Dick Hastys' memories of Leonard, Fannin County, Texas
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Fannin County Memories

 "This photo brought back some really distant memories."

Memories of Leonard

"My grandfather, George Robert Hasty ran the Gibson Gin two or three blocks from the square.  My dad, Leon Potts Hasty was born on May 2, 1904, the same day as Bing Crosby.  With the hundredth anniversary of his birth just a week away I would like to do something to commemorate that event but, alas, I probably won't.
Interesting to me was the photo of the church building.  In the right hand edge of the photo is the place where I was born on January 15, 1934.  The house next door to the church was the parsonage where Brother Hyde lived.  That may not have been the correct spelling of his name because I wasn't reading just yet.  We moved from Leonard about 1936 to Honey Grove, in north Texas, near Paris where dad worked for Rowton Chevrolet (again, the spelling) and then, about 1938, we moved to Sherman where dad worked for Shipp Motor Company most of his life.
Back to that church building.  The last time I was in the neighborhood it had a Historic Landmark plaque on it so it must have been there a long time.  I can still see the Sunday morning worship.  As you entered the auditorium all down the right side of the room were classrooms, separated from the main room by sliding doors.  During the worship there were large, ornate, straight-back chairs on either side of the pulpit and seated on one of them was Bro. Frank Shields, a prominent businessman who lived just a block from the square in a large white house diagonally across the street from my Grandfather's house.  Bro Shields had a loud bass voice that I recall sounding like the man who sang bass in the Stamps-Baxter quartet on the radio.
Most of my other kinfolks lived near Leonard about three miles south of town on a dirt road.  That was my mother's side of the family and her maiden name was Mary Irene Rogers.  My grandfather was in the 42nd legislature representing Hunt County.  His name was Freedom Alexander Rogers (isn't that a grand name!) and the last surviving member of that household is my Aunt Ruth, Jessie Ruth Rogers.  She is presently living in an assisted living home in Granbury and what tales she can tell!
About halfway to Ma Rogers' house south of town was the local school.  It was a one room affair with no electricity or running water and was known as "Hogwaller School" but I have since wondered if that was the proper name.
I have lots of memories of Leonard, a few from having lived there but more from my visits there through my teen years.  The Leonard Picnic was lots of fun for the kids.  There were rides and games.  My Uncle Claud Rogers was such a big strong brute of a man and we kids worshiped him.  He always brought back penny candy when he would go to town and we would search the pockets of his bib overalls till we found it.  When we went with him to the Picnic he would dominate the booth where he threw baseballs at cat-dolls and won prizes for the kids.  He threw so hard that he would damage the racks the cats were perched on and the attendant would have to get out his hammer and some nails to make periodic repairs.
The Picnic Grounds were located at the Leonard Pool east of town.  That pool used to freeze over back in the thirties and people would drive cars out on it and spin round and round.  Dad and I walked out on it and played once and there were tracks where people had been spinning their wheels on the ice.
Dad had a garage about a block east of the square (toward the gin) and I used to spend some time there when less than three years old.  I could play with the tools, jacks, etc.  He even let me play with the acetylene torch and I've heard him brag to his friends that I could "strike an arc" with his electric welder by the time I was two.

When I was a child we would go to Leonard from Sherman every couple of weeks since both sides of my family had their roots there.  After church my Dad and I would go to Ellis Giles's drugstore (Rexall, I believe) which was in the middle of the north side of the square.  He would get a Dallas News and a King Edward cigar (about a nickel) and we would sit in the car in front of the store and he would smoke that cigar and read the paper while I played with the car radio and the cigar band.  We had a blue 37 Chevy and the radio antenna was beneath the running board on the driver's side.  Usually Dad would buy me a Boedecker ice cream cone (to this day, the best-tasting ice cream I ever had) or a cherry Coke which Mr. Giles would mix at the fountain.  He was a tall, thin, elderly man with glasses and the drugstore had  a very high  ceiling with ceiling fans suspended on long pipes (or conduit).  The tables were those cute little affairs made of twisted iron with little round seats which pivoted out from each table leg.
I used to get boils on my legs (and elsewhere) which we called "risin's" and I can recall Mr. Giles prescribing various potions on occasion for my malady.  He provided a bottle of SSS Tonic which was vile-tasting and another time he prescribed Black Draught which was a can about the size of a black pepper can and it was in powder form.  I had to take a spoonful of this stuff in my mouth and then wash it down with water (or something).  It, too, tasted foul and I don't know if it ever did any good.  On another occasion he gave me some yellow discs which looked like Necco Wafers and tasted pretty good.  They were Sulfur and Cream of Tartar Tablets. That sulfur going through my system had the dramatic effect of making my toots smell like train smoke.  Pardon the indelicacy but there was no other effect that was so memorable.  None of these things helped my risins as I recall.  Mom would bathe me in bathwater to which she had added a capful of Lysol which made me mell like a bar of Lifebuoy soap.  After the bath she would bandage the risins with a plaster of Kayola, a putty-like substance which was supposed to draw out the pus.  From time to time a risin would not come to a head and it was then called a carbuncle (as well as a few unsavory expletives) and they would have to take me to Doc Stafford to get it lanced.  He was the one who had ushered me into the world in the house two doors from the Presbyterian Church and he was the family doctor.  He made house calls and carried a little black bag with all of his instruments. He would give me an injection of Sodium Pentothat and I would be out cold in about ten seconds.  When I woke up (seemed like immediately) the boil was lanced and bandaged and I felt drunker than Hooter Jones.
Today the doctor would probably diagnose my skin lesions as a staphylococcus infection and give me an antibiotic and mabye some antibiotic ointment.  But that was long before such miracles had made it to the market.
I want to say that this is an important day in my family's history.  My father, Leon Potts Hasty was born one hundred years ago today on May 2 1904, the same day as Bing Crosby.  He died January 6, 1976.  I am proud of the things he taught me and the values of personal honor, integrity, and hard work he instilled in me.  He was known as "Shotgun" Hasty by everyone who knew him.  I have speculated on the origin of that name and have heard various explanations but have not felt any to be fully satisfactory.  His oft-repeated admonition to me was "Remember, son, you're a Hasty."  To me that was a badge of honor which I have tried to keep untarnished (though, admittedly, not always to the degree that I had wished) but I'm thankful for the memory of him.  That admonition has kept me out of a number of things.  So if nothing else is accomplished by these words, Pop, I remembered you and will look forward to seeing you again.
Dick Hasty


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