Blue Worm Moon March 31, 2018
1. Marci has purchased a little 2 bedroom house in Marathon and she will be offering it up as a VRBO type rental, but only to the people on this email list. She is still getting it ready. If you email me with an interest I will make sure she gets it. You can also call the number below and leave contact information.
DADIE STILLWELL POTTER
Last Month I spoke about Hallie Stillwell, and I felt like I left it a little short, so I am continuing on to the team of Hallie and Dadie.
Dadie was the glue that held the Stillwell family together. She is responsible for the Hallie Hall of Fame Museum, and she was always in the background working to promote Hallie’s extraordinary life as well as dote on her and prepare her for public events. The last few years of Hallie’s life, Dadie did the driving, making the world a much safer place. The both of them would show up for speaking engagements, weddings and events dressed and made up nicely.
One time Hallie had what they thought was a stroke, not significant enough to paralyze her, but they kept her in the hospital for several hours of observation. I don’t remember or think it was overnight though. She was scheduled to marry Pam and Andy Deas at the Gage Hotel that evening. We were waiting and waiting, and started celebrating early. Then, here she comes around 9:30 pm Dadie by her side; she married the couple and they drove home. Dadie would never let Hallie miss a commitment, and Hallie would never miss a paying gig.
It was Dadie’s idea to build and promote Hallie’s Hall of Fame Museum. In it contained the history of Hallie’s life in west Texas, with a replica of the small room she and Roy lived in when they were just married. The museum was modest and at one time family pictures were in a bowl to look at and go through. She was so trusting with her possessions, I don’t think it occurred to her that someone might steal the contents of the museum, and they did. Hallie had an arrowhead collection, artifacts she found on their land, that went missing. I don’t recall the details, but they were recovered by the Brewster County Sheriff’s department (AKA) Ronny Dodson. Dadie asked me to build a case to hold and secure them, and I guess it is still there.
Dadie encouraged Hallie to write I’ll gather my Geese, and finished My Goose is cooked after Hallie passed. I haven’t read it in years and maybe I should have before I wrote this, but I thought Roy was really hard on Hallie. I guess it was the “cowboy way” but the story that has stayed with me from the book was one day when they were gathering up cattle, Hallie was having trouble with this Dogie breaking from the herd and running away. She'd chase after it and get it back in the herd and it would stray again. Hallie did this all day till finally Roy scorned her for not looking at the brand and seeing it was the neighbor’s little cow and it had just been trying to get back to it’s mother. I would never let my mate wear herself out to teach her a lesson.
Dadie was my surrogate Mom, and I thought of her that way. My Mom was very affectionate, the touchy feely type, and never went a day without telling me she loved me. Dadie was like that with me. My mom was thousands of miles away. Dadie made me feel loved in a way that only a Mother can. She knew what I needed, and in this I was always anxious to do whatever she wanted me to do, and not waste any time getting it done. There was a viewing of a documentary made about Hallie, we watched it together and never let go of each other.
Dadie’s favorite song was “Volver, Volver” and at Hallie’s 95th birthday, The Border Blaster’s which is Todd Jagger, Jimmy Ray Harrell, with Washtub Jerry sang it for her several times.
It seemed the heyday of the Stillwell Store was in the early and mid 90’s. The Lalinda bridge was still open, and the store would be the first and last stop for trucks going both ways, getting food, supplies and fuel for their trip. Some of the most unroadworthy vehicles with high sided gates would be filled to the brim with all kinds of stuff to take into Mexico. It was busy.
After Hallie passed, three of her children, Dadie, Son and Guy all died within the first year. Kay, WT, and Nan finished out the Stillwell era. It was a sweet time for me just at the beginning of my life in Big Bend. I’ve been blessed and loved to know the Stillwells. Of all the images I’ve made, with the exception of Marci, Hallie and Dadie is the only image of mine that is on my wall.
Hallie and Dadie were role models for me. They were down to earth, humble, frank, and honest. They knew what it took to live in and survive in this desert, and were grateful for each day.
I thank each and every one of you that is supporting and have supported my life in Big Bend. I am your documentarian, I am your historian. I am your photographer.