Norma Nichols kindly shares her memories, information, and photos with us about her roots in Bryan County (Oklahoma) and
Fannin County (Texas). She's a true Red River Valley Girl! Thanks so much, Norma!

I love your website.  I grew up in Honey Grove, Texas and my husband grew up in Bryan County, in southeastern Oklahoma (Kemp).  When
he presented me with an engagement ring (in 1963) we were sitting on the banks of Red River under the Carpenter Bluff's Bridge.  I am
attempting to write my family history and would love to have a copy of your picture of the bridge!  The picture looks as though it was made
when cars still used the one-way piggy-back side of the bridge.  Loose planks rattled as you drove across and terrified me the first time I
made the trip to Kemp, Oklahoma. I don't know when trains quit traveling across the bridge, but I can only imagine how frightening it must
have been to cross the bridge at the same a train did!  Today, concrete has been poured over the railroad track and cars traverse on that
side (one-direction-at-a-time, of course).  The piggy back side is still there but very treacherous.

In my writings, I've done a little research about Honey Grove business during 1955-1960.  I graduated High School in 1960 and my dad
owned a Texaco gasoline service station at that time so I was trying to recreate that scene.  My family has deep roots in Fannin County.  
Both my grandfathers settled in Fannin County and Honey Grove in the late 1800's.  Have you ever visited the Honey Grove Historical
website?  I can't get this link to work, but the address is:
www.honeygrove.org or e-mail Mary Anne Thurman, administrator
(thurman@honeygrove.org).  She helped me comprise a list of businesses and she posted a couple of my pictures of the downtown area
made in 1951.  Anyway, just FYI for what its worth.

You mentioned recipes on your website.  I recall as a child my mother often made "Slang Jang" when she had guests over for games.  I
didn't realize until I viewed the Honey Grove historical info that "Slang Jang" is peculiar to Honey Grove and the recipe is included there.

"Slang Jang" is like a cold soup...it is made from canned tomatoes, oysters, onions, hot sauce, salmon and whatever else you want to
throw in...sounds terrible, but I remember enjoying eating it when I was young.  

Davy Crockett Day is celebrated October 1st.  I'm sure Mary Anne Thurman would have the details on the event.  The legend of Davy
Crockett naming the town is also posted on the website.

One of the attached pictures is of my grandmother, Myrtle Lair, sitting in a car.  It was made in 1951.  You can see the Western Auto Store
in front of the car, and next to Western Auto you can barely make out "Food Market" - this is where Collins Grocery (later known as Collins
Piggly Wiggly) started out, and across to the left in the background is the Jackson and Self Goodyear store.

The other picture is of the South side of the Honey Grove square.  I've been told the small white sign in front of the Ford car on the left
was a "Taxi Stand" sign.  Kold Kash Store, owned by J. W. Hammack, is pictured on the left.  Next to it is Baker's Pharmacy, then the State
Theater.  You can barely see the big white 1cent scales in front of the theater.  Next to the theater is Dial Hardware.  The Texaco station
visible in the photo was operated by my father, George Simmons.

At the time I graduated High School in 1960, I think the population of Honey Grove was around 2000.  But the town supported a great
number of businesses. There were numerous gasoline stations, several hardware stores, two clothing stores, movie theaters, variety
stores, jewelry store, shoe repair, grocery stores, barber/beauty shops, etc.  Of course that was before mass marketers like Wal-Mart;
small businessmen thrived - the rural community came to town every weekend to take care of everything from entertainment to buying
groceries to getting haircuts. I think it is interesting that so many merchants could survive in such a small town and I never realized that
until I started writing and looking back!
The old plank portion of Carpenter's Bluff Bridge. Read my article about it at Texas Escapes!
Norma's grandmother in downtown Honey Grove, 1951.
Honey Grove and Carpenter's Bluff
Reader Bette (Bates) Babers: I grew up in Honey Grove, TX. The street she says is hwy 82/56 is actually Market Street.
The highway is to the left out of the picture. Thanks! (I graduated in 1966)
Questions or comments? E-mail me: robin@redriverhistorian.com