Harold Brause

I’m 71 years old and I am retired. I used to be a painter. When I was a little boy I lived in Nebraska. Then I moved from Nebraska to Wyoming and lived near Casper. After that my father went to work in the oil field and moved to Salt Creek which is north of Casper. Next we moved over here to Calpet. After Calpet we moved to Big Piney. I went to school here in Big Piney.

I had three spouses. My first one died and then I was married again. We got divorced. And then I married a real nice lady. I have four boys and they are all grown up.

When I was little I used to play baseball and go swimming. I had an old model T car that my dad bought me.

When I was in school my school was about like your school. Of course we didn’t have anything like tapedecks or computers. In those days I liked to study the most. We studied hard and we had reading, writing, math[,] and spelling. We had little tablets and we all had long tablets for spelling. For spelling we had 20 words a day. I’d write all those words 100 times so I could remember them. When you write them down in your spelling book your teacher would give you a 100%. Then I take a crayola and shade that 100% in so it looked real sharp. We had a big school. We had a gym off to the side and we would go in and play basketball.

We would go to the show and I got to see the first talking movie. Before they had sound you had to read it off the screen in English. You’d have a woman playing the piano. It was all silent pictures — no sound. The first movie I saw was Madam Sherland High. She was a classical singer. That was over in Casper, Wyoming. That was the first time I had ever heard sound at a theatre.

What I enjoyed least was history. The biggest change was the way the world goes. It goes faster and faster. Gotta get things in a hurry now. You have got to learn your A B C’s and if you’re good you have gotta have a computer and all this stuff.

We had coal oil lamps. It is a lamp made of glass around the coal oil. It had a wick and a chimney. The wick went down in the oil so you light the wick. There was a little thing that made the wick go up and down to make [the] glass not smokey and when you got it like that you put the chimney back on top. That[‘s] how you could see. It is called a coal oil lamp.

Interviewed by Denise Brown and Marcy Mansor