Tag: Eustace Texas

Gene Foster – Part 9: A failure and a blessing

After the sixth grade, Gene “went to Eustace School to finish my education. The first year at Eustace, I had to go to a temporary building because the old school burned down. We called it the Cow Shed, because it was a long building like a cow shed and held several classes.”

Seventh grade was “probably the lowest point of my school life,” Gene later wrote. First, he developed appendicitis and had to have his appendix removed. “In those days they kept you in hospital at least a week, then you had to stay in bed at home at least a week, before you could even get up.” The hospital was actually an old house converted into a hospital by Dr. L.L. Cockerell. Gene’s dad had to borrow $125 to pay the hospital. 

The biggest problem came in the aftermath of the surgery. Hubert Wheat, Gene’s seventh grade teacher, “failed me. It wasn’t on grades either. He told Dad I was too young, was the reason he failed me, so I had to do the 7th grade over.”

Dad had told me this story before. It still bothered him decades after it happened. But as he wrote about it in the early 1990s, he saw something different in the experience. “As I write this, something was reveiled [sic] to me I had never in my life thought about. I probably would never have met Hilda Noble in my senior year.” 

This made me wonder about something else. If Dad had finished school one year earlier, he probably would have entered the Army one year earlier in 1943. As it was, he never saw combat in the Pacific because he didn’t make it in time. Graduate one year earlier, and my tender-hearted dad may have had a very different life.

So, here’s a family tip of the hat to teacher Hubert Wheat, whom I’m sure has passed on by now. Wheat angered my dad at the time and for a long time afterward, but that teacher also paved the way for the rest of Gene’s life.

[Source: This reaction is taken from an Internet blog post by Ferrell Foster, “Sometimes it takes a while to see a blessing,” https://ferrellfoster.com/2018/04/08/sometimes-it-takes-a-while-to-see-a-blessing/%5D

Copyright © 2020 Ferrell Foster

Gene Foster – Part 5: Encounter with an axe

Gene’s earliest farm work memories are of his parents picking cotton. While his mother and dad picked cotton, “I would ride in sack or stay in shade until I got big enough to help pick.” 

“Big enough” apparently came quickly. “There were always daily chores around farm,” Gene wrote in the early 1990s while in his late 60s. He put firewood in the house or on the porch, and he fed the hogs and cows. He also dried the dishes for his mother. 

At age 5, Gene’s life could have ended. His older brother, Charles, and cousin, Wilson Beeson, were cutting down a tree “near the tank behind house.” People in many parts of the country, would call the “tank” a pond — stock tank or stock pond. The Fosters had moved dirt to dam up a draw behind (north of) the house. When it rained, the “tank” would catch enough water for the livestock to drink until the next rains. 

The tree stood just off the trail that went around the tank. “I decided I wanted to watch from other side,” Gene wrote later. “I run behind Wilson as he was coming on back swing with ax. Needless to say it layed my jaw wide open.” They carried Gene to Eustace to have the doctor sew it up. “I will never forget, Doc’s office was upstairs. He sent downstairs for some men to hold me while he sewed me up. A man on each leg & arms, I’ll never forget getting one leg loose an kicking Doc in stomach. I still have proof of that experience” — a scar.

[Note: I have kept Dad’s grammar errors intact. I guess I’m just a stickler for historical accuracy.]

Copyright © 2020 Ferrell Foster