WILLIAM ANDREW BRYANT
BORN SEPT 2, 1882
IN ACTON, TEXAS
MARRIED OCT.21, 1900
IN GRANBURY, TEXAS
DIED MARCH 28, 1970
BURIED IN BOVINA , TEXAS
MELLISA BELLE(PURSELLEY)BRYANT
BORN OCT 26, 1885
IN EUREKA, ARKANSAS
DIED JAN 26 ,1964
BURIED IN BOVINA, TEXAS
It was a Warm Little House

by JeDonn Bryant

Chapter I That Little brick house
It was a warm little house, my Granddad and Grandmother Bryants house. It was red and Taylor-brick around the bottom and shiplap siding on the top. It was on the corner of 7th and Taylor Streets. On the north side of Amarillo, Texas. It was small, but not so small to young children who loved to visit. In fact it seemed roomy, with the big basement which was the domain of all the cousins. Up stairs there was a kitchen that always smelled like heaven, a bathroom, living room, and two small bedrooms. One bedroom is the exclusive domain of Granddad and Grandmother, I don’t remember spending much time in that room. The other bed room was sometimes rented to nurses who worked at the hospital down the street. street. But that’s another story that I’ll talk about in later ramblings. There was an upright piano in the living room, with a little stool that turned to raise or lower it. A great source of joy for this young boy.

During the depression and before world war II, my parents lived in Amarillo, and my Grandmother was my baby setter. I was probably 3- 4 years old, I guess I was old enough for things to make an impression on me. { I may get some times and places wrong in my attempts to dredge up these memories, so if any of you have better or different recollections please feel free to help me out.} There were big elm trees along the street on two sides, with a great sidewalk for kids to play on and then there was the special tree in the backyard, just off the kitchen. The greatest climbing tree that any young one would ever find, and on top of that it was a cherry tree, you can’t ask for more than that. Oh, I wasn’t old enough to climb it on my own, but my older cousins didn’t have a problem. Later on as I grew older I climbed that tree with the best of them.

There was a garage at the end of the driveway. Old and a little ran down, dirt floor that will get it’s own paragraph from this writer some day. That driveway has some special memories too. On a Sunday, our day to gather at the house, all the uncles parked in the drive. The cousins would beg until someone let them set in a car and listen to the radio,everyone knew that the radio on Sunday afternoon was a kids dream. The mystery shows would keep us busy for hours, while the grownups would get a couple of tables of 42 going. Oh yes did I mention that all this was after a meal of fried chicken and all the fixings as only Grandmother could cook them.

Grandmother was a wonderful baby sitter. She spend endless hours entertaining me. Teaching me to play checkers, and letting me win. Finding something to keep me busy while she did her house work. Reading to me, but I’m not sure what she read, but I’m sure it was something to put me to sleep for my nap. I think Grandmother was very proud of her little house, mainly because it was the center of the known world for the Bryant family. She knew how much her children and their families liked to come to visit, there was never a stranger in her house. And by the way, there would never be anyone that went hungry under her roof. A tiny women , she could outwork any one, and was so even tempered that there weren’t many in our family that ever saw her upset.

Granddad, my memories of him at the little red brick house are so rich and colorful. At this period of time he had an “egg route”. He was in the wholesale egg and chicken business. He had several “cafes” , bakeries and grocery stores that bought eggs and chickens from him. At least once a week he made the rounds of little towns around Amarillo and bought eggs from farmers and creameries. ( For the younger ones who have enough patience to read this effort, a creamery was a business in almost every farm town. They bought eggs, butter, and milk from the farmers.) He had a regular route and knew the farmers and creamery owners by name. On certain occasions he took me with him. I don’t know if it was his choice to take me or maybe grandmother needed the day off. But going on the egg route with Granddad was a special experience. I’m sure all the cousins had experiences with riding with Granddad, wow, that was an E -ticket ride. He was not a bashful man, and took great pleasure in telling drivers and pedestrians alike, his opinion of their skills. We would laugh and make great fun of everyone in his path. Don’t get me wrong, there was never a crossword or absolutely never a word that couldn’t be used in church. He just had great fun in his Plymouth pickup, 1939 I believe, maroon or red. Didn’t look like much, but I don’t remember it every breaking down.

Granddad was a man of few words when it came to his relationships with his family. He was raised in a era of hard times and tough men. Men who had a terrible struggle to just put food on the table. A generation of men who never showed outward signs of love. I’m sure his father and his fathers father had no thought of showing emotion to their children or spouse, that would be interpreted as a sign of weakness in time when weakness could not be allowed to show. All of us develop much of our personality from mimicking our parents and I don’t think Granddad was any different. In my experience with him, I can’t remember him showing outward expressions of love (he was a softy when it came to little girls and dogs). But I loved him so much it was never a problem, because I think I knew that he loved us all very deeply. I don’t think that any of us at that time of our life needed an outward expression, because being young gave us a special sense that love was implied and we had no need for hearing it in words.

These are my earliest memories of my grandparents. The little brick house holds a special place in my memory, a special place in my personality, my relationships with all of the people I love. I have many more memories of this house, and others that Granddad and Grandmother lived in. Beyond these memories I hope to write of other and more recent memories that may touch a special spot in some ones heart. My purpose is to record these things for our younger generation of family members to better understand where they come from and what a rich heritage they have. I hope that my cousins will put their memories down on paper and share them with us. I would like to thank Lanny and Ann for creating a place for us to record our families history. I know how much work has gone into this, thank you guys, love you.

Chapter II (The Little Brick House)

On special occasions all of the Bryant clan would gather. As a very young child this was the time that I learned how extensive my family was. It was probably at these times that I learned what being a Bryant was all about and my identity as the member of a much bigger family was established. My world was expanded by many fold when I learned how many of us there were. There were uncles and aunts, cousins and near cousins(second marriage). I started putting together this complex mesh of folk and how they related to me, my Granddad and Grandmother, my parents. I guess I knew my Dad had some brothers and sisters, but I‚m sure that I was more than a little amazed when they were all in one house. I don‚t remember what the occasion was for my first family gathering, I can surmise it was probably a Christmas or Thanksgiving, because as I grew older I learned that those were the big dates. Many of our family lived in different parts of the state. Uncle Dub and uncle Doyle (that‚s what his name was to me until I was much older and he became My Uncle D.A.)were not always at the gatherings because they were Baptist ministers and had churches in other towns. Boy when they all got together that little house was filled to the ceiling. I have no memory of how everyone slept, but I‚ll give credit to my Grandmothers Baptist pallets.( Let‚s see how many of the younger ones know what that is.) But I do remember that the cousins shared the two big beds in the basement.(Ok they seemed big to me.) I don‚t remember specifically on any occasion which cousins were there. I remember Don Charles because he told scarey stories that sometimes caused the younger of us to run upstairs to seek refuge with the adults. Dickie, Dot, Mickie and Pat were there. I can‚t remember whether LeRoy, and Buzzy were there, please help me out on this. ( I think Lan was a baby at this time.) I‚m probably forgetting others that were there at those very early get-to-gathers. This was the period before or about the time that the US entered the second world war. I can remember Granddad and some of the uncles gathering around the radio in the evening to listen to what was happening in Europe. With young sons in the age group of the draft, and an impending war on the way, I can imagine the internal strife that Grandmother and Granddad were going through. Many of us can identify with this as we have been through this experience in wars during our generations.

Granddad and Grandmother went to Pierce St. Baptist Church, a few blocks from their house. It seemed very big to me, with lots of steps going up to the church door. I remembered the preachers name for many years, but it‚s slipped out of my mind into that secret place we keep hoping we can reclaim. The thing I remember about the church experience was that Sunday was the day that everyone dressed up in their very best, groomed and clean, smelling good. Hats on men and women ,shoes shined to a mirror finish. I miss that. It was a big event, a sacred event, it was a time when I sat next to mom and dad, Granddad and Grandmother and listened to them sing the old hymns. My mother sang alto and she resonated to the top of the sanctuary. I have to mention at this point that besides my Uncle Dub who was a glorious singer, my uncle Bud could ring the rafters with his great voice. As a young boy I always wanted to sing like Uncle Bud (S.C.).

After church, it was back to the little brick house and a chicken dinner(lunch) to die for. My grandmother, like almost all grandmothers, could make a great meal out of the most meager of groceries. The table would be full of some good eatin. But it was more than that. It was granddads prayer of thanks that always seemed so special. It was the laughter of adults and kids in a house full of love. It was the jokes, the kidding, and my grandmothers little smile that made everyone know that life was good, and we were safe in her house. If we could capture that experience and transport people into that experience we could fix most of earths problems. Our grandparents were special people.