Sara Hatten Easley McKibben grew up in the A.D. Hate home still located on a block between Ball and Roane streets and Sixth and Seventh streets. At right is the Civic, one of the movie theaters Sara would have attended. The front is still on West Daugherty Street, across from the post office.

The unique childhood memories of A.D. Hatten’s granddaughter

I was working on my book when I ran across this memory from Sara Hatten Easley McKibbon about growing up in Webb City, shared in 2001.

I enjoyed reading it and thought you might enjoy it too! Sara grew up in the Hatten House on Ball Street between Sixth and Seventh streets.

My Favorite Childhood Memories

I loved riding with Grandaddy (A.D. Hatten) in his red Chevy. We visited all his friends all over town. I enjoyed helping Grandaddy pick out a new iris for his beautiful garden. It was fun watching Grandadddy and his friends play poker and pitch. I used to help mother bring them food and I played with the poker chips, which were made of slate and easy to break.

We all enjoyed roller skating on Ball Street hill and playing by the branch at the bottom of the hill, with neighborhood children; playing in our yard and rock garden, especially climbing trees. I enjoyed riding my horse, Trigger. As soon as I learned to stay on him, we went all over town. Horseback riding was great fun!

I spent a lot of time at the Webb City Library where Mrs. Baldridge helped me pick out books to read. My father (Harry Easley) had a wonderful library in the sun room at home and he encouraged me to read. Reading became my favorite occupation. We listened to classical music and popular music that my parents enjoyed. We often played the piano and sang. My sister, Ginger, played the violin and I played the piano. My parents both played the piano. My dad played the piano at the old Civic Theatre to accompany the silent movies!

Ginger, Mike and I enjoyed “helping” mother with her ceramics. We weren’t much help, I’m afraid! Mother made some beautiful ceramic items in spite of our attempts to help.

In 1954, we went to the brand new Truman Library in Independence, Mo.,  where we were given a tour by President Truman himself. He spoke highly of my father, Harry Easley, which thrilled us all. Dad was a good friend of Harry Truman and ran his campaign in Southwest Missouri. Several times, we heard our father make a speech on the radio and we were very impressed. Somehow, he sounded different on the radio.

When I was 2 or 3, my parents would hitch up Bonnie, our beautiful horse and go for buggy rides. Lots of times, we rode with Ruth and Sonny Lewis (Hedge-Lewis Funeral Home) and their horse. Rex. This was during WWII and there was gas rationing. I remember gravel flying up and hitting my legs.

In the fall, I remember leaves would pile up along the stone fence in front of our house and we would jump in them. Later, I remember the wonderful smell of burning leaves. As I got older, I would join friends at Hatten Park swimming pool. Mary Curtis James, Sondra Garvey and I would spend hours swimming and visiting with friends. We also had slumber parties and we had a lot of fun and very little sleep.

We listened to the radio a lot, gathering beside it to hear “Superman” and “The Shadow,” which were my favorites. We also listened to Jack Benny and Tallula Bankhead’s shows. Ginger, Mike and I loved “Fibber McGee and Molly” and the “Great Gildersleeve.” In the mornings, as mother would take us to catch the bus to go to St. Peter’s we would listen to Arthur Godfrey. Our radio could get England, if we were lucky. We could hear Winston Churchill speak, during World War II, and we even heard Hitler speak in Berlin.

Later, when TV began to come in clear (at first it was all snow) we could watch “Your Hit Parade” and Sid Ceaser and Imogine Coca. We had a huge antenna on top of the house that Dad would turn (by using a little knob) to receive Kansas City or Tulsa. Later, Joplin had stations.

My favorite grocery store was Patrick’s Grocery on Fourth Street. Mrs. Patrick was always so nice!

A.D. Hatten Home–600 South Ball 001 (2).jpgCivic Theatre.jpg