Sybel’s memories, ghost houses

7 Mar

We drove through Quintin, Oklahoma, the day of aunt Sadie’s funeral, out to the Quintin Cemetery. After the committal service I wandered through the cemetery, reading names of family members, friends and neighborhood families on the simple gravestones.

Driving back through Quintin, my brother Charlie pointed to a pleasant meadow at the edge of the woods, that crowned a small hill.

“That’s where our old house stood” he said, “and there is where the Mings’ house stood, and there the Higgins lived.”

“Oh yes, Hazel and Verna Mings lived on that corner. I remember them.”

Only one house still stood, all alone, and neither Charlie nor I could remember the name of the family who lived there.

“Up there where that group of outbuildings are is where Sylvester Mills lived. He was in my room in school. He was Indian,” I mused. I kind of liked Sylvester when I was in the fourth grade.

As Charlie drove along the gravel highway I looked at the Prairie remembered as a child and it had shrunk, or so it seemed to me now. Other memories, long forgotten, floated through our heads as we continued our journey.

“There is where grandpa and grandma Butler lived. They had a storm cellar. We stayed all night at grandma’s house the night Merle was born.”

“When Al and I were first married”, I continued, “we came with mama and daddy over to Quintin to see grandpa and grandma. It came up a storm and everyone headed out the back porch door, across a few feet of the yard to the cellar door. Al didn’t want to go to the cellar. I think he was more afraid of what might be in there (like snakes) then he was of the storm.”

I looked back over my shoulder as we drove on by and headed out of town. I probably will never see the place again. And perhaps the assortment of cousins, grown up since I had seen them last, had children and grandchildren of their own.

The only tie we have left is the tie to Butler blood kin, and the only one I know who still lives there is my cousin Bill Butler. I Know of no other.

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