Twins Darlene and Dale were born to Clabe and Leora Wilson at Stuart on May 13, 1921. They had two older brothers–Delbert and Donald, and a sister, Doris.
I know a few little stories about her growing up years: Darlene chipped a tooth at the Hemphill place while Dale was helping her get a drink from the water pipe that fed the stock tank. She must have bumped her mouth on it. Good thing it was a baby tooth.
Darlene got a doll for Christmas that said “Mama” when you leaned her over. Once when their mother Leora was gone, Doris could scarcely wait to tattle about the shocking thing her little sister had done. “Darlene took out the mama thing from her doll!”
The Wilson kids enjoyed telling riddles. Darlene offered to tell one and described a brown animal that had tall legs. The other kids couldn’t guess what it was. “A groundhog.”
After Wilsons moved into town, Darlene enjoyed making the rounds of three neighbor ladies. She’d go to Nellie Neal’s and play her piano, even if they weren’t home. Mrs. Wilt told her stories about when she was a little girl in the old country. And once Mrs. Bruff let her take her twisted hair down and brush it. Darlene soon had a job of her own–taking care of Zedonna Neal’s boys.
One Fourth of July Darlene bought cherry bombs with some of her babysitting money. They let them under a tin can.
Darlene was good at finding pets. Pick and Pat were her first discoveries, but she was also the one who came home with news that the neighbors had a non-purebred puppy for sale. They named him Spats.
Their dad Clabe was the one who came home with a couple of orphaned squirrels. One gorged itself on peaches and didn’t survive. The other one, Rusty, was a fun pet for all of them.
After the older brothers had joined the Navy, their mother thought Delbert and Donald ought to know that Darlene had gotten taller than her twin brother.
Darlene played in the band (which got to take a bus to Minneapolis in 1939 for winning an award), played basketball, and was a soloist in “Sunbonnet Sue.”
She was “Miss Dexter” in a beauty pageant.