Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oil Heiress

Bet you didn’t know I’m an oil heiress.


My maternal grandfather farmed during the Oklahoma dust bowl days. During his later years, he sold real estate. No one in his family ever actually starved to death, but it was a challenge to provide for them.


I don’t think he ever had a comfortable life. Photographs give me some sense of the struggles he faced.


Here he is (on the left) with his broomcorn.

My grandparents and my aunt:

Here he is with his son.

The four children who survived past infancy:

This picture shows the family. My mother is on the left, just below my grandfather.

My grandfather and my mother:

He made some good decisions, however, when he obtained mineral rights. After his death, my mother and her two sisters each received a third of these rights. (My grandfather also had three sons, but two died in infancy and one died in World War II.)


Now, I’m not talking about a lot of money. One time Mom got a check for two cents.


When my mother died five years ago, each of her children got a third of her interests. The percentage keeps decreasing, as I now have one-ninth of the mineral rights he acquired. Still, several times a month I get checks from oil companies, and I welcome checks of any size.


I never really knew this grandfather. He died shortly before I turned eleven. Because he suffered from dementia for years, my contact with him had been minimal. My strongest memory of him comes from a time when I was about five years old; I was terrified when he opened the door while the car was moving.


During this month of giving thanks, I am grateful for my grandfather. Although I didn’t get the chance to know him, my mother told me stories of his generous nature. I know that some of his values were passed on to her, and then to me.


I am also thankful for these monetary gifts. I wonder how much oil and gas money his daughters and grandchildren have received over the years. I think he would be amused to know how well he has provided for his family.


Jeanie said...

What a great story of our grandfather. Although you may not remember it, I’m sure he said to you, as he said to each of us, “You’re the prettiest girl in town for your size.” What a safe compliment when other granddaughters were nearby!

Anonymous said...

Jeannie, this is wonderful and even though I have seen almost all the pictures, it's fun to see them again - and all in one place.