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January 23, 2001

The recent Northwest Corner column about Mr. and Mrs. Fred G. Moore and their travail in the Great Depression era of the 1930s brought back memories of those gloomy days for several readers. I thought you might be interested in hearing some of them. What follows comes from our dear friend, Esther Clark, a Perry centenarian. Her mother, Mrs. Etta Isham, lived across the street from us years ago and we have known Esther for a long, long time. Here is her recollection:

“…Several weeks ago you wrote about the Exchange Bank and the Moores, and I got some answers to questions that I had wondered about often. When I was in high school, I spent about three months in Perry during the school term when it was too cold to ride horses to school from our farm eight miles north of town. The Moores made a practice of keeping a high school student each year. They once had a girl from Sumner who had spent three years with them, so then I came along.

“Mother and Dad sold butter and eggs to customers in Perry every Friday. Mother became acquainted with Mrs. Moore, and then Mother asked Mrs. Moore if she knew where I could stay about three months for my room and board. Mrs. Moore was pleased to have me. She kept two teachers whom they boarded and roomed, and she could use some help. I would get up when Mrs. Moore did and help her prepare breakfast and if possible I liked to get the dishes done before I went to school.

“Mr. and Mrs. Moore were wonderful to me. They treated me like one of the family. Mrs. Moore was really a lovely lady and I felt I learned a great deal from her. I did not know that Mr. Moore and his brother-in-law, Mr. Harry McCandless, started the Exchange Bank in the late 1800s. Neither did I know that the Moores had built the large house they lived in (at Eighth and Ivanhoe) but I know Mrs. Moore had to manage her money carefully. One winter she was invited to the ‘Bankers Ball’ in Oklahoma City. She was feeling so sad, but said, ‘I just can’t go this year. I’ve worn the same red dress to three previous banquets and I don’t feel I can fool them in this one. She cried, and I felt so sad for her.

“I went to church with Mr. and Mrs. Moore and as I said before, they treated me like one of the family. I spent the winter months of 1916, 1917 and 1918 with them. I graduated in the spring of 1918. Then there were the years I was gone (with her husband and children), but when I came back to care for Mom, I went back to them.

“I felt so sad when they had to sell the Big House and when I learned that Mrs. Moore had been going door to door with ‘Avon supplies,’ I again felt so sorry for them. I had lost track of her and I wish I could have made life easier for her”

Thanks to Esther Clark for letting me share this with you. I trust she has fully recovered from the congestive heart failure problem that she recently experienced.