Nothing shown in the photo I used for the Storm Season blog exists today, except the distant hills. Well, there’s me, but I’ve changed a lot in the span of about 70 years.
By the time I graduated high school, the grassy pasture in the background was filled with young mesquite trees. The wire fence around our yard was gone, the cellar door was warped, and the rocking horse… I don’t know where it went.
The driveway from the main road to our house was the dirt road in this picture. For that matter, the main road was dirt as well. Vehicles on that road raised a cloud of dust in dry weather and left a trail of deep ruts when it rained. The muddy roads were slick and vehicles, including the school bus, sometimes slid into the ditch. Getting stuck in a bar ditch is not fun. I remember.
In this old photo, I’m sitting on the land my great-grandfather chose for his allotment before the Kiowa, Comanche, Apache Reservation was opened to white settlement. (My great-grandfather was adopted into the Comanche Tribe as a blood brother to Quanah Parker. The Federal government recognized him as a member of the tribe with all the rights and privileges of a full-blood Comanche.) Great-grandfather chose his land between two creeks because he thought no railroad would cross his land.
And it didn’t.
But, Great-grandfather never imagined that a dam would be build in The Narrows between the mountain peaks to the south or that the land his eldest son inherited would be flooded when heavy rains came. I’m glad he didn’t know that a generation or so later, a much larger dam would be built to create Tom Steed Lake in Southwest Oklahoma.
Today, If you were to visit the spot where I am sitting in this photo, you would need a boat. You would see water to the rocky mounds in the background and to the mountain peaks beyond the edge of the photo to the right. Looking back, you’d see water to Twin Mountain, and to the left, water as far as you could see, with a line of land in the distance on a clear day.
This photo holds the landmarks of my childhood that are no more. The loss of the land is sad for me and my family, but many people enjoy the camping, boating, and fishing benefits of Tom Steed Lake and the nearby towns need the water… progress marches on.