Charlyne Sisler was one of Clovis’s greatest women

By Don McAlavy: Local columnist

“I was born in Clovis, the only child of Charles Wesley and Edna Merle Allyn,” said Charlyne Allyn Sisler. My family settled in west Texas and both of my pioneer families settled around Sweetwater and Abilene as early as 1866.

“My father was a telegrapher and came to Clovis in 1917 to work for the Santa Fe Telegraph and Cable office. The Santa Fe Railroad and the men who ran it were the most important and dominant aspect of Clovis when I was a child. I loved watching the coming and going of the trains, plus the social atmosphere of the Gran Quivira or Harvey House, where my mother and father had lived when they first arrived in Clovis.

“All our vacations and visits to grandparents were made by train, and I became an inveterate train rider at a very early age. I remained a railroad aficionado until all passenger serve to Clovis ceased. My husband, Joe, and I unknowingly boarded the last train to Clovis in Chicago on April 30th, 1971.

“Entertainment in Clovis in the twenties seemed adequate. I attended the Lyceum Theater quite often with my parents to see silent films. John Philip Sousa and his military band gave a concert at the Lyceum and it was, musically speaking, a highlight in my elementary years. Harley Sadler’s tent show supplied interesting “live” entertainment, with an appearance once or twice a year. Harley and Billie Sadler were from Sweetwater, Texas, where my grandparents lived, and my family had known them for a long time.

“My husband to-be, Joe Sisler, was a Western Union messenger boy who occasionally was asked to enter the tent to call out “Telegram for Harley Sadler.” Clovis was a circus town a half-century ago (in 1950). One of the more interesting retrospective happenings were the gypsy caravan that came through in the spring. A small group camped on the prairie not far from where we lived on Lea Street. I loved watching their activities, which seemed very peaceful, and once I got close enough to be noticed and called to by one the gypsy women. At night from our porch we could see the campfires, and the movement around the horses and wagons.

“I received my education in the Clovis Public Schools and was graduated in 1936. In September 1945, I married Joe Sisler and we lived at 1800 Fairfield. My father died in 1961 and having worked as a telegrapher for 50 years, learning the Morse Code when he was sixteen. He had seen the revolutionary Pancho Villa in El Paso, and had sent telegrams for Charles Lindberg and other notables who came through Clovis.”

Charlyne Sisler and I