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Lawrence London

Lawrence Alton London (1921-1993)
+ Dorothy Fern Jacobs (1923-2017)
Larry London
Dawn London

Lawrence Alton London
Recorded and transcribed by: (Dorothy) Lorene (London) Davidson
1996

Lawrence said, I was born in a tent in the oil fields near Ranger, Texas, on February 6, 1921. Dad was working in the oil fields. There was a big oil boom on. My childhood idol was my Dad. I wanted to do all the things that he could do. If he was working on the car, butchering hogs, building something or planting a garden I was at his side. I respected my mother. She was always there when we needed her or had a question about anything or needed comfort in any way from any hurt. I loved both my parents very much.

[The 1930 US Federal Census for District 0133, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, enumerated 11 Apr 1930 by Grace Grenard, has a record of the household of Emry and Jewell London. Emry London was the head of household, male, white, age 39 years, first married at age 20, born abt 1891 in Oklahoma Territory, working as a carpenter in the building industry. Emry owned his home, had no radio in the home, and the home was not located on a farm. Jewell London was Emry's wife, female, white, age 36 years, married, first married at age 18, born abt 1894 in Texas. Roland London was Emry's son, male, white, ten years old, born abt 1920 in Oklahoma. Lawrence London, son, male, white, age eight years, born abt 1922 in Oklahoma. Arvola London was Em's daughter, female, white, age six years, born abt 1924 in Oklahoma. Thresa Johnson was Em's daughter, female, white, age sixteen years, married, born abt 1914 in Oklahoma. George Johnson, son-in-law, male, white, age 21 years, married, born about 1909 in Oklahoma, working as a carpenter in the building industry.]

I supposed my favorite color is brown and blue. My favorite food was sweets until I had a heart by-pass surgery and had to start on a diet; so I have learned to like almost all food. A lot of things I didn't think I could ever eat, much less like. As for music I like gospel and country-western. And I really like the old hymns. My favorite book is the Bible, because it has all the answers. My hobbies are wood working, fishing, camping and golfing.

My employment experience was first as a carpenter. Dad taught Rolen and I the trade when we were in high school. I did carpentry after I came out of the Army for several years. I felt like I needed a job with some benefits, such as insurance and retirement, so I started to work for Lone Star Industries, Inc. at Maryneal, Texas, near Sweetwater. I worked in the construction of the plant at Marynel. Lone Star is a cement company and I worked for the company thirty-five and one-half years. I guess, I would say that was my favorite job. No job is perfect, but I learned a lot and made a lot of dear friends in my years there. And there were good times, too.

My favorite travel experience was the trip that Dorothy and I took to Hawaii, because it had been a lifelong dream of Dorothy's. I also enjoy the trips we take to my Army reunion which is held every two years. It is nice to see all of our buddies and talk over the war and the way we were brought closer together because of it. It is sad to think of the lives that have to be lost because of war and it is sad, too, to go to the reunion and some of the friends that were there last time we met, aren't there now.

I would like to go back to Europe and see Sicily, Italy, France and Germany, because I spent two years over there during World War II and I would like to see those places in peace time.

I met Dorothy in Abilene, Texas, while I was stationed at Camp Barkley with the 45th Division. It was the Oklahoma National Guard (Thunderbird Division). She was going to college there. We dated while I was there and corresponded for about three years after I left Barkley and went to other camps in the states and overseas. I was at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, Pine Camp, New York; and Camp Pickett, Virginia, where we left to go overseas. I came back to Camp Chafee, Arkansas, after the war and got my Army discharge there; however, I did not receive my National Guard discharge until the summer of 1945.

I was discharged from the Army the latter part of June and Dorothy was waiting for me in Oklahoma City. Dorothy and I were married at the First Baptist Church in Sweetwater, Texas, on July 6, 1945. The day of our wedding was cloudy and I think the biggest rain that ever fell in west Texas fell the night before.

My advice on having a happy marriage for almost 46 years is the fact that we always trusted each other, shared our feelings in time of trouble, sorrow and the good times and above all trusted in the Lord. HE is always there to answer our prayers, maybe not in the way we want sometimes, but in the way that is best for us. We had a Christian home for our children to grow up in and I'm happy for that.

I was raised in and around Oklahoma City until 1950 when Dorothy and I decided to move to Roscoe, Texas, and in 1966 we moved to Sweetwater, Texas. I liked the larger town when I was growing up, because I had no idea of what life in a small town was like. Now I would not want to live in a large city. In a small town you get to know people and make many friends, close friends. We liked raising our children in a small town.

I guess my most adverse experience was when Bill Morgan (friend) and I joined the National Guard in 1940, planning to go to camp with them and get out when the two weeks camp was over. It turned out that the Guard was mobilized into the 45th Infantry Division as soon as we got back to the City. We got out four years, nine months and 23 days later. I remember Dad saying "Son, why did you do it?" I told him that I wanted to see some of the world. I also remember him saying, "And three weeks later he saw it."

I remember when the depression hit and the bank where Dad had his money went broke. There was no work in the City, so Dad and Uncle Marshall decided to go to west Texas to pick cotton. We had a four wheel trailer that they converted into a covered wagon and we took a tent along. Besides Dad and Uncle Marshall there was Olice, Rolen, George Johnson and myself loaded in and headed for Plainview, Texas. The first morning we were there it came a big frost and Dad had to go into town and buy tennis shoes for Rolen and I before we could even get out. It was warm when we left home.

Dad and Uncle Marshall would go into town on Saturday after we were paid and send all the money home that they could to Mother and Aunt Maude. We lost our home on S. E. 31st Street that Dad had built and we moved into Granma Jobe's house.

When our money was lost in the failed bank we were getting ready to move to Anadarko, Oklahoma on some Indian lease land. Dad was planning to farm and run some cattle on the land, but of course, that was out of the question, then.

As for favorite stories about my siblings, there are so many that it is hard to pinpoint favorites. When I was very little Mother was sick a lot and Thresa took care of Rolen and I. I've heard her say that she had a date one night to go to a carnival and had to take me along. She and the boyfriend fed me so much chocolate candy I was sick. She said it was to keep me from crying.

She also said that Rolen had to be fed Eagle Brand formula and he liked it and he got pretty fat. She said he would sit on the floor and cry for her to carry him because he didn't want to walk. He was so fat he didn't want to walk.

When we were little boys, probably nine and ten years old we lived in Capital Hill on SE 31st. We had a croquet ground in our back yard and there was always a crowd, especially on Sunday afternoon. Dad built a bench for people to sit on. Rolen and I drove shingle nails in the bench seat and wound copper wire around these nails, put the wire through a knot hole in the wall of the garage and tied it to an old Ford coil. We would catch a group of people on the bench and we'd run in the garage and crank the coil and shock people. They cleared the bench in a hurry.

One Sunday Dad caught Rolen and I on the bench and he slipped in the garage, took the wire off the coil and tied it to the spark plugs on his car, cranked his car and gave us a big charge. That took the fun out of that for Rolen and I.

When we were living in Wheatland I got my first car. Rolen and I got one just alike, 1936 Chevrolet coupes. Every morning when we started to work we would race to see who would get there first. I always beat Rolen and it tore him up. He did everything he could to get his car geared up to beat me, but he never did.

Rolen and Jay started bumming their way to California and were thrown off the train in Arizona and Jay fell on a cattle guard and cut a big gash in his knee. Rolen had a brand new pair of cowboy boots when he left and they got to hurting his feet so bad that he traded them to a Mexican in some little town for a pair of sandals. They were really glad to get back home.

Rolen and Floyd kept me in a fight all the time. They would tell I could whip some little boy and I'd get beat up and they would tell me how well I had done. Guess that isn't one of the favorite things about my brother. I believed him then though.

I tromped a man's onions down one time, but don't think that was Rolen's fault. I think a little friend was with me. The man came over to tell Dad and I crawled under the bed and he pulled me out. I chased a ball into a pasture after we moved into Grandma Jobe's house and a big bull got after me and when I came under the fence a barb wire cut a gash down the middle of my head. I have the scar today.

Of course, Lorene and Luzell were "little sisters," pretty little girls and special little girls. These two were usually in a row about doing dishes. I guess one was afraid she would do more than the other one. One Sunday Lorene found Luzell hiding in the car reading and she pulled her out to help do dishes. They grew up to be the best homemakers, mothers and cooks. Not a lazy bone in those bodies.

When Luzell was born, I had a little neighbor girl friend named Luzell. I wanted baby sister named Luzell. Mom said I sat on the bed for a day or two until she finally said they would name her Luzell. She said she told Dad "if we don't name her Luzell, we'll never get him off of the bed." I still think it is a pretty name.

Maybe the girls were a lot better than Rolen and I. They didn't get into as much. Thresa always said she wished she could have traded places with Lorene and Luzell because Mother and Dad let them get by with a lot more than the older ones. By the time they put up with us I guess they just were not as strict. My brother and sisters were great and we all had a good home, good parents and a lot of good times together as kids growing up and after we all married. The family get togethers are great with all the nieces, nephews and the greats that have come along and some great greats.

My favorite family memories are some of the things that I have mentioned. I remember a trip that we took to Orange, Texas, to see Aunt Buna and her family, down on the coast. The bad thing about this trip was Dad getting so sunburned. We went to Arkansas to visit Dad's uncle and Uncle Coin and Aunt Suzie went. There was all of us kids, too. Rolen and Floyd and I were up in the mountains and found the uncle's still and poured out the mash. He had a still going. That stuff smelled bad!

The weekends were favorite times. All the families usually got together and that was fun for us kids. We had a good home and Dad always provided for us and had parents that cared about us.

Dad worked for G. A. Nichols and built some of the big, beautiful homes out in Nichols Hills in Oklahoma City. That was the beginning of Nichols Hills. Rolen and I worked there. Those were good memories working with Dad and family.

Then added to that fact that Dorothy and I have had a good life together. We raised our children in a Christian home, which is important to me, a Christian home.

Larry (Lawrence Alton, Jr.) and his wife, Sharon, live in Henderson, Texas. He is a District Supervisor for Winn-Dixie Food Stores. He graduated from Central State University Edmond, Oklahoma, and moved to Fort Worth, Texas, and taught school for one year. He said it was rewarding work, it was not what he had gone to school to do. Larry and Sharon both graduated Roscoe High School. She went to Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas.

Larry always liked all sports and was named player of the year for several years. Larry and Sharon (Massey) have three children. Britt is attending college in Kilgore, Texas, Blake is a sophomore in high school and Brooke is an eighth grader. We call Brooke "our Miss Brooke."

Dawn is married to Ronald (Ron) Claflin and they live in Canon City, Colorado, Ron's home town. He was stationed at the Air Base here in Sweetwater and that is when he and Dawn met. She graduated from Sweetwater High School and went to Odessa, Texas, and also to a teaching hospital associated with Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, where she and Ron lived after they were married until he got out of the Air Force. She is now going to Southern Colorado State University in Pueblo, Colorado, to be a teacher. Ron also attended there. She worked as a lab tech for several years and Ron is in insurance. They have two daughters: Lisa, a sophomore and Lori a seventh grader.

Larry served three years in the Army during the Vietnam conflict. He was in Korea. Dawn had a lot of illness in her growing up and spent a lot of time in hospitals, maybe that is why she took to hospital work.

If it sounds like I am bragging I guess I am, because we are proud of our four kids: Larry, Sharon, Dawn and Ron and our five GRAND ones. I told you that we have "Our Miss Brooke" we also have "Miss Lise (Leese)" LIsa and "Little Pud," Lori. I call her that because I always called Dawn "Pud" and she looks so much like her mother.

If I had the power to change anything in the world I would like to see that all people everywhere had food to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to live, because I saw starving people during World War II and it is not a pretty sight. Even small children begged for food at our garbage pits where scraps where discarded.

I would like to see world peace, because what I saw in Europe is not the way people should have to live. It is sad to see our young men and women go off to war.

I would like to be remembered as a Christian man, good husband, Dad, son and brother and friend. A trustworthy person.

[Lawrence London died in Nolan County, Texas, 17 Jul 1993. He was buried in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Sweetwater, Nolan County, Texas. His wife of 48 years continued to love and care for the family until she died 04 Dec 2017 in Canon City, Fremont County, Colorado, at the age of 94 years.]



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