George Andrew Graham, Jr. was sickly as I remember him during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. He got pretty sick after driving the cows from the farm about 5 miles outside of Morton, Texas to the White House nearer to Morton. I remember Mother Bess putting some kind of poultices on the back of his neck to get the boils or abscesses to open. I watched as she would pick at these with one of those sewing needles that she burned over a candle to get the germs off the needle. She did this before she used it on his neck.
He missed a lot of school. After we moved from this White House into Morton city limits behind the café he was in some sort of hospital or doctor’s office where he had overnight beds. In fact, George was in that house for several weeks on one occasion. I did not like going there because it smelled like ether. I hated ether ever since the doctor gave me that stuff to sedate me while he operated on my left foot. Mother visited him there daily. One day she was so busy she could not take him some clean clothes so she begged me to go. She finally convinced me that I should go see George because he had asked to see me.
I must have been eight or nine at the time and that would make George sixteen or seventeen. He was about nine years my senior. This time they had to put him to bed because he went out for the football team and went into some kind of heart leakage. After my medical training years later, I found out he had an aortic heart valve that leaked badly. I took him the clean clothes and we talked some and he wanted me to come see him more. I noticed he had a bunch of books there on the floor by his hospital like bed and he told me the teacher had brought those so he could keep up his studies.
When George finally got out of that place the doctor warned him never to play sports again because it could kill him. Friends in town would take him to school in their cars and pickup trucks to keep him from having to walk very far.
George did finally graduate from high school and after the WWII started he went to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and worked in the defense plants. There were several of the young men who had gone there to work because they heard it would keep them out of the war.
After a couple of years working there we got some unsettling news. Some of these young men got into trouble and had to join the Army anyhow. George was one of this group but because he had this heart problem, he was sent to a work camp in Seagoville, Texas.
This was all very hush, hush in our family and I just assumed that George was being punished because of his heart disease. He did not have to stay there very long and then came back to Lubbock, Texas and went to Texas Tech and met a beautiful young lady by the name of Zylphia Neely. They became the parents of two neat young boys by the name of George Andrew Graham, III (Andy) and Clifford Dale Graham.
George finally got his heart valve replaced and lived to the ripe age of 87. The family is so proud of George and his accomplishments.