Mattie Oline: Thoughts of a Grandmother

This project is a tribute to Tom R. Chambers' grandmother, Mattie Oline (Battles) Meekins, 1899-1997. She kept a diary from 1948 through part of 1993. Chambers researched her entries over the years, and chose the ones that have significance for him and society. His grandmother rarely missed making a daily entry in her diary during 45-plus years - an astonishing 16,000-plus entries. Chambers was born in July of 1947, so her diaries were ongoing from when he was about six-months old through the age of 45. The entries are practical, heartfelt and country-bred.

In the early 1900s, she moved with her family to Texas in a covered wagon. Later, she got married to Bill (Willie) Meekins, and raised a family of five in Hynds City. This country village is on Farm Road 103 eight miles north of Nocona in Montague County. It was developed in 1925, when oil production began in the area, and it served local oil production workers. There were a church and three businesses there during the "boom". The Meekins (Chambers' grandparents) owned one of the businesses - a store and gasoline station. After Mrs. Meekins' husband passed away in 1964, she moved her home to Nocona, and lived there until she passed away in 1997.

There are three basic reasons for making entries in a diary: the first is to record what has transpired; the second is to make notes on future activities/events; and the third is for the entries to be kept with other diary entries to become a personal history. Chambers considers his grandmother's collection of 46 diaries a personal history including family and friends with occasional comments/reactions to societal events.

Chambers' grandmother's handwriting is used to provide an immediacy - connection - with Mattie Oline. Notes are used to add more information. He hopes that his grandmother would understand why he has chosen to go public with some of her diary entries: to pay tribute to an individual who helped raise him; and to indicate his sense of longing for her presence. As a former educator, he also sees merit in using family diaries as educational tools. The photographs below show Chambers' grandmother at different periods in her life (The man in two of the photographs is her husband, Bill [Willie] Meekins.).





Click on players to listen to audio versions (virtual voice) of diary entries:












The diary entries are in chronological order, 1948 - 1993.