Russel Rayl Windes, Sr.
In January of 1902, my father, Russel Rayl, was born.
Russel attended Southeast Oklahoma State, played
basketball and football, debated, and graduated with honors in 1923 with a
degree in history. Harry mainly sal out front at the furniture store, read the
Daily Oklahoman, and talked to passers-by and customers. Margaret took a needed
vacation from work
In Burneyville, Oklahoma, Principal and Coach Russel R. Windcs "kept good discipline," and won a lot of basketball games. He also found the girl he wanted to spend his life with. Bess Ruth Carter, a.k.a., "Fan" or "Fancy," or "Dolly." The two of them met at a "pie supper" in September, 1923, and were wed by a local minister in Marietta on January 5,1924, in the presence of only two witnesses. There was celebration in Burneyville at the Carter home, but the Windcs family in Durant were not to learn of their son's marriage until Easter recess that late March, Russel feared his mother's anger and disapproval at his marrying a girl "socially and financially beneath him." It took him three months to take the peasant girl from Burneyville to the grand Windes mansion in Durant. Such was the power of Margaret! From the moment Margaret and Harry met Bess, they were determined that their son would not for long be a teacher in Burneyville, Oklahoma. They let Russel teach the remainder of the year, fulfilling his contract, but after that, at their insistence, he abandoned his career in education and returned to Durant to become, first a cashier at C. W. Slaughter's First National Bank of Durant, and then, assistant manager of Staton's Department Store.
I suspect my father resented at one or more
levels of emotion my intensely close and romantic relationship with Bess, which
lasted but a few years and was broken as my younger sister, Patti, demanded more
and more of mother's attention. Russel's activities were simply never a part of
my soul and spirit, and he never seemed to be very serious about wedding me to
them. The Store interested me only as a social setting. His fishing and camping
trips, which I detested, only took me away from my friends, my books, and my
music. And his love for farm animals and gardening simply made me run to other
pastimes. 1 could be his debater, but I could never be his basketball and
football player. I could be his musician, but I could never be his store
partner. I could be his dreamer, but I could never be his gardener, or milk his
stupid cows, or catch fish. Thank God he was not interested in hunting. Violence
was not a part of his world. He cried once for hours when he quite accidentally
spilled some boiling water he was carrying on my sister Peggy's arm. And he
would never dream of spanking or hitting a child. He was always soft and gentle
with his family and friends. Russel and I were not alienated from each other in
my younger years, just not close.