A Woman of the Century, Frances Minerva Nunnery (1898-1997): by Cecil Dawkins, Max Evans

By Cecil Dawkins, Max Evans

Anyone who nonetheless believes girls are frail, powerless, and incapable of facing equipment should still learn the tale of Frances Nunnery, a decided, inventive entrepreneur whose profession and character defy each stereotype approximately girls. We first meet her as a self-sufficient little lady engaged on a Virginia tobacco farm, a teenager who, whilst she bought a "lickin," by no means cried yet "stood there as an issue of delight" and took her medication. At 13 she went to paintings on the Heinz plant in Pittsburgh, and at twenty-one she used to be shipped off to Colorado to be married to a guy she did not comprehend. In 1921 she escaped to New Mexico in a version T Ford, settling in Albuquerque, the place she labored as a chauffeur, bus driving force, boarding apartment keeper, and evening membership singer, between different occupations. She by no means stopped operating, dwelling in all places New Mexico, ranching, operating as a deputy sheriff, and promoting actual property.

Cecil Dawkins has made Frances Nunnery's taped memories right into a vigorous tale that sounds as if Nunnery have been telling stories to an outdated pal at her kitchen desk. there's something commonly western in Frances's ingenuity and resolution, yet you don't want to have an interest within the West to get pleasure from her memoir.

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I washed diapers in every stream I came to and hung them on piñon trees or sage 42 ❙ A WOMAN OF THE CENTURY ❙ bushes or laid them on rocks to dry. She was starting to crawl and trying to pick herself up and walk by then. If we hadn’t been living in the car, I’d’ve let her go naked and just washed her behind instead of the diapers, like the Indian mothers did. I was picking up small jobs where I could. I worked for a while on an old Pueblo Indian ruin they later called Pecos Monument. These guys were digging around in there looking for what they could find in the way of old Indian things, pots and all.

That left nothing for me to do but step out after him and say I was to blame, he only did what I told him to. Mother said, “You think I don’t know that? I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t know what I’m going to do with you. ” She’d sigh with her hand on her hip. “All right,” she said. ” Clifford got a few licks, but I got a beating. I didn’t cry. I counted it a matter of pride to stand there and take my medicine. On the plantation we had two mule teams and a team of buggy horses. I longed to ride one of the jennies.

Then she went to grazing. Julie and I just stayed there in the shade under the branches and kept Grover treed for some time, till his squalling brought Arva out of the house. She broke off a branch and came after me. Julie and I had to run so Grover could climb down—it was that or have Arva beating up on me. One day I was riding Julie past the church during prayer meeting, all those people in there whining to the Lord. Well, the church doors were wide open—it was summertime—and I rode Julie up the steps and through the doors and down the aisle on one side, across the front, then up the aisle on the other.

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