A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

I Remember Daddy
by Rosemary Eskridge (Aug 2010)


         Jack Horn was the last of the little boys born to Lucy Maben and John Clinton Horn. Jack was born the 13th day of September 1917 in the city of Big Spring, Texas. His father ran a restaurant called the Wigwam Cafe which he and Grandmother as well as several brothers and cousins helped to run.

         Jack was very good looking, tall, slim with black curly hair. He fell in love and was married to a young girl while in his teens, but it didn't last very long.  He joined the United States Navy in which he served for a very short time.  He then transferred to the United States Marine Corp and was stationed in Peking, China, then the Philippine Islands.  He served during World War II, and was sent home wounded with an Honorable Discharge from the US Marines Corp. 

         He was injured in the War by shrapnel from a grenade going off near him.  That gave him scars on the back of his neck.   He was sent to the VA Hospital in Amarillo, Texas. On his return home from the V.A., he sat across from Iva Christene Fewell on the bus from Amarillo to Tulia, she only lived a few blocks from the Bus Terminal. She and Jack talked a lot on the bus and he was impressed with her honesty.  She had taken off her shoes and he said that only an honest girl would have done that in public. Iva Christene Fewell said to Jack as the bus came to a stop "See those cottonwood trees to the east; my house is just down the street from there."  Then, they got off the bus and walked to her home.

         The next time they met, Iva Christene was working at a  restaurant and she got so flustered when he ordered pancakes and coffee, that she asked if he wanted onions with his order!  Then, she proceeded to pour hot coffee into a water glass and nearly got burned.  Her girlfriend at work said, "Iva Christene, you must be in love!"  After work and the bus ride Jack walked her home and he went into her home and took a nap. When he woke up, he asked if she would marry him and then he said, "If you're coming with me, get your things and let's go."

         The next thing, Iva Christene remembers is that she rode the bus with Jack to Big Spring, Texas.  She spent the night with her future mother- in-law law. Lucy Maben Horn and the next day they walked to downtown Big Spring, and were married in the Howard County Courthouse by Walter Grice, a Justice of the Peace.

         Jack and Christene soon had four little girls. Joyce, was born in January 1944, Rosemary in December 1944 and Beverly in 1945.  The next daughter was Erlinda, died at birth.  In 1948 Christene was pregnant with their first little boy, Walter Frank Horn.  He was named after Christene’s dad and Frank because Frank was the name a good friend of Jack's in the Marine Corp. They soon had another little boy, Marshall Wayne born July the 9th, 1952.  A new daughter, Corlynn was born on December 13, 1953.  Their last daughter was Cheri Rene Horn, born on the 3rd day of September 1955.


Joyce Horn wrote the following:

          Dad loved the Harvard Classics and read all of them.  He loved Astronomy and knew the names of all the constellations and many of the individual stars.  He loved talking about the planets and the features of the earth.  Dad knew many of the great poems by heart and would recite them to us kids. When we said, "Daddy tell us a story," he would always say the following:  "Forty robbers bold and brave stayed all night in a dark, dark cave.  Said old Robin, bold and brave, tell us a story.... and the story started like this, Forty robbers bold and brave................." He loved Rudyard Kipling and He loved the Bible and read both often.

         One of Dad jobs was the foreman in the plumbing profession. One of the funniest things dad did was to lose his new Timex watch down in a hole that they had dug up to repair a hole is a pipe. Just as they finished covering up the hole, he realized his watch was missing; he made the workers dig up the dirt.  Sure enough his Timex was at the bottom of the hole, STILL TICKING.  At that time there was a commercial on TV that said, "Timex takes a licking and keeps on ticking."

         One of his funniest antics was that when we went on trips in the car was that he would always tell us when we passed by a particular house that the Jones Family live there.  At the next house he would say that the Smiths live there; Then as another house came up he knew that the Robbins live there. As you can tell these roads were two lane highways with mailboxes along the side of the road. All of we kids though that he knew everyone who lived in the entire state of Texas.  Since we were so young and gullible, we didn't know until way later that he was reading the names painted on the side of the mailboxes along the road.


Rosemary wrote the following about Dad:

          Daddy continually read from the Harvard Classics and all types of poetry, famous quotes, stories and even songs that he quoted and sang all of his life. 

         The Harvard Classics, originally known as Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf, is a 51-volume of classic works from world literature, compiled and edited by Harvard University President Charles W. Eliot and first published in 1909.  Eliot had stated in speeches that the elements of a liberal education could be obtained by spending 15 minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on a five-foot shelf.

         Dad’s grandmother graduated from the Kentucky Women’s College and he graduated from High School in Big Spring.  So the source of his love of literature and poetry could be the results of both good High School English Literature teachers and his grandmother, Sallie Lester Willson. Since Mother stated that originally Daddy took the Harvard Classics out of the attic at his mother's house, I would suspect that the Harvard Classics were passed down from his grandmother.  

         The songs that I remember him singing were: Mares Eat Oats, and Lambs Eat Oats and Kids will eat ivy to, wouldn't you?  I think that he said it like, "Maryzee Dotes and Does se Dotes" to make it sound like he was saying my name "Mary". He sang, "The Yellow Rose of Texas, San Antonio Rose, and Deep in the Heart of Texas.”  Patriotic songs that he loved and sung were, "America the Beautiful, Battle Hymn of the Republic, The Marine Corp Hymn, and My Country Tis of Thee". Beverly remembered Daddy singing, “My Beautiful Frauline.”  I remember Daddy quoting poetry especially, Invictus and dramatically interpreting it as he quoted. 

         As Daddy quoted his repertoire of poetry I find it very interesting that not only did he quote Longfellow and other American poets, he also quoted British Poetry.  His favorite was "Invictus," a lyric poem written by William Ernest Henley written 1875.  “Invictus” is Latin for unconquerable, invincible, undefeated. The theme of the poem is about the will to survive in face of a severe test.  Henley himself faced such a test.

         Daddy quoted from the works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow My Dad had long black curly hair as a young man; he was a marine and at that part of his life reflected the muscles of brawny arms and strong as iron bands.  He was proud of working hard and had even more pride in the fact that he owed no man.  Daddy loved the "Village Smithy Image" so much that he bought an anvil and it sat by our fire place as long as I could remember.  I remember many separate times that all of our siblings inevitably caught a toe or foot on that anvil and it never moved an inch.

         Until this time, I hadn't really linked all the quotes and knowledge to any source for Daddy.  They were just a part of being around him. This even reminds me of his earliest times to acquaint us with all types of stories.  When the oldest five kids were young, Daddy bought a section of a military barracks and had it moved to what we called the North Side.  The North Side was where the poorer folks lived in Big Spring mostly dirt streets and few lawns in the cleachy soil that made up that section of Big Spring.  Anyway, Daddy divided up this empty barracks into three bedrooms, a kitchen and huge living room for his family.  Before the walls were installed we had a great skating area with no boundaries.  After the walls were in, we would sit at night in the small hall between the bedroom and the kitchen and listen to stories on the radio.  “The Shadow Knows,”  “ Inter Sanctum,” "The Lone Ranger " these episodes with Tonto and "Kimo Sabe" were listened to on a small radio that sat on shelf in the hall with Mom and Dad and seven kids huddled around. 

         Somewhere in this timeframe, Daddy began reading all the western novels that he could find.  He liked to read Zane Grey and Louis Lamour.   One time after I was married Daddy and I were talking about what he was reading. Nearly all of Daddy's son-in-laws, Gordon, Ray, Michael Irwin, and Kurt all read the adventures written by Louis Lamour.  Daddy's critique of Louie was that he respected women.  Things happen to the women in the stories but never physical or sexual abuse.  I liked that concept of knowing that my father read every story that Lamour ever wrote as much of his leisure reading entertainment. He grew up in Big Spring, Texas and knew everybody.  He could tell you where everybody lived, their cousins, grandfathers and mother-in-laws and who was their next door neighbor.

My father was good in mathematics and all types of history.  He loved the scouting program; nature and the outdoors.  He took us camping in many places and always challenged us to leave the campground cleaner that we found it.  He rarely spoke of his military career in China and the Philippians. Daddy  had a photo album of China that he shared with great pride along with the fact that he thought Lady Chang Kai Chek was a great diplomat and leader for the Chinese people. 

         I guess if we as siblings mentioned anything even more often it was the type of pets that Daddy brought us.  We had a burro named Bushrod; a goat, chicken, a dissented pet skunk, and a gar fish from Possum Kingdom Lake that he let swim in the bathtub. Our most famous pet was a green parrot from Mexico that Daddy brought to us.  The story that we were told was that Daddy came up to the immigration check point in Old Mexico and they told him that he could not take the parrot back to Texas.  So after some discussion, Daddy walked back into Old Mexico and came back with a bag of peanuts.  The immigration officers laughed thinking he had traded the parrot for a bag of peanuts.  After he and mom returned to the other side of the river, Daddy drove down the side of the river for a few blocks where a young Mexican had swam the Rio Grand River and when he came up on the shore pulled the Green parrot out of his shirt.  Needless to say Daddy had the last laugh on the border patrol.  The parrot was a great pet except when he would craw under the bed and hide.  Then when the girls would start to get in bed, he would come out at night and bite their toes.  Believe me, a bite from a parrot on a three year old's toe is a bite to remember.  Everyone in the house will never forget those blood curdling screams.

         At some time in Daddy's early family life, his brother had gone to prison for robbing a train.  Daddy had to live in his home town with this knowledge and he thoroughly impressed on all of his children the importance of being honest.  His favorite saying was "If you can't be honest over little things, then you cannot be honest or trusted with bigger things."  

          I was about eight or nine years old when my Grandpa Edwards who smoked Camel Cigarettes came to visit us.  Mom had a laundry room in the bath room which was just off the kitchen.  In the laundry room she had an old ringer type washing machine with two galvanized wash tubs for rinsing the laundry that stayed full of water all the time with seven children in the house. So Joyce and I decided that we would go into the bath room and try one of the camel cigarettes. Only an eight year old and a nine year old would not be able to realize that smoking in a bath room would be like setting off a fire cracker in the kitchen as far as the smell of smoke would travel.  So we had no more than lit the cigarette when Daddy smelled the smoke coming from the bath room and came tearing through the door to find the fire.  Well, when he saw us trying to smoke the Camel Cigarette, he was rather upset.  In place of spanking us, he simple said, “Since you want to try tobacco, I want you to have the full range of experiencing tobacco. “  With that he tore off a part of his Brown Mule Chewing Tobacco and insisted that we had that experience to the Camel.  Chewing the Brown Mule was to be followed by dipping snuff and trying one of his famous cigars.  Believe me we had no trouble with the Brown Mule message and completely understood the concept that any additional smoking would result in further experiences in the personal field of tobacco knowledge.

         Not too long after this, I was playing at school on the swing set, trying to scoot across the top of the bars from one end to the other when the bell rang and one of the girls in my class pulled on my leg and said, "Let's go in." The next thing I knew I was on the ground.  I don't remember the details of how I got to the hospital but I do remember the doctor examining the way that Daddy had immobilized my legs with two "one by fours" and some magazines, made some type of heel sling. The doctor was quite impressed with this make shift cast especially the heal sling. Daddy had been a medic at some time in his military career. 


Beverly remembers that Daddy taught her all about catching fish.  Our family had seven children and so Daddy was always very resourceful.  He told us that whenever they were out by the lake or river that if you looked around you could always find some fishing line and some hooks that people had caught in a tree and left.  So he and Beverly would walk along the shore or bank until they found a tree with fishing line and hooks dangling from the branches.  Bobbers and sinkers were usually found on the fishing line also.  Daddy taught her how to tie the Bowline in 1960. He also taught her how to tie the clove hitch, square knot and make taut lines.  Beverly also remembers catching a big cat fish that was swimming near their bait bucket.  She was able to just reach down and pick up the fish as he swam by her.  Beverly also caught sun fish and rainbow trout.  Beverly remembers Daddy also loving the Blue Bonnets, the state flower of Texas, that are found all over the fields in Texas in the spring time.  She actually wrote a poem for Daddy about the Blue Bonnets which was published in an anthology in Houston, Texas. 


Memories from Frank: 

          While living on North Goliad, Daddy used to inspect our rooms before we could go anywhere especially on Saturday morning when we wanted to go to the movies and bid on prizes with our Gandy Milk Cartons at the Ritz Theater.  The neighbor boys, Lee Roy and Johnny Paul had figured out that you could to go to the dump ground after the Ritz Theater collected all the cartons from the kids and pick them up for the next Saturday.  They collected enough of these cartons to earn a go cart. 

         On one camping trip to Moss Creek Lake, Frank was in charge of getting everything ready. When they arrived, Frank had forgotten all of the cooking equipment. They found Styrofoam cup blowing along the fence line and after cleaning it up, they drank raw eggs from the cup.  By the end of the day, Frank was convinced that he would never forget the pots and pans again.  Daddy had the boys roll the rest of the eggs in mud and then place them in hot coals to cook which really turned out to be pretty tasty.  They located some green tree limbs.  Using the “y” of the tree limb they hung the bacon and cooked it over the coals.  A separate straight stick was used to wrap the biscuit dough around the tip of the stick to cook over the coals.  Cooking and Camping Merit Badge quickly followed as Frank later learned that you could take Bisquick and have biscuits by just adding water.  Pancakes were cooked on hot rocks.

         Frank said that one time when he was flying for South East Airway in Double Springs, Alabama, he had to deliver an airplane. So Frank took Nonie his wife and Daddy along on the flight.  He had Daddy sit in the co-pilot’s seat and started the flight.  Soon after they were in the air, a door light on the front panel came on indicating that somehow the latch on the door had not been secured. So Frank got up and as he walked to the back told Daddy who had never flown before to fly the plane while Frank checked the problem with the door. Daddy just about came unglued. 


Marshall wrote the following about Jack Horn:

          One funny story related from Marshall from many years later was about his pocket knife. He would go with me on the mail route sometimes, and one day we had a flat near the Fairview Gin. We stopped and put on the spare and drove the rest of the route without any problems. About a week later, he was riding with me again, and we started pulling onto highway 87 near the Fairview Gin and he said "pull over right here." I pulled over and stopped. He got out of the car and walked about two feet, picked up his pocket knife, and with a grin got back into the car. He had dropped his knife the week before and somehow he had remembered exactly where he had lost it.


My Dad by Cheri Horn Pardue

          One of my earliest memories of daddy took place while all the kids were at school and no one was home except me, mom, and daddy.  He would come home for the lunch hour and after we had lunch, we would lay down on the floor for a nap.  Daddy would lay down first, then Mom would lay down with her head on his tummy.  Next I would lay down with my head on Mom's tummy, and we would sleep for at least a half an hour before he had to go back to the plumbing shop.  I'm sure I slept much longer, but that was how I fell asleep for my afternoon naps.

         Daddy used to gather rattlesnakes for the rattlesnake round-up.  I must have either been one brave kid, or one stupid kid, but I always wanted him to open up the burlap bag and show me a snake.  I hate rattlesnakes to this day from the memory of those scary creatures he had in that bag.  I don't know how he kept from being snakebite.  I guess he was just smart enough to stay out of their way!

         I honestly think I'm the reason Daddy had a weak heart!  Daddy took me driving when I was learning to drive.  He would have you drive for miles and miles.  Our drive took us to Robert Lee Dam.  He said, "Cheri, I want you to drive across the dam."  My heart nearly stopped, that dam looked terrifying!  I started across the dam with my eyes closed! Daddy said, "What are you doing?"  I said, "I'm scared!"  He said, "You think you're scared? OPEN YOUR EYES!!!!"  Poor Daddy!  I don't know how he taught his seven kids to drive and survived it!

         Daddy used to tease me and tell me to be sure and put antifreeze in my car for the winter.  I'd say okay, and then after thinking about it for a minute, I'd say, "Oh, Daddy, my car doesn't have a radiator!"  I drove a Volkswagen! Daddy told me once that people put a fence around trees to keep them from running away! 

         On my wedding day, Daddy put a penny in my shoe, and then we walked down the balcony to the stairs to get ready to go down for the wedding.  He asked, "Are you sure you want to go through with this." I said, "I don't know."  He replied, "Too late now, I can't find the back door," and he marched me down and placed my hand in Robert's!

         My last memory of Daddy was spent with him working on my piano.  He and I sat up until nearly 3 AM trying to get all the springs back into the action.  He kept calling me sweetheart and honey, and I'd look around to see if Momma was in the room with us.  She was not; it was just he and I.  Those were the tenderest feelings he had ever shared with me.

         Little did I know that that would be the last time I'd see him in this life.  I am so grateful for that last night with him.   Daddy could be stern and rough when he needed to, but inside, he had a very tender heart and loved people and doing things for others. 

         He was a great example of caring and charity.  This was proven the day of his funeral when so many friends and neighbors came by to tell us what all he had done for them.

         I am very grateful to call him Daddy!

         Jack Horn died while they lived on Dallas Street.  He had a check up from the doctor and walked home from the Veterans Hospital after his appointment.  He died the next day from a brain aneurism.  He was a wonderful dad who taught us all to respect others, live the commandments, to be honest and true and to think of others.

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