1937-38 Catching the Train - Woodward To Alva
We received a fabulous photo of our mother, Vada Eileen (PARIS) McGill this week from a family that Vada stayed with back in the 1930s. Ylova Jean Jaquith Mayes daughter and son-in-law sent us this following message with the photo attached, "Here is a photo of Vada and Ylova Jaquith taken in Woodward, Oklahoma. Ylova sent us this photo. She lives in Arizona and is 78 years old. She said they had taken Vada to the train station in Woodward to catch a train to Alva to go to College. Hope you like the photo. The photo was not dated, but Ylova was born in 1932. She looks like she is maybe 4-5 in the photo? So, 1937-1938 time frame would be about right. Her name now is Ylova Jean (Jaquith) Mayes."
The photo shows a young Vada Paris (left) in her flowery, Spring dress, hat and white sandal heels holding the hand of a young girl (Ylova Jean Jaquith) while standing in front of passenger train in Woodward, Oklahoma. The Jaquith had brought Vada to Woodward from Seiling to catch the train to Alva, Oklahoma, where Vada was attending NSTC (Northwestern State Teachers College). We know that Vada was a sophomore at NSTC in Alva. We believe she attended in 1937 as a freshman.
Let us take you back to April 18, 1932 (as written down in Vada's 1938 diary as an anniversary) when a sixteen year-old-girl named Vada Eileen Paris came to live with the Ray and Eithel Jaquith family who lived in Seiling, Oklahoma. Also, it was during the Depression, Dust Bowl era. Besides the anniversary of when Vada went to live with Jaquith's in Seiling, Vada had made a notation in her diary May 25th for Ray and Eithel Jaquith anniversary, May 25, 1926.
While living with the Jaquith family, Vada graduated from Seiling High School with the Class of 1936 Seniors whose motto was "Hitch Your Wagon to a Star." For reasons unknown to this writer, Vada laid out a year or so before graduating high school during the Depression, Dust Bowl days. She should have graduated in 1934, but graduated in 1936, instead.
We know that Black Sunday was April 14, 1935 when day was turned into night during the Dust Bowl era. About a month and a few weeks before that day, Northwest State Normal school's Castle on the Hill had burned down, March 1, 1935, in Alva, Oklahoma.
We are trying to piece together bits and pieces of Vada's life between 1932 thru 1937 before she attended college in Alva. We have been told that Vada's mother did not think Vada needed education after the eighth grade and should stay home and help take care of her younger siblings. We have also been told that Eithel Jaquith influenced Vada to graduate Seiling High School and continue her education at NSTC in Alva, Oklahoma.
Reading through Vada's diary, we know in 1938 she received a government grant to attend Northwestern State Teacher College (NSTC) where she was noted as a sophomore in the 1938 Ranger Yearbook. Vada also worked at Warrick's Shoe Store; did heavy housekeeping to make ends meet while attending NSTC. We believe Vada was a Freshman at NSTC (1937 Ranger Yearbook) in 1937.
Vada's older brother (Alvin Riley Paris) and his wife, Naomi (Warren) Paris, were living in Alva while Vada was attending Northwestern. Besides staying with her older brother, Vada did housekeeping for Naomi and Alvin while Naomi was expecting their first Child (Stan born February 25, 1938).
There were lots of entries in Vada's 1938 diary where she mentioned with enthusiasm of getting to go home to Seiling and seeing the Jaquith family (Ray & Eithel and their children: Kenneth and Ylova).
On one entry dated February 13, 1938, Sunday, Vada writes, "Saw Mrs. Jaquith. I'll tough it out where I am before borrowing money. Grand of her to offer to help." Times in the 1930s were tough on everyone back then.
Vada wrote about enjoying receiving letters from Eithel Jaquith. The Jaquith family was like a second family for this young woman, Vada Eileen Paris. Eithel being the one that encouraged Vada to continue her education and go to College at Alva, Oklahoma. We wonder sometimes what would Vada's life been like IF Vada had not been influenced by the Jaquith family?
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