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Grandma was a bootlegger in Wink

This slice of heaven recipe comes from a childhood neighbor in Austin. Diana and Doyle were high school sweethearts from Wink, Texas. I loved hearing about their life in this far west Texas oil boom town. What I loved even better was her walking over with this heavenly pie!  It’s true – you can be known and remembered for a certain recipe. 

I knew Diana was a spirited woman – and her grandmother’s survival profession just might have been where she inherited her spunk: 

Diana Pendleton on Wink, Texas:

Wink has had four booms that I know about. Oil was found in Winkler county, then WWII came along with a piloted training air base in Pyote about 14 miles from Wink, then another oil boom and recently the fracking of oil made Wink boom again.

My grandmother went to Wink in a covered wagon as a little girl. I remember she told us she walked behind the wagon when she got tired of riding. No date! Not sure! She
never told her age even later in life.  

When my grandparents were dating everyone wore a gun on their hip. My granddad went to church with my grandmother and he wanted to hold her hand. She would not hold his hand in church. So, he threatened to shoot out the one light bulb in the church during the service … she held his hand! Ha!

She was divorced from my granddad and became a bootlegger. Mother remembers sleeping on car seat as little girl when my grandmother made deliveries in the dark. When I was a little girl my grandmother ran a “beer joint” in Wink. I can remember two long bars across one side of building where they stood and drank beer, ate pickled eggs, and danced. She did have food and tables to one side. I loved going there and helping smash hamburger patties with a hamburger press.

My parents met in Wink. My dad went to school through 10th grade. His Jr year he was registered for three gym classes and 4 study halls. Lasted about 6 weeks and the school discovered he wasn’t taking anything but basketball. He quit school and went to work in the oil field. He met my mom before the war and they were married then he was gone for about three and half years all over Europe. After the war he went back to work in the oil field. I came along as first of baby boomers in 1946. I can remember he drove from Wink to Odessa to work. It was about 58 miles so I could go to school in Wink. Winkler county at one time was only county in Texas completely fenced in. That was because of fences and cattle guards over all roads.

I grew up in a “shotgun” house. Named because it is said you could stand on front porch and shoot a shotgun through front door and every bb would go out the back door. There was front door into living room. Then kitchen right behind living room……same width as front room, then bedroom, again same width and then bathroom and back door. Really “nice “ shotgun houses had another bedroom behind bathroom and then back door. We did not have a luxury model. I think there is a model of a shotgun house in a museum in Georgetown.There was no insulation in the roof – just sheetrock ceiling and tin over rafters. Great sleeping when it rained. Ha. Remember that storage shed we had on Cloverleaf? Well, it has tin roof and we would open bedroom window and listen to it rain.  When I was in elementary school we got plastic curtains for living room windows. Mom was very proud of them. We had gas heater stoves in every room. But turned them off when we went to bed. My parents were afraid the fire would go out and we would wake up dead from gas fumes. We did wake up frozen some mornings. Ha! I can say I never felt poor, needy, or wanting.  I lived less than half a block from school.

School in Wink was great. You walked to school. Everyone knew everyone else. You had to be good because with only two grocery stores your parents were bound to run into your teachers and find out all you were up to. Football was king. Every Friday everyone went to football games. There was a picture in Reader’s Digest that showed a sign they put up on Friday night “away” football games. “Will last person leaving please turn out the lights”! With all the oil money, we never wanted for football equipment. They had tennis shoes under the bleachers by sizes. When you needed new tennis shoes you just went in…..unsupervised …….and got you a new pair. If they wore out you just got another pair. In a small school you could take part in all activities. I marched in band at halftime from 7th grade until graduation. When I was cheerleading, I would leave field with 2 minutes until half and go to band bus and put on band uniform. Friend met me with horn and hat as band lined up. After marching, back to band bus to put on cheerleading outfit and back for second half. I played tennis and volleyball from 7th grade til graduation. Any away trip we all thought we should be fed.  We had chicken fried steak, French fries, salad and green beans every trip! When band went to marching contest we went to a cafeteria. The only “restriction” was be sure you can eat all you get. Tennis racquets, band horns, cheerleading uniforms, Pom poms, megaphones, etc.  were all paid for by school.

Now they have indoor Olympic pool, racquet courts, weight rooms for girls and boys, and all weather track (6 runners), the football field training facility is in indoors and air conditioned with artificial grass. The buses all have TVs screens at each seat for traveling. Now they have online college credits for students in evening and computers new every year for students and people in community to use.

Different time and different place. When they say good ole days in Wink, they are thinking of the 50s.  

Texas Millionaire Pie

Source: Diana Pendleton - Wink, TX
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes



  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup Imperial Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Adam's Extract Vanilla
  • 21 Ritz Crackers
  • cup Pecans


  • 8 oz HEB Cream Cheese
  • ¾ cup Imperial powdered sugar


  • ½ pint Whipping cream
  • cup Imperial sugar
  • ½ cup Pecans
  • 1 Small can Crushed Pineapples
  • 2 tsp Adam's Vanilla Extract



  • Beat egg whites until stiff. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla. Roll crackers to crumb texture of meal. Fold into egg whites. Add pecans. Press into a 9” pie pan. Bake 15 minutes at 350 Degrees in greased and floured 9" pie pan.


  • Blend together softened cream cheese and sugar and spread on crust.


  • Whip cream, add sugar and vanilla. Fold into pineapple and pecans.
  • Pile on filling and refrigerate until serving.