DELIA & MEXIA
Interviewed by Logan Wilson
June 5, 2014
WILSON: Okay. (moves microphone) There we go. My name is Logan Wilson. Today is the fifth of June, 2014. I’m interviewing Mrs. Lindley at her home in Mexia, Texas. This interview is sponsored by the Limestone County Historical Commission and is part of the Footprints of Times Past project. I want to thank Mrs. Lindley for her time and her contribution to the project. The next voice you hear will be that of Mrs. Lindley. (moves microphone)
LINDLEY: Yes, I’m Nina Ruth Lindley. I was born September 7, 1922, over here on Fanning Street in Mexia. My dad was W. I. [William Isaac] Trotter, Will Trotter, and my mother was Mattie Trotter. They both grew up in Delia, Texas, and I remember hearing my mother tell about when they opened the Amicable [ALICO] building over in Waco. Well, they had—both went up—my mother was with her friend, and my daddy was with his friend. They met up there on the top floor of the Amicable building, and then later they married at Delia, Texas. My dad was one of twelve children. His mother was a little old bitty lady, and her [maiden] name was Addison and she came from—I think from Addison, Texas, which is north of Dallas. But of the twelve children that she had, two stayed at home and took care of all the home responsibilities, so my grandmother didn’t have so many chores to do because they lived—they helped her in all the chores and to raise the children. The younger of the two girls died and I don’t think I ever saw her, but the older one was named Lula and she took care of everybody’s needs.
My father, his profession was he furnished all the gins and surrounding areas of oil during the oil boom. I remember my mother telling about a colored lady that lived in Corsicana, Texas, and she told a fellow here—his name was Colonel [Humphries]—but she told him where—she was a fortune-teller and she told him where to go to drill oil. It came in a gusher, and he built her a new home in Corsicana. He lived—I think he built the house as you’re going from [State Highway] 14 to the reunion ground road [Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site]. There’s a big—on that round curve, there’s a big two-story house, and that’s where he lived. But he’d built her a home in Corsicana. So we all enjoyed the oil-gushing wells that came in around Mexia.
My father bought a home on 313 Sumpter Street when I was two years old. I’m now ninety-one. I’ll be ninety-two in September. So that’s been awhile ago. But I grew up there, and in that neighborhood there were a lot of children. I can remember the Steeles— Lisle Steele [Leslie Lisle Steele]—lived across the street from us, and they had Billy Jack and a sister [Johnsie Joe Steele Posey]. And then next door to us were the Rossons, and they had four girls. On the other side of us was Mexia’s first school building, and my sister and her husband bought that old school building and tore it down and built a new home. The home’s still standing there now. But we all enjoyed living on Sumpter Street. The Rossons lived right next door to us, and they struck oil during the oil boom so they had money. We didn’t. But they took care of me; they took me everywhere they went. And we all—going to Waco, we would all first see who could first see the Amicable building on the way over. That was a real treat. And then we went to the park up there. What’s the name of that park? [Cameron Park] A beautiful park. Now I don’t think many people go there, but we all went there for picnics. And I can remember once that on Easter Sunday Mrs. Rosson was going to take us over there for a Easter egg hunt, and I woke up with the mumps. So the rest of them went and I had to stay at home. What a disappointment that was.
But the Steeles, Lisle Steele and his family, lived across the street from us. They had Billy Jack that was my age, and Johnsie Joe. And then the next door was [Tom] “Junior” Chatham. Tom Chatham[’s] family lived right in front of the Catholic church. Mother used to tell how that Billy Jack and Tom Chatham would—Junior Chatham would go up and down the street early in the morning in their gowns [ed. note: nightshirts]. (laughs) So anyway, they were both in first grade when I was in first grade, but we kids used to love to play out in—the old school building had a big yard, so we used to play out there and play wolf over the river and a bunch of other games we delighted in playing. But Mother used to really talk and go on about Junior Chatham and Billy Jack Steele and how they used to go up and down the street early in the morning in their gowns.
Then in 1947—let’s see, I had been out of school—maybe I got out in ’42, I think. And then in ’47, I was working for—I first went to work over at Waco at the telephone company, and then I transferred to Mexia, and in ’47 I married and transferred to Corpus Christi. I worked for the telephone company and transferred there, and I remember right after I got there, a man called in. I said, “Number, please,” and he said he wanted—can’t think of the name of the town now [ed. note: possibly the nearby town of Gregory, Doyle, or Ricardo?]—and I said, “I know you want to talk to him, but what town, sir?” He said, “That is the name of the town.” But anyway, I soon left the telephone company and went to work for the light company there in Corpus Christi. In ’50, we moved back to Waco, and that was a treat for me because I didn’t like to live away from my mother.
When my grandmother moved from Delia to Coolidge, I delighted in staying with her a lot, and I had a girlfriend there by the name of Geraldine Collins(??), and she and I used to get a quarter between us and we’d go down to the drugstore and order a malted milk. She had a great big malt full and I had one full, all—both of them for a quarter. (laughs) But we really enjoyed that and had great fun playing.
When my daddy and his brother were furnishing all the gins in Limestone County with oil, my cousin, which was named Blanche Evelyn, she and I both used to go with our daddies at the gins, and we would jump from one bale of cotton to the other. At lunch we’d go to the little grocery store there by the gin and get Vienna sausage and pork and beans and onions and Nehi soda water, and we had a treat. And she and I enjoyed jumping from one bale of cotton to the next one. That was a treat for me. She and I had great fun together.
After I graduated from high school—which, I guess, that is about the end of my story. I enjoyed all the friends we had. We had the Rosson girls, which there were four of those living next door to us. They were so good to me, and Mrs. Rosson always carried me everywhere she went with them—with her daughters. [Lindley note: Ima Lucille Burroughs and I are still friends to this day. She spent a weekend with me last year.] So that was about the end of my telling about our time together. How do I end this? (laughs)
WILSON: I’m fixing to tell you how. Mrs. Lindley, thank you very much. Thank you so much for your contribution. At the end of each session, I have always asked the same question, and I’m going to ask you the same question that I’ve asked everybody else. Think about it for a minute. The question is, Mrs. Lindley, if you could give one piece of advice to the young people of today, what would it be?
LINDLEY: It would be to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and live for him each day. Always hide the word of God in your heart and you’ll not sin against him. [His word will] keep you from it.
WILSON: Thank you, ma’am. We appreciate it.
end of interview