Maxine Ray calls West Texas home for 93 years
Maxine Ray poses for a photo at Perfect Peace, a nursing home in Wolfforth. (Photo by Karen Michael)
Maxine Ray, a lifelong homemaker, raised four children with her husband, Clyde, who died in 1993.
She has resided at the Perfect Peace nursing home outside Wolfforth for the past year but is a lifelong resident of West Texas, with most of that time in Levelland.
Where were you born?
“Colorado City, Texas. We moved from there to Tahoka, Texas, when I was a year old. I lived in Tahoka until 1928. We moved to Levelland.”
Where do you call home?
“Levelland. I didn’t like a big town. I didn’t mind a small town. I didn’t want to move to Lubbock … I was 14 when I moved to Levelland. It was December, and it got real cold.”
What is your earliest memory?
“I remember moving to Tahoka. I didn’t want to ask my mother about it … I asked, those big red barns? I guess they were silos, but I didn’t know that then. Do you think I remember those or do you think I’m crazy? They said, if you remember that well, I think you remember it … My mother was expecting again already. My father said, ‘We’d better get on the road before we have to stop and have this other one.’”
Former occupation: Homemaker
Hobbies: Watching TV and playing keyboard
Brothers and sisters: Vera, Beatrice, Mary, Geneva, Effie, Cecil, Lonnie, Woodrow and Glenn. Two others died as babies.
Maiden name: Helen Maxine Loyd
How did you move?
You said your father did handsprings for most of his life. How old was he when he stopped?
“He was bound to have been 75 years old.”
You had a special relationship with him?
“He always said if you want something done right, ask Maxine. But I was the only one who ever followed him. I followed him every step. I was his pet.”
What was it like to live on a farm?
“We did everything. I was the middle of 12 children. I remember going to the fields.”
Did you work in the fields?
“Yes, I did until I got married. My husband said, you’ll never milk another cow or hoe another row of cotton if you don’t want to. I’ll make a living some way, it may not be the best.”
What is your educational background?
“We milked cows, me and (her sister) Mary, out on the farm in Levelland. We’d get up at 4 in the morning to go milk. We went to the house after we milked those cows … We’d get to school about 8 o’clock, because the bus had to make two routes, and we were on the first. I’d get to school and play basketball. I was a basketball star.”
I didn’t know girls got to play sports back then?
“I played. We would get our work done early. There were only three indoor courts … I played forward and guard.”
You said people doubted you could play because of your height. How tall are you?
“I was 5-feet then. Now I’m 4-feet-11, I think.”
When did you get married?
“I lacked a little bit being 20. I got married in 1934.”
Who did you marry?
“Clyde Ray. His daddy was a carpenter, and my husband followed him every step, just like me and my daddy.”
How many children did you have?
“I had four. There’s Freddie Jack, Harold Dean, that’s the one I lost, and Shirley Anne and Becky Jo… Freddie lives in Amarillo, or Bushland, it’s out west of Amarillo. Shirley lives here (in Wolfforth).”
Were you a homemaker?
“My whole life. That’s hard work, if you do it right, and raise kids too, and help raise the grandkids.”
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