I went to the army so I had to sell out, you know, so when I got out I went right back and bought the old boy out that I turned it over to, and went right back in it.

SARA: Did you say you were in the army three years?

DICK SHELTON: Yes, not quite. I think about 27 or 8 months. I wish I had a picture of my--of what I was.


DICK SHELTON: Where's my picture of my glider? (Skip) That's what I was in.

SARA: And where did you fly that?

DICK SHELTON: Germany and the Battle of the Bulge.

SARA: That's neat.

DICK SHELTON: Yeah, it was dangerous, too.

SARA: It says Airborne 193rd Paratrooping Glider Infantry at the Battle of the Bulge. I bet you saw a lot of stuff then.


SARA: Had different experiences?

DICK SHELTON: Yeah, this company I was in, there was 140 of us.

SARA: 140?

DICK SHELTON: The division had about 14,000 but they throwed us all in there. But in my company we would go in behind the lines. You know, and so when we got back in behind the lines, so whenever I got out of there it was 9 below zero and we stayed outside every night in the woods.

SARA: Well that would get very cold!

DICK SHELTON: So whenever we got home, there was only 35 left.

SARA: And you started off with 140.

DICK SHELTON: Yeah, I said 140. All of them either got killed or they froze to death, you know. They went ahead and hauled me out. My feet and hands, everything froze up on me so they hauled me all the way back to England to a hospital there and I stayed a month and a half there because my toes turned black so I looked like an African Indian.

SARA: African American?

DICK SHELTON: Yeah, African American is what I looked like, my feet did. But, anyhow, after I got out of that and finally got straightened out and they sent me back home and put me in another airborne division, the 11th Airborne Division. They sent me back home to go to Japan.

SARA: So they sent you to Japan?

DICK SHELTON: They was going to about time they loaded us on ships and send us back to America, they was going to give us a 30 day vacation, then send us to Japan, but it's been 3 days before I got back when they dropped the first atomic bomb. And that ended the war. So I got back to America instead of shipping me to Japan. I got hung up here and been here ever since.

(Skip ahead)

SARA: Well, probably because you're sensitive and that's a good quality. You care about other people and that';s why people kept coming back to your business.

DICK SHELTON: Yeah, for 28 years I have been taking all the kids in Haskell County to a circus; I give them all a free ticket. I get the school buses gathered from Stigler and I give all the schools, Keota, McCurtain, Kinta, and Whitefield, give them enough tickets from the sixth grade down, given a circus ticket and then if they can't get there I make arrangements with the school. I take them all at one time and I take them on buses and supervise them and see that they get back home sate. You take a kid to the circus, some of them don't want to go home. They want to follow the elephants around. But that's why I like kids.

And another thing, I send them to hospitals. If they got a birth defect, or bow-legged or clubbed feet or crooked spine or crooked arm or fingers missing off, they take them up to that children's hospital and get it all done for free. And I work up there always year around I take them up there.

I might take them a kid who has a birth defect or a hunch back or whatever and I'll take them down there and fill out the forms, help them fill out the forms and get their applications and take pictures of them and send it to the hospital down there and they look them over and figure out what they can do for them. Then they come back home, then they set a date for them to come back for surgery and I do that all the time.

SARA: Where is that at?

DICK SHELTON: The hospitals are all over the world, Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, I've been all over. They have them all over the United States. We had one kid over at the (?) in a fire and he got hurt so bad they had to get him to a hospital and had to get a plane that had germ proof bulbs in it. It's got a plastic thing you put in the plane and it kept the air purified so that it kept him from getting infection so it had to keep it purified this air, cost us $3,000.

SARA: Yeah?

DICK SHELTON: But anyhow, oh I guess it took him 3 or 4 months before he could get his skin back. Well normally they don't leave any scar tissue when they do it and their skin comes back, it breathes just like your skin, like normal skin. They put any kind of skin on there or a covering something that'll breathe, an artificial skin, it breathes like a human skin does and they put that over the burns and then it don't leave any scar tissue.

(Skip ahead)

SARA: And you've helped out a lot of other people, too, and you helped Wesley get his job.

DICK SHELTON: Yeah, and you know one thing that I'd like to throw in is you know talking about Stigler and what you do for Stigler; well, you know Kennedy said It's not what you do for yourself, but what you do for your country.

SARA: Yeah, that was good. So that's what you go by?

DICK SHELTON: Yeah, I'm not only doing something for myself, I'm doing something for Stigler.

(Skip ahead.)

And we, in order to get them all down here, I used to be the head honcho of the Shriners in Muskogee, in order to get the Shrine down here to the parade, see that gets a lot of people down here to spend money cause you know they'll eat while they're here and a lot of people think that I get the Shriners down here cause I use to be their leader you know, so they naturally want to help.

But for me to repay them I made a deal with the schools and I'll tell you about that in a minute, but I feed them at the school. I'll have cooks to prepare meals for them down there and I only charge, well they show me everything it costs and then they pay the cooks $50 apiece to cook the meals. And then they pay that and then they figure up how much the meal costs us. It costs me and then that's all they charge them, just what the meal costs me, after they do that to help me, then all these Shriners came down here and I feed every one of them and I tell them to bring their wives to watch their husbands in the parade and bring their kids and their grandkids and they all go up there and I fee them and they pay by the head, and whenever last year there was a 177 and it cost us 800 and something dollars so I pay that just to get the Shriners down here and pull people to Stigler.

SARA: Yeah, to see the parade.

DICK SHELTON: And that helps Stigler a lot.

SARA: So you contribute a lot.

DICK SHELTON: Yeah, I contribute. Well, I'm helping myself while I do it and I'll tell you another thing I did because the school is nice to do this for me, you know, cause they don't lose no money on this cause I pay them and then on top of that I pay the cooks a $25 gift certificate for Christmas and then on top of that I give the High School Band a check for $300.

SARA: Oh, yeah, I'm in the band and that helps us out a lot.

DICK SHELTON: It really helps on your trips doesn't it?

SARA: Oh, definitely. And the senior jackets, the band jackets.


(This is an excerpt from the interview of Dick Shelton, by Sara.)

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