Walter Bartlett Petty
Born: May 7, 1876 Paris, Tennessee
Married: November 13,1904
to Virlie Gertrue Mason
Died: May 25,1964 at Norman, Oklahoma
Buried at Greenhill Cemetery, Davis, Oklahoma
Andrew Jackson Petty and Sarah Elizabeth Hinchey
Grandpa owned a narrow piece of land in Davis,Oklahoma. It was what he had held onto when the Petty family had to sell off
property in order to survive. The front of Grandpa's lot was a flower garden with such plants as hollyhocks and honeysuckle
and enough room between the flowers for grandchildren to play in the soft grass. His home, set right in the middle of the
lot, was a solidly built two rooms. Front room and kitchen was all there was to it. No bathroom. The toilet was set on
the alley, behind the vegetable garden, and had tall sunflowers growing around it. In that back garden, Grandpa grew lettuce,
potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables. He did not use pesticides. My brother and I helped him pick potato bugs off the
plants and put them in sealed jars where they would smother. He also grew unconventional things like castor beans and poke
salad. He had a cherry tree and grew blackberries in his side yard.
Grandpa usually had several cats around. He
tried to train them to do tricks, such as jumping over a stick, but I don't think he ever had much success. I remember the
names of only two of the cats. One was called "Amber Cat." That was long before the name became popular for human
children. Another was called "Granny Cat" to tease my Granny and because she really was the grandmother of several
cats. Grandpa never just said "Amber" or "Granny." He always included "Cat" with the names.
He had a unique way of naming children, too. He would never call any of us by the name everyone else used. My brother
Wayne David, for instance, already had a nickname. He was called "Butch" by everyone but Grandpa. To Grandpa,
he was "Bill." He called me "Shayro" and my sister, the oldest child in the family, was "Big Un."
Grandpa was always willing to take the children with him to see whatever there was to see. We went to donkey basketball
games in the highschool gymnasium, burials (standing unobtrusively at the edge of the cemetery), fires, and one time to see
President Truman wave from the back of a train.
Grandpa recycled before the activity became politically correct.
He was a stringsaver. He took my brother and me for walks along the railroad track to pick up copper wire.
had a hearing problem, perhaps one reason he talked more than he listened. The phrase I best remember hearing Grandpa use
is "Howzat?" He meant, of course, "How's that?"
My parents, three siblings and I lived in that
tiny house with Granny and Grandpa for several months. At that time I was in the third grade, having failed the first grade
because I was sick. My teachers decided that I knew enough to be promoted to 4th grade at midterm. I was well ahead of my
classmates in every area except mathematics. They made plans to give me a test to see whether it would be wise to promote
me. Helping me prepare for the test, Grandpa would say to me every time he thought of it, "Let's work on your tootems,
Shayro." Then he would coach me. "Tootems two is four," and so on.
Grandpa was a big talker. He
told stories about the debates he took part in when he was a temperance lecturer and about the singing gatherings when he
led a group of singers back in Tennessee. I am very sorry that I did not pay attention. I remember little of what he told
Grandpa Petty treated his chickens as pets until Granny needed one to fry up for dinner. Then he did not hesitate to wring
the neck of one of them. Me, I'm glad I get my chicken wrapped in cellophane at the supermarket.
A CURE FOR HICCUPS -
My Grandpa, Walter Petty, had a sure cure for hiccups. He would point his finger at the hiccuper,
looking him or her straight in the eye, and chant:
Right up, straight up,
Two sups in a
Will cure the hiccups
I suppose that was meant to convey the idea that drinking a cup of tea would cure
the hiccups. Maybe it would have, but it wasn't necessary. Grandpa's rhyme caused the victim to laugh and the laughter replaced
ARE SLATED TODAY FOR
WALTER B. PETTY, 89
Funeral services for a former Davis resident,
Walter Bartlett Petty, are today (Thursday) at 10 a.m. in First Baptist church. Rev. Jim House will officiate. Interment
will be in the Green Hill cemetery under the direction of Bahner Funeral Home.
Petty, 89, died May 26. He had
made his home with a daughter Mrs. Jay Jackson, 820 East Hays, Norman, for the past 10 years.
He was born May 7,
1875, in Tennessee, and moved to Davis in the early 1900's. He was a retired carpenter and had been in the grocery business
at one time in Davis with his father. He was a member of the First Baptist church of Davis.
two daughters, Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Kenneth Brooks of Cocoa, Fla., eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.