Sarah (Sally) Parker will be crowned SFTD Queen

Sarah Ann (Sally) Palmer was born in Wichita , Kan. , on Jan.9, 1924. She moved to Boise City with her parents, Ethel and Elvin Palmer, from Augusta , Kan. , in 1929. Mr. And Mrs. Palmer operated a variety store here until 1938, when they sold it and moved to Tulsa .

The Palmers, merchants during the depression, and Dustbowl had many lean days as they struggled with their business.

In Kansas , the Palmers had lived in an eight-room home. They were flooded out of the home and they brought their children and all they owned in a car and trailer.

In Boise City , quarters were cramped.

“We lived in one room in the back of the store, and there were some days we only had $20 or $30 worth of business.” Sally remembered. “Also, my mother taught piano to make ends meet.”

Sally went from being in a sophomore class of about 30 to a high school with an enrollment of more than 5,000.

The Palmers bought back the variety store, after only about 10 months and returned to Boise City . “They decided the big city wasn't for them. and this was home.” Sally smiled.They ran the store for many more years.

“Crops were better by then, (1939),” Sally said. “My parents bought a home from Jim and Essie Carrick.”

Sally had one older sister, Betty, who is deceased, and a younger brother, Dale, who lives in Boise City . She has always claimed that a “middle” child in a family is definitely the sharpest. Some of her fondest memories of childhood, besides those with her siblings and cousins, include antics involving her good friend, Norma Gene (Butterbaugh) Young and her parents. Mr. Palmer and Mr. Butterbaugh were both proficient on the clarinet, and Mrs. Palmer was a wonderful pianist. Both families enjoyed their music, and spent many Sunday afternoons playing music, while Sally and Norma Gene ignored them and played outside under the sun or the moon-whichever happened to be shining at the time.

When the girls reached about 12, it became mandatory that they be involved in the church choir, or else. There were a lot of “or else's” at that point in their lives. Being in an adult choir didn't go without excitement, though. One of the choir directors, Willie Godley, got her point across by grabbing one of the men (it just happened to be Norma Gene's dad) and banging his head against the wall a few times to get him to sing louder. Another time while Sally's mother, Mrs. Palmer was playing the old rickety organ, which held candle holders on each end, they had some more action. The pastor, Rev. Paul Groom, was in the middle of a prayer, when one of the tenors, Oris Nisbeth, apparently with his eyes closed, got a little too close to one of the candle holders. All of a sudden, it sounded as if part of the choir loft had dropped into the basement. Oris had accidentally leaned into one of the candle holders, and it had removed itself from the organ to Mrs. Palmer's head, with an extremely loud crash. The accident did not hurt her, but the choir members were near collapsing from trying to quit laughing.

Sally graduated from Boise City High School in 1941 and then went on to nurse's training at Wesley Hospital in Wichita . She chose Wichita over Amarillo for her training because of family living nearby.

She was a bright student and was never one to intentionally break rules. However, at a certain point, evidently her brain was not working. (Or maybe, it was overworked.) One night she and and a friend decided to sneak out for a movie. (Weekday curfew for the young women was 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on weekends.) All was going well until they tried to sneak back in, and got caught! Both girls were suspended from school and sent home for two months. Not wanting to be embarrassed by the incident, Mrs. Palmer told the folks here in town that Sally had to come home because she was about to have a nervous breakdown. She finished her nurse's training on VE (Victory in Europe ) Day, May 8, 1945 . Sally saved face after she went back to training after her suspension by making the highest grade in her class on her state board exam.

She returned to Boise City and worked in Dr. Halls office, (where the Dale-Wright Law Office is on West Main St .)

After Sally took her state board exam, she got on the bus in Wichita to come back to Boise City . During a stop at Greensburg , Kan.she was taking a nap when she was awakened by a familiar, and very handsome Marine, who had been home on leave. His name was Jack Parker, and he had been stationed mostly in the Samoan Islands during WWII, and was on his way back to San Diego . He took Sally's heart with him.

“He was on his way back to Wichita , and somehow, someone knew I'd be on that bus. When his bus stopped he got aboard mine and woke me up,” Sally smiled.

I had corresponded with Jack while he was overseas, but he was dating Twila Pearson when he left. I remember I asked Twila if I could kiss him bye. She said yeah, sure, so I did,” she grinned.

Ironically, a few months before that Jack had been sent back to the states and was hospitalized for a while. During his stay in the hospital, he got acquainted with one of the nurses there. He wrote home to his sister and family, telling them about this cute little nurse that he had been flirting with in San Diego . But, according to Jack, she just wasn't what he was looking for, so he wrote that they “wouldn't have to worry about having a nurse in their family”. Was he ever wrong!

Jack was one of the servicemen who helped raise the U.S. flag on Guam . He was discharged from the Marines on January 26, 1946 .

On February 17, 1946 , only three weeks after Jack's four-year tour of duty, he and Sally were married at the Methodist Church in Boise City . They had five children-Stan, Steve, George, Kathy, and Susie. Jack and Sally spent countless hours supporting their children in all of their activities. They also loved attending the events in which their 14 grandchildren participated. Now, there are four great-grandchildren, with two more due to arrive this fall. Not only did they devote their time and energy to their immediate family, they also traveled many miles to share special occasions with nieces and nephews who hold those memories dear.

Jack, who was Sally's soulmate, passed away on November 5, 2001.

Sally is probably best known for her years as a registered nurse. She began her career working for Dr. Hall in his office.

“Teresa Begley was born in a doctor's office. I spent the night with them.”

She also worked in Dr. Merkley”s office, and was on duty the first night that the hospital in Boise City opened.

“I think we had one patient that night.

She started off working the midnight shift and remembers the first car wreck where the hospital ministerd to the victims.

“There were several boys,” she said.

Most of the families in this county can say that Sally was present in the delivery room with at least one member of their family. She is very humble about the fact that she actually delivered, or “caught” some of the newborns. She worked a total of 42 years in nursing, and gave thousands of her famous “spat shots”, which some say were the best they ever had.

Sally has always been a good cook, but since she has been living alone, she has gone overboard on preparing meals(especially on Sundays) for all her kids and anyone else who looks hungry. Much of the food she has prepared over the years, she has canned herself, and is very proud of. She has been thinking about adding onto her kitchen, to make room for everyone who appears to need a meal!

Over the years she has been an active member of St. Paul 's United Methodist Church as a Sunday School teacher, youth leader, choir member, Vacation Bible School helper, and nurse, and is currently the president of the United Methodist Women organization. She has also been a member of the Eastern Star, Rainbow Girls, serving as Rainbow Mom, Atheneum Club, Music Club, and camp nurse for many years for the local Girl Scouts.

All of the grandchildren have been very fond of Grandpa Jack and Grandma Sally over the years. But, one of the most special things about this is, they have been “Grandpa Jack and Grandma Sally” to many children other than their own. Sally is an extremely special person, and we are proud that she is our 2006 Santa Fe Trail Daze Queen.

Boise City News
P.O. Box 278
105 W. Main Street
Boise City, Oklahoma 73933-0278
Phone: 580 544-2222
Fax: 580 544-3281
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