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~”Okie Style Shivaree”~

Lois Caywood Guffy

Almost everyone was shivareed back in the olden days. If one failed to have a shivaree it was someone who wasn't very well thought of. That was just your greeting in the community. And you better have had your candy and cigars ready, too, or you might get dipped in the pond, creek or a cow tank. Woe to those who married in the winter when the ice had to be broken.

Wayne and I were Shivareed in 1948, almost a year after we were married and by a bunch of friend and neighbors. I had been tipped off by mama who heard it from Aunt Bessie Caywood. This gave me a chance to have a VERY clean house for the event. We hid our car in the granary and turned off the house lights to wait.  We sat against the kitchen door for what seemed like hours.  This door was one of our three that would not lock. We bought a box of cigars and two boxes of candy bars as per tradition to pass out after the group did their deed.

Close to 25 to 30 people came.  My Aunt Bessie was quite hefty and decided to come in through the window when she decided the doors were all locked, she got stuck. She had to have help to back out. She was a very jolly person and laughed it off. Wayne's brother, Monk, knew the door did not lock and guessed we were holding it. He got help and shoved us along with the door as it came open. It was just in time to see Aunt Bessie stuck in the window before they got her out.

Abbie Clark from Jet played my piano and the group thought about dancing, but for some reason they decided against it. I think my newly sanded and varnished hardwood floor was mentioned. After some visiting. we joined the group and went to dad and mom's home where my brother and wife, Willis and Thelma Caywood, lived. Wayne shot off his shot gun which was usual for shivarees. I remember it gave him a big kick and a sore shoulder. They did not expect us, so they were not prepared with treats. They joined our group and we went to newly wed Virgil and Delorse Arnold's home about two miles away to shivaree them. They did turn on the light and some of the group peeked in the window to see Delorse in her robe scurrying around picking up things in the house to make it more presentable. I felt sorry for her because she had not been warned as I had. Our living room was about 16 X 16 and was wall to wall people. The men hung out in our small kitchen and ate all of the extra candy bars. I was upset with Wayne about that.

Some newly weds were made to go to town and the groom pushed the bride completely across main street in a wheel barrow. Others dunked the groom in a water tank and on rare occasions the bride too. The worst I have heard was some guys in Jet tied the groom to a utility pole where he was left for most of the night. I am sure some good friends were lost that night. Sometimes crackers, rice, and corn flakes were put in beds, slats removed so the bed fell and such things. When my Aunt Myrtle Clover Arnold got married in the mid 1920's, some of the pranksters put sugar in the salt shaker and salt in the sugar bin. They exchanged starch for baking powder and mixed other staples. She said it took her days before she could cook things that tasted right.

A man near here, who married late in life, was the instigator of many bad tricks at shivarees, so when he married the men got even by putting X-Lax in a candy bar and fed it to him. His 150 mile trip to the city the next day was a very long one. I have no idea when the last Shivaree was held in our community, but it was a very long time ago.

 Copyright © 2001 by Lois Caywood Guffy All rights reserved.
Revised: 07/24/09 08:11:36 -0600.