70+ - year old sisters take on a new business.
Lizzy Wallace Tedford and Tishy Wallace Goad, both widowed and in their mid to late 70s were convinced by their younger brother Elmer Wallace to purchase a hotel in 1955 in the booming town of their youth, Quinton, OK. The enterprise was doomed before it started for two reasons. One, these sisters shared nothing but bloodline. Total opposites don't get any further apart then those little ladies. One is a hard-shell Baptist, tee-totalier, tobacco blastin' ,Bible thumping, give away her last penny, straight-laced dower faced individual who declared that a smile on Sunday was down right sinful. The other sister is a free spirit, wine sippin', tight-fisted woman, liberated long before it came in vogue. One wore heavy cotton stockings year round, sturdy shoes, gingham or cotton dresses, including of course, a full paneled petticoat, long hair brushed the required 100 stokes daily, braided or twisted into a severe bun atop her head and pinned in place with large tortoiseshell hair pins. While the other sister snipped her locks to a shocking length and let it fly loosely about her face and neck, she wore neither stockings nor petticoat, but in the heat of summer gloried in a cool frock of dotted Swiss. And should the temperature soar beyond the century mark it was not uncommon for this tiny lady to shuck her garments in favor of her birthday suit the better to catch even the slightest of breeze. The better to cool her wine-warmed flesh.
Now, had their well-meaning brother known his sisters a bit better he no doubt never have hatched his plan to secure their independence in their waning years of life. None of us doubt he meant well.
Calamity reared its nasty brow as soon as the youngest sister waved the room fee for their first boarder. A family member from out of town stopped for the night and Lizzy saw no decent means of charging a relative for a place to rest his weary head. After all, hadn't she given bed and board to half the folks in the county back home and never charged a red cent. Saw no need for it then and didn't now. Her elder sister had far too much respect for money to treat it so lightly. After all a business is a business and giving away bed and board is no way to run a hotel, no matter the guest.
The family cat walked softly around the parlor rocking chairs for days after that tiff. The following week the stray dog that hung around the back porch, hoping for table scraps, fled to the far side of town, down by the tracks where it was a bit quitter. That happened right after an old childhood friend dropped in about supper time and Lizzy didn't tag the meal, stating, rightly so, "I never took a red copper for a plate of food to a friend, nor a stranger either, for that matter."
"That's why you ain't got a red copper either, Lizzy. You give everything away. How are we going to make a living out of this hotel if you keep giving it away?" Tishy stormed off to her private apartment in a snit, locked her door and refused to speak to her sister or their guests.
Now, if this glimpse into the sister's first joint venture into business hasn't given you an idea of how the remainder of their stay went, consider this is a huge two-story building with long, narrow flight of steps to climb daily, beds to change, make up, dust, sweep, furniture to polish, floors to mop, bedding to wash, hang out, bring in and fold and store away, meals to prepare for boarders, dishes to wash, plus all the other day-to-day duties that go with running a boarding house. And remember these two are in their advanced seventies.
Needless to say, the hotel went bust, the sisters returned to Stringtown, bought separate houses opposite one another on a dead-end street at the top of a steep hill. Thankfully. Why thankfully? Well, that's another story. Just remember the rising summer heat and Tishy's love of a cool glass of wine and a gently breezy dancing across her flesh....awwwwaa, felled with possibilities, isn't it?
Meanwhile, here is a photo of what's left of the Wallace sister's Hotel in downtown Quinton, OK. (If only those walls could talk!)