The Story of my Life
Louise Virginia (Weir) Frasier
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In March of 1958 we lived in Atlanta, Georgia on the East side of town in an apartment complex named Blair Village - Daddy, John, Pat, Margie, Evelyn, Martha and me. Bill was in the Navy and Hoyt was in the Air Force. Virginia, Dot, and Carrie were all married and had started their own families.
Daddy was working, but on short jobs. Then the Atlanta Paper ran an ad. Kerr-McGee and other big companies needed miners, carpenters, millwrights, laborers, and anyone who could do any kind of work to work in Grants, New Mexico. Virginia and Charlie already lived there. Charlie was a mining engineer. They were mining and processing uranium. Grants, a small village in northwestern New Mexico, had become the uranium capital of the world overnight. At this time there was one hotel, The Californian, in Grants. There was one row of houses and Virginia and Charlie had bought one.
We had a 1954 Plymouth car. Daddy had $35.00 in his pocket. He left early on a Friday morning. He went the southern route. You could stay overnight in a motel for $4.00, but he didn’t have the $4.00 or the time. Gas was 20 cents a gallon in Atlanta but when he got to Mississippi and Lousianna it was 15 cents. Then when he got to Texas gas was only 10 cents a gallon. He went west to El Paso, North to Belen, then west to Grants. He drove it in 28 hours.
Daddy went to Virginia’s and went out the next day and went to work. The pay was good but me and the kids were 1600 miles away and there were no places in Grants to live. He stayed with Virginia and Charlie but needed his own place. Finally, he found a room to share with another man at The Californian. There was only one bathroom for the whole floor.
Daddy was trying to save $2000 for a down payment on a mobile home but couldn’t seem to get that far ahead. He needed his family in Grants with him. He was half-crazy and I was too. Then one Sunday morning after a sleepless night he said, “OK, God. I’m not going to worry about it anymore. You handle it. But I need to be with my family”.
Then without even having a cup of coffee – Grants had a blue law so no stores, cafes, etc. were open on Sunday – He dressed in his warmest clothes and without telling anyone (only God) he set out for Mount Taylor. He walked to the foot and up he went, wading through snow, but keeping his eye on the tallest peak. He reach the peak at about 4 O’clock in the afternoon.
It was after dark when he got back down the mountain. A man he worked with and his wife gave him a ride back to town. This was the second Sunday in May. When he got back to the hotel there was a message that I had called and he needed to call back. And what a message!!
Hoyt was in the Air Force and no mention had ever been made about him going overseas. That Sunday morning they’d called for him and told him that he’d be leaving for the Philippines on May 28th. He’d called me and said he had a 1957 Chevrolet and had several days of travel time. He would drive us to Grants and leave the car and ride the train from Grants to San Francisco.
So the problem was solved. Daddy used the Plymouth as a down payment on a mobile home and found a space to park it. The trailer couldn’t be delivered until about 4 O’clock Monday, Memorial Day – a holiday.
I sold the furniture, packed, rented a UHaul trailer and on May 26th we left Atlanta. I’d planned on having the $200.00 deposit we’d paid on the apartment but the manager said he’d mail it to me. He said he’d have to clean the place and assess damages before he returned the money. We’d planned to sleep in the apartment that night and leave about 4 O’clock in the morning. Dot was there with Tim and Steve. The neighbors said O.K. tell him to come before 4 O’clock when the maintenance man went home. Then they formed a chain and packed everything into the trailer. They brought mops, brooms, and cleaning supplies and went to work like an army of ants. There has never been a cleaner place than that was. We started this at 2 O’clock and at ten minutes to four I called the manager to send his man to inspect and bring my $200.00 and he did.
We were going to leave then but the neighbors talked us into staying – not changing our plans. They found places for everyone to sleep although the boys did have to go in a window and sleep on the floor in the apartment. We left at four in the morning. Crowded! – me Hoyt, Dot, John, Pat, Margie, Evelyn, Martha, Tim and Steve. We got to Dot’s house in Memphis before dark. We ate and went to bed to sleep a few hours and crossed the Mississippi river at 12 O’clock midnight going west on a two lane route 66. The highway was still unpaved part of the way.
Daddy had said to stop at night so we wouldn’t get there till Monday for there were some motels in Grants by then but they were full. But Hoyt was nervous with all of us in the car, going overseas, and pulling a UHaul trailer behind into a foreign land. We ate breakfast in a café in Oklahoma and a picnic at 7 O’clock in Amarillo, Texas where we rested about 3 hours – Hoyt stretched out on the ground.
Just as the sun came up Sunday morning we drove into Grants. The man in the room with Daddy said he would go home to Albuquerque to sleep that night. We had some of the picnic food left over so we had something to eat. Me and the girls slept that night with Daddy in that room with twin beds. Virginia and Charlie were gone for the weekend and Hoyt and John slept in their back yard. The next morning Daddy took me and the girls out to Virginia’s to stay until the trailer was delivered.
We lived in Grants until 1959 when we moved to Albuquerque. And we were together!
That, my children, is prayer. Not asking for things or praising God, but saying OK I give up. I love You. You do it. And He does!!