|Doug’s mom, Gail Bradford, standing between her parents Wheat and Maude Yett Bradford. Doug is the cute little kid standing in front.|
[Doug Leslie, a loyal reader, sent us the photo above. Doug always got a kick out of the photo I keep here of me as a Cub Scout back in the 1950s, so he decided to share his own. Here’s the description:]
Ken, in celebration of women’s history month, I’ll trade old photos with you.
In the photo above are my maternal grandfather, Wheat Bradford; my mother, Gail Bradford Leslie; and my maternal grandmother, Maude Yett Bradford. Yes, I’m the little guy down front. It was taken out on their ranch in Edwards County, Texas, between the little towns of Rocksprings and Junction.
Maude was first a deputy sheriff, then a school teacher in the Texas Hill Country. Maude wasn’t a college graduate. At that time, you could be a teacher with just an extra year or two of training past high school. I don’t think my grandfather finished elementary school, but apparently he knew the value of education because he decided the new school teacher was just the woman for him. His proposal to her may not have been eloquent, but it was direct. As my grandmother laughingly told me years ago, he said, “I ain’t a goin’ back to that ranch alone.”
Together, they raised three daughters on their ranch that, in the 1920’s, was a small piece of land, with no running water and no electricity. Over the years they bought land, got electricity, and eventually in-door plumbing. Things were hard and Wheat and Maude never really got to enjoy the what we consider the good life. Nevertheless, Maude always kept her faith in the value of education. In the early days, she sent her three daughters off to school each day on a single horse.
Later, two of her daughters went to the University of Texas, including my mother, who was was one of those rare women who dared enter college engineering. (She got me instead of a degree, but later finished her bachelor’s degree in business the same year I got my BA.) Her older sister, my Aunt Del, was an early female law student. The oldest sister Lana became a beautician and rancher, and her son became the doctor in the family.
Me, I was born in 1948, so my guess is that the picture dates from ‘50 or ‘51. I never lived on the ranch and it was a really long drive from Scotia, NY, where we lived when I was a little kid. On the few trips that we did make it was a great adventure.
Doug Leslie is a friend and reader who lives in northwest Washington, D.C.