By Una Belle Townsend
I wrote a book once. I sent it up to the “big” publishers in New York City. It was rejected. Since I’d had no classes in writing, I soon found out that there were many things wrong with my submission. It took a while to learn about formatting, number of words in a children’s picture book, etc. In other words, the “craft” of writing. I didn’t send out my story of Grady, the cow who jumped in a silo, for many years. Finally, I sent it to Pelican Pub. Co.in Gretna, LA, and they published it.
Now, as I write about it, the book is 16 years old. And, Grady, the Hereford, has an anniversary. It’s the 70th anniversary of her leap into a silo. Of course, she’s not around, but many others in the Yukon area remember the story.
Grady was a Hereford cow owned by Bill Mach and his brother, Charley. On February 22, 1949, she jumped into a silo in Yukon, OK. She couldn’t get out for 5 days.
There have been books written about her including my book, Grady’s in the Silo. Over the years, I’ve been interviewed about her story:
On Galen Culver’s “Is this a Great State or What?” Channel 4
Metro Library System’s “Read About It” by B. J. Williams
Twice or more on Ch. 13 (Farm Bureau programs)
And on Channel 9.
YouTube also carried her story–“Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom:Grady the Silo Cow”.
So, her story’s been on television, radio,YouTube, and I’ve been on panels discussing her. Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom also has developed curriculum ideas for teachers on her story. They even have a movie created by Sheri Carpenter about Grady. It shows a few pictures of Grady, too.
Grady was pictured inside the silo by Life Magazine in 1949. The photographer would have had to climb to the top of the silo to get the photo they had in the magazine. I happen to have that issue. Sports Illustrated also mentioned her plight.
Grady’s plight was also named one of the top 100 events of the 20th century by the Topps Company. She was #18.
Some schools have written their own plays about her. At the National Ag in the Classroom Conference, which met in Oklahoma one year, some of my students performed a play that I’d written about Grady.
The Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom team also developed their own play and puppets of farm animals for another National Ag in the Classroom Conference. And now, there are STEM projects about Grady, too.
One of my signings included a huge cake which looked exactly like the cover of my book. It was so pretty, no one wanted to cut it.
Another unusual incident included a woman who called to tell me she’d been the book, Grady’s in the Silo at a Halloween party. She’d had the cover blown up over 5 feet tall, and she’d wrapped it around her to become the book. She had no further use for the cover, so she gave it to me.
For many years, the Mach family answered any questions I had about Grady. And, I thank them for their many answers.
Grady had her own mailbox in front of the Mach house.
Her pen was also in the front of the house.
She was in the Czech Day Parade in Yukon for many years.
She was at the Oklahoma City State Fair for many years.
There was a song and a poem written about her.
Over 75 % of the newspapers had headlines about her when she was “free from her prison” in the silo.
This is a cardboard cut-out of Grady which the Mable C. Fry has for programs about Grady. It often stands beside me as I read my book and tell the pre-schoolers about a little bit of Yukon’s history.
Happy 70th Anniversary, Grady!