S: The Daisy Days
FC: The Daisy Days
1: “Brad, this writing is yours for asking me to do it for you. Please share it with the other grandchildren, if you think they will enjoy it.” | The Daisy Days | Requested by Brad Shipman Handwritten by Daisy Shipman on Dec. 14, 2000 More details were added by Gaston during Spring, 2011 Compiled and published by M’Liss Shipman Graham
2: Ida Mazelle Tuggle "Daisy" April 16, 1923 to July 10, 2009
3: Gaston Ford Shipman May 7, 1914 to July 23, 2011
4: Grandpa and I met in the fall of 1943, at the dance hall in Rhineland, Texas. Gaston had come home on his last leave before being shipped to Ireland to fight for his country, during World War II. Gaston had finished Cook's School at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, and was promoted to two-stripe Sergeant. He took the train from Wisconsin to Ft. Worth. From there, he needed to catch a bus to Seymour. While walking from the Ft. Worth train station to the bus station, Gaston passed by a liquor store and remembered that Seymour was a “dry” town. So, he picked up a couple bottles of booze, and put them in his duffel bag. When Gaston reached Seymour, he got off the bus and ran into his old friend, Nooney Cockcroft. Nooney asked Gaston what he was doing back in Seymour. Gaston told him that he was home for a few days, and needed a ride out to the farm. Nooney was happy to give Gaston a ride home. When they got to the house, Gaston took his belongings back to a bedroom, and then sat down for a visit with his Mama. After a while, the “boys” went back to the bedroom, to talk about the war and boot camp. Nooney said there was supposed to be a pretty good dance over in Rhineland that night. Nooney thought it would be fun, but he wasn't planning to go because he hadn't gone to the county line to buy “a bottle.” Gaston got up, tugged open his duffel bag, and said, “Come look here!” When Nooney saw the two bottles, he said, “Well, I guess I can go now!” The ironical thing about this little story is that later, after Gaston joined the church, he never touched liquor again. We never had any kind of liquor in our home, nor did we drink it anywhere else. Those who know us now would never suspect that Gaston ever touched bottle of booze! And yet, it's because Gaston bought a bottle of booze that we met and started our life together. God works in mysterious ways!
6: 1940 | Back to the story. Later that day, Nooney came out to the farm and picked Gaston up. When they got to the Rhineland Dance Hall, the dancing had already started. So, they sat down on a bench and watched for a while. Gaston saw another old friend, Cecil Trainum, dancing with a really pretty girl. When the music stopped, Cecil took the girl back to her table. He came over to talk to Gaston, who asked, “Who in the world was that pretty girl you were dancing with?” Cecil answered, “Do you think she’s pretty?” Well, of course Gaston did! Cecil asked Gaston if he wanted to know her name, and he said, “Sure do!” Cecil said that her name was Mazelle Tuggle and she lived over in Munday. When the next song started, Gaston came over, introduced himself, and asked me to dance. Well, we just hit it right off! We danced together for the rest of the night. I told Gaston that I had come to the dance with my girl friend, Lucille, and that we needed a ride back to Munday. The boys offered to take us home, if they could come back and take us dancing, again. The next night, I was out at our family’s farm, but Nooney and Gaston came all the way out and picked me up, as they had promised. They also went back to Munday and picked up Lucille. We danced all evening and into the early morning hours, before going back home. The next day, Gaston’s brother, Olaff, gave him the keys to the old family car. Now Gaston wouldn’t have to go everyplace with Nooney. Every evening of that furlough week, Gaston drove to Munday and took me to the Rhineland Dance Hall. Let me tell you, that Gaston could really “cut the rug.” Until old age caught up with us, we always enjoyed dancing together. | 1940
7: Home of the free...Because of the Brave | Rhineland Dance Hall | Gaston & Daisy with Sue & Thelbert Miller
8: When it was time for Gaston to leave, we were both sad to part. We had strong feelings for each other, and I promised to be there when he came back. We promised to write each other as often as possible. After I told Gaston goodbye, I said to Lucille, “Someday that man will be my husband.” Following a brief assignment in Ireland, Gaston went on to become part of the infamous D-Day Invasion, landing on the beaches of Omaha, on Day #2. Following that, Gaston spent the next year cooking for soldiers all across Europe, until The War ended. Gaston and I wrote letters, almost every day, for the next two years. When Gaston finally came back home, sure enough, I was still there waiting for him. We saw each other every night, and in just a few weeks, we got married. The words to Lucille had come true, and she became my maid of honor.
9: When it was time for Gaston to leave, we were both sad to part. We had strong feelings for each other, and I promised to be there when he came back. We promised to write each other as often as possible. After I told Gaston goodbye, I said to Lucille, “Someday that man will be my husband.” Following a brief assignment in Ireland, Gaston went on to become part of the infamous D-Day Invasion, landing on the beaches of Omaha, on Day #2. Following that, Gaston spent the next year cooking for soldiers all across Europe, until The War ended. Gaston and I wrote letters, almost every day, for the next two years. When Gaston finally came back home, sure enough, I was still there waiting for him. We saw each other every night, and in just a few weeks, we got married. The words to Lucille had come true, and she became my maid of honor.
10: Now, I will tell you a few things about Gaston and me in our younger years. We grew up with much in common, except that when Gaston was 20 years old and “feeling his oats,” I was only eleven years old, and wishing I was twelve. Grandpa was the oldest of ten children, born to Ross and Lena Shipman, on May 7, 1914. He was born on the family farm, near Vera, Texas. As a young boy, Gaston started helping his Papa with the farm chores. Gaston’s most important job was to milk and take care of the cows. Afterwards, he would help his Papa with the rest of the farm chores. Both of us grew up working in the cotton fields, too. Gaston’s Mama was often sick, or taking care of sick babies, so he would also help out with her chores (cooking and taking care of the chickens and vegetable garden). When The Depression hit, Gaston had to do even more work on the farm, and as a result, he quit going to school after the 7th grade. Gaston grew up feeling a strong responsibility toward taking care of his family, and he has always done the same thing for our own little family, as well. I can’t imagine a better man than my Gaston.
11: Most people find it pretty amazing that Gaston and I both grew up on cotton farms, and in families with ten children. At “pickin’ time,” the whole family would pitch in stripping the cotton boles, from before sunup to past sundown. That’s the hardest work I’ve ever done! Another similarity was that both of our families also had seven boys and three girls. Gaston was the oldest, but I was right in the middle of my sisters and brothers. My oldest sister, Evelyne, got married at the age of fifteen, and moved out of the house. My other sister, Wilma, was second to the youngest of our kids. So, that left me as Mama’s only helper with the house chores. Mostly, I helped Mama in the kitchen, the garden, and the laundry. I liked helping Mama gather beans, peas, and corn. Many times, I’d snap beans or peas all day long, so that Mama could can them, and our family could have vegetables all year long. One of my most memorable chores was the “churning.” Everyday, I would strain the fresh milk, which was brought to me by my big brothers. Then, twice a week, I would take the strained off cream and churn it into butter. The best part of this job was getting to drink the leftover buttermilk. I just loved that fresh buttermilk, especially with a piece of leftover cornbread. To this day, I still love my cornbread and buttermilk!
12: From the time I was twelve years old, I helped Mama each week with the ironing. Mama would iron the boys’ church shirts, and I did all the rest of the ironing for the family. Each time I finished my ironing, Mama would take hold of my face in her hands, look straight into my eyes, and say, “Honey, you are the most caring child I have and God will bless you.” It’s true. God has blessed me in so many ways and in making me strong enough to live a happy life today. From a very early age, Mama taught me how to sew. First, I made baby doll clothes out of old scraps. By the time I was a teenager, I could look at any dress in a catalog or store window and make it for myself. I’d cut the pattern out of old newspapers and sew it up on Mama’s old treadle Singer. I’ll never forget how proud I was, about 20 years later, when I was able to buy a brand new Singer Zig Zag sewing machine! People often said that I had a real special talent as a seamstress.
13: The Callaway Family (Daisy's Grandma & Grandpa) Leoma is holding Baby Leon, with Ben C. is standing to her right. | Leoma & Ben C. Tuggle
14: With seven brothers, I had a hard time “holding my own,” but Mama would always come to my rescue with her “razor strap.” I used to tell my grandchildren the same thing my Mama used to say to my brothers, “You’re never too big, or too old, for a whoopin.” When I was seventeen, an opportunity came along for me to leave the farm and get to live in town. Sebern and Mozelle Jones owned the town grocery store, and they had three small children. They were looking for someone to come live with them and take care of the kids, so that Mozelle could return to working in the store. I moved in with the Jones family and they became my second family. I loved taking care of the little Joneses (Bobby, Carolyn, and Mike), and they really came to feel like my very own children. I’d walk them to school and then go on to mine. After school, I would play with them and then cook supper for the family. On Sundays, I’d meet my family at church and then go home with them for the day. I loved my Sunday visits with Mama and Daddy. | Sebern & Mozelle Jones | It was Sebern Jones who gave me the nickname, “Daisy.” He went from calling me Mazelle, to Mayzie, to Daisy Mayzie, and finally to just “Daisy.” I was always a happy person, and the name Daisy just seemed to fit me. This later became the name found on all of my legal records. All those who knew me in San Antonio only knew my name to be Daisy, while all the people back home continued to call me Mazelle. For the rest of my life, the Jones family would be my extended family. At this time, we have shared sixty years of friendship, along with two grandchildren. Can you just imagine that! Who would have ever thought that Sebern and Mozelle’s granddaughter would someday marry my son! Again, God works in mysterious ways!
15: In 1940, while I was moving away from the farm, Gaston was making a move of his own. We both knew, all too well, about working hard in those cotton fields and doing chores from daylight to dark. We never wanted to live on a farm again! Three of Gaston’s brothers had joined up for military service, along with many of his friends and cousins. So, Gaston decided to sign up and do his part for the country, too. At the age of 26, he joined the Army, expecting to go off to war in Europe. Gaston said that in many ways, growing up on the farm was not too different from working in the Army. Gaston’s Papa got him out of bed at 4:00 a.m., every day, to milk the cows, feed the hogs, and then go to work in the cotton fields from sunup to sundown. Sundays were the same, except that they didn’t go to work in the fields, giving them most of the day for relaxing. Just like on the farm, being a cook in the army started before daylight, too, and lasted until bedtime. However, the kitchen was always warm and dry, which was a definite advantage! Gaston’s cooking job was also pretty safe, for wartime, because as Sergeant, he rarely had to go out to the line of battle. | 1940
16: For sixteen months, Gaston traveled through Europe, mostly in Germany and Italy, preparing food for the US military bases and the front lines. As a two-stripe Sergeant, Gaston was in charge of the base kitchen and all of its workers. Gaston’s best friend was a fellow cook, Charles King. I knew “Charlie” only through Gaston’s letters, which often included his name. I looked forward to meeting him someday. However, one day Charlie returned to the base kitchen to get fresh supplies for the “field” kitchen. He had been “out” for several days and Gaston offered to send someone else in his place. Charlie said that he would be okay doing a few more days. However, when Charlie got back to the camp, a mortar hit the field kitchen and the explosion killed him. Gaston had a hard time forgiving himself for letting Charlie go back out. It made him feel better, a few years later, when he had the opportunity to name our first son, Charles Jack Shipman, after Charlie. About twenty years after that, our daughter, M’Liss, would marry another “Charlie.”
17: Gaston and best friend, Charlie
18: Meanwhile, during the war, I had moved to Fort Worth, where I got a job at General Dynamics Corporation, building B-29 Bombers. With all the men gone to war, the plant was run almost completely by young women, like me. We came to be known as “Rosie Riveters.” I had a very important job, which only a few women had the skill to do. I worked on the plane’s bombing sights, very carefully lining up all the telescope lenses, so that the bombs would land accurately. I loved my job, but it quickly ended one day, when a large tool chest fell off of a high working stand. It hit me on my back and shoulders. I was unconscious for three days and spent a couple weeks in the hospital. After that, I did office work due to continuous back pain. The back pain eventually got better, but the damage to my spine would plague me for the rest of my life. | 1945
19: Gaston spent the final months of the war in France and went as far south as the Rhine River. He saw lots of pretty French girls, and he was quite a handsome man, but his heart stayed true to me. On September 20, 1945, after two years of exchanging love letters, Gaston finally came home, safe and sound, from The War. Soon after he returned home, he proposed and gave me a beautiful engagement ring. We made plans to get married two months later. I moved back to Munday because, with “the boys” coming home from war, our plane manufacturing jobs would return back to the men who left them. I searched and found a tiny upstairs apartment which would become our first home. It was in the home of Munday’s only doctor. In fact, he was the doctor who deliverd me! I loved fixing it up. Mama helped me sew curtains, linens, and a new dress suit for my wedding. | Our first home, an upstairs apartment
20: Gaston insisted that he did not want anyone to attend our wedding, except our two required witnesses, who were my longtime best girlfriend, Lucille, and her husband, Bunt Albus. This was my friend, at the dance hall, from earlier in the story. I tried and tried to convince Gaston that we needed to invite our parents, at least, but he wouldn’t change his mind. However, on the day of our wedding, when Gaston came to pick me up at the home of Sebern and Mozelle Jones (where I had lived for three years as their nanny), Gaston suddenly wanted Mozelle to come along, with her three children. Mozelle was dressed for housework and the kids were in dirty play clothes. Mozelle tried to explain that it wouldn’t be right for them to come without cleaning up, but Gaston wouldn’t take “No” for an answer. They loaded up and followed us to the Seymour First Baptist Church parsonage. Finally, on November 17, 1945, in the living room of Reverend J.R. Balsh, Mozelle and the kids joined our friends to witness our marriage. Following our marriage ceremony, Mozelle and the kids went back home. Along with our friends, we took off for the Saturday night dance at The Seymour Dance Hall. We danced until the “wee hours,” and then drove over to The Vernon City Hotel, for our two-night honeymoon. We couldn’t stay longer because we had to get back to work in the Munday City Café, which Gaston had bought when he came home from the Army. Although our little café only had a bar and two small tables, Gaston’s sister, Marie, was hard to coax into any more than two days of running the place. Sebern’s daddy had convinced Gaston that he could get a real good deal on it and make some good money. The previous owner had taken off, and left everything behind, including the food! Well, we almost killed ourselves working that cafe, with very little profit to show for it. We did everything - from cooking to cleaning to dish washing (without a dishwashing machine). This was almost as miserable as pickin’ cotton, ha! So, after only two months, Gaston and I agreed that we were ready to find something else to do for a living.
21: Gaston & Daisy's wedding was witnessed by Lucille & Bunt Albus | The unexpected guests | November 17, 1945
22: Gaston’s cousin, Ike West, was living in San Antonio and told us that lots of civilians were getting jobs at the military bases there. So, we decided to give it a try. Right after New Years, we sold the café, “lock, stock, and barrel,” the same way we bought it. This seemed like a good time to take a few days for a real honeymoon, and “Boy, what a honeymoon!” We drove over to Lubbock (in January, mind you) to spend a couple days. We stayed at a hotel, and enjoyed visiting Sue and Thelbert Miller (Gaston’s sister). Then, we ventured on up to Happy, Texas, where Gaston’s favorite cousin, Hollis Shipman, lived with his friendly wife and their three little devils (3, 5, and 7 year olds). They lived about ten miles, out in the country, in a two-bedroom, 1-bath house. Not a romantic situation, at all! Our intention was to spend one night, but we woke up to zero degree weather and 20 inches of snow! As a result, we were “snowed in” for five days, with five other people, three little Hellions, in a tiny house, and with no electricity! Even though they treated us great, it was not the romantic honeymoon we had planned. | 1946
23: When we got back to Munday, in late January of 1946, Gaston packed some bags and took a bus to San Antonio. Sure enough, Gaston landed a cook’s job, at Ft. Sam Houston, just like the job he had done during the war. Because of all the returning men from the war, there were very few places available for rent. When nothing else could be found, that we could afford, Gaston rented a room for us in the home of Ike’s mother-in-law. It wasn’t very nice, and we had to share the kitchen and bathroom with our landlord. I packed up my bags, shipped a few boxes, and hopped on the bus for San Antonio. Little did we know that when we left the Texas plains and moved to San Antonio, it would become our home for the rest of our lives. | I had grown interested in becoming a hair dresser, so I started going to San Antonio Beauty School. Gaston started his civil service cook’s job and we both were very happy in our new hometown. We couldn’t afford a car, so we walked, carpooled, or took the city bus every- where we wanted to go. It wasn’t long before we rented an upstairs apartment near the downtown area, on the corner of St. Mary’s and Lexington. It was small, but it was all ours! When the city’s first Handy Andy Supermarket was built right across the street, we thought that we were living in “Hog Heaven.” During that time my baby sister, Wilma, came and stayed with us for a few months, to see how she liked living in “the big city.” We often walked downtown, strolling along The Riverwalk, and “window shopping” in the big department stores. By the summer of ‘46, Wilma had gone back home and I had finished my courses at the beauty school. Gaston borrowed a car and drove me to Austin for my State Board Exams. On the way back, we discovered the lush, green Landa Park, in New Braunsfels, and just loved it. We would make many, many trips there in the future.
24: We had become very close friends with Mac and Munnie McCarty, who were the parents of our old friend, Mozelle Jones. Even though Munnie was old enough to be my mother, she and I became best friends. They owned a car and we often went out to eat together. Our favorite restaurant was The Tip Top Café, and I always had their fried shrimp. Munnie and Mac soon came to love Landa Park, too. Many Sunday afternoons, the four of us would pack up picnic baskets, quilts, pillows, and the Sunday paper. We would find a nice shady tree to lie under, read the paper and take a nap. Later, we would rent bikes and ride through the park, stopping to wade and splash around in the cold, Guadalupe River water. Gaston and I also joined Munnie and Mac on trips to Mexico, Galveston, Kerrville, and Corpus Christi. Mac would drive and Gaston would pay for the gas. These were all amazing sights for a farm girl from the Texas plains, who had never seen such beautiful rivers or the ocean (even though it was just the Gulf of Mexico). | Munnie & Mac | Gaston & Munnie | 1947
25: After about six months of working at Fort Sam, Gaston got an interesting job offer from our old friend, Sebern Jones. The Jones Family wanted to move to San Antonio, where Sebern had struck up a partnership to start a mattress manufacturing company. They needed a good man to manage the factory end of the business. So, in the summer of ’47, Gaston took the job at Alamo Bedding Company. All the machinery needed for production was dis- assembled, packed, and delivered from a company up in Pennsylvania that had gone out of business. Gaston amazed everybody with his ability to put all the pieces back together and make it work! The company was later sold to Ray & Pat Smith, but Gaston stayed on managing “the back.” That job ended up lasting for the next 33 years. | Sebern and Gaston worked hard at Alamo Bedding, but they also laughed a lot and played jokes on each another. There’s one thing Gaston did that I will never understand. He had been working at Alamo Bedding for about a month, and I’m guessing that he must have lost some kind of a bet. He came home from work and had been to the barbershop. ALL of his beautiful, wavy, dark hair had been shaved completely off! When he walked in the door, I screamed. He looked like a complete idiot, and every time I looked at him for the next three months, I laughed my head off at him. He was so handsome with his beautiful hair, but just plain looked like a baboon without it. I insisted that he wear a cap, all of the time, until it grew back out! Gaston never did “fess up” to the real reason he shaved his head. (Even fifty years later, he’s still claiming that he can’t remember why he did it. I don’t believe it for a second!) After that, however, he found that he liked wearing a baseball cap, and always kept a big collection to choose from. | Daisy, Munnie & Bobby
26: By the spring of ’48, Gaston and I had worked and saved our money long enough to buy our first car. It was an old ’36 Chevy sedan, but we were sure proud of it. We again started our Sunday outings to Landa Park and other fun spots along the river, always bringing along our pallet and picnic basket. Munnie and Mac now owned a beautiful home, high up on a hill, which over-looked the lights of San Antonio. We often went over on cool evenings and sat outside, enjoying the view with an ice cold, Coca Cola. When TV came out, Munnie and Mac were the first to get one. We spent four or five nights each week watching TV and playing Canasta at their house. Canasta was a new card game, and we just went crazy over it for three or four years. | We also grew fond of going camping, along the rivers, in the Texas state parks. We’d load up the Alamo Bedding delivery truck, which had high sides and a covered top. All the Jones would come along. We’d take walks, swim, and picnic during the day, but night was when the real fun began. After getting the kids (Bobby, Carolyn, and Mike) all bedded down in their sleeping bags, “the boys” (Gaston, Sebern, and Mac) would sit by the fire, talk, and then bed down beside the kids. “The girls” (Munnie, Mozelle, and me) would set up a card table and chairs in the back bed of the truck, and then play Canasta till the wee hours. When we finally got tired, we’d take down the table and chairs, spread out our pallets, and sleep until we smelled Gaston’s breakfast cooking on the fire the next morning. | 1948
27: The only bad thing about our campouts and Sunday trips to Landa Park was that we didn’t go to church. Although Gaston’s mother was a faithful, “Hardshell” Baptist, he had never gone to church regularly due to his work on the farm. Being the oldest of 10 children, from an early age, Gaston bore the responsibility of working alongside his Papa to meet the needs of his family. Papa felt that God meant for Sunday to be a day of rest, which did not include losing half of the day, by loading up ten kids and going to church. So, like his Papa, Gaston grew up only going to church on holidays and special events. I was born and raised Southern Baptist. I loved going to church and Sunday School. My family never missed a Sunday, unless the weather was just too bad to make it into town in our wagon. Mama would always “ring a chicken” and put it on to cook before we left for church. After services, we’d usually bring home some friends for company and Mama would cook up a huge pot of chicken-n-dumplings. In those days, traveling preachers hosting tent revivals would often come to town, and our whole family would go. Following one of the tent revivals, when I was eleven years old, I gave my heart to Jesus and was baptized in a little lake near our farm. After our marriage, Gaston and I would visit churches on holidays, but it had been almost three years since I felt that I had a church “home.” | Gaston working at Alamo Bedding Co.
28: So, in the fall of ’48, I started searching for me a church. Gaston came along as I went to all the downtown Protestant churches. We ended up at Travis Park Methodist Church because Gaston liked it the most. He surprised me one day when he came home from work and announced that he was going to join that church the next Sunday. I guess The Lord had been “working” on him. So, after coming from strong Baptist families, we both became Methodists, and remained faithful Methodists for the rest of our days. When we joined Travis Park, Gaston gave his life to Christ for the first time. He has followed the footsteps of Jesus ever since. He turned his life around, gave up drinking any kind of booze or doing any kind of gambling. Even in his 90’s, while living in The Meadows Retirement Center, Gaston refused to play Bingo because the games cost a penny, with the winner getting the “pot.” You see, that was gambling! | Come 1949, Gaston and I had both settled into new jobs and another home. Gaston was really enjoying his job at Alamo Bedding, and we loved having the Jones family back in our lives again. I had been doing hair at The Westerner, an upscale beauty shop in Alamo Heights. It was there that I met a wealthy older woman, Mrs. Bess Hudson. After doing her hair for almost a year, she asked if Gaston and I would move out to her large home, on 13 acres at the edge of town. Her husband had died and she needed companionship, as well as help around the house and grounds. We were tickled to death to have our own side of her huge house, all to ourselves. This also allowed us to save money towards buying our own first home. When we later bought our home, Mrs. Hudson gave us the beautiful, antique bedroom furniture which we had used while living in her home. Gaston and I slept in that old bed for the next fifteen years, until we remodeled our house and had a room big enough for a king size bed. Mrs. Hudson became a dear, sweet friend and we loved our time with her. We later named our first child after her, Bess M’Liss. The name M’Liss was from another one of my customers. I thought it was a pretty and an unusual name. | 1948
29: It was while living with Mrs. Hudson that Gaston decided to try his first (and only) venture into money investment. Gaston just loved working outside, and felt like living at the Hudson house was close to being “back on the farm.” Back home, they always raised a few turkeys for the Thanksgiving season, so Gaston thought he’d do the same and make a little extra money. He took all of the “nest egg” we had saved up, and bought 200 little baby turkeys. He built a great big roost and pen for them, and had a good time caring for the little things. As the weeks went by, all our extra money went on turkey feed. Our little “babies” grew to be nice and fat, just about ready for the Thanksgiving market. Then, a bad spell of weather came through. First, it rained and sleeted very hard. About a third of those crazy turkeys just looked up into the rain and let themselves drown to death!!! Then, it turned really cold. Instead of going into the warm shed, another third of those darn, dumb birds stayed outside, turned limber neck, and froze to death!!! Well, that was the end of our turkey raising. We sold what was left and just about broke even. Gaston never tried any other kind of investment, for the rest of his life. Extra money either went into the bank savings, or got hid who-knew-where in one of Gaston’s secret spots. | Raising turkeys
30: On June 7, 1950, we had saved enough money for a down payment on our first home. Munnie and Mack convinced us to look in the newly developed Jefferson area – way out on the north edge of town. That was also where our good friends, Sebern & Mozelle Jones and Freddy & Ruth Weston, lived. We found a builder who had bought all the lots on one block of a little street called Donaldson. We spent a little extra money and got the best lot on the block because it had two huge mesquite trees in the front yard. Over the next fifty years, those trees got pretty old and scrawny looking, but when we moved away from our sweet home in 1998, they were still standing there. For that special little house, we spent the whopping price of $7,925. Our 25 year loan had monthly payments of $41.71. This was our first, and only home, until about fifty years later, when we moved to The Meadows retirement home. Our little house had a living room, a very small kitchen, one bathroom, two small bedrooms, a carport, and a screened-in back porch. It only had about 756 sq. ft. of inside living area, but it was just perfect for us. Gaston and I were thrilled to have two “modern” conveniences - an attic cooling fan, which pulled air up through the house and cooled it down in the summer, and a large floor heater, which kept us warm in the winter. Neither one of us “farm kids” ever dreamed that we would own such a nice home! Gaston quickly got busy making our yard the best one in the neighborhood! He planted carpet grass (which we West Texas kids had never even seen before!) Gaston could spend hours just standing and watering that grass with a hose! We gave up driving to Landa Park for staying home in our very own backyard. Gaston built a wonderful storage building with a large, covered porch. I don’t know where in the world Gaston found it, but we had our very own concrete picnic table, just like they have in the parks! Gaston also built a brick barbecue pit in the back corner of the yard. We spent many Saturday and Sunday afternoons in that backyard, with our friends. Gaston loved to barbecue chicken on his grill. He had his own recipe for a lemon butter sauce that was just delicious. Our family grew by two, when we added our first pets, two Cocker Spaniel puppies, Lady and Tramp.
31: Our first babies, Lady & Tramp, with Mike Jones | Our first, last, and only home. | 1950
32: Once we moved into our new home, we discovered that a brand new Methodist church was starting up in our neighborhood. Services were being held in a tent, and it was called Jefferson Methodist Church. We weren’t charter members, but we were two of the earliest members. That was to become our church home for the rest of our lives. We started a Sunday School class for young married couples, called The Wesleyan Class, which grew to be over 100 people attending each week. From that Sunday school class, we formed a “Dinner Club” with five other couples – the Hands, the Joneses, the Henrys, the Gizzardos, and the Galindos. For over twenty years, we met each month for dinner in our homes. These became our closest and best friends. | These are the costumes I made for our Boots and Bows Halloween party. We won the prize for best costumes!
33: By the time our church’s beautiful new sanctuary was built, it was packed full each Sunday. We also built a large fellowship hall with a commercial kitchen. Gaston often made use of his cooking skills there, with men’s breakfasts, church picnics, church barbecue dinners, and other special functions. I liked to serve on the Garden Club, and I helped to equip and manage the church for larger weddings and receptions. Our family never missed a Sunday at church, unless someone was sick. When it was learned that a member of our Wesleyan Class, Leon Franks, was a Square Dance teacher and caller, we started our own Square Dancing Club, Boots and Bows. We met two Saturdays each month and usually had about 80 to 100 dancers show up. My sewing skills came in very handy as I made matching dancing outfits for Gaston and myself. We just loved those dance nights, and we made quite a handsome couple! After all those years, we could still “cut a rug” better than most. | As the years went by, Jefferson Methodist grew to have lots of things going on, but our favorite was the annual family retreat. Every spring, for about 15 years, 200 of our church people would go to the gorgeous HEB Camp, located right on the Guadalupe River. We just loved the peaceful beauty of that place. You had to do all of the cooking yourself. So, with Gaston’s cooking experience and my organizational skills, we always served as the Food and Kitchen Leaders. Jack and M’Liss loved the log cabins with bunk beds, and swimming in the cold river. Priceless memories were made on those retreats. | Cooking catfish for a church event
34: Gaston and I have always been good money savers. We both remember well the days of The Great Depression, and that has led us to put some of our paychecks away for a rainy day. Gaston always carried a $100 bill folded up in his wallet. It wasn’t for spending – just for emergencies ( like the banks closing down). We also saved up for things we especially wanted. Gaston liked to spend his “fun money” on the house or yard. He loved building projects, like the storage building and brick barbecue pit. He also started a little garden in the backyard. He could grow the biggest and sweetest tomatoes I’ve ever eaten! Every weekend, we would have friends over and spend hours sitting in the backyard talking, watching the sunset, and eating our barbecue. | With my extra dollars, I wanted to buy china dishes and sterling silverware. That was a big dream for a “little farm girl,” like me, but after working in an upscale beauty salon for a couple years, I had learned to appreciate these things. One Christmas, Gaston bought me an 8-piece setting of beautiful China dishes. I don’t know where he got the money! I have always treasured them! I bought my sterling silverware pieces one at a time until I finally collected eight place settings, with all the serving pieces. I was so proud of them!!! Then, I dreamed for a nice dining table with a china cabinet to show off my dishes. It took a long time, but I finally got those, too. God has blessed Gaston and me more than we ever thought possible. | Our family hardly ever took vacations to tourist spots. For the first few years of our marriage, we worked very hard, saving our money to buy a house, and our old cars were not up to much long driving. Our annual trip to the Labor Day Shipman Reunion, in Seymour, was the extent of our travels. We would also visit my family at that time, over in Munday. We’d try to go back “home” for Christmas or Easter, if possible. However, in October of 1949, along with buying our new house, we also managed to buy our first, brand new car!!! It was a gray, ’49 Studebaker, and with it we took our first out-of-state trip. We drove to El Dorado, Arkansas, to visit Gaston’s “war buddy,” Robert Keys and his wife. We really enjoyed seeing the beautiful turning | The 50's
35: A Smile As Sweet As Spring | of the fall leaves, and we were gone for 10 days!!! Coming back home, we stopped in Fort Worth for a couple days to see some of my old “Rosie Riveter” girlfriends. Plus, we both had some family living there. We finally got our real honeymoon! | We came home, hoping to add a baby to our little family. However, that just didn’t seem to go the way we expected it to. As the months and years went by without a pregnancy, we took a lot of razzing, especially from Gaston’s family, about taking so long to get the babies started. I even took a hormone shot every week to help me get pregnant. So, when I finally got pregnant, in 1951, we didn’t tell any of Gaston’s family until after the baby was born. The only exception was Gaston’s brother, Olaff, who drove down for a visit and was surprised to find me “with child.” We swore him to secrecy, and he stayed faithful to his word. None of the Shipmans knew anything until the birth announcements were mailed. Bess M’Liss Shipman was born on June 28, 1952, and we called her by her middle name, M'Liss. | We finally became Mommy and Daddy
36: After that, it didn’t take much time (only 10 months) until our next baby was “on the way.” However, this pregnancy didn’t go as easy as the first one. The last three months were spent in bed, trying to carry the baby to full term. I don’t know what I would have done without our good friends. Mozelle and Carolyn Jones, along with my sweet neighbor, Helen Johnson, would take care of one-year-old M’Liss, while Gaston went to work each week-day. Then, Gaston and I would handle her together in the evenings and on weekends. Gaston was a great Daddy, but there was one thing he just couldn’t bring himself to do – change a “dirty” diaper. He was fine with the "just wet" ones, but he never could bring himself to change those stinky ones. Over the last 48 years, our neighbor, Helen, has never let Gaston forget the many times he would come knocking on her door with M’Liss at arms length, and a clean diaper over his shoulder. | Now we were a family: Daddy, Mommy, Sister, and Jackie Boy. | 1954
37: Charles Jack Shipman came just a little bit premature and was almost a New Years baby, being born on January 2, 1954. He was named after Gaston’s best friend during military service, Charlie King. We called him by his middle name, Jack, or by his nickname, "Jackie.". On the Shipman side of our family, there was already a little girl named Jackye, so our Jackie was often called "Jackie Boy." With the birth of little Jackie, M’Liss acquired a new name, “Sister,” which she would never outgrow, at least for Gaston and me. The doctor convinced us that two kids were all we needed, and God knew that, too. I was happy to be able to stay home with my babies for a few years. However, about the same time our church opened a day care for preschoolers, a new beauty shop opened up nearby and I decided to go back to work as a hairdresser. I loved doing hair again, and we were lucky to find Annie, a wonderful Negro housekeeper/nanny who would help out a little each day. She was allowed to stop her work for thirty minutes each afternoon. During that time, Annie, M’Liss, and Jack would have a snack and watch the TV show, Amos and Andy (a comedy featuring all Negro actors). Little did we know that our children we being "socially enlightened." And so, with my return to work, our lives took many new directions.
38: As the children grew, we became desperate for more space and a third bedroom, so we made a few more changes to our little home. Gaston just about had a heart attack when he learned that these changes would cost three times the amount of money we had spent for the whole house. However, it was still a lot cheaper than buying a new house. So, we added a new living room by enclosing the carport. Closing in the screened-in porch, added a den/dining room, along with enlarging the kitchen. That allowed us to turn the previous living room into a master bedroom, big enough for a king size bed! Of course, Gaston made the bed, himself, at the factory. Fourty five years later, we’re still sleeping on that bed, here in our retirement home. | With children, our vacations to see the family needed more planning, but we always made a way to go for a visit at least once a year. For those trips, Gaston would come home from work and take a nap until about 9:00 pm. I’d get the car packed, “building” a bed in the back seat, | Only in Texas can you saddle up a jack rabbit.
39: xxxxxxx | using suitcases and blankets. Jack and M’Liss would climb in, wearing their pajamas, and go right to sleep. Gaston would drive all night, arriving at my Mama’s house, just in time for a good old “Granny Tuggle Breakfast.” M’Liss and Jack jumped for joy one day when Gaston drove home in a fire- engine-red Ford Falcon station wagon. Now, they could make their beds and stretch out in the back on our trips back home. Our family took one BIG family vacation when our good friends, the Knowltons, invited us to come up to Estes Park, Colorado, and | stay for a week in their guest log cabin. We loaded up our little red station wagon, and Gaston set off driving, with the kids. I met them in Denver because my back was in such bad shape that I needed to fly. Gaston and the kids were delayed along the way with car trouble, but once we reached our cabin, we had an absolutely wonderful time. It was like a little piece of Heaven!
40: When Jack and M’Liss were nearing their teenage years, I started my own beauty shop, Shear Beauty Salon. I needed a home office space to do the business bookkeeping, along with space for a washer and dryer to clean the beauty shop towels. Once again, we thought about buying a larger house, and looked at a few, but Gaston just couldn’t believe how expensive the houses had become. He couldn’t see going into debt for that much money. Also, our little block of five homes had become a “family.” We had the Hands, with their three boys; the Jones, with their two boys; the Rodriquezs, with their three boys; and the Hartles, with their two little girls. It was difficult to think about moving away from them. So, we just extended a wing onto the back of the house, adding an office/laundry room and a second bathroom. At this time, we also added air conditioning and carpet!!! We felt like a king and queen in our very own castle! | About 1970, Gaston and I made another change in our careers. My back pain was becoming intolerable. I would go home each evening and lay in bed attached to a traction device, which helped to relieve the pain. M’Liss and Gaston would cook the supper, while I did the beauty shop’s daily bookkeeping. The doctor said that I could find a less stressful job or expect to have back surgery. Much as I hated to do so, I sold the beauty shop to one of my best beauty operators. I took a couple of business classes at the junior college, and learned to type. I was hired to be the assistant manager for Standard Paper & Supply Company. For the most part, I liked the job. I greatly enjoyed selling gift-wrapping supplies to several large department stores. At the end of every season, I was able to bring home lots of discontinued items. I had wrapping supplies for YEARS to come. One of my grand daughters, M’Rhea, always loved to come to Maw Maw’s house and spend all day wrapping presents (empty boxes). I worked here for ten years and made several life long friends. | 1970
41: Gaston started helping Jim Ferguson at the Southwest Texas Methodist Building. He was still working full-time for Alamo bedding, which was now owned by Ray Smith. Gaston worked hard days at the factory, and almost always had a second job going on the weekends. He would do painting and repair jobs, and then when I started the beauty shop, he did all the cleaning. However, when I sold the beauty shop, he had some extra time on his hands in the evenings and weekends. So, Gaston started doing “The Building’s” yard work and landscaping, and he just loved it. He especially liked using the riding lawn mower! | I guess it reminded him of his old tractor days, on the farm. However, one day he accidentally allowed the blades to slice into his foot. He was lucky to only lose his little toe! Gaston quickly made friends with all the Methodist Cabinet officers, from the Bishop down. All the Southwest Conference preachers would come and go, and Gaston got to know them all, too. Gaston has always “teased the girls,” and all the women at the Methodist Building just loved him. | In 1979, when he reached the age of 65, Gaston retired after 33 years in the bedding business. At this time, he just turned his part time work at The Methodist Building into his “day” job. Now, Gaston could “be his own boss.” He could come and go as he pleased. During Gaston’s retirement years, he would hardly let a day go by without swinging by Jefferson Methodist Church, either before or after work at the Methodist Building. He could always find something to do.
42: Gaston would do everything he could to save the church from having to hire work to be done. He painted, fixed plumbing, repaired broken furnishings, trimmed shrubs, and anything else that needed to be done. He believed that hard work never hurt anyone. One year, at the Methodist Regional Conference, Gaston was asked to come to the stage, where he was recognized for his years of service to the Methodist Conference. That was a very special day! I was so proud of my husband! There were so many people coming up and thanking him. | Gaston worked over twenty years for the Methodist Conference, until they built a new conference building on the other side of town. At age 80, Gaston couldn’t drive that far each day for work. Instead, he stayed on with the same job, working for the new owners of the building. The women at Urban Ministries soon came to love Gaston, just like the conference women had. In fact, they loved Gaston so much that they insisted that he keep working for them until he was 90 years old! By that time, he was just coming over for about an hour each day and cleaning up the coffee room. This was a tremendous blessing for Gaston. It allowed him to go on teasing the girls and gathering a little pocket change. When Gaston had to give up driving, due to poor vision, The Meadows driver would take him over to “the building” and one of the girls would give him a ride back home. That was the best medicine he could ever take.
43: As the years have ticked by, it’s been just the four of us (along with several well-loved dogs), until our two great kids grew up, and got married. M’Liss first gave us a great son-in-law, Charles Graham, who is an architect and professor at Texas A&M. Then, Jack brought us a sweet daughter-in-law, Amy Jones. Amy is the child of Robert “Bobby” Jones, who I had nannied while I was a teenager. Who would have thought that would ever happen! Next, the family grew some more as M’Liss & Charlie gave us three precious granddaughters – D’Nae, M’Rhea, and K’Rina. Jack and Amy soon came along with our two darling grandsons – Brad & Brian. Our two children, their spouses, and our 5 wonderful grandchildren have brought us much happiness. I truly love being a grandmother, especially when the children come over and stay with Daddy and me. I can hardly stand to think about our grandbabies growing up and moving away from us. However, I know we have to let them go, just like our own two have done. We’re so proud that they all have plans for college. I know that each one is very special in their own ways and will grow up to be fine adults, husbands or wives, and parents.
44: In 1996, fate took a tragic turn in our lives. Brad’s Little League team was in the State Finals, at Waco, and I always loved going to see his baseball games. Gaston and I had gone to College Station and were staying at M’Liss’s house. I had gone over to Waco for two days, watching the games from the bleachers. Even though I shaded myself with an umbrella, the 100 degree days were miserably hot. During the next night, I suffered a brain stroke. In the morning, I was confused and could only see out of one eye. I sat in a recliner to read the paper, but couldn’t seem to make heads or tails out of it. I could only see one of my feet. Then I looked up at the ceiling fan and asked M’Liss why there were only blades on one side of it. M’Liss and Gaston took me right over to the hospital Emergency Room. The doctor felt that I had probably had a stroke, but thought I’d be OK to drive back to San Antonio, where I could see my own doctors. So, we went straight home and the next morning I went to see my doctor. He immediately put me in the hospital for more tests and it was determined for sure that I had suffered a major stroke. I was grateful to keep most of my physical abilities, although I was weaker than before and I had some loss of hearing. The greatest damage was done to my eyesight. My days of being a Crossroads Mall Walker were over, as well as my ability to drive a car. For the rest of my life, I would be legally blind. Gaston’s life changed, too. He now had to do most of the cooking and housework. I don’t know what I would have done without his strong arm to hold on to. After a while, I learned to manage for myself around the house and Gaston was able to return to his work at the church and the building.
45: In 2001, after about two years of blindness, I knew that I couldn’t live at home anymore. Gaston would take off every morning to work at The Building or the church, and some days he wouldn’t come home until time for Wheel of Fortune. I couldn’t get out of the house, and I could only talk to people who called me or came for a visit. I was going crazy with nothing to do but watch TV all day! M’Liss took me over to visit The Morningside Meadows Retirement Center, which was right near our house, in the Jefferson area. I no sooner walked in the door than I had women coming to me and hugging my neck. You see, I had lots of friends from church and my beauty shop that were now living there, and they all wanted me to move in, too. I knew that it would be a great place for Gaston and me to live. I tried to talk to Gaston about it, but he refused to discuss it, saying that we didn’t have enough money. Thank goodness for M’Liss, who worked up a bookkeeping chart with all our expenses and income. She proved to Gaston that we had enough money to live there for three years. She explained to Gaston that if I moved to The Meadows, I would be able to live an active life again, have friends nearby, and be able to get better exercise. Gaston didn’t like it one little bit, but he knew we couldn’t afford to pay for homes in two places, so he finally agreed to move, just for one trial year. It helped a great deal that Jack was willing to move into our house, so we didn’t have to get rid of everything. It was clear that God was with us during this hard time in our lives. As I look back, I see that everything happened for a reason, and God took care of us every step of the way. | Gaston's tomato patch
46: Once Gaston began playing dominoes with some of the other men there, he began to like The Meadows. By the end of that first year, he knew that it was the best place for us to live. In fact, he started trying to talk some of the men from our Sunday school class into moving there. We ended up leading fifteen families from our church to The Meadows! M’Liss also convinced Gaston to “dig up” all the cash savings he had hid around the house and put them in the safe deposit box at the bank. Just before moving out of the house, he did just that. A few months later, I had Jack take me to the bank. I about died of shock when I opened the safe deposit box and found it crammed full of cash. I sorted it all out and just couldn’t believe that there was over $30,000 there!!! For fifty years, Gaston had been squirreling money away for our future security. This money will enable us to live at The Meadows for many years to come. | We had eight wonderful years living at The Meadows.. I started a Red Hat Society Club.
47: I just love living here, at The Meadows. Before coming, I was gaining too much weight and needing to use a wheelchair to go longer distances, but now I walk through the hallways, every morning for one to two miles! I have lots of new friendships, and have helped to start a Red Hat Society club, along with coordinating a Ladies Bible Study once a week. I’m also able to be of help to others when they are sick. I can check on them and bring their meals, using my walker. I’m a Meadows Ambassador, which offers many enjoyable functions for me to attend. The Meadows has given Gaston an opportunity to “play in the dirt.” Gaston started a community tomato patch, where he continues to grow his delicious tomatoes, and helps others to grow their own. Our apartment is right next to the rear entrance and my patio is always full of beautiful potted plants from spring to fall. I’m so grateful for this wonderful place to live and the happiness I’ve found here.
48: Our 60th Wedding Anniversary | November 14, 1945 | November 17th 1945...
49: Grandpa has always been a friendly person, talking to everyone that comes by. I used to say that if there was no one to talk to, Gaston would talk to a blank wall. Everyone just loves Gaston for his caring nature, his generous acts of kindness, and his big “bear hugs.” Grandpa always wants to do every little thing he can possibly find to do, for others. He is not happy if he is not doing something for someone else. Gaston is the best Christian man I’ve ever known. At our Jefferson Methodist Church, Gaston served on the Board of Trustees for over 25 years, and served as Head Usher for longer than that. Brad, I hope that you will try to follow in your Grandpa’s footsteps. You’ll have to try hard because Gaston has big shoes! | I have always been a happy person, too. I learned this from my sweet Mama, who was always loving, caring, forgiving, and a true Christian lady. I have had some sad things come into my life, but God has helped me to believe in miracles. I have learned to be patient, and wait upon Him. God is always there, when I ask Him for help. He has always been faithful to come to me when needed. I thank the Lord each day for keeping me alive, well enough to think right, keeping me motivated to be a happy person, able to care for the needs and feelings of others, and able to care for myself. Our marriage of 55 years has been a happy one. We have more blessings than we ever knew were possible. Life has taught us both to be thankful for all the things we have had in our lifetime.
50: Brad, You and I have had many special days together. On our last special day, back while I still had good eyesight, you had the idea of going to Fiesta Texas. We spent the whole day together. I watched you ride everything you wanted, and we went into all the little stores. We walked and rode all we could together. If I had to pick one special day to be my last, with good vision, I wouldn’t have changed one single minute of it. My life has not been the same since, but I am grateful for the life and the eyesight that I still have. You’re all grown up now and ready to spread your wings. I’m very proud that you are going to college, especially to Texas A&M, like your Grandpa Jones. You have worked hard to make good grades, and have stayed a good person during some difficult times. Dream great dreams and try hard to carry those dreams out. I love you, Grandma
51: March 16, 2011 After Daisy's death, M'Liss found these writings in her genealogy files. At that time, Gaston was recovering from a broken hip and was confined to a wheelchair. M'Liss read the writings to Gaston, as she typed them up. He greatly enjoyed listening. Often, he would laugh, and then share his memories of those early days, or add another story.. One day, when Gaston was being treated for an infection, he was in an especially weakened state. He said to M’Liss, “Sister, I’m just not good for nothing!” M’Liss replied, “Daddy, when Mama was sick and living in the nursing home, was she good for nothing? Did we love her less because she was like you are now? Didn’t we love her just as much?” Gaston shook his head sideways and answered, “Yes, but that was her and this is me.” M’Liss gave him a big hug. She took hold of her daddy's face, looked straight into his eyes, and said, “Daddy, just like Mama, we love you just as much as we always have and always will. You’ll always be the best Daddy in the whole world.” May these memoirs from Daisy and Gaston Shipman give their descendants a window into the past of these two very extraordinary people. May their strength and character be carried on for many generations to come. | Afterword | Daisy's favorite cross necklace