interview by L.J. Ehrlich
Alta Faye was born to Alexander George Laubhan on Feb. 5, 1914. Her mother was Louisa Ehrlich, born in 1890
Kansas. Alex and Louisa were married
Jan. 11, 1911 in
Arnett, Ok. Alta Faye
had an older sister, Beatrice who died in 1991, and has a younger
brother Marvin who lives in
Arizona. Marvin is married to
Elizabeth Jay. Alta
Faye married Lloyd Harrelson in 1943. Lloyd died in 1968. She has one daughter
Trudy, 2 grand children
and two great-great grandchildren. Trudy is married to Terry
In the winter time we had to wear long underwear and we were
glad in the spring it was like a holiday we could take off our
We would go to school with them on, after we got to school we
would roll up the legs above our knees so our socks wouldn’t look
Beatrice and I slept together. We only had two bedrooms in
the house. We
lived in Follett down on the highway where Velma Terrell lives
now. This house
was built by dad, but
in the beginning it was just a small house. About 15 years later we
built on and made it
My first grade
teacher was Mrs. Hale.
I started to school at 5 years old. Dad said “Beatrice is going,
you just as well go too!”
So Beatrice used to have me set on her lap a lot in
school. She was 2 years older than me. It was a little
harder for me, because I started so young, but I really didn’t have
any problems. In the
third and fourth grade Katie Price was my teacher. I took the fourth grade over
because I was so young and had been sick a lot. I had a
bronchial problem of which I still have. I developed this problem
when I was 5 years old.
I have had it ever since. I was at home sick as much
as I was in school in the fourth grade. I really don’t
remember much more only
that we went to the 7th grade and then into high
When Beatrice graduated in 1929 , I was a sophomore and Dad
thought we both should to business college at the same time. So I quite high school and went with Beatrice to business college. The name of the
business college was
Kansas. I was about 15 years old at
this time. After
business college I came back to Follett and finished High
Every year on
May 1 we would have Maypole..
It had streamers hanging down. They were multi-colored
crepe paper streamers.
We would weave them in and out of the May pole. We also would make May baskets. We’d take the May baskets and put them on the
doors of the elderly. The baskets had flowers in them we picked from
the pasture and a little bit of candy. Not too much candy. We would wind up eating it
ourselves if there was.
I remember Mrs. Goodman. She was a little old lady
who didn’t have anyone.
She was around 80 years old. It always felt good to
leave her a basket because she enjoyed it so much. It was an expression of
love. The flag pole had
many uses. Those of us
who didn’t behave
or get our work done
had to march around the flag pole several times. I was one of those who
marched a lot.
On Valentines Day we would exchange we exchanged valentines
with each other.
Sometimes we made them ourselves. I remember getting one from
Keith Cross. He kind of
was my boyfriend. I think. I was in the 4th grade and
my teacher was Miss Price.
At Halloween we
had a lot of fun. We’d
dress up in costumes. I
was around 8 or 9 when I started to go out trick-or-treating. In a little town we’d go
everywhere. Our folks
didn’t take us. We’d go
by ourselves. It was
pretty safe. We did our
part in tearing things up at Halloween too. One year we put a cow up
in the school house. We
put it upstairs in the hallway. We just left it up
there. We all had a
part in it. Tandy, Chat
and the Thompson girls, the Crumps, and a bunch of us. Lewis Hill was
superintendent at that time.
We’d soap up windows and take air out of tires. We didn’t a lot of ornery
stuff. What a shock
when they would see that cow in the hallway the next
When I was a sophomore at school I was always doing something
I shouldn’t be doing.
In English class I was writing on something instead of
listening. Mrs. Sewell
says to me, “Alta Faye, what are you writing on?” I said, “Paper”. She said, “Oh, I thought it
was silk.” That’s all she said.
At Christmas time my Dad would go get a Christmas tree to cut
down on Christmas Eve.
We would string popcorn. It wasn’t a cedar tree but
it was kind of an evergreen because it had some leaves on it. We’d always decorate the
house. We’d make
streamers. We made
paper chains at school and put it out the day before Christmas. We would always get a gift
at Christmas. Not the
way kids get gifts
today. I remember
getting a little cedar chest.
I could put doll clothes in it. The last year I remember getting a doll was
when the Buielo dolls were popular. They were like a baby
doll. It had a glass
head and hands and it was like a little baby. The body was stuffed with
cotton. I told my folks
that’s all I wanted for Christmas. But they cost $6 and that was pretty
high. They had got us something us, but I don’t remember what. So I got up Christmas
morning and I didn’t get a doll. I cried and you know
what that does.
running the drugstore at that time. They lived in the back of
the drug store. They’re
the ones who had the dolls.
Their daughter, Margaret, was my age and she was getting one
of those dolls for Christmas.
I just knew I would because I had told them I wanted
one. Dad said, “Get
your coat on, we’ll go up there.” Mr. Wilson was glad to get
the doll out. So I got
the doll and I still have it.
It’s still got $6 marked on its neck, and it has the original
dress on. Trudy has
her. I carried her with
me everywhere I went.
I played a lot of volley ball and outdoor ports. I also played
practiced outdoors. We
played Higgins who had an indoor court and we thought that was
pretty neat to play them indoors. Of course they probably beat
us 100 - 10 but we
thought it was fun. I
liked it. We used to
take the bus to Higgins.
After I got out of school at Follett we had a town basketball
team. I’d play on it.
I’d get real tired.
I’d sit in the middle of the floor and just rest I’d be so
I dated the Davidson boys. I went with Norvell Adams,
Tandy Bruce. There was
Eli Williams that used to have the cleaners there. I started dating Lloyd 5 or 6 years before we got
married. Lloyd’s Dad’s
name was Lawrence. He had a stepmother. His mother died when Lloyd
was ten. They came from
Arkansas and moved to
Follett. It was
Northwest Arkansas. Lloyd had been in WWII
when he got out. We got
married and moved to Eldorado.
He was working for TR when he came out of the service. TR had bought that ranch and
he wanted Lloyd to tend to it.
I had been working in
Mexico. I worked for this electric
company for about 30 years.
I retired from Community Public Service. We were married in
Kansas at the court
house. He worked for TR
a few months. Someone
was wanting to sell the Champlin service station - the one he worked
at before he went into the war. So Lloyd bought it
back. That’s where he
was until he died.
My Momma Louisa
died of high blood pressure and just old age. She had a stroke which was
the main thing. She was
in a nursing home at Laverne and Shattuck for 6 years before she
died. Dad was in a
nursing home for 5 or 6 years in Canadian and Perryton before he
died. Alex was a good
whittler. He always was
whittling in his spare time.
He was a jolly, loving man. At the nursing home,
they enjoyed him so
much because he had a French harp. He’d sing them a little tune
along the way. He just
kept things going. He
had a lady friend there.
Dad said she thinks we’re going to get married and he always
told her ‘next year’.
She doesn’t realize that ‘next year’ never gets
Life was different then that it is now for kids.
My advice to my children and
grandchildren on life
would be "to be honest and love people. Be fair and not forget about
God". That’s one of the
first things they should know but kids don’t