March 8, 1999
Growing up in Bruno in the '30s
Inis Mae Proctor was born Inis Mae Grey in Bruno, Arkansas on April 12, 1924. Life was very different for her then. The population of Bruno wasn't more than 150. Her parents owned a farm and she had to help out by milking the cows and working in the fields with her brothers, JC, who was four years older, and Grady, who was six years younger. Inis also had another brother, Lucian, who was born when Inis was four. Lucian died when he was an infant of pneumonia.
Disaster struck her house the night before Inis was supposed to start her second year of school. Her house burnt to the ground that night. The cause of the fire is still not known. Without her clothes, Inis had to miss school until she got enough clothes to go again. Her family moved into a house on their old farm (which has since been blown to the ground during a storm) until the new house they were building was completed. It took about eight months for them to finish building their new stone home. Eventually she got enough clothes to go back to school and they built a new house.
Every morning Inis would get up and milk about eight cows. On weekends and vacation days she would go to the fields with her father and brothers. Her brothers believed that if they had to go work in the fields she had to at least come with them. On school mornings, after she milked the cows, she would get ready for school and then walk the mile and a half to the school with her brothers and neighbors. The walk usually took about thirty minutes but sometimes they would play too much and they would be late.
After school was out, they would walk the mile and a half back home. When they got home, they would change into their work clothes, eat a snack of biscuits and meat, and then go out to milk the cows. When they were done with their supper and chores, she and her brothers would meet with other children that lived near by and play until dark. When it rained and they had to stay inside, Inis and her brothers would move all of the furniture into a corner, put on blindfolds, and try to find the others and grab a hold of them. Another game they played was "Find the Thimble" where someone would hide the thimble and everyone else would try to find it. Inis's favorite thing to do was to go to basketball games, so if there were games after school she would stay for them.
Inis's favorite day was Sunday. The whole family would go the mile and a half to church. After services, family, friends, and even the preacher would go back to the Grey's house for a big lunch of home-cooked food. Other times they would go horseback-riding all the way to Yellville, which was about eight miles. After that ride they would be really sore!
Inis attended school at Bruno in the same building that is still being used. Inis liked school pretty well, even though she didn't make the best grades. She was also shy, so she didn't make many friends until she was older. Eventually Inis, along with less than fifteen other classmates, graduated in 1941, but not before Inis had the chance to run into her future husband on a class trip.
Inis met her future husband, Earl Proctor, in 1940 on a school trip to Branson. Her class was going to see a show but she and her friends decided to skip it and they met a group of boys. Earl was in the service while they were dating so they didn't see each other very often, but when they went on dates it was to the skating rink in Cotter or to see a show.
Earl and Inis got married in 1943. They moved around for a while, then finally bought some land in Bull Shoals in 1946. In 1947 they moved into the house that she still lives in today, one of the first houses in the area to have electricity. Inside that house they raised two boys and have seen the town and technology grow.
Ibis now enjoys the "luxuries" of life, like electricity, a car, and a nice house. She says Bruno hasn't changed that much. If anything, Bruno is less developed now than it was when she was a child. She likes not having to work outside as much any more although she enjoyed that as a child. She says that she enjoyed her childhood very much and doesn't think it would have been any better if she had grown up with the modern life we live now.