High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

The Root Cause of Stingy

Velma Whipple Wancura around 1930

Go back to May, 1935.  Velma and Ted Wancura have a young son.  They haven't had a wheat crop in years, or rain for that matter.  Most of their cattle herd has been lost in the dust storms.  A tornado took their house.  The Wancuras moved a vacant house in to replace it.

On an ordinary day that seemed like all the others, Velma's husband and brother needed supplies, so they took off in the car for the little town of Alamota.  They couldn't find what they needed, on they went to the next town, Beeler.  It began to rain.  Between Beeler and Alamota, there is a deep gulley where a branch of
Walnut Creek runs.  There was no bridge, and usually folks just drove through it.  But, on this day, it had running water because of the rain.  The men felt they good could make it through.  They didn't.  They were stuck.  The rain continued to fall.  They tried everything to get it out- digging, cranking, pushing, pulling, until a rush of water came, and washed their car downstream.  There was nothing for the pair to do, but stand on the bank, watching the car sink along with their hope. 

So much was lost during these years: a home, most of the cattle, a car, land, and neighbors, but there were also gains.  Velma believes that those years taught her some valuable lessons:

  • You never give up.
  • Some may say you're stingy, but when you don't have anything, you have to be very careful with what you have. 
  • There are creative solutions to be found to almost any problem.
  • Even when circumstances seem dire, there is a way out.
  • Sympathy.  You know what it's like to have so little, it gives you understanding that helps you have compassion and empathy for others who don't have anything. 
  • You do not quit.  Repeat.  You do not give up.  Repeat.  You do not ever, ever quit.

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