Linda Dean Goolsbee and Rose Gorman

Recorded March 20, 2008 Archived March 20, 2008 38:29 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBY003775


Linda Dean Goolsbee tells StoryCorps facilitator Rose Gorman of her parents, Jack and Francis Dean.

Subject Log / Time Code

Linda describes her parents’ meeting and their enrollment in college in Abilene, TX.
Linda describes her parents’ lives with children and remembers an instance during which she got lost while living in Palo Alto, CA.
Linda remembers the road trips her family took that also doubled as her father’s doctoral research on cemeteries and churches.
Linda remembers her mother’s return to graduate school at age 60.
Linda describes her parents’ relationship and marriage and shares stories from her childhood in which their acceptance of traditional roles was evident.


  • Linda Dean Goolsbee
  • Rose Gorman

Recording Location

MobileBooth West


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00:08 My name is Linda Dean Goolsby. I'm 65 and today's date is March 20th 2008. We are in Abilene, Texas.

00:20 I'm going to do some remembrances of my parents particularly my father. My father's parents named him Talmadge Whitman Dean but his older brothers and sisters thought that was a terrible name for a baby. So they decided to call him Jack and the name stuck for the rest of his life. He was named for the 19th century preacher and author Thomas DeWitt Talmage and the governor of New York Charles Talmadge. None of us really know why.

00:57 He grew up in Russellville, Tennessee and move to El Paso Texas to work for his brother how Dean in the grocery business. It was there. He met my Mother Frances Sibley on the steps of the First Baptist Church. She was 15 years old and he was 19 and she was smitten.

01:21 Eventually, he wanted to go to college. He was torn between studying music and Aeronautical Engineering but the music one out. He first went to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago where he sang in the college quartet to earn his college money. He was hired to get up early in the winter and go to wealthy home to light their fires so they could get up to a warm house.

01:51 A little of that apparently went a long way. He soon came back to El Paso and Francis until the two of them enrolled at hardin-simmons University in Abilene, Texas in 1937.

02:08 My grandmother had made a deal with mother that if she would attend one semester as a single girl grandmother would allow her to get married. So Francis Sibley enrolled but on February 18th 1938. She became Francis Dean at last they were quietly married in the preacher's house with my father's roommate and my grandmother as Witnesses. My father had smuggled his trunk out through the dormitory window to avoid the predictable Bachelor hazing and he had missed one class for his weekend honeymoon.

02:50 He wrote a letter to his Professor asking to be excused for his absence and promising never to use the same excuse again.

03:01 Old friends have told me that they were very popular to double date with on campus because they were married they counted as adult chaperones. So the other couples had a lot more freedom to go places with them.

03:18 They graduated together in 1940. Jack was president of the student body and Francis was the University Queen.

03:27 His next objective was a master's degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He had not received his letter of acceptance by the time it was necessary to leave Abilene since they were traveling by Greyhound bus so they stepped out together in faith and arrived in Rochester to find out that yes, he had been accepted. They rented a one-bedroom apartment and made ends meet by subletting the bedroom to their friend and fellow Abilene Ian making Summerlin.

04:07 Jack also played the organ at the local Episcopal Church that year.

04:13 The winter cold and snow was a shock to my mother. There was a small grocery store on the ground floor of their apartment building. So for 6 weeks in the dead of winter. She never went outside. There was 15 feet of snow that year and she has a picture of my father walking down the sidewalk between two snow banks that Tower over his head in the fall of 1941. They returned to Abilene where my father was hired as an assistant professor of Music Theory and composition at their beloved alma mater hardin-simmons.

04:52 When World War II broke out, my father joined the Navy as a lieutenant. He taught weather and navigation for the Navy at the University of Texas and then at Stanford, my mother joined him in Palo Alto with their two toddler daughter's and set up housekeeping.

05:13 While she was moving and she realized that her older daughter was missing from the front yard where I had been playing a railroad track ran across the back of the lot and she walked back and forth along the track sweeping and looking for her child finally in desperation. They called the police who asked is she wearing a red shirt and blue pants. She's sitting here eating an ice cream cone turns out a police car had seen me playing alone and asked where I left since we were just moving in I had no idea so they took me to jail mother always wondered why they didn't just come knock on the door and ask her if she knew me.

06:00 Her biggest adventure or challenge occurred when the war ended sooner than expected. My father was to be part of the occupation forces and suddenly got his orders to ship out for Japan. They had to find a way to get mother from Palo Alto to El Paso to stay with her mother until he returned not only did she have two toddlers 18 months and 3 years, but she was also eight months pregnant.

06:34 The country's transportation system was swamped. But my father managed to get a Sleeper Berth for mother right by the women's restroom. He gave her enough c-rations for the trip and she plan to get off the train and go to Travelers Aid if she went into labor anywhere along the way.

06:54 She made it to El Paso in time to give birth to her third daughter who was in not in fact not doing well. She had dysentery and required several transfusions. My father in San Francisco received an official notice giving him leave and saying your daughter is dying.

07:18 Not knowing which daughter he rushed to El Paso as quickly as possible to find that her danger had passed the doctor said finally found that she could keep down goat milk so back he went to San Francisco to rejoin his unit. He had left in such a hurry that his gear had shipped out for Japan with his unit. And one of the other man had taken it and since sold his own name on the devil eventually my father got it back when he arrived in Japan.

07:52 He was assigned to MacArthur's headquarters, but was not a fan of his arrogance and ego. So he volunteered to help set up the weather station in Korea when he arrived the Koreans were put off by the fact that he was speaking to them in Japanese the language of their de tested conquerors. Everyone warmed up. However, when he assured them that the Americans had learned Japanese to conquer them not cooperate in occupied Korea.

08:29 At first the Americans were uncomfortable because the Koreans didn't have the same bathroom privacy requirements that Americans were used to women would have no qualms about using the men's room and vice-versa a solution was finally found mirrors were removed from the Men's Rooms and women stopped using them.

08:54 The Koreans he worked with earned his admiration for their dedication and hard work They Carried notebooks with them at all times determined to learn English. His opinions were reinforced over the years as serious music students from Korea became his students.

09:13 After the war he returned to hardin-simmons to teach and eventually began working on his Ph.D. Choosing between Eastman and the University of Southern California. I thank my mother cast the deciding vote for Sonny USC. It was another adventure

09:33 Because he had to attend in residence for a year. We all piled into the car and headed out for Los Angeles. They loaded the car with everything. They might need for housekeeping but couldn't find room for the mop. Finally. My mother said let's just go and put them up in the front seat beside her. We carried a Coke box with ice in a Coleman stove to cook on and stopped at grocery stores on Long the way for supplies. There was no air conditioning in the car. So my parents * the trip to have us driving across the desert at night.

10:11 They were surprised to find out that most apartments in Los Angeles would not rent to families with children. So when they finally found a place with with a kid's okay sign in front, it turned out to be in Glendale a long way from USC and in a very poor neighborhood my grandmother from Texas was so shocked by the conditions that she brought me home with her during that for summer because she was concerned about our neighbors. It was my first plane ride to

10:46 We girl slept on army cots in the one-bedroom and our parents slept on garden furniture chaise lounges in the living room.

10:56 I spent the third grade in Glendale and found that I was ahead of my California Piers. I had been riding long hand in the second grain and was forced to go back to printing my reading skills were enough ahead so that my teacher put me in charge of a reading group.

11:16 Consequently, when I return to Abilene for the fourth grade, I had to work very hard to catch up.

11:24 We returned to California for several Summers with better luck on housing. I experienced my first earthquake the house shook and all the neighborhood dogs howl at first I was asleep and thought my sister was kicking me in bed. We had an incinerator in the backyard for we burn trash as did everyone else. It created. Very painful smog much worse than today's I saw my first television. I love the puppet show Beany and Cecil and began following search for tomorrow sure enough 10 years later. I tuned into the show and the characters were still the same.

12:08 I especially remember going to the Huntington Library and Museum and to the Hollywood Bowl to see the ballet Billy the Kid.

12:18 Usually our entertainments were free. We spent lots of time in libraries and Parks. One of our favorite spots was Forest Lawn Cemetery with a statuary and green Lawns. We would pack a picnic lunch and go there often after church on Sunday.

12:38 What's my mother decided to take us girls to the beach on our way home. She got stopped for speeding and trying to talk her way out of a ticket. She began to cry and then all three of us begin to ball in the back seat, but the officer had no mercy on the way home. She told us not to say anything to Daddy about the ticket until after supper. Well, of course my middle sister blurted out the news immediately and we all had a very strained supper.

13:14 In 1956 our family Saga continued when my father spent the summer doing research for his dissertation on 18th century organs in America. We drove across the South and then up to New England. We kids would explore the cemeteries around the churches that has these ol organs and saw the tourist sites everywhere from Williamsburg to Maine. I was especially impressed by the tooth pulling equipment that was in the Williamsburg Dental Office.

13:50 We slept in our car at night pulling into used car lots to blend in.

13:57 By then there were six of us. But my little brother could sleep in the window once another car pulled into the lot also which kept my father awake all night watching them in the morning. They left and he decided it was another family with the same idea every third night. We rented a motel room and everyone had a real bad.

14:22 Driving into New York City through the Holland Tunnel was a little scary for us kids. Finally when we got to the end a policeman flagged us over. My father didn't know what he done wrong and rolled down his window but the officer laying down and said, hey text need any help finding where you're going. We felt welcomed to New York.

14:49 My father ultimately became the dean of the School of Music at hardin-simmons the local paper work very hard not to have Dean Dean in the headlines on stories about him. He can't up a compose many choral works and affected the lives of many grateful students. We constantly hear back from those who have loved him in his lifetime and we for kids feel extremely blessed to have had the parents that we did.

15:29 Did your parents ever tell you or?

15:34 They ever tell you where they considered their home to be.

15:38 Their home was always Abilene because they spent most of their time here now, he in 56, he left hardin-simmons and became head of The Graduate music studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and they stayed there for nine years before he came back to hardin-simmons. But Abilene was the place where they considered home. They retired here out to the country and lived out on a ranch for for a while before they finally moved back into town. I was living in California at the time and and my husband and I kept trying to convince them. They should come out to California, but they wouldn't he was home.

16:29 Did they ever like to travel anymore once they had retired and settle down a bit or did they just want to stay put and Evelyn. Just wanted to stay put and they would come out to visit us occasionally, but they were always under the impression that three days was long enough. So they would drive out stay three days and drive back and we would try to convince them. Please stay longer, but no, nope. Nope. Got to get back to the ranch. Be sure everything's okay so that they did come back. I went on and did some graduate work at USC myself and in 1992. I got a master's degree in communication. I work for the phone company and they came out for that graduation.

17:17 And that was that was really wonderful, but mostly they we had to come see them in Abilene cuz I like being here they had so many good friends that they had made in college and stayed all of their lives here in Abilene with them and so they would have eating clubs where everybody would get together play 42 and it and it was a wonderful experience for them. They were very happy here.

17:49 So you have in all you have three brothers and sisters? I have two sisters and one brother. Okay, and what kind of talks do you all have looking back on those times? One of the things that's really funny is that

18:06 All of us may remember the same event, but none of us remember it the same which makes me wonder about what maybe none of us actually has the truth. It's a combination of all cuz we add to one another stories as they owe this happened. Well, this happened just before and that happened just after and and she said this and know why I said that so if they build on one another, so what's one of those events that you all tend to have different stories of 00.

18:42 Well, that's hard because you don't know it until it comes. Well. There's there is one and I hesitate to say this because

18:55 We we had to cast my husband I had to cats when we were much much younger.

19:02 And something came up with my nephew when he casually said oh you had to cats who are named?

19:13 Should a sand snot-nosed?

19:16 I said what a my husband said are you kidding? Where did you get that out of he said no, you really did. We said no we never did. What are you talking about? He says yes, my mother told me that you did so I went to my sister and I said, what do you mean telling him that she said? Well, that's true. You did have I know you did if we never had cat we would never name cats at she said. Oh, yes, you did and the story he had believed that story for 20 years and it was totally and she was convinced that it was true. But there was no truth in it whatsoever and we have no idea where that came from. So what is the truth the truth is we had two cats and their names were Mouse and little kitty and the only thing

20:10 And even that is giving her the benefit of the doubt that at some point they were sick and she must have been busy visiting us when they were sick and came to the conclusion that that's what they should have been named. And so she named them that in her mind and it's it and it carried over over the years, but but the stories are really funny we have my father's grandparents lived up in the in the mountains of Tennessee.

20:48 And so we all have different remembrances of of what that was like because they had no electricity. No indoor plumbing.

20:58 And we all were familiar with the Outhouse and it's really interesting to compare the stories of the Outhouse. Cuz one of my sisters was afraid of it and of the others the other two of us were not afraid of it, but it was not terribly Pleasant and it was in it night. It was very cold. So my grandmother did have a chamber pots under the beds and we cannot really see chamber pots as decorative items because we have in fact used them in our in our young life.

21:39 And we all know what priming the pump means because you had to prime the pump in order to get water and for the Saturday night bath. We had a galvanized tin tub, which she said on the kitchen floor heated the water on the stove on the wood stove and we all took our bags together, I guess in the same water as I think about it on Saturday night and it was a big operation my Grandad however went down in light at the stove so that when we got out of bed, we could run out of the cold bedrooms down into the kitchen, which was nice and warm cuz he did that he did that for us.

22:22 So that was that was different. There aren't a lot of people today who actually remember an outhouse thank goodness. So you have a lot of memories from when you were growing up o oh, yeah. Oh yes indeed. I have one of one of them.

22:45 Blessings of my family that I'm so grateful far is the kind of steadfast honest people that way they were when I was 12 years old. I had just had my 12th birthday and we were going to the drive-in we went to the drive-in a lot actually in those days. You could just load the car up go to the drive-in on Friday night. You didn't have to worry about what the rating wise of the movie. You knew your kids were going to be okay.

23:13 And so we went on Friday and is we're pulling into the theater and I've just turned twelve and I say, you know, I'll squash down in the backseat and they'll never know that I'm actually 12 years old and will save the $0.50 I can get in free.

23:31 And my mother turned around and she said our honesty is not for sale for $0.50 and they paid

23:42 I didn't really understand that at the time but I had sense learn to truly truly. Appreciate it.

23:50 And I remember when my grandmother died in the early 80s and we were going to El Paso for her funeral cuz she was buried there with my mother's father.

24:02 That my father who had devoted his life to education and education in Christian colleges. So it was not real high-paid. Shall we say?

24:19 Was sitting there with his brother who was in had been in the grocery business for years and old friends have been in the oil business for years who would ask him to join them and there were an uncle Fred who was in The Savings and Loan business and there were all these Cadillacs lined up at the restaurant an hour Dodge.

24:47 And when we left the restaurant and got back to the motel, my father said to me.

24:55 You know, maybe I made a mistake. Maybe I should have gone into the oil business and it would have been so much easier on your mother and you kids would have had so much more.

25:13 Do you think I did the right thing?

25:18 And I said to him absolutely there is no question that choosing the life of the mind and the life of affecting other people is the right choice.

25:37 So I'm grateful.

25:41 Your mother's name was Francis Francis, and she graduated alongside with your father. Did she ever want to go to graduate school or was she actually did she did she actually did in fact when she was over 60 she decided the time had come and she went back and got a master's in English at hardin-simmons and her professor said that she worked so hard in the class that he graded on the Curve.

26:15 And he had to just knock her out of the curve completely because if he left her in the curve, everybody would have made low grades because she was so and she also decided she wanted to be a speaker so she joined.

26:32 Oh that organization that teaches you how to stand up and speak and they meet every week Toastmaster. Yes, she joins a Toastmasters and she was very frustrated because she said those young people do not know what makes a funny joke that they would stand up and tell a joke. And she said the punchline would just be a swear word or there wouldn't be a punchline and she didn't understand what why they thought this was funny. So one of her speeches was on what makes a good joke and how to tell it was she was she she knew her stuff. She was a writer.

27:12 She wrote a a a book of poems called Bible women speak and she worked on it for a long time. And which she took wrote a poem on various women of the Bible from their Viewpoint and and had that published for us kids as a collection. And so we still have that and appreciate that when she was.

27:44 My father was the musician and wrote music and large cantatas and oratorios in the whole thing, but she endured a songwriting contest.

27:58 For herself without telling him and she won a national prize. It was a separation of church and state contest. She won first prize and they flew her back East for the award and she Coretta Scott King and the senator from Oregon forgotten his name with their on the podium with her and the choir sang it and it was Liberty that sweet words sounding

28:35 And and she was so proud of herself and my father was so surprised and when she came back the two of them then began collaborating on him and she would write the words and he would write the tunes to go with it and that collection. In fact, all of his music is collected at hardin-simmons in the music library there and can still be ordered from them. He gave them all the copyrights.

29:05 So for several years the two of them wrote hymns together.

29:13 That's that's incredible. Is there a moment that you can remember growing up in and seeing your parents marriage? Is there a an event or moment in which they interacted with each other that perfectly characterizes their relationship?

29:33 Or not perfectly. I don't do anything perfectly. They had a very old-fashioned relationship from from their generation.

29:47 He believed that he was to take care of her and protect her and look out for her and it was his responsibility to take care of the whole family and she felt that as as wife. He was the boss and she would always do what he said which sounds worse than it is because in fact his interest was concerned for her and for the family it wasn't for himself so she could certainly do that. And I know my friends in high school used to laugh when they would ask my mother if I could do something and she would say well I'll have to ask her father. Well, I'll have to be sure I can take the car while I'll just have to ask her father if we can do this that it is.

30:48 The interesting and the one time in my experience when she did something different our church was taking a big bus load of the teenagers to the Grand Canyon and the kids have been working on this and just getting so excited about this and every day been talking about it for a month and everybody was just the real. Well the cost was $35 and my mother and father had said we can't we can't afford it either. You cannot go with them and on the Sunday morning when the bus was sitting in front of the church.

31:27 And all the kids were packed and getting on and I was standing there just real sad. My mother said, you know, we'll find the money somewhere and we rushed home fortunately she done the laundry the day before so I had clean clothes, but they weren't iron. We threw clothes in the suitcase. She drove me back to the church put me on the bus, and she said I'll explain it to your father when he gets home.

31:58 That turned out to be one of the most exciting times that I ever had. It was just really fun.

32:05 And I've often wondered how she explained that to my father when he got home and I was gone for a week and a half to 2 to the Grand Canyon.

32:17 So she was

32:21 She was very she was very traditional wife, but there were times another time was when I graduated from high school. I was barely 18 and I wouldn't want to go to college yet and I decided I wanted to be a stewardess.

32:39 And so my mother says all right. We'll go over to Amon Carter field and we'll just you know, I said that's what I want to do. So I went from one airline to the next NASA. Do you hire stewardesses? That's what they were called in at 18 and they all said no you have to be 21. You have to be 21. So I got to the end of the line and there was a little Airline call Central Airlines they flew, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arkansas and, Missouri.

33:11 And I said, do you hire people who are at 18 and they said yes we do. So I said let me have an application. So I filled out the application and turned it in and went home and I got called in for an interview.

33:26 Now

33:28 I have to say that I probably would not have hired me cuz you don't have to talk about wet behind the ears, but the head of the stewardesses was on vacation.

33:41 And a the head of the pilot was interviewing for stewardesses.

33:48 And he hired me.

33:51 That poor woman who was head of stewardesses just had a terrible time trying to teach me how to do my hair the way it needed to be done. And you know, every time she got on the plane to degrade me something was wrong. She worked awfully hard, but I can just visualize her conversation with that pilot don't ever do that again. It was I was there for six months and then I was ready to go back to school but that was another quite adventurous thing. My daughter-in-law asked my mother at one time. Why in the world did you let her do that? My mother would have died and my mother said well, I didn't think they'd hire her. But when they did I couldn't go back on my word. So that's the kind of person she was now the kind of person my father was he was fascinated by my flying he kept track of

34:51 Every every where I was and he would occasionally look up and say to my mother so it's 5:30. Linda is landing in Fort Smith, Arkansas. All right now so he kept track of where I was at all times and really enjoyed the fact that I was flying more minutes, but I'm curious though. Like how how did your parents handle? You not wanting to go to college right away because it seemed like that education on their priority list. So how did they handle you not wanting to go, you know looking back that's really funny because well, I guess they just knew me as I think about it. They knew that as soon as I have the kind of personality that as soon as they say no I would do it or die.

35:48 And the Hope was which apparently has worked often in the past if they say well it's your decision. We'd rather that you went on to college, but it's your decision that very often I would think about it and do what they wanted. But this time I didn't and they they didn't pull rank. They really were pretty democratic.

36:16 Do you think that helps you? Oh, yeah, it's I know it made a difference in the way. We raised our son and we cuz we talked everything through with him and he was part of all the judgments and and he was just used to that kind of a home in family life, which is worked out well for him and so so I think it probably came from them one other gift that they gave us, which I didn't realize but at some point

36:52 A few years ago I heard about somebody was talking about how her family just would criticize and talk, you know, we had roast preacher for lunch on Sunday, and I said to my mother, you know, I can't remember any time that I ever heard you and daddy say something unkind.

37:15 About anyone any kind of cruel Gossip Bar are any sort of unkind put down of anyone?

37:25 I said that's really surprising. She said no. It isn't that was a decision that we made not effort to do that in front of your children. Now, we said some things in private but never in front of your children.

37:44 So

37:45 I'm not sure if you have anything else you'd like to if you forgot to work something and if your parents were here right now, what would you like to sell? Oh, oh well.

37:58 Just thank you.

38:03 You don't realize but blessings. You have till they're gone.

38:18 Well, thank you for coming in today. I hope my pleasure.