Young Grady Louis McMurtry in Big Cabin Oklahoma

About a year after Grady’s father return from World War One, his wife Bee gave birth to a son; she was only seventeen at the time. The child’s arrival came in the early hours of the morning on October 18, 1918. He was named after his father and christened Grady Louis McMurtry, or so the younger Grady always believed. In the late fifties when he finally obtained a copy of his birth certificate he discovered that his middle name was actually spelt as Lewis. At the time Grady was born, his family was still living in a tiny shack close to the railroad tracks. Grady remembered this shack vividly because “every hour on the hour a passenger or a freight train came charging along … swish kuchuuung.” He also recalled in his childhood of risking his life, “going over to pick up coals for my mother so she could put them on the stove” in order to keep the family’s shack warm during the winter. These were the memories that Grady had of his childhood and although this period of his life was tough, he would always say with a chuckle that they were good times. Eventually the family moved from Big Cabin to an apartment in Ponca City, Oklahoma then abruptly to Sallisaw. Some believe the constant moving were due to his father’s life of crime, trying to keep one step ahead of the law. We have no exact date as to when or even why Grady’s father divorced his mother but we do know that it occurred when Grady was about three years old.