“I Remember . . .”
Personal Recollections of Route 66
Of all the resources for learning about Route 66, perhaps none are more valuable than the accounts of the individuals who have first-hand, personal experience with the Mother Road. Here we feature some of those personal anecdotes.
It was April 4, 1955. Sammie & I are from Seneca, Mo., 14 miles from Joplin. We spent our wedding night at Little King Court on Route 66, Joplin Main street. The check-in clerk told us our cabin was next to Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn.
R. M., Sherman, Texas, 2009
Our family has traveled the 66 Route since 1942, at least once a year. We have fond memories traveling from Bristow, Oklahoma, to Bakersfield, California.
R. C., Bakersfield, California, 2008
I am a true son of the Mother Road. My step-dad, Dob Stanfill, and my mother, Martha, purchased a 160-acre farm, 1/4 mile east of Seaba Station in Warwick, Oklahoma, about 1942. Dob worked for John Seaba, rebuilding auto engines, for $18.00 a week. After Douglas Aircraft began building C-47 aircraft at Midwest City in 1943, he obtained a job as a lead-man and worked there until VJ Day in 1945. He would leave the house at 4:30 a.m. every day, 7 days a week, and carpool to work. He did not return until about 9:00 p.m.
Route 66 bisected our farm. We had a WPA-built culvert under which we could ride the horses and move the cattle from one side of the highway to the other.
I graduated from Wellston High School in 1949 and later, after combat in the Korean War, I drove 66 every day, attending Central State University, graduating in 1958. Later I attended graduate schools in Arizona and California.
Ralph Oliver, Calhan, Colorado, 2004
I was born in Oklahoma City just a block south of Route 66. My wife was born at Clinton and of course made many trips to OKC on Route 66. I remember the Roundhouse at Arcadia—happy to see it still standing in '98. I made many trips to Albuquerque. Remember mostly the quaint "Tourist Courts" and slab stone Phillips 66 stations.
B. B., Euless, Texas, 2003
Lived in Vinita, Oklahoma, 1942 to 1950. Worked in gas stations on old 66. $1 gas got your windshield washed, oil, water, tires checked, and sometimes a set of free ice tea glasses.
B. S., Fort Worth, Texas, 2003
At age five when living in McLean, Texas, I stopped at the Phillips 66 station to get a drink from the water hose out front. I had done this many times before. This time, a wasp was in the hose getting a drink. He stung me on the tongue and my conversation was muddled for about a month.
Oscar Lochridge, N. Richland Hills, Texas, 2003
In November 1941 I served as an attendant at the Texas Highway Courtesy Station at Glenrio, Texas. The only restaurant was on the New Mexico side of the line, and it served as a filling station, saloon, and post office. It was run by Homer and Margaret Ehresman. Their son Allen Lee was a baby then, but he operates a modern filling station, gift shop, etc, at nearby Endee now. Glenrio was about 73 miles west of Amarillo off the Caprock and 41 miles east of Tucumcari, New Mexico.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, so many Okies left the dust-bowl behind them for work in the shipyards and defense plants in California. They would stop at our courtesy station for rest, information, and cold water in old cars with belongings on the roof and running-boards. I became manager of the station and worked there til August, 1942, when I enrolled in the University of Texas.
. . . I left Caribou, my hometown, on October 8, 1941, and arrived in Austin on October 25. Shortly afterward I got the job with the highway department at $100.00 a month. Raised to $125.00 when I became manager.
J. W. M., Fort Worth, Texas, 2003
In 1943 I hitchhiked from Azle, Texas, to Bakersfield, California, to visit my younger brother who was in the army hospital there. The visit with him was a happy time. Almost as memorable was the different people who were kind enough to give me a ride and the stories we shared about the war. . . . Thanks for the memories.
B. C. M., Hico, Texas, 2003
I drove along parts of Route 66 in 1956 and 1957 when I was in the army at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. I drove my auto from Fort Worth to there and then home again when I got out of the army. It's a shame so much of it is gone. I do go to Amarillo about once a year and see that portion in town.
D. H., Fort Worth, Texas, 2003
Traveled Route 66 two times per year on way to grandparents in Illinois from 1945 until it was replaced. Many memories of hot trips—no A/C and trucks on two-lane.
Anne Dews, N. Richland Hills, Texas, 2003