In the mid-1920s, the Wilson’s landlord not only attended the Presbyterian Church, which he lived near, his house and barn were near the Dexter school.
The landlord allowed the Wilsons to use the “nice gentle pony” Nancy. Their father Clabe saddled the horse each morning so oldest sons Delbert and Donald could ride Nancy not quite 3 miles to school, leaving the horse in the landlord’s barn all day.
Kids were given authority a lot younger in those days, at least rural ones.
Decades later, Leora Wilson wrote in her memoirs, “They did pretty good, even did grocery shopping. I would send a list of groceries to get when they left for school and they would get the groceries after school. Clabe, their father, fixed a grain sack with a draw-string to hang over the saddle horn. Once they came home and no sack of groceries. They went back and someone had picked the sack of groceries up and hung it on a fencepost–all the groceries were there.”
When Doris started school in 1924, Clabe taught Delbert to hitch Nancy to a rig and drive the “Wilson school bus” to town. He was 9 years old.
While they lived on this farm, Leora ordered a sewing machine from the Sears Roebuck catalogue. It was too large to carry with the rural mail delivery, so the postman left a note to pick it up the post office. As soon as the kids got home from school, Leora drove Nancy and the rig back to town for her treasure.
It looks like the younger Wilson kids also got to enjoy this gentle horse.
Doris noted that sometimes when just the three kids rode, the wind blew so hard she couldn’t get her breath. When it rained, their mother sent an oil cloth to hold over themselves. When Dale and Darlene started school in 1926, Clabe made a cover for a two-seater buggy so all five could ride to town and back.