McClain Brothers - Alva, OK
"Have read with interest many of your fine articles. I noted that you live on Maple St., which is where I lived until 1960. We were at 1120 Maple, which doesn't look much like it did back in those days.
My folks Harold & Ruby McClain built that house in 1945. I remember we had a basketball court in the back yard, as my dad was a player on the Alva HS team in the late 1920's that did quite well. He later played for the Phillips 66ers semi-pro team.
We spent many hours playing out there. The floor of the court was not concrete or asphalt as it would be today, but the hard red clay soil that was smooth and completely bare of grass from our use. One of my earliest memories which would have been in the late '40s was seeing the trash collector coming up the alley to pick up our garbage.
He had an open wagon and team of mules. The trash was in a big metal barrel, and they would pick it up with one hand on the lip and one on the bottom and dump it into the wagon.
We were just up the hill from Pettit's house. I remember when they built that house. It was really 'modern' at that time, unlike the other houses on the street some of which were pretty old even back them. The Mann's lived in that house later. They were good friends of ours as they used to live right across the alley from us on Locust St.
I don't specifically remember your grandmother, but I do recall that name and I'm sure my folks knew her. My dad (Harold) was once partner in McClain's shoe store, but later only his brother Everett was running it. Dad had gone into the insurance business. A third brother, Ken, owned the old Ken Motel on the highway (it's now a storage facility or something).
There were three other brothers, but they all moved away. The six boys were born and raised in Alva in the little house at 303 2nd St. which is still there, and looks about like it did in the old days down to the old lilac bush that was already old when I was a little kid.
Their grandparents lived on Choctaw after retiring from a farm. There are three generations of McClains buried at Alva Cemetery.
The Phillips 66ers basketball team was sponsored by Phillips Petroleum. In the pre-NBA days, the best basketball players in the country played on various teams that were sponsored by athletic clubs, corporations, military units, and the like. They participated in some league play, tours, and national championships (which the 66ers won several times). This was under the auspices of the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union). I referred to them as 'semi-pro' because the players were on the payroll of Phillips, but their primary job was to play basketball.
I believe the Alva High School team that my dad was on, which I think was 1929, won the state championship, but I couldn't find any details about that. I was born in 1945, so when I was old enough to remember, that was pretty much ancient history for everyone, but I do recall people talking about what a great team they had. " -- Mark McClain - Email: Mmcbs@aol.com -
Salem, Virginia, USA
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