OBITUARY

Violette "Vicky" Inez Lucas

July 21, 1920November 7, 2018
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Violette "Vicky" Inez Cook Lucas, 98, passed away Wednesday, November 7, 2018 in Grapevine, Texas. Service: 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 14, in Laurel Land Memorial Chapel of Fort Worth. Interment: Laurel Land Memorial Park. Visitation 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Laurel Land Funeral Home. Vicky was born July 21, 1920 in Krum, Texas to John and Alma Monshcke, the youngest of three girls. She lived in and around the area until she left to attend South Dakota State Teachers College in Aberdeen, South Dakota. After a brief teaching stint, she moved back to Fort Worth and took a job as a Draftsman with the Texas Highway Department. It was during this time that she met and married her beloved husband, Edgar Lucas. She left the Highway Department when her first son was born in 1954, returning back to work in 1968, for a total of 27+ years of proud service to the State of Texas. She retired in 1985 and enjoyed time with family, especially during the holidays. She was a longtime member of Southcliff Baptist Church and the Early Bird Sunday School Class. She was preceded in death by Edgar, her husband of more than 65 years, in 2013. Survivors: sons, Edgar C. "Chip" Lucas, Jr. and Timothy C. Lucas and wife, Dianna; grandsons, Matthew Lucas, Zachary Lucas and Oliver Peck; granddaughter, Miya Lucas.

  • PALLBEARERS

  • Matt Lucas
  • Zach Lucas
  • John Prindle
  • Ricky Prindle
  • Michael Knyff
  • Dean Throne

Services

PREVIOUS SERVICES:

  • Visitation Tuesday, November 13, 2018
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, November 14, 2018

OTHER SERVICES:

  • Committal Service
REMEMBERING

Violette "Vicky" Inez Lucas

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Bill Plumb

November 9, 2018

I have many wonderful memories of Mrs. Lucas. I spent lots of time in the Lucas household and considered her as a second mom. Mrs. Lucas was very kind and a great mom to Chip and Tim. I ate meals and celebrated birthdays with them. She will be missed!

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FROM THE FAMILY
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FROM THE FAMILY
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FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

Born in Krum, Texas
July 21, 1920 - 8:30 pm

Parents - John Luke Monschke (Farmer)
Alma Belle Whitehead (Teacher)
Sisters - Thelma Jo and Helen Louise

When I was 18 months old, my mother put me in a little red wagon outside where my sisters were playing “house”. Rocks marked the limits of the rooms of their “play house” and broken glass and other debris were their dishes. I fell out of the wagon onto a broken bowl and cut my right wrist to the bone. My mother panicked and ran to the field where my father was plowing. He put the horses in the barn and then ran 1/4 mile to the nearest neighbor who had a car, and asked him to take us to a doctor in Denton which was about five miles away. We only had a buggy for transportation. We made it to Dr. Kimbro’s office who took eleven stitches in my arm without an anesthetic. It took three people to hold me down. The doctor said I would never use my hand, but I fooled him! In the meantime, my father, who had been having pain in his side for over a week, but wouldn’t go to the doctor until he finished “spring plowing,” got violently ill and was sent to a hospital in Dallas where he died of a ruptured appendix at age 28. Mother was suddenly a widow with three little girls. She went back to teaching and arranged for my father’s sister and husband (who lived with my grandparents) to care for us during the week - she came home on weekends. Uncle Ed had a model T Ford and I loved riding in it when we went after Mother. It had oil cloth window curtains with isinglass for windows. There was a horse hair blanket in the back. I would get under it when it was stormy and cold and felt so safe. Life was rather quiet, but I was afraid of Grandmother as she only spoke German and I didn’t understand her. Grandfather had a long beard and I hated for him to kiss me because it scratched. There was a Victrola in the large entry of the house and a large supply of classical music records which I loved. I guess that’s why I have always preferred classical or semi-classical music. There was also a kaleidoscope with pictures that could be viewed in 3-D.

A family lived on one side of us who had two boys and a girl and a Willys-Knight car. There was a garden between us with a stile (steps) over the fence. We spent a lot of time playing together. The youngest boy - Max - was my age and said he was going to marry me when we grew up. He was captain of a ship in the merchant Marines in World War II. We were reunited after the war, but unfortunately found we had drifted apart; however, we had many good memories of our childhood. A doctor and his family lived on the other side of us. The neighborhood kids used to sit on the curb - lit by a street light and tell “ghost stories”. Those were happy times.

When I was six years old, I was enrolled in first grade at the “Demonstration” school at the College of Industrial Arts (CIA). It was a class where students did their “practice teaching” to earn their teaching degree. CIA was an all-girls school which today is known as Texas Woman’s University. I remember being served milk and graham crackers at mid-morning and then having to rest our head on our desk for a while (probably 30 minutes). Once I stopped on my way home at a little friend’s house to play, and got a good scolding for that!

When I finished first grade, my mother married her ex-brother-in-law who was married to my father’s sister who died of leukemia. He was a most wonderful influence on my life. He was a brave man to assume responsibility of three little girls! He was a teacher also. He and my mother both graduated from North Texas State University in Denton. After their marriage, they got a teaching job at Mt. Donwell (a school near Smithfield) and we were on our way as a family. “Daddy” bought a new 1929 Chevrolet touring car which went 25-30 miles an hour. Our new home was about a two hour drive from Denton. We stopped on the way out of Denton and bought 12 hamburgers for 99 cents, which we stopped and ate on the way. We had rented a house from a widow whom we called “Aunt Josie” and her brother “Uncle Gene.” We spent some happy times there. We carried the coolest, fresh water down a small hill to our house. There was a bucket on a rope on a pulley which even I could manipulate. There was a peach orchard nearby and we would stop and eat peaches on the way.

There was a “tank” nearby and Helen and I would go there and fish for crawfish. We put a piece of bacon on a string and dropped it in their hole and pulled them out; smash their heads with a rock and pull off their tail. When we got enough tails in a tin can we would take them home and mother would fry them (a real delicacy!) We had a garden too. It was the job for us to pick the potato bugs off of the vines. We would drop them in a can with some kerosene in it and that was the end of the bugs! I had a little black and white dog - “Sport” - my first pet. I learned to climb trees too. The first time I climbed one I couldn’t get down and had to call Daddy for help. He taught me how to shoot a pistol and a 22 rifle. Our target was a tin can on a fence post. We would watch the clouds roll by and he taught me the names of them. We also looked at the stars at night and I learned the locations of the different constellations. He was a History major and told historical events in story form which was fascinating. He was a great teacher! I also had a “best friend” Blanche. We spent hours playing in nearby “woods.” Our after school treat at her house was a cold biscuit with mustard on it.

After two years there, we moved on to Hurst - a four teacher school. A house was furnished for the Superintendent. That was a fun time too. Daddy put up a rope swing over a big limb of an oak tree and I spent a lot of time “swinging.” He also made me a pair of stilts which I soon mastered. I had several best friends there, Maxine, Nola Belle and Tommy Lee, whose grandparents had a grocery store across the street where I would go and buy a nickels worth of “mixed” candy. We had a cow and chickens that roosted in the trees. Daddy would shoot one when we wanted one for Sunday dinner. Once he kept missing the target and I said “Let me try.” My first shot was a hit to the head! Mother would then put it in boiling water to make the feathers come off easier. We did not have refrigeration. We had ice boxes. One compartment was lined with tin and could hold up to 100 lbs. of ice. There was a tube to the floor which emptied into a pan on the floor which caught the water as the ice melted. It was my job to empty the pan when it got full (occasionally it ran over).

At Christmas we had a real tree with regular candles which we fastened on with metal clips. We lit the candles and watched them closely for any fire. We didn’t leave them on very long. We always had apples, oranges, nuts and “hard” candy. We didn’t have many presents, but once I got a little red wagon.

Daddy always wanted me to see everything of interest. Once he came home and got me to go see a pelican that unexplainably landed in a lake nearby. Another time he took me to see the remains of a steam engine whose boiler blew up on tracks just north of Keller. He took me quite often to the old Carriage Library in Fort Worth. I was fascinated by the dinosaur in the lobby. We went to Medicine Shows, which occasionally came to town in a tent erected in a vacant lot across the street from the school. They would present short plays and charge 10 cents for kids and 25 cents for adults. Everybody always went because entertainment didn’t come to town often. Once a car sped through town and everybody said it was Bonnie & Clyde - guess we’ll never know for sure. We went to the circus once when posters advertising it were put on the outside of the store across the street and free tickets were given for the favor. Again we played in the woods and nobody came looking for us. It was safe then. At night before bedtime mother would read to us - sometimes mysteries, poetry or Shakespeare, but most often stories from the Bible. We also had responsible chores to do. We washed dishes, swept and mopped floors, dusted, made our beds and helped with the washing. Mother made lye soap to use. We put everything that didn’t fade into a big kettle, built a wood fire under it and stirred the contents with a stick while the water boiled. Then we put the clothes in a wash tub and rubbed them on a metal “wash board”. (It was hard on the knuckles!) They were put in another tub to rinse, wrung out (hard on the wrists!) and hung on a line to dry (fastened with “clothes pins”). We didn’t have vacuum cleaners, so we hung the area rugs over the clothes line and beat them with a flat metal paddle to get the dirt out. We had no indoor plumbing.

When I was twelve years old, I gave my life to Jesus and was baptized in a gravel pit nearby on a Sunday afternoon. The church had no Baptistery. I have attended Baptist churches ever since and have tried to live a Christian life. When I was in high school, I taught Sunday school for 5 and 6 year olds.

By this time the Great Depression of 1929 had hit and unemployment was high. Many in the community asked Daddy for help. He co-signed a $100 note for a friend who defaulted on his payments so Daddy had to pay. That made it hard on our family. The school board decided that only one member in a family could have a job, so mother lost hers. Things were getting worse everywhere. Daddy had a sister who had a ranch in West Texas near Hereford, who said teachers were scarce in that area and she thought Mother and Dad could both get a teaching job there. Sure enough, they were hired at a three teacher rural school so we had to move 200 miles west. We hired a friend with an old truck for the job. We loaded up and were on our way again. The friend’s wife rode with him and we followed in our car. At the end of the day the truck had a flat, but there was no spare tire and it was miles to the next town. There was nothing to do but to dig out some blankets and sleep beside the road and wait for morning when the driver “hitched” a ride to the next town and bought a tire. When he returned, we were on our way again. It took another day to get to “Watson” - our new address. Again a “teacherage” was furnished a four room house. This was an area where acres and acres of wheat were grown and few people lived. Kids were bused in to school. I was in 9th grade and Helen was in 11th. There were only 11 grades then. We rode the bus to “Bula” a consolidated school 18 miles away. Helen and I shared a bedroom with the third teacher, Frances Neutzler. The wind blew all the time and tumbleweeds piled up on anything that could stop them - fences, buildings, etc. Then the sandstorms began and the country was known as the Dust Bowl. We could see the dust storms coming in the distance - the sky turned to darkness and then it would hit so hard it was hard to breathe. Everything would be covered with sand! In the mornings our beds were covered with sand. Those storms were frequent as there was very little rain for a long time. Again, we had no indoor plumbing, but had a well.

By now money was really scarce. High school offered some courses that parents had to pay extra for. Typing was $5 per semester. It was decided that since Helen was older she could take typing. I regretted I couldn’t take it as my life’s work might have been different. My parents did manage $5 for my class ring. After a short romance after her graduation, Helen married Orvel Lane - that lasted about six weeks - then divorce.

Thelma Jo married Robert Prindle while we were still living in Hurst and never moved with us. Her first child “Little Robert” was born in 1936 and I became a proud aunt. We made a trip back to Fort Worth during the Texas Centennial - mainly to see the new baby. Life was uneventful, but we managed. I read a lot - all of Shakespeare’s plays. We had a piano and I played by ear. I took lessons once, but wouldn’t practice so I was enrolled in “Expression” (Public Speaking). I performed in a lot of “programs” and won a UIL gold medal twice for competitions between schools. I was on a program once with “The Light Crust Doughboys.”

I graduated from Bula High School in 1936 on a Friday night and went to work at a hospital on Monday morning. I wanted to be a nurse but had to be 18 to enter nurse’s school, so this was the next best thing. The hospital was owned by two doctors and had 12 beds which were on the second floor. The nurses (there were two R.N.s) taught me how to give “shots” by using an orange. In only a few days, I was put in charge of the upstairs as “night nurse.” I was introduced to the “real world.” I saw my first operation and first deaths (an 18 year old girl and a man severely burned in a wreck.) I took care of a lot of people - from babies to adults. After a while, an assistant for me was hired. The nights were not so long then. There was a house next door where all of the women who worked at the hospital lived. I was given room and board and $15 per month. My first paying job! In the meantime, my parents left Texas and I was here alone. The depression had worsened and there were no jobs available. Daddy’s sister and family had moved to Peoria, Illinois where the men in her family got jobs with Letourneau Manufacturing plant and thought Dad could get a job there too as they were “hiring” at the time, so off they went and Dad got a job, but I was really on my own now at age 16. By November, I decided to go to Illinois also. I had saved enough money for a bus ticket so I left. I first went to Fort Worth to see Thelma Jo and Little Robert. I stayed there 3 days and then “took off” for the unknown. It was my first “long” trip and I was both excited and scared. It was uneventful until we got almost to St. Louis. The driver stopped and went into a building, leaving me and a black man (the only other passenger) alone. I was really uneasy, as it was midnight and very dark. He finally came back and we were on our way again. I changed buses in St. Louis. We arrived in Peoria the next day, and I didn’t know what to expect. Daddy met me at the bus station and took me to Aunt Freeda’s house. She had 2 girls and 2 boys. Mother had got a job keeping house for a family of four. Helen had a job keeping house for a young working couple. I got a job as a nanny, taking care of two little boys. I don’t remember how much I was paid. I’m sure it wasn’t much, but I had a day off and some evenings. It was a new and different experience. The river went through the town and I could hear the calliope playing on the river boat. I loved the sound. While I was there, the radio station gave an audition for a regular spot. I decided to try for it and got the job. Unfortunately, I had left town by the time I was notified by a phone call from my former employer. She said Jack Brickhouse (M.C. of the variety show) himself called. She was surprised as she didn’t know I had auditioned. Guess that’s how I missed a career in show biz!

My family was on the move again! Mother had heard from her brother, Joe, who was living in Isabel, South Dakota. She had not seen him in thirty years. They were anxious to see each other and when Joe wrote that teachers were needed in South Dakota, and he was sure that Mother and Dad could get a job there, so we were on the move again. When we arrived, I learned that anyone who had completed one year of college was eligible to teach in South Dakota and I got interested! I had no money, so I borrowed $100 from Daddy - for tuition and books, and got a job for room and board in Aberdeen, South Dakota - South Dakota State Teachers College. My job was with a retired lawyer, his grouchy old wife and a divorced middle aged daughter. They had a very large, two story house, which I cleaned once a week. I helped with dishes every night. Occasionally a college friend and I went to a restaurant for a Sunday night and spent 35 cents for a bowl of Chinese Chow Mein. Sunday afternoon was my free time. I was not used to winter weather, but managed to buy a pair of snow boots, snow pants and a parka. I walked a mile to and from South Dakota State Teachers College every day. Sometimes the snow was waist deep, but I persevered! Nothing was going to stop me from getting a teaching certificate. I was in Aberdeen, South Dakota and my parents were in Isabel (western South Dakota). I managed to have enough money to buy a train ticket to be with family for Christmas. On the trip back to school, I met and visited with one of the editors of Readers Digest. I felt very worldly and wise after that trip. After the Spring semester, I spent the summer with “Aunt Gertie” and “Uncle Joe” in Isabel and signed a contract to teach in a one room, 12 student, rural school 25 miles west of Isabel. My pay was to be $60 per month, but only $45 in cash and $15 in vouchers - payable in 10 years. The depression was still apparent everywhere. My school house was a one room, square frame building with windows on the east and north sides. There was an outhouse a few yards away and a barbed wire fence around the perimeter. There was a “coal bin” at one end and a stove for heat. I had to keep the fire going at all times and “stoke” it at night so it didn’t go out. My accommodations were a cot to sleep on, which I had to furnish. The nearest house was 1/2 mile away. Starting day finally arrived and I was excited. I packed a suitcase, bought some groceries - mainly Vienna sausage, potted meat and crackers. I also had a small radio. My parents never had a radio while I was living with them. After my pupils left for the day, I would listen to “Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy” and “The Green Hornet” - each 30 minute programs. We visualized in our imaginations and everything seemed real and exciting! Someone told me that Cod Liver oil would ward off colds, so I bought a supply of that and sure enough, I did not get a cold all winter. Daddy drove me to my school in his Lafayette automobile. There was no road - only a few ruts to follow. It was at the end of civilization. We crossed miles of grassland, then came to the river and crossed on a wood bridge (deck only - no railing) then more miles to a house and then a creek, up a small hill and then my school house! Daddy promised to come back for me the following Friday and I was alone. On Monday morning the children came. There were 4 Eisenbecks (they walked across the creek and up the hill). There was Hilda - a 6th grader, Robert (?) 5th grade, and 3 Tidballs (1st, 3rd, and 4th grades) whose mother brought them the first day but then rode their horses. We got off to a good start. I had two first graders and they were so eager to learn. At college they told us not to teach phonics, but I did anyway and my two could soon read as well as any 6th grader. Hilda’s sister had finished school and lived with her parents. The only way for her to earn money was to make cookies, so I bought a big sack of cookies once or twice a month for 50 cents. Older kids didn’t have much of a future then!

In the weeks and months to come, I had joy as well as fear. Sometimes, herds of wild horses would mill around the school yard and I was afraid they might break down the fence. A game warden came by a few times, but never stopped. I understood he was checking on the herds of horses. One morning I heard “Miss Cook, Miss Cook.” I knew something was wrong so I looked out and there was a snake on the porch (which was just a deck) so I grabbed my 22 rifle and shot it. Nobody ever bothered me after hours, as they knew I had a gun and could use it. We were also bothered with pack rats. They brought brightly colored objects to the porch and left them. I would have to clear them away, but the most memorable times were when I could stand at the north windows and watch the Aurora Borealis shimmer and glow in all of its glory. It is one of the most beautiful sights of nature I have ever seen! The vivid colors and changing movements are amazing. I spent hours at those windows in awe of the wonderful sight! Daddy came after me most weekends but there was a lot of time the weather made it impossible, as we had a lot of ice and snow. Then Spring came and things began to grow again. Once I drove myself to my school. It was a beautiful day and I remember bouncing across the prairie and singing at the top of my voice. There was no one within miles. I was concerned when I reached the river because ice was thawing and big chunks were hitting the wooden bridge, but it withstood the threat and I finished the trip happily. At the end of my successful first year as a teacher, I decided to try for a school in a more civilized part of the state. I sold my vouchers to an individual who was investing in them at a 25% discount. The past year, I sent Helen $25 per month to pay her tuition to a Business School so she could be more than a housekeeper. She then had many good jobs in the future. I also repaid Daddy the $100 I borrowed for tuition and books. I actually lived on about $5 per month, but I had a very memorable experience. So I moved east to my second year of teaching.



To be continued.....