Posted by: abbiewatters | August 13, 2011

The Kids

How many children do you have? When were they born? – I have two kids – both boys – both born in January – one in 1966 and one in 1972.

How did you decide what to name each? – Ray is really Allen Ray Watters, Jr., named after his father, and Bill is really William Thomas Watters, named after his great-grandfather, great-uncle, and uncle William Barr Oglesby, Sr., William Barr Oglesby, Jr., and William Robert Greisser and after his Grandfather Thomas Clyde Watters. (After we named him William we found out his grandmother Watters had two brothers who died in infancy who were both named William.)

Allen Ray Watters, Jr., aka Ray

William Thomas Watters aka Bill

What’s your favorite story about each of your children?


I’ve got several stories about Ray, but I think my favorite is from the time when he was 3 1/2 years old – the summer of 1969. Mama and Betty had come over to visit us in Germany, and we had gone on a trip through Switzerland and into Bavaria. We stayed in Berchtesgaden in the General Walker Hotel. One of the day trips we took was to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest way up on a mountain above town. You weren’t allowed to drive up there because the road was so narrow. They ran a tour bus up to the landing where the elevator took you up through the inside to the mountain to the very top where there was a coffee shop. We had ridden the bus up, and taken the elevator all the way to the top. We looked around up there, had a cup of coffee to warm up (it was cold even though it was July), and then we rode the elevator back down to catch the bus down. The road was so narrow the bus could only go up and then go down – they couldn’t risk having an upward-bound bus meet a downward-bound bus on the mountainous road. Anyway, we were at the landing waiting for the downward-bound bus when Ray decided he had to go to the bathroom. Of course, there were no toilets or even porta-potties there, and the last elevator to the coffee shop had already left. There was a hiking path off to the side of the parking area, so Al took Ray down the path a little way to relieve himself. When he finished, he came running back, yelling at the top of his lungs, “Grandmother, Grandmother, guess what!” She tried her best to shush him, but he hollered all the way across the parking lot, “I killed a snake! I killed him! I pee’d him to death.” I thought the other American tourists and the Germans who spoke any English were going to split their sides laughing.

Then to top it off, that evening Mama and Betty and I were having dinner in the really nice dining room at the General Walker. Al and Ray had opted to go to the Italian bistro and have spaghetti, but we were having fondue! We were enjoying ourselves when the door burst open, and here came Ray, scurrying across the dance floor, yelling, “Grandmother, Grandmother, guess what!” Again we tried in vain to shush him, but he continued, at the top of his lungs, “I don’t have any underpants on!” I thought the zither player was going to burst!


Billy was just 4 years old when we went to England, and he went to English school for the first five years. When we brought him home, he had an English accent, of course, and all the girls in his 6th grade class in Texarkana used to get him to “just talk”. It turned out that instead of him picking up an American accent, the kids in his class all picked up his accent.

Billy was six years younger than Ray, and so it was like I had two only children. Ray usually just kind of tolerated Billy, and really didn’t pay much attention to him. I remember one time when Billy was about a year old, Ray was lying on the couch watching TV. I looked up, and Billy was standing on the arm of the couch, and as I watched, he launched himself full force onto Ray’s stomach! They shared a room until we moved to Las Vegas, but I realized we had to separate them the morning I went in their room, and Billy was valiantly trying to stuff Ray’s clothes back into the drawer where Ray had left them hanging out. Bill was a neatnik from the time he was hatched, and Ray couldn’t care less about picking up, straightening up, or folding up anything.

What is something funny or embarrassing one of your children said at an early age that you’ll never forget?

I’ve already pretty well covered Ray’s “embarrassing” sayings, but the funniest thing that ever happened, in retrospect, was the time when he was about 2-years-old, and he had one of those little fuzzy, yellow fake chickens that used to come in Easter baskets. One night, he drowned his little chicken in his drink of water, and then to dry it off, I guess, he put it right on the globe of his little bedside table light. Of course, the bulb shattered, and blew a fuse, and when we got the lights back on, there was the little chicken, looking like one of those cartoon chickens when they get electrocuted with wings sticking out and neck dangling. All he could say was “I didn’t mean to do it! I didn’t mean to fry that little chicken!”

The best story about Billy was because he had grown up in English school. He and Ray came back to the states and stayed with Mama and Papa while Al and I travelled around Europe. Mama enrolled Bill in middle school in Texarkana, and one day in September, she got a call from the school. “Mrs. Greisser, you have to come get your grandson!” She went over there to get him and to try to find out what was wrong. He was sitting in the office, very chagrined. “What did you do?” she asked. He replied, “I made a mistake on my arithmetic, and so I went up to the teacher, and I said, ‘Please, miss, do you have a rubber?'” Unfortunately, the teacher didn’t understand that he was asking for an eraser, not a prophylactic.



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