Person:Willie Gyger (1)

Watchers
Willie Glen Gyger
m. 18 Jun 1893
  1. Alvin K. Gyger1893 - 1988
  2. Ernest Bryan Gyger1897 - 1965
  3. Cecil Evert Gyger1899 - 1955
  4. Ruby Lucille Gyger1902 - 1992
  5. Roy Ray (Jack) Gyger1904 - 1977
  6. Floyd Wayne Gyger1906 - 1987
  7. Fred Lee Gyger1908 - 2006
  8. Olene Gyger1910 - 2004
  9. Willie Glen Gyger1913 - 1996
Facts and Events
Name[1] Willie Glen Gyger
Gender Male
Birth[2][3] 4 Jun 1913 Gray, Beaver County, Oklahoma
Death[4] 7 Aug 1996 Cottonwood, Yavapai County, Arizona
Burial? Cottonwood, Yavapai County, Arizona

Notes from Willie Glen Gyger as provided by his son Gene L. Gyger: Willie Glen Gyger

Willie was born in what was called a dugout. It was an enclosure dug about 4 feet into the earth and covered with a tent or metal siding.

When Glen was 8 years old, he darted out from between two parked cars and was run over on Glendale Avenue in Glendale AZ. He received prompt medical attention and recovered. Throughout his troubled teens and later life, the excuse was always used that a steel plate had been inserted in his head and it affected his brain. Near the end of his life, a doctor finally Xrayed his head and found no trace of any steel plate.

Glen tells that he remembered Anne Morrison who lived in Gray. She was a friend of my dad's and never had any children. She liked me and would make me gingerbread. She wanted to adopt me but mom wouldn't let her. After we left Gray, I heard that oil was found on her property and she was very wealthy.

When they tried to find Gray in 1948, there was nothing left of the town. It was very small.

When we moved to Liberal KS, dad never wanted to live in a house with an indoor toilet. So they always had an outhouse. Many people did at the time. Dad worked at the Liberal Light, Ice and Power company. He would work from 5 AM until 4 PM, 7 days a week.

We lived around the corner from an old couple. I played with their grandson that came to live with them. One day his grandmother gave him and me a cracker. That was the first cracker I'd ever seen.

When I was in the 6th grade, I had a very young teacher. For Christmas, she gave us a cup of chocolate with a marshmellow in it. That's the first time I had ever seen anything like that. And I thought it was the most wonderful thing I'd ever eaten.

After school was out, we had a picnic at Arkalon on the railroad. There must have been a gravel pit there. Arkalon was on the Cimmaron River which bordered Oklahoma and Kansas. We all thought it was so much fun to pump water with an old hand pump. I would always look forward to the picnic because mom would make a potted meat sandwich. A can of potted meat cost a nickel. She would always save a nickel so she could make me a sandwich.

Armistace day was a big celebration in Liberal. They would set up a clean stock tank in a vacant lot and make a giant stew they called slumgullion. Everyone would bring whatever they had - farmers brought beef, chickens and produce. Everything was free. Mama wanted me to go get a lard bucket full of slumgullion but I was too shy. I still regret not doing that for mama.

Glen talked about that slumgullion all his life.

When Glen was very small, his mother was very ill and Glen stayed with his brothers and older sister at times. He said, I lived with Lucille and Merrill in an old farm near Gray, Oklahoma. Merrill was mean to the horses and would beat them. Fred also came and stayed there for a while. He was about twelve years old but Merrill expected him to work like a man. He was just a little boy and not able to work like a man. Fred tried to drive a team and plow like a man but he couldn't, he was too small. In those days it seemed like everyone ate off everyone else. If a person was lucky enough to live on a farm, they had cows and milk. I can't remember living where our family had a garden. We were very poor people and did not learn very much. We had no one to teach us anything.

December 25th was Christmas but we did not get anything special. We had nothing and neither did any of the others who lived near us.

When we lived in Liberal, Kansas, we were always hungry. We lived by a doctor and he had a bunch of wolfhounds. On weekends, he would take the dogs and run coyotes and kill them. He fed the dogs "cracklings." I was so hungry I used to go and eat that dog food. It wasn't very clean either. We lived in a house near the edge of town by a veterinary. He had a big old barn near his house. It had a lot of big rats in the barn. He lived in a big yellow two story house on Kansas Avenue.

We then moved to Pershing Street. The only new house we ever lived in was built for my Dad and his family. He was working at the light plant. There was a room for the bathroom but my dad would not let them finish it. We bathed in a big tub and had an outdoor toilet. We were the only people in the whole area that had an outhouse.

My brother, Fred, worked at a little confectionery store where they sold candy, pop popcorn and ice cream. The man that owned the store won a little red wagon. And Fred bought it from him. Fred gave the wagon to Glen but it was left outside and someone stole it. Glen was very sad over that.

Alvin, my brother, talked my Dad into moving to Arizona. It seemed that there was always a way to make a little money in Arizona. Some of those other places like Oklahoma and Liberal, Kansas seemed to have no work. In Arizona, a person could always pick cotton. You could start early in the morning and work until dark and you were paid according to how much cotton you picked.

We followed Alvin to Arizona after leaving Liberal. (Fred said it was September 25, 1925.) When we first came to Arizona we came to Mesa. We lived in a tent. The tent had no floor, only bare ground. It rained a lot and everything was muddy.

In about 1926 we starved out in Arizona so we went to Erest B. Gyger's home in Perryton, Texas. Ernest hired dad to help him harvest his bumper wheat crop. In Perryton we lived in an old house and when the harvest was over we moved to Colorado.

We moved in an old brick house in Rooky Ford, Colorado and lived across the street from a very nice hotel. At that time Roy was managerer of the J. C. Penny store there. Roy and Bun (Bernice, Roy's wife) were very good to us.

When we first came to Rocky Ford, Colorado, Cecil was manager of the J. C. Penny Company store in La Junta, Colorado. Cecil had started to work for a chain of stores called the J. B. Byers stores. The man who owned the stores got tired of working and tried to give the stores to Cecil but Cecil wouldn't take them. J. C. Penny bought the J. H. Byers stores and named the chain of stores the J. C. Penny stores.

In Rocky Ford there were several big canning companies; Libby, McNeal and Libby Company, Del Monte Canning Company and Heinz Canning Company. Heinz had some big vats of pickles that measured about twelve or fifteen feet across, and were round vats, My friend and I would get into these vats of pickles and eat all the pickles we could eat. This boy lived away out in the country and we would have to walk a long way to get to his house.

In Rocky Ford a lot of people worked in the fields picking vegetables for the canning companies. Mom and pad worked picking vegetables. All around Rocky Ford there were lovely lakes and farms.

In Rocky Ford there were lots of onions piled up in a big storage shed. A friend of mine and I would eat white onions and we would get very sick but would go back and eat more. That was all we had to eat and we were almost starving to death. I cannot remember when I wasn't hungry. When the cherries came in, we would eat cherries. A man who was the watchman over the cherries would chase us off but we'd sneak back and eat more cherries. We'd eat so many cherries that we'd get sick on them.

I remember seeing some beautiful mirrors being made in Rocky Ford. A traveling company of people from a foreign country, probably from Europe, were working in a big building and they made special orders of mirrors. Very few spoke English. They had plate glass all over the place and would pour something over the glass and then would pour something else over that and in the end they had made wonderful mirrors.

When we lived in Rocky Ford I used to sell newspapers. I would sell enough papers to buy myself a root beer for a nickle. I sold the papers for a nickel each. I looked forward to that glass of root beer. I made a penny on each paper I sold.

When we left Rocky Ford dad had a beautiful Studebaker which he traded for an old Model T truck. Dad, Mom, Odell and Olene and I headed for Arizona. When we arrived in Socorro, New Mexico we stopped and asked an old peg-legged man for directions. Mama asked him if he knew where Sock-er-row was and the man said he didn't know about that place. Later we laughed about that as we were in Socorro. We had nothing to eat so dad went out to find something to eat. We left there and were dreading coming down the mountain roads to Arizona. We went through Springerville and Globe. Mama was sick as the mountain roads made her sick and she would faint. When the least thing happened, she would pass out.

       Willie Glen Gyger

This is correct as I remember it.

References
  1. Evelyn Gyger.
  2. Floyd and Arlene Gyger's notes.
  3. Social Security Death Index.
  4. Social Security Death Index.