Narratives are personal stories that help enrich the reader’s understanding of a time period, person, place, or event. These are first-person views of history taken from personal recollections, memoirs, diaries, and oral histories.


Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Narrative is entirely responsible for its content.


My dad got a job in Fort Smith in 1961, and he and Mom and I moved to a trailer court across the street from the Branding Iron beer joint on Midland Boulevard. Dad often stopped at the Branding Iron on his way home from work.
One night, he met two soldiers playing pool. Before long, Dad had sold the soldiers our house trailer—furniture and all—for about twice what he thought he had in it. He staggered home to tell Mom the good news, and she instantly burst into tears. Dad had come to town and started to work right away; he hadn’t had time to realize that Fort Chaffee had reactivated. Fort Smith was busting at the seams with new people, and there was no place to live. Some families were even living in their cars.
Since we had to move in a week, the hunt for a house or apartment began, and Mom found absolutely nothing available. So, we moved to the Terry Motel a little farther down Midland next to the fairgrounds. It had been built in the 1950s, replacing an earlier tourist court and was pretty nice. But our family of three and a full-grown boxer dog took up about every inch of that small room.
We lived there for three long months until Mom waited on the front steps of a rental house all day, finally catching the owner and agreeing to paying one year’s rent ($2,400) in advance—which ate up the “big killing” Dad had made.
The Terry Motel still stands and is in good repair. But if I live to be 100, every time I pass the motel I’ll remember the look on my mother’s face, now going on fifty years ago, when Dad give her his most excellent news.


Joe Wasson
Fort Smith, AR