She spent a year at Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple recovering from her burns. Yet, even recalling one of her life’s most traumatic experiences, Berry let out a healthy laugh.
Born in Gatesville in 1913, Berry’s family moved to the Tin Top area south of Weatherford when she was young. It was there she grew up, working on her father’s farm with her three younger sisters and two little brothers. They grew cotton, corn and maize. Berry said jokingly that she didn’t know what they didn’t do on the farm.
“I just grew up in the country,” she said. “We used to go to town, we lived a long way from town. We’d go in the wagon and spend the night in town, do our shopping and everything and go home the next day.”
Berry was married in 1932. The newlyweds kept farming, but readers who remember their history will recall this was when severe drought coupled with erosion created massive dust storms and ravaged much of the south central United States. Although the Dust Bowl rendered much land virtually infertile, it did not dampen the Berry family’s work ethic.
“It wasn’t bad,” she said casually. “We all liked to work. We grew up working and we had to work to make a living.”
In 1938, the family moved to Possum Kingdom Lake. Berry’s husband got a job building the dam out there, making $1 a day. They lived in a tent for three years until the dam was completed and Mr. Berry got a job with the newly created power plant at the lake. Then they could afford to buy one of the new houses in the area. Boone, who was 2-years-old when they moved from Weatherford to PK Lake, remembers the tent very well.