Journal of
Luvenia Frances Bloss Pace




I was born January 22, 1917 in Chattanooga, Tennessee to Eva (Burk) and Thomas J. Bloss.  We lived at 1908 McCallie Avenue.  My brother, Alba, was 10 years old, his birthday was January 11, and my sister, Cathern, would be 20 years old, being born on October 2, 1917.  My sister told me many times that my brother said “I was not just an accident, but a calamity”.  She also told me that if she had not made me baby clothes, there wouldn’t have been anything to put on me.  She was still in high school - she graduated that year, and also married after graduation.  She said she had to push me in a baby buggy while she did her homework.  When I would cry, she said mother would call out “Push the baby!”  One of Cathern’s daughters once told me that Dick (Green), her husband to be, did her homework for her.   Somehow, with all this negative beginning I heard about, I never felt unloved.  Perhaps this was just my sister’s idea of a joke and so I never took it seriously.
My sister was married and her husband Dick (Herman Curtis Green) went off to war.  While he was away, their first daughter was born.  They lived with us until he returned.  He was a supply officer and stayed away longer than some soldiers.
My father was an engineer.  He listed himself on my birth certificate as a Mechanical Engineer.  In those days, an engineer did all kinds of engineering.  He did surveys, electrical,  plumbing and heating, construction, etc.  He had worked for insurance companies as an inspector for elevators, industrial plants, furnaces, etc.  His letterhead read:
The Hartford Boiler Inspector and Insurance Co.
710 Cherry Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee 
T. J. Bloss, Inspector
 
My father was living at my grandmother’s hotel, the Burk Hotel, in Chattanooga when he met my mother.  After they were married, they lived in several places.  They lived in Memphis, Tennessee, when there was an epidemic, I think of cholera.  My mother and sister went to live in Ohio with his parents, while my father stayed and worked.  They lived in Boaz and Florence, Alabama. 
In one of those places, I think it was Boaz, father bought a car.  It was shipped to him in boxes and he put it together.  I guess it was like the labels today on some Christmas toys - minimum construction required.  It was the only car in town and when they went to church, it scared the horses.  The church people got up a petition to keep him from driving it to church.  He didn’t keep it too long after that.  He sold it and he never again drove a car.
I may have been about 2 years old when we moved to So. Pittsburg (abt-1919) , so I don’t remember living in our Chattanooga home.  I saw the house many times.  It was red brick and built very much like our house in So. Pittsburg.  There was a wall about 4 feet high at the sidewalk and front yard.  My sister, Cathern,  said Alba used to ride his tricycle in the yard and fall over the wall onto the sidewalk.  Alba had a small bump on each side of his upper forehead.  Sister said those were bumps from him falling over the wall so many times. 
Cathern had her first child, Eva, while her husband was overseas in World War I.  They lived with us until Dick returned from war.  Then they moved to Birmingham, Alabama.  I don’t remember any of that - Eva is 18 months younger than I am. Cathern eventually had four children.  I never liked for her to come home for a visit.  My toys appealed to her children and when they were ready to go home they wanted to keep my toys, Mother would say “Take them, Luvenia doesn’t mind”.  I did mind, but I never said anything.
We moved to So. Pittsburg, Tennessee when my father took a job at the Dixie Portland Cement Co. in Richard City, Tennessee. We lived in a rented house while my father built our home.  The house was built of concrete blocks.  The roof had steel bolts that went all the way to the concrete foundation.  The roof was slate, which was replaced by the present owners in the ‘70’s. 
When the Chattanooga home was torn down for a parking lot, they had to bring in really heavy equipment to knock it down.  One with one of those heavy balls that they swing against walls to knock them down, and then big bulldozers.
The So. Pittsburg home was rectangular in shape with a living room, dining room, breakfast room and kitchen on one side.  A front porch all across the house and three bedrooms and bath on the other side.  There was one long closet in the long hall.  One time one of Alba’s cats somehow got in there and had kittens.  There was another hall closet that had a clothes drop for dirty clothes to fall to the basement to a wooden shelf.  There was a rack there where my clothes hung.  I slept for the most part in the back bedroom where my parents slept.  When my brother left home, when I was 10, my parents moved into his room and I had the back bedroom.
When Alba left home, he went to work for the National Cash Register Co. in Dayton, Ohio.  He went to their training school and learned to repair and maintain   the cash registers that they sold.
Mr. A. H. Campbell, one of the executives of NCR, was a friend of Daddy’s.  Before Daddy married my mother, he and Mr. Campbell were both living at my Grandmother’s hotel.  He got scarlet fever and Daddy took care of him.  Everyone else was afraid to get near.  Mr. Campbell was always so grateful for what Daddy did for him.  They always kept in touch and that’s how Alba got to go to work at NCR.
After Alba finished his training, they sent him to Texas to work.  He had been dating Virginia Stutz Kehr in Dayton, Ohio and I guess he missed her, so he just quit in Texas, without notice, and came back to Tennessee.  I remember Mother was hanging up clothes and she heard a horn blow.  She said, “if I didn’t know Alba was in Texas, I’d say that was Alba.”  It was Alba.  Alba had an air horn on his car that made a bugle sound.
Alba drove Daddy and me to Dayton, Ohio in 1926 when I was 9 years old.  My grandmother, Mary Catherine (Bell) Bloss died June 3 of that year in Dayton.  We must have gone up a few weeks before she died, because I remember missing several weeks of school at that time.  I had to take a make up test for what I had missed.  That was a big worry for me. 
We stayed in Dayton at my grandmother’s with my father’s sisters, Luvenia and Etta Bloss, and when we where there we also visited the Campbell’s.  They had a large beautiful brick home.  On that trip we ate at the Miamisburg Mill Restaurant and bought bread at a bakery Daddy had patronized when he lived there. Thomas J. Bloss was born in Springboro, OH, a few miles from Miamisburg.   We also visited the newly opened  Cincinnati Union Terminal.
I remember an earlier visit to Dayton when I was five.  My Aunt Luvenia Bloss let me help her make a cherry pie.  She told everyone I made it.  That is my earliest memory of cooking.
I don’t think there was a close relationship between my father’s parents and my mother.  Mother was a southern girl and it was too soon after the civil war for the scars to be healed.  My father’s uncle, also named Thomas Jefferson Bloss, fought with the Ohio 35th and was killed in the Battle of Chickamauga.
My grandfather, R. Harrison Bloss, died in 1910.  My Aunts, Etta and Luvenia Bloss never married.  They always lived at home and took care of their mother.  Aunt Etta worked for Frigidair  as I recall.  Aunt Luvenia stayed at home and was the homemaker.  My father helped them financially also. 
We had hot water heat in our home in So. Pittsburg and there was a coal room next to the furnace in the basement.  The coal was put through a chute in the side wall by the drive way.
I do remember we had an ice box that was on the landing of the basement steps.  The basement’s outside door was at the landing. The ice man could deliver the ice without coming into the main house.  When we wanted ice we had a dial-like chart that we put in the front bedroom window.  You would point the arrow to the number of pounds you wanted that day.
We had a kerosene (coal oil) stove in the kitchen that we used in the summer.  There was an oven that sat over two of the burners for baking.  We had a wood stove that we cooked on in the winter.  There was a wood box built in under the kitchen windows.  It was my window seat.
When we got our electric refrigerator, a GE with the cooling unit on top, it was put in the hall at the top of the basement steps.
We had a garage that was separated from the house.  There was an excavation in the floor, covered with a board door.  When our car needed work under it, the door was removed and my father or brother or both could get under the car to work.  I don’t know when we first had a car because my brother was the only one that could drive.  My brother taught me to drive some time before he left home to work for NCR in Dayton, Ohio.  We had a pick up truck to deliver items from our hardware store.  My brother let me drive while he took cat naps after being out late the night before.  I was so short that when I put on the brakes, I almost disappeared under the steering wheel.  Remember, in those days, there weren’t many cars, the roads were not very good, and cars didn’t go very fast.  There were no driver’s licenses.  If you could drive, you drove.  Many of my friends parents didn’t have cars.
Alba started to teach Mother to drive before he left, and Alba’s friend Maurice Kyle Patton continued teaching her after he was gone.
I don’t remember very much about my grandmother Nancy (Bradley) Burk.  Two years before she died she lived part of the year with us and part with Aunt Birda (Burk) Dayton in Chattanooga.  I remember once I unscrewed the valve on the hot water heater register in her bedroom (the front bedroom) and the hot water was pouring out.  She stopped the water with her hand while I ran to the kitchen and got a pan to catch the water while she put the screw back on.
Grandmother, Nancy Burk,  died May 1, 1922.  I was five years old.   Grandmother was at Aunt Birda’s in Chattanooga when she became ill.  I think she had a stroke.  She told Aunt Birda she wanted to see me.  Aunt Birda called Mother and asked her to bring me up.  I was attending Mrs. Braggs’ Pre-School and Mother waited till the weekend to take me.  Before we got there grandmother was in a coma and she did not recover.  I remember her room was rather dark and her lips were very parched and someone would take a piece of cotton and wet her lips.  I was scared because I didn’t understand.
When she died, there was a service in Chattanooga and then the people and the casket went by train to the cemetery.  The cemetery (Hoge #2) is on a farm out (South) from Jasper, Tennessee, where her husband is buried too.
We walked from the train over to the cemetery.  The cemetery’s name is Hoge’s.  I don’t know how everyone got home from there.  Years later my friends’ father, Mr. Barker, told me he was the station master that made the arrangements for the train to stop.  There is no station there.
Our home was on four lots.  We had a big garden on one lot.  Mother did a lot of canning.  There was a “dark room” in the basement where there were shelves on the walls for the jars and bins underneath where potatoes were stored.
We had a pecan tree, an English Walnut tree and a fig tree.  As I remember the fig tree, it was more like a bush.  A ripe fig off the tree was really delicious.  As I have found with other fruits - fresh picked when ripe -taste better than anything you can buy at the store.
We also had a big apple tree.  I liked to climb trees and I had a favorite perch in the apple tree.  We had “pie” cherry trees, peaches, plums and apricot trees, and a long grape arbor with several kinds of grapes. Mother also raised chickens. 
The first chicken house mother had was not so big.  Then that was torn down and Daddy built a much larger chicken house.  It had an entrance like a hallway and chickens on either side.  Outside the chicken yard had a dividing fence, so that she could separate the chickens whenever she wanted.  There were nesting compartments on shelves.  It was nice.  Years later, when Mother decided not to raise chickens.  Daddy had the chicken house moved to our lower lot, made some improvements, and sold it for a home.  It’s still there, I doubt if the people living in it now know it was once a chicken house.
While raising chickens, mother had an incubator in the basement where we hatched our little chicks from eggs.  The eggs have to be turned - I believe it was every day.  I did that many times.  When they began to hatch, you could watch them pick their way out.  Occasionally one would be too weak to get out.  You could help them, but they would usually die.  They would stay in the incubator awhile then they would be put with a mother hen who had also hatched chickens.  Many times Mother raised turkeys for Thanksgiving.  They were harder to raise.
To kill a chicken, Mother would wring its neck.  Sometimes she would chop its head off with an ax.  The chicken would flop around on the ground for a bit.  When that was over, they were stuck in a pan of hot water.  Then the feathers were plucked and the fine pin feathers were singed with a burning newspaper.  Then they were cut into pieces and put in salted water or plain water and refrigerated till ready to fry.
I don’t remember my father working at the cement plant.  He must not have worked there long.  They had asked him to work on Sunday.  Sunday was God’s day and you didn’t work for pay on that day, so he quit.
He bought a hardware store in So. Pittsburg.  It was between a Picture Show and a coal delivery company.   I had permission from the show owner to go in free anytime I wanted to.  I didn’t go very often.  Before talkies came in, the action was more animated and the words the actor’s were supposed to say were printed at the bottom of the picture.  I didn’t even go much after the talkies came in.
When Alba was in High School, he ran the movie projector for the theater.  Film was not as good in those days and would sometimes break or tangled.  When something went wrong, the show patrons would whistle, loudly, till it was fixed.
Mother and Mrs. Fair went to Chattanooga to see the first talking show.  They were so excited about it.  It was “The Jazz Singer”.  Tom Mix was the cowboy movie guy then.  I went to see him when his movies came.  I met him several times.  He and his friend “Cappy” Holden had been sheriffs around South Pittsburg and Richard City.  That was before my time, I guess.  But when he was in the area, he would visit “Cappy” and usually visited our school.
“Cappy” Holden’s mother was my Sunday School teacher.  The only name I ever heard her called was “Mammy” Holden.  She was a dear. I have a cut glass toothpick holder she gave me. 
Our church (Methodist) was one room - the sanctuary.  Our class was on a pew at the side of the pulpit.  Other classes were in different areas.  The adults were in the very back pews.  One thing I always  remember - there was a youth choir.  I was about 10 years old and I went to the youth choir.  On one of our practice days, I was asked not to sing because I was ruining the music.  That really hurt me.  I always wished I could sing a beautiful song and go back and show them they should be sorry they didn’t let me sing.  Needless to say, I didn’t go back to choir practice, nor did I learn to sing a beautiful song.
Mother would do her work at home in the mornings and then go to the hardware store, take Daddy’s lunch to him and stay till closing time.  I guess that is why I went to Mrs. Bragg’s Pre-School.  On Saturday’s, I too went to the hardware store.
On the other side of the coal company was a photographers place.  He and his family also lived there.  The wife’s name was Flossie.  They had a son, Charles D. that was just a little younger than I.  I would play with him on Saturday and any other time I was at the store.  There was a yard behind our store and behind where he lived, so we had a yard.  There was a second floor on our hardware store, we could also play up there.
The store was heated with a pot belly stove.  A bench was behind the stove and many winter nights I slept on that bench until time to close.  Then I would have to wake up and walk nine blocks home.
The office area was just a raised platform near the stove.  There was a four or five foot solid railing around most of it.  One time when Mother went down to the hardware store, she found my father had been robbed.  The safe was open and daddy was laying unconscious on the floor.
Daddy and Alba built a one room house in our side yard.  It was to be my playhouse.  It didn’t get to be my playhouse till Alba left home when I was 10.  Until then he used it for his bunk house.
His girlfriend that had lived in Richard City moved to Chattanooga.  He continued to see her.  When he would go to see her, he would take Jodie (Osborne) with him.  He would take Jodie to his girlfriend’s and when Alba was ready to come home, he’d go pick Jodie up.  For that day and time it was unusual because Jodie was black.  Jodie would spend the night with Alba in the bunk house when they got home late.  Jodie was younger than Alba.  He worked for Mother - mostly in the garden.  I think I always knew Jodie.  He would do anything for Alba, and he thought a lot of my Mother and Father.  They were good to him.  The black druggist in town wanted to send Jodie to Medical School.  I think he did go to Medical School one year.  He turned out to be a fine man.  He married, had several children.  One of them did become a doctor.  He lived all his life in So. Pittsburg.  He never did go to visit Alba after Alba moved away and married, but he would have been welcomed.  They did keep in touch and remained friends.
When I’m in church, so many of the old songs we sing make me think of Mother.  When she washed, she hung the clothes outside on a clothesline in nice weather and she would sing hymns.
I wonder if anyone reading this would know what a “cold frame” is.  We had one near the playhouse.  To make one, you dug a deep hole as long and wide as you wanted, then made a wooden frame around the edges and covered it with a pane of glass.  It was used to plant seeds early in the spring.  You filled your hole with compost and manure almost to ground level, then planted your seeds.  On warm days the lid was up - nights and cold days the lid was down.  That’s how you got an early garden.  Jodie would help with  transplanting the plants and weeding.  My job was picking potato bugs off potato plants.  I got paid by the count.  It took a lot to make a quarter.
You had to be six years old to start public school.  Since my birthday was in January, I was almost seven when I started.  That was the last year children attended the old school.  The old school consisted of two frame buildings - a two story building and a separate one story building.  I think my class was in the separate building.  The next year we moved to a big two story brick building on the hill on the west side of town.  There were classrooms for the elementary students and a large study hall for the high school students, which also served as the gym and basketball court.  The high school classrooms surrounded the study hall.
Alba loved to trick me - for example, he would go to the trouble of    setting our grandfather clock ahead one hour, then tell me I was late to school.  I’d rush out, sometimes without breakfast, then he’d have to run those clock hands all the way around to get the correct time.  It had to chime all the hours and half hours as he turned it.
The blacks had a separate school.  It was on a hill on the east side of town.  Theirs was a red brick building like ours. 
I think our school had one school bus.  It brought children from Orme, which was a coal mining area several miles from town.
I walked to and from school and walked home for lunch.  Alba rode his bicycle, but he wouldn’t ride me.  I would start out by the back door, cross the alley to Crisp’s and usually wait for Roberta and Miriam to walk with me.  Seems to me it was eight blocks, but I can’t visualize more than six blocks.
I know the Crisp’s moved in after we lived in our house, but I really don’t remember them not living there.  Mr. Crisp was a railroad Station Master.  Mrs. Crisp played the piano and sometimes taught music.  Miriam, Roberta, and Billy were their children.  Miriam was a little older and Roberta, or Berta as I have always called her, a little younger, than I.  Billy was several years younger.  The Crisp’s were family for me.  I would go home from school, change into play clothes, and go back to Crisp’s till my parents came home from the hardware store about 6 P.M.  I really don’t know how the Crisp’s put up with me so much.
They took an afternoon paper and when it came, we - usually it was me - would get out the funny paper to read.  Before we finished looking through it, it was all mixed up.  Mr. Crisp never complained.
I played with Berta more than Miriam.  Miriam was two years older and when you’re young that makes a difference.  She had outgrown our children’s games.  We played “paper dolls” a lot.  Sometimes you would have printed people and printed clothes with tabs to fold over to hold the clothes on the people.  Sometimes we would cut out people we liked in magazines and make clothes for them out of colored paper.  I usually kept my paper dolls in a National Geographic magazine.  You would separate the people and their clothes with different pages.
The Crisp’s had a wall around their front yard and we liked to walk on top of that.  Their front porch was pretty high - I’d guess at least 10 feet.  There were concrete steps and every two steps had a concrete slab on the end.  We used to jump off those end slabs to the ground.  I guess I was a show off and I not only jumped off the end slabs all the way up, but climbed the railing on the porch and jumped off, not once, but many times.  I got stone bruises on the bottom of my feet.  For a while I could hardly walk.  One of the things they did was tie bacon onto the bottom of my feet with cloths.  The bacon was supposed to draw the infection out.  It took awhile, but I recovered.
I got the measles before I was in public school.  I’ve been told many times how I cried for 7 days and nights.  We had one doctor and one dentist in our town.  Dr. Irish had been to see me and I guess they thought I would be okay.  After all my crying, they must have called Dr. Irish back.  He came and told my mother she must get me to Chattanooga at once.
Mother called a taxi to take us to the train.  My father called the Railroad Station Master to hold the train and the doctor called the Chattanooga doctor to expect us. I remember it very well because they took me in my night clothes and wrapped me in a blanket.  I was very embarrassed to be going in my night clothes.  The doctor was waiting for us.  I remember he stuck a long probe into my ear, holding a cup under my ear.  It was filled with puss from my ear.  He told Mother that we got there just in time, before the ear drum would have burst and I would have been deaf in that ear.
During that illness Mother also gave me Caster Oil mixed in orange juice.  It was ages before I could enjoy an orange again.  About 35 years later, I found the Caster Oil had done more than it was meant to do.  During some surgery the doctor found that at some time my appendix had burst and scar tissue was all around in that area.  He said he spent almost an hour cutting the scar tissue away.  He wanted to know when I had been very ill, because if I hadn’t been sick and on medication, I would surely have died.
I also remember getting well.  Alba had gone squirrel hunting and Mother made me squirrel soup with dumplings.  It was the first thing I had eaten in a long time and it tasted good.  I always gave Alba and his squirrel credit for making me well.
Some of the other games we played were Hide and Seek, Jacks, Jump Rope, and Hop Scotch.  Sometimes Alba would bring his girlfriend over to our house, Eva Louise from Richard City.  She would play jacks with me.  I don’t think Alba was always too happy with the attention Eva Louise gave me.
We had a Victrola and many records.  It was in a real pretty cabinet.  You had to turn the crank handle to wind it up to play.  We had a number of Soussa’s March pieces.  Sometimes I’d play those and march through the house.  When other kids were there, we’d call it a parade.  There were two church numbers we had that I loved, “The Ninety and Nine”.  It’s no longer in our hymnals, but Becky found it someplace and made a copy for me.  The other was “In the Garden”.  They were sung by a male, Tenor, I think.
We did a lot of roller skating on the sidewalks all over town.  I was a good skater.  We had some hills and you could really go fast going down.  One time I had skated just up to the corner of our street and across the street it started to rain real hard.  I turned around real fast, fell and skinned my knees, got up, hurried home - but it never rained there.
I always wanted a bicycle, but my parents wouldn’t get me one.  I expected something good to come when Alba left home.  I was sure I would get his bicycle, but they gave it away.  They said they were afraid I would get hurt.
Alba and Kyle would gig for frogs.  Alba would bring them home and fry frog legs.  Sometimes the legs would jump when put in the skillet. I don’t know if I ever ate any of those.  He also fished.  I helped eat his fish.
Once when Kyle and Alba were sleeping in a tent at Battle Creek Campground, a big rattlesnake got inside their tent.  I don’t know how, but they killed it.  Alba had the skin mounted on a board and hung it in my playhouse (his bunk house).  I believe it had 10 or 12 rattles.  Is that a big snake?
On Sunday’s my father and I liked to climb the Mountain.  We would spend all afternoon climbing.  We knew the mountain well and had our favorite places.
Our front porch faced the mountain.  We had a porch swing and I liked to just swing and look at the mountain.  Our street was the last street at the foot of the mountain. I’ve always loved the mountains.  Years later when I lived in San Antonio, Texas, there was one place high enough that at night you could see the lights of the city.  I liked to go there.
As I’ve said, I spent much time at the Crisp’s.  Mrs. Crisp was so good to me.  She would tell me how nice I looked, how well I had done something or how smart I was.  She gave me confidence in myself.
I did have pretty hair.  I heard that from many people from many places.  My Mother would say “yes, she has pretty hair, but she’s not pretty”.
I had a swing on the big oak tree at the back of the house.  It hung on a high branch.  I guess Alba made it, I don’t think my dad would have climbed that high.  Because the rope was so long, I could really swing high.
They made me a seesaw in the front yard.  Sometimes Alba would humor me and seesaw with me.  Mostly it was Berta and me.  We would seesaw and sing:  “Oh the moon shines tonight on  Charlie Chaplin, his shoes are crackin’, for want a blackin’, and his little red pants need a patchin’, where he’s been a scratchin’ mosquito bites”.    I have no idea where that song came from.  Maybe we made it up.  Charlie Chaplin was a silent movie star.
Another special friend was Lois Barker.  She had four sisters - one older, the rest younger.  They moved into the house across the street from Crisp’s.  Mrs. Barker was an excellent seamstress.  Mother would buy material for two dresses.  Mrs. Barker would make two dresses:  one for me, one for Lois.  I had some pretty clothes.
Mother also sewed for me.  One time she made me rainbow dresses.  That was seven dresses - all a different color - one for each day of the week.  I started making my own clothes when I went to High School.
The Grahams were good friends of ours.  They lived on a farm out from Stevenson, Alabama.  They had several children.  Lois Graham was the oldest.  I first remember her as a school teacher.  I also remember two boys - one about my age, and a girl much younger.  A few years ago, I visited Lois in Georgetown, Kentucky, where she lives now.  I asked her how our families got acquainted.  Her father bought things from our hardware store and we bought milk from them.
They had a big farm house with a center open hall - called a “dog trot”.  A large living room with a big fire place - a large kitchen and bedrooms upstairs as well as on the main floor.  There was a big spring house just off the back porch.  They kept their milk in jars setting in the troughs where the cool spring water ran.  They had an apple orchard.  We would pick apples and press them in a wooden apple press for fresh apple cider.
They also had tennis courts and the boys would play with us.  We always took one of my friends with us - Berta, Miriam or Lois Barker.  They were always ready to go when asked.  We also ate lots of watermelon that had been cooled in the spring house.
Mother’s brother John Burk built a hotel in Harlingen, Texas.  Mother and I, Aunt Birda, her husband (Uncle Ed  Dayton who ran a drug store in Chattanooga), their daughter Georgia and grandson,Dayton, all went to the grand opening.  We went on the train.  When we first got to the Hotel and went to my Uncle’s suite of rooms, his son, Raymond, who was about 3 years old, came up behind me and broke a light bulb over my head.  Some welcome.
I was very impressed with the Hotel.  There was a roof garden where people could dine and dance.  The kitchen was downstairs and there was a dumb waiter to get the food to the roof.  A dumb waiter is like an elevator shaft, with a platform to set food on and ropes to pull or lower the platform.  I thought that was real neat.  My father didn’t go because he had to take care of the store.  I don’t think he ever had a vacation.
We went to the beach at Port Isabel on the Gulf.  To get to the beach on Padre Island, you had to go on a boat.  They were small boats.  When you got on, you went down a few steps and there was a bench on each side where you sat.  There were windows back of the benches and if the waves were high, you had to shut the windows or you would get wet.  There was a bath house on the beach where you could change clothes, but no other buildings.  It was fun at the beach to play in the waves and look for shells.  That may have been the start of my not learning to swim. Whenever, there or any place else, if I got in water part way up to my knees, my Mother would say “don’t go in so deep you might drown”.
We also went to Old Mexico.  You couldn’t take a car over.  I guess we walked across a bridge, then got on a sort of bus to ride into town.  You got on the bus and there was a long bench on each side of the bus.  You sat on the bench and slid yourself down to make room for others to sit.  There was no floor in the bus.
On our tour of Matamoros, we went to a cemetery.  All the graves were above ground.  Some workmen were breaking the seal on a tomb.  We learned that no one was paying the rent on the tomb so they were taking the bones out, so someone else could be buried there.  At one corner of the cemetery, there was a walled off section.  That was the bone yard where bones were thrown.  Years later, at a gift shop, I bought a necklace made out of bone.  I hope it was animal bones.  I still have the necklace.
Something happened on that trip that caused Georgia and Aunt Bessie to have a falling out.  I never knew what it was, but it lasted forever.  When I was older, I got along well with both of them and each of them did many nice things for me.  You didn’t have to guess about their dislike for each other, so I had to be careful of what I did and said.
I think I was 10 years old when I started spending the summers with Georgia.  Dayton would have been 4 years old.  It was all fun for me, but I guess I was sort of helping take care of Dayton.  They lived in a beautiful home on 9 acres in Red Bank, a part of Chattanooga.  Aunt Birda and Uncle Ed lived on one side of the home, and Georgia, Milton, and Dayton on the other side.  I had my own room on Georgia’s side of the home.  They had a maid that lived upstairs.  One end of the long attic had been finished off for her to live in.
They had a Gardener, who was from Germany and spoke very little English.  He had quarters that were built behind the garage.  He lived there until his death.  His name was Rudolph.  He was a small man.  I would see him lift big bags of fertilizer and carry them to where they were to be used.  There were rose gardens, flower gardens by the pool - which was a wading pool 2 to 3 feet deep for children - and flowers around the house.  There was lots of work and he kept everything beautiful.  Many nights I would see him sit on the wall of the driveway that came up the hill to the house.  He smoked a pipe and the smoke would curl away from him.  No one ever visited him and he hardly ever went into town.  I’m sure he was a very lonely man.  He did his own cooking in his quarters.  I felt so sorry for him.
Georgia raised Chihuahua dogs.  They are small dogs.  She gave me one.  Mother liked cats, but not dogs, so she gave my dog away one day while I was in school.  I guess that’s another reason why, if I consider it mine, I don’t throw or give anything away even if it is worthless.
Milton had bird dogs.  He liked to show dogs as well as hunt.  Each set of dogs had a nice big dog house and dog yard.  Dayton also had a pony.  There was a big barn for the pony.  When Dayton got older there was a bunk house for him in back of the barn.
I learned to ride on Dayton’s pony.  There was a neighbor with a daughter about my age and they had horses.  We would ride together all up and down the hills around there.  We stayed on the side roads.  There were other neighbors with a daughter older than I and a son younger.  They came over and played a lot too.
After Dayton started to school - he went to Baylor, a boys’ private school - he had three special friends; Bill V., Zeek, and another Bill, Bill T.  Bill V. and Zeek lived nearby and they were over a lot.  The other Bill lived in town, so I didn’t know him very well.
Georgia entertained a lot.  There was always such good food.  She would invite her friends to play bridge.  She taught me to play bridge.  They made homemade ice cream a lot.  It was so good - especially the peach and the strawberry.  Rudolph would turn the crank on the freezer.  When it was done we would eat it in soup bowls.  I was amazed at Dayton.  He wouldn’t eat the homemade, so they bought him chocolate.
On Sunday’s, Uncle Ed would drive us to either Dayton, Tennessee or Dalton, Georgia to get ice cream sodas.  That was a good way to cool off on a hot day.
Uncle Ed had a drug store on Ninth Street in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  That was in the black section of Chattanooga.  He was also a druggist and the people in that neighborhood really liked him.  He would always help them any way he could.  Uncle Ed sold ice cream.  Whenever I went there, the first place I went was to the ice cream freezer to get an ice cream cone, two dips at least.
A steep alley was next to the drug store.  One day when I was there, a horse drawn ice wagon was coming down and the wagon brakes broke.  That made the wagon push the horse too fast and when it ran into the street, a car hit the horse and killed it.  I saw it happen.  It was awful.
Radios had just been invented and Milton got one.  It was called a crystal set, and Milton had to put it together.  When he got it to working, everyone was excited.  The station was WLW Cincinnati.  Reception was very poor.  It was several more years before we got a radio.
Georgia took us swimming at Lake Winna-pa-soka in Chattanooga.  One day, Dayton and I were playing on a water slide.  Georgia would catch us as we came down.  I got scared and put my arms to my side and Georgia couldn’t catch me.  I went under and didn’t come up.  I was wearing a red swim suit so Georgia could see me and pulled me out.  I had swallowed water and it hurt.  I never had fun in water again and I never learned to swim.  I always said, “If you didn’t have to get your face wet, maybe I could learn.”  A few years ago my Cincinnati friend, Nancy, said she could teach me and keep my face out of water.  Maybe I’ll try some day.
I went to Georgia’s the day after school was out and came home the day before school started.
One year I did get sick.  They had a doctor see me, but he didn’t know what was wrong.  Uncle Ed was a druggist and he got some medicine for me.  I just didn’t get better.  One night Milton sat by my bed all night.  I was used to Mother taking care of me when I felt bad.  I thought Milton really loved me to watch me all night.  The morning after that, they decided to take me home and see if our doctor could help me.  I lay on the back seat of the car as they took me home.  Before we even got home, I was feeling better.  They had just had my room painted and everyone decided I had been paint sick and as soon as I was away from the paint, I got well.
One summer Mother took me on a tour of the west.  It was a conducted tour by train and bus.  We were on the train a lot of nights and I got to sleep in the upper berth.  It was wonderful.  We had a booklet on the train that had pictures and descriptions of things we would be seeing from the train.  I think I still have that.  We visited the National Parks and stayed in their lodges.  I was very impressed with the Grand Canyon and Yosemite Falls in Yosemite Park.  I was also impressed with Royal Gorge.  We rode to the bottom of the gorge in kind of incline car.  Looking up impressed me.  The fireplace and chimney in the Grand Canyon Lodge was so huge.  We saw Old Faithful, the mud pots, etc.  It was amazing to me that something in the earth could be so hot.  We went to the movie studios in Los Angeles and watched them film.  We were in San Francisco - just all the tourist spots through the west.
A Mr. and Mrs. Harrison Fair rented a room from us (the front bedroom).  They did their own cooking, sharing the kitchen with Mother.  I don’t remember if they used the dining room or the breakfast room.  Mother often said that it was wonderful that two women could use the same kitchen and never have an argument.
Mr. Fair had a laundry in So. Pittsburg.  He was the only one that could make any money in that laundry.  When he got it going well, he sold it.  The new people couldn’t make a go of it, so he came back and took it over again.  When they came back, they lived with us again.
Mr. Fair was a big man - my father was not.  We went to prayer meetings on Wednesday nights.  I would go to sleep on the pew and when the service was over, Mr. Fair would carry me home.
One time Alba went to see his girlfriend in Richard City.  I never knew how it happened, but Alba ran the car through the back of her garage.  Alba called Mr. Fair at our house.  Mr. Fair left right after the call without saying a word.  He helped Alba get the car out.  The car wasn’t damaged.  Mother never heard of that accident.  I guess Alba repaired the garage.
I know of two other times Alba got in trouble with our car.  Once he drove on the Main Street sidewalk, after all the stores were closed and no one was there, but it was against the law and the policeman saw him so he got in trouble.  So. Pittsburg only had one policeman and he lived over the furniture store downtown.
Another time was when So. Pittsburg and Jasper were having a parade before their football game - Jasper and So. Pittsburg are 6 miles apart and arch rivals for football.  The roads were slick and somehow the car turned upside down.  Kyle, J. D. and Pete were with Alba.  Alba, Kyle and J. D. crawled out of the upside down car, but Pete didn’t come out.  Alba called “Pete, are you hurt?”, and Pete said “I can’t find my hat”.  They turned the car over.  It was muddy, but otherwise okay.  I was at the Hardware store when Alba came in, put the car keys on the desk and said “I’m never going to drive a car again”, then left without saying what happened.  About 30 minutes later, he came back, told us what happened, took the keys and said “I’ve got to drive now or I’ll always be afraid to drive.”
I really liked the Fairs.  When they moved back to Cleveland, Tennessee to stay, they sometimes came for a visit.  I told Mother I’d rather they visit than for Sister to come.
We visited them in Cleveland.  They lived in Mrs. Fair’s home that she grew up in.  It was full of beautiful furniture and paintings.  The bed I got to sleep in had a feather mattress.  I usually took a friend; often it was Lois.  We both thought that that feather mattress was great.
They had a real cute little dog.  It was trained to never leave the yard.  Without a leash, fence or wire of any kind - it just would not leave the yard.
Mrs. Fair was real sweet and Mr. Fair was a lot of fun.  They never had children.  Mr. Fair had a big laundry in Cleveland. He was very successful.  He was elected to city offices too.
Alba’s good friend was Morris Kyle Patton.  Kyle’s younger sister was Minerva.  They lived less than a block from us.  It was very rare that Mother had anyone stay with me but Minerva did a few times.  Our school had Parents Night - only one a year that I remember.  We had regular school at night and our parents could come to visit.  My parents were working at the store and didn’t come.  Minerva was in High School.  I think I was a 3rd grader.  She walked home with me.  One year we had planned to go visit Sister and I came down with Chicken Pox.  I stayed home and Minerva stayed with me.
I remember well one trip we made to visit my sister, Cathern Green in Birmingham.  Alba drove and Kyle went with us.  Kyle played a French Harp.  To me, a French Harp has a lonesome sound, but beautiful.  The road was just a dirt road and it had rained and the road was awful.  We came upon a car that had a flat tire.  Another car had stopped to help.  The tire was on the left back wheel.  There was no way to get the car out of the muddy road.  The man that stopped to help was trying to get a jack under the car.  He had just laid down in mud to get under the car, when another car came along and ran over the man.  That car didn’t stop.  I guess the soft mud kept the man from being killed.  They got him up and soon a police car came along.  They told the policeman what had happened.  The police wrote out a report and then asked the man that had been run over to sign it.  The man was in a lot of pain and his hands shook so that he could hardly hold the pen.  He signed the best he could.
We drove on after that.  We figured the police would take care of things.  We watched the papers to see if anything was in the paper about it.  We never saw anything.  I always wondered if he died, because something inside was surely crushed.
Our quiet little town got some very unwanted publicity one year.  The men at the stove foundry went on strike.  It was very ugly.  They managed to drain our town water tower and pour gasoline all around the stove foundry building.  The men were caught before it was lit.  The National Guard was called in.  There were tanks, trucks, and soldiers all around.  The Mayor had been threatened.  His only daughter had an army escort take her to school.  She was blonde.  I was blonde.  We were the same size and in the same grade.  My parents were afraid the “bad” guys would think I was her.  They had threatened to kidnap her.  My parents walked to school with me.  Nothing else really bad happened, but for years after, when you told someone you were from So. Pittsburg, they’d say, “Oh, you had to call out the National Guard!”
At least one of our early cars didn’t have side windows.  When it rained you had to stop and snap in the sides.  I guess it was some kind of water proof canvas.  It was not very good.  The roads were pretty bad too.  One time, Alba hit a big bump he didn’t expect and I nearly bounced out of the car.  I was in the back seat and was straddled on the door.  It scared him more than me, I think.
I guess I was 11 or 12 when we went to Texas to visit Uncle John Burk.  Uncle John had built a hotel in Harlingen, Texas which he named the Reese-Wil-Mond after his three sons, John Reese, William Edwin, and Raymond.  We took Lois with us.  We sang a lot while we rode.  I had her play double solitaire so much with me when we were stopped, I think she was sick and tired of solitaire.  We were on a straight stretch of road in Alabama, when we had a blowout.  Mother had been going pretty fast.  Fast in those days was somewhere between 45 and 50.  Mother couldn’t control the car and it was going from side to side of the road and tilting on two wheels each time.  Daddy was in the front seat.  The emergency brake was between the driver and passenger.  Daddy pulled the emergency brake.  When he did, the car spun around to head the other way.  The front end was really airborne because there was a deep gully on the side of the road.  All the luggage was piled on top of me and it was lucky that Lois wasn’t thrown out.
Pretty soon a police car came along.  They said they were looking for us because when we passed them we were going too fast.  They didn’t give Mother a ticket, but helped put on the spare tire and got us on our way.
On this trip, we also visited Uncle Ralph Bloss in McKinney, Texas and Uncle Charley Bloss in Wetherford, Texas - two of Daddy’s brothers.  I was so impressed with Uncle Ralph’s son, Charles.  He was older than Lois and I, and a very good looking guy.  He was in high school.  He was so nice to us.  He entertained us by taking us around, introduced us to some of his friends.  Here were two girls he had never seen before, and he spent his time with us, when I’m sure he would have liked to be doing other things.
We had a very nice visit with Uncle Ralph Bloss, a railroad engineer, and then we went to visit Uncle Charley Bloss, a retired college professor.  He had a farm, raised peanuts and watermelons and had pecan trees.  They had a storm cellar, the first one I had ever seen.  It was a little way from the house - all underground - the dirt was mounded over the top.  A wooden door opened on the slant of the dirt mound to the ground level.  There were steps to get down.  When we were there, Uncle Charley had watermelons down there, which were kept cool.  He brought up a whole bunch and cut them end to end.  We ate them in the yard.  Just take up a long slice, hold it at each end, eat the heart of the melon, get another slice, etc.  Never bother with the seeds, no spoons needed.  Really neat.   On the court house grounds they had a huge watermelon statue.  The sign beside it said, “Watermelon Capital of the World”, with the size and weight of their biggest melon.
Charlie’s  wife, Aunt Dixie, was a super cook.  I really ate there.  She made some great pickles, the best I ever ate - even yet.  Years later I asked one of her daughters if she had the recipe, but she didn’t.
Daddy had decided to sell the hardware store.  Maybe Mother was tired of collecting from those she called “deadbeats”.  Daddy was an easy target for one getting credit.  He would believe any hardship tale he heard.  Then after months of being unpaid, Mother would go out to collect.  I don’t know what she said or did, but unless the reason was real, she collected.  She could be an easy touch too.  There must have been a lot of bad debts on the books when he sold the store.
I don’t know how the news got out that a hardware store was for sale.  Daddy had several inquiries, but one was really interested.  He was from some other area, and when he and his wife came to look it over, they stayed at our house.  They must have left and then come back to finalize the deal, and again were at our house.  The reason I remember it this way is that Mother had time to let Aunt Birda know that there was a buyer. 
We had received a letter from Aunt Birda saying she hoped the sale went through.  I read the letter.  I guess that was the first I knew they really had a buyer.  Mother and Daddy had talked about going to Texas so that Daddy could be the engineer in maintenance for the Uncle John’s hotel.  So when I read the letter, I started dancing around and saying we could go to Texas.  Mother was shushing me up to be quiet.  I guess she was afraid I would ruin the sale.  They, Mr. and Mrs. Honey, did buy the hardware store, and they became very good friends of ours.
My parents must have sold the hardware store before the ‘29 stock market crash and recession.  I know that they were making plans to go to Texas and Daddy decided to put all his money accounts in one bank.  He had used two banks.  The banks closed March 6, 1933.  The bank he chose to use was the one that failed.  I think he got about 15 cents on the dollar for his accounts.  My small account was there too.  I don’t remember getting any of it. 
It had to be 1930 when we first went to Texas - sometime in late summer.  Daddy was going to be in charge of maintenance, such as elevator, heavy duty laundry equipment, heating, and whatever.  There wasn’t air conditioning at that time.  Mother was going to oversee the kitchen.  Grandmother had had a hotel and restaurant, one of her sons and his wife also had a restaurant, and Uncle John and Mother both had ideas along that line.
We lived in one large room.  If I had friends over, we used the Hotel Parlor on the second floor.  I think we were on the fourth floor.  Before school started, I met Joy.  Her mother was a seamstress and had a little business just down the street from the Hotel.  Joy was the same age as me, 13 years old.  She was allowed to drive her parents car and we went places together.  She introduced me to others, so when school started I knew a few kids.  We roller skated a lot too.
The first day of school, I took my school records from Tennessee.  I was to be in the 8th grade.  The principal put me in the 7th grade because Texas only had 11 grades and Tennessee had 12 grades.  Texas furnished your school books.  I took the books and when I looked through them, I had had all that material.
So the next day, I went to the principals office and told him I already had that material and I wanted to go into the 8th grade.  After a bit of “discussion” he said “Ok, I’ll let you try the 8th grade, but if your grades aren’t good, back you go to the 7th”.
Then I went to a room to get my books for the 8th grade.  There was a list of required subjects and a list of electives, which included foreign languages, home economics, etc.  I must say I was a little apprehensive because in Tennessee, that was the 9th grade.      
I didn’t indicate I was surprised.  I elected to take Spanish and Home Ec.  The others were English, Algebra, History, and Gym.  I’d never had Gym before either.  My school in Tennessee didn’t have Gym until high school, and that was after school hours.  During school hours the gym was study hall.
I made the honor roll so I didn’t have to go back.  I  decided that they did 2 years work in the 7th grade.  They had an A and B term - 7A the first half of the school year, and 7B the second half.
The hotel elevator operator was Spanish.  The fair skin Mexicans are of Spanish decent and the darker skin Mexicans are of Indian decent.  I did my Spanish lessons on the elevator.  It would be hard to find someone that rode an elevator more than I did.  I liked Home Ec, because I liked to eat.  Maybe even knowing Joy’s mother got me interested in sewing, so I did okay.  Because Dad was an Engineer, he could always help with any kind of math.  The rest was just study on your own.
There was one other girl living in the hotel.  She, Betty, was older than me.  Her father was a retired railroad executive.  They had a suite of rooms, a big car, and she had beautiful clothes.  I was so impressed with her.  I was given a dress that Betty had outgrown.  I thought it was the prettiest dress I had ever had.  It was red, with white dots (dotted Swiss).  It had a full gathered skirt.  I felt I should go to a party whenever I wore it.
There was a boy that lived there too.  His name was Ted.  He was in my class.  His father said that he would give us money for every A we made.  I don’t remember how much it was - seemed to me it was $1.00, but that would have been a lot of money in those days.  Maybe because I had several A’s I got $1.00.  Poor Ted, he hardly ever got an A.
Either Ted or Betty’s father drove us to school.  One day when Betty’s mother was picking us up and I was standing on the sidewalk talking to a boy, she told me that I was too young to have a boyfriend, and I shouldn’t be talking to him by myself.   I did have my first boyfriend that year, but it wasn’t the boy I was talking to on the sidewalk.  My boyfriend’s name was Eugene, or Gene.  We always did things in a group, or sometimes we would walk to a movie theater which was close to the Hotel.
Some of my friends thought it would be great to live in a Hotel.  Some would want me to go to their house because they were shy and didn’t want to come to the hotel.  Joy wasn’t shy.  It didn’t bother Gene either.
There were good things about Hotel life.  No housework, laundry, or cooking.  I could always order anything I wanted from the menu.  Steaks, chicken, desserts, ice cream.  I liked Heinz Chili Sauce with my steak.  Uncle John would tell me he had to buy Chili Sauce by the case just for me.  When I got home from school, the dining room was closed, but I could go to the kitchen and get myself a dish of ice cream, a really big dish.
Uncle John would let me drive his car if I wanted to go someplace after school.  A few times one of my teachers let me drive her car to run an errand for her.  I was glad Alba had taught me how to drive.
I was in some school plays.  Sometimes speaking parts and sometimes dance routines.  I never took private dancing lessons, but a teacher would teach us as a group a little tap for a number or something on a more graceful line.  We had tap shoes and ballet shoes.  It was more or less something only a parent could enjoy.
In Tennessee, I had taken piano from Mrs. Turner for several years.  I would walk to her house after school for my lesson.  When we had school programs, Francis Kellerman, who was in high school, sometimes played the violin.  He was good and I liked it so much, I wanted to take violin.  I guess it took 2 years or more before my parents gave in.  I finally got to take violin.  I got an award for making the most progress in one year.  I guess I was in the 6th grade when I got to play in the school orchestra.  A man from Jasper came to our school to direct us.
I took elocution for a couple of years.  My teacher was a daughter of the only Jewish family in So. Pittsburg.  She was real nice.  You had to memorize the pieces, and the only thing I remember of that was a piece called “Why Worry?”.  It went something like this:  There are only two things to worry about - one being something you can’t do anything about, the second being something that might not even happen, “so why worry?”.
We were doing a program one year in Texas when a hurricane was reported.  There were a number of people in the convention center where the program was to be.  We all felt safe in this large sturdy concrete building.  The storm did not develop that time, but when it did hit about 2 years later, that building, and our school building were destroyed.  A large hotel sign on top of my Uncle’s hotel was also blown away and never found.  I was glad I wasn’t there then.
Alba and Virginia were married June 7, 1931 at 8 A.M. in the Presbyterian Church in So. Pittsburg.  At that time our Methodist Church was being torn down and a new one was to be built in its place.  Since we were not there, Alba’s friends took care of decorating the church and had a reception for them.
Alba was working for the National Cash Register Co. in Nashville, Tennessee at the time.  Virginia had come from Dayton, Ohio, several months before and also had a job in Nashville, Tennessee.
We had bought a car in Chattanooga and Alba was bringing it to us in Texas, and that was their honeymoon.  We would all go back to Tennessee together.
I remember seeing Virginia for the first time.  We had never met her.  We were having dinner in the Hotel dining room when they arrived.  I looked up and saw Alba and Virginia in the doorway.  Virginia was wearing a blue and white print dress.  Part of the material had a blue background and white print and part a reverse of colors.  She had made the dress.  It was very pretty and so was she.  I was happy to see them.
When the school year was over, we went back to Tennessee.  Life for me in Tennessee was a bit different.  I had grown up there and people knew there were many things I wasn’t allowed to do, so I was not asked - like no cards, except maybe Rook or Old Maid, no dancing, no movies on Sundays.  I didn’t go out with boys, just girl groups.  I always said, “My rules were the same as the rules Sister had 20 years before, but now times had changed.”   I thought for something special I should have been able to stay out after 10 P.M.  After 9 P.M. was considered late.
In Texas, the rules had been relaxed a bit.  Maybe Uncle John had something to do with that.  He used to take me places - Mexico was fun.  He took me to a wrestling match.  The wrestler got thrown out of the ring and landed on me in the front row.  I didn’t like that so I never went to another.
Entertainers that came to the Valley to perform stayed at the Hotel and I would get to meet them - Amelita Galli-Curci an opera star, was probably the most famous.
When school started back in Tennessee, I went into the 10th grade.  That didn’t make me very popular.  The kids I had been in school with didn’t like the idea of my being ahead of them, and the ones I was with now were not too happy to have that kid that was always a year behind them to be smart enough to be in their grade.
They didn’t teach Spanish in Tennessee, and you needed two years of foreign language.  I decided to wait and take French in the 11th and 12 grades.  I never expected to go to school in Texas again.  I guess it must have been fairly easy for me to learn.  I did study and do my homework, but I don’t think I ever had to struggle.  I was on the Honor Roll a good part of the time.  When a subject was over, I didn’t retain that knowledge, I just wiped that away from my brain and went on to new things.  If one study wasn’t necessary to the next, it was gone.  That’s what happened to my Spanish.  I didn’t expect to need it for school, and no one I knew in Tennessee spoke it, so forget it, and I did.
For gym, I now stayed after regular school for Basketball.  I did not play on the Varsity team.  We had two teams in our own school.  I mostly played guard.  I was always shorter than the forward, but I was fast and could jump high, and did a fair job.
Now that Mother was driving a car, she went to Chattanooga more often.  I liked the days she went, because I got to buy my lunch at school.  There was a small building on the school grounds where you could buy a sandwich or a hot dog.  They had candy bars and a big jar filled with dill pickles.  Dills in small jars never taste like those in those big jars or barrels.  They would reach in with big tongs and you’d get a big pickle and eat it like you eat an apple.  Also, when Mother came home, she brought me a Creme Horn from a super Chattanooga bakery.  It was special.
I went to Georgia’s again when school was out.  By now, she was introducing me to her friend’s sons.  I met some nice fellows and girls too.  Dayton had more interests of his own too, so we didn’t always go or do the same things at the same time.
Before school started that fall, Uncle John wanted us to come back to Texas.  We rented our So. Pittsburg home and went back to Texas.  This time, I would have been in the 11th grade in Tennessee, but in Texas the same material was the 10th grade.  I signed up for Spanish again.  It was embarrassing.  The teacher asked me, in Spanish, what my name was and I didn’t know what she said.  That’s a basic first thing you learn.  We had a “discussion” about that.  They had a record of my grades for 1st year Spanish and they again took a chance on me.  I took 1st and 2nd year Spanish.  Each was a separate class.  It wasn’t long until I began to remember, and did well in both classes.
Joy was still around, but I began to distance myself from her.  She did things I didn’t like.  For instance, Joy’s mother made her a very pretty dress.  Joy didn’t like it so she just ripped it up into rags.  I didn’t approve of her behavior on dates either.
Gene was still a friend, but not so special.  There wasn’t any reason for that.  I just had a different group of friends.  Several of them went to the church I went to.  Pinky (Kathleen) became my very special girlfriend.  Dub (W.C.) became my boyfriend that year.  Dub’s special boyfriend was Darrell, so I wanted Pinky to go with Darrell when I went with Dub.  Pinky liked Randall better and his special friend was JoJo, so Pinky wanted me to go with JoJo.  The boys were more willing for that arrangement than Pinky and me.
Texas was the first and only place I ever had a nickname.  I was “Tiny” and still am to my Texas friends.
I drove our car to school every day.  I went to the new high school and it was a long way straight down the street from the Hotel - 10 blocks, I guess.  That made me different, living in a Hotel and having the car all the time.
We did a lot of horseback riding.  We rented the horses.  We rode along the arroyos (dry stream beds) out to the airport.  There weren’t many airplanes, so the airport was a good place to ride.  I rode a horse named Coca Cola.  One day at the airport, he ran away with me.  Randall, I think, because he was a good rider, caught up with me and grabbed the reins and stopped my horse.  I was really hanging on.  After that, they told me he had been trained to be a race horse, and that day something made him think he was in a race.  I rode him after that, but I was more careful to control him better.
Sometimes we would take a Victrola and records, and a bunch of us (10 or 20) would go out to one of those concrete roads in an unbuilt subdivision and dance in the street.
One of the fellows had a Model T Ford.  Dub drove one sometimes, but it didn’t belong to him.  One of the fellows had a motorcycle.  I don’t remember which one that was, but I rode with him sometimes.  Maybe it was JoJo.  I remember it seemed awfully fast and the wind could blow tears out of your eyes.  I didn’t ride very often.  I did enjoy the Model T.
This group would also have swimming parties.  I think I went to one, but no more, because I couldn’t swim.  It was no fun to sit on the side line, while everyone else was in the water having fun.
I had my 16th birthday that January.  Pinky had a little party for me at her house.  I don’t remember who was there.  Would you think it strange that I don’t remember the girls names at all, but I do remember some of the boys:  Dub, Randall, Darrell, JoJo, Gene, and John.  I do remember John for sure.  He had lost an arm in an automobile accident in the fall of ‘32.  A girl was killed in the same accident.  I had gone to her funeral.  I remember how her hands looked.  They looked so unnatural.  One doesn’t expect young people to die. 
The first year I was in Texas, a girl in my class died.  She had trouble with asthma.  When she would have a bad asthma attack, her parents had medicine to give her and it had always helped, but this time, when she took the medicine, she started to foam at the mouth, and she died soon after.
Another one that died was Lois’s sister.  She was about 8 years old, a little younger than Lois.  Her name was Mildred.  She had dark hair and was a very pretty, sweet girl.  She was ill for several weeks.  One day when I was at their house, Lois and I and I guess another sister, were talking and laughing and Lois’ mother came in and told us to be quieter.  I guess it was about a week later that Mildred died.  I don’t remember what she had.  It was a real shock.  I just couldn’t believe she was dead.  
Two girls my age died in So. Pittsburg while I was in school.  One was due to an accident, and one to illness.
Back to John - Kids had a saying: “Sweet sixteen and never been kissed, or Sweet sixteen and never been missed”.  I hadn’t been kissed and the boys were daring each other to kiss me.  I knew they were doing that.  I was keeping a sharp eye on the boys I had dated, but I had never dated John.  I was in my car and ready to leave and John walked up to the car and before I even suspected, he kissed me. 
I was mad that I had been tricked.  As I drove to the Hotel, at a cross street a block from the Hotel, a lady on the cross street did not stop at her stop sign.  I was on the main street without a stop sign.  I hit the back bumper of the lady’s car.  Her car tilted over on its side, then settled back on its wheels.  She was not hurt.
People started coming from everywhere.  There was another Hotel on that corner, so a lot of people were around.  You should never do what I did, but I decided to put my car in the garage before I got hit by one of the other cars.  The garage was in the middle of the block, just beyond that intersection.  We kept our car there all the time, rather than leave it on the street.  The Hotel didn’t have a garage, and we got a special rate there.  I had not been going fast and it really was the other lady’s fault.   The police came down to the garage and talked to me.  They talked to some of the witnesses too.  The police took me to the Hotel to talk to my parents.  Our car wasn’t damaged, so nothing happened to me.  The other lady was charged for failing to stop at a stop sign.  I never told my parents that I was mad because I had been kissed.  Would the accident have happened anyway?
There was an orchestra that played during the dinner hours in the dining room.  That evening the orchestra dedicated a number to me and the drummer presented me with a rose.  That was a good ending for my 16th birthday.
That year Texas began to issue driving licenses.  Alba had been transferred to Harlingen by the National Cash Register Co.  He and Virginia were living at the Hotel till they found an apartment.  He went over and got a driver’s license.  He told me I should go.  He told me what you had to do.  They had oral questions, actual driving and parking.  He went over with me.  I took the test, passed without any problems, and got my first driver’s license.
My parents never told me about the “birds and the bees”.  I don’t think they ever told Alba either.  One day he told me that if there was anything I wanted to know, Virginia would talk to me.  I guess I didn’t want him to know I didn’t know very much and made some excuse so that I didn’t talk to Virginia.  All my information came from the older girls at school.  Not the best.
My church had an active youth group.  We had good times at the church, went on day trips.  Pinky was a member there too.  We had parties.  I seem to go way back when it comes to enjoying food.
Way back, Miriam would make us candy, chocolate fudge, buttermilk fudge, cookies...  Years later I asked her for her buttermilk fudge recipe and she didn’t remember ever making it.  Ice cream at Georgia’s - everything was good.  Mother cooked some good stuff too.  Even when Alba was still at home, if he didn’t go to church on Sunday, he had to cook Sunday dinner.  That was fried chicken.  The Hotel dining room food - food - I do like good food.
My father needed to have surgery.  He needed to have his tonsils and adenoids removed.  I took him to the hospital.  I believe it was in Mission, Texas, which is not far from Harlingen. Daddy had a local anesthetic.  He sat in a chair for the surgery and I sat at his side and held his hand.  I watched a little.  Daddy held my hand very tight.  When the surgery was over, they put him in a room and I stayed with him.  The nurses checked him a couple of times, then it was lunch time.  Daddy started to bleed badly.  I went to the hall and called loudly for a nurse.  Only one nurse was left on duty and she was with another patient.  I got some ice and held it on him till the nurse came.  It was scary.  I took Daddy back to the Hotel the next day and he recovered.  He had more trouble in the same area in later years.
Daddy’s doctor had a violin that he wanted to sell.  The label said “Stradivari”.   It wasn’t a real Stradivarious.   It was a beautiful violin though and the tone was wonderful.  It was expensive.  The doctor had gotten it in Mexico.  Daddy bought it for me.  Daddy must have told the doctor I played - why else would the doctor mention it?  My father had a lot of confidence in me.  He thought I could do anything.  Even though I may not have played any better, the music sounded better.  The violin was destroyed in a fire at my parent’s motel in So. Pittsburg, Tennessee some years later.
I was in school plays too.  I have a newspaper clipping from the previous time I was in school in Harlingen that says I was president of the Home Ec Club.  I don’t even remember that.  I was more popular with the other kids in Texas than I was in Tennessee.  I began to play a little tennis that year.
Uncle John had closed in his roof garden soon after he opened his hotel.  He needed more rooms.  He now had a Patio where he had dances on Saturday night.  Our room was above the patio and many nights I went to sleep listening to their music.  I remember a piece named “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” they played a lot.
This year we decided we would like to go to Monterey, Mexico before we went home.  Alba and Virginia were going to go with us.  We drove both cars to El Paso.  There we put Alba’s car in a garage and all went in our car across the border.  Alba drove and we had a wonderful time.  The drive to Monterey was interesting.  Monterey was very pretty and Monterey Falls was pretty.  When we walked down the street, a couple of times a Mexican reached out and touched my hair.  I didn’t like that.  I guess they didn’t see blonde hair like mine very often.  Maybe they didn’t think it was real. 
We took some pictures that the border patrol would not like.  They wanted your film developed so they could see the pictures
and take some away from you if they didn’t approve.  We hid our undeveloped film under the dashboard.
We picked up Alba’s car in El Paso and all of us went to Tennessee.  Mother started out driving our car, but she couldn’t keep up with Alba.  He stopped and had me drive.  I followed him.  When he wanted me to pass a car after him, he stayed in the left lane.  If he moved to the right lane, I stayed back.
It was good to get back to Tennessee and see the Crisp‘s.  Mrs. Crisp, as always, built up my ego, I think sometimes to the detriment of her girls.  Miriam said she wanted to go to - I think it was New York.  Mrs. Crisp said she would let Miriam go, if I went with her.  She said I was so well traveled, I’d know how to take care of Miriam.  A few years ago I asked Miriam if she resented the attention and confidence her mother gave me.  Miriam said not often, but occasionally.
I spent time again with Georgia.  We went to Daytona Beach, Florida for a week or so.  We had done that before.  I was still riding horses too.  Always interesting things there.  I even enjoyed sitting on the porch in the evening watching the cars go by down below on Dayton Blvd.  You could imagine who were in the cars, where they were going, and where they came from.  I watched Rudolph still smoking his pipe, but older, and lonely.
Georgia, Milton, Dayton and I went to the Chicago World’s Fair.  They had rented an apartment for a week.  It was close enough to the fair grounds for us to walk.  There was so much to see and do and eat at the fair.  The main thing I remember was Sally Rand, the Fan Dancer.  There was so much - pro and con - about her.  We saw her.  We were way back from the stage, and what we saw was a graceful dancer with very large feather fans.
Back at home, a friend of ours had a beauty shop.  She lived on our street and I had known her a long time.  She asked me if I would like to help her at the shop.  She showed me how she wanted shampoo’s done.  I would do that.  That helped the others do more customers.  Most hair was set in waves, not rolled on curlers as is done now.  By watching, I learned how to set my own hair.  I also picked up a little on how to cut my hair, at least trim.  I also swept up and did a few other things,  a sort of “gopher”.  Sometimes when I had set my hair at home, I would go to the shop and she would let me sit under the dryer to dry it.  She never charged me.
Soon it would be time for school.  My last year of High School - the 12th grade.  I had my two years of Spanish now, so I didn’t have to worry about a foreign language.  I needed a science class.  I had had Biology, so it was either Chemistry or Physics.  I didn’t want either, but I chose Physics.  It turned out to be a lucky choice.  The Physics teacher was also the football coach.  I would not have said this then, but I do think he gave me the benefit of the doubt whenever he could. 
There was no school transportation for the football team when they played out of town.  Are you ahead of me?  I drove football players to their games.  That was pretty neat just me and these guys.  They were a good team.  We won a lot.
In this big study hall room we had flat top desks with four drawers.  Three to four students sat at each desk.  Our table (desk) had three:  me, Fred - a football player, and William.  William could get me into trouble.  He had dry humor that could get me laughing.  I would get to giggling.  Fred was in class when William and I were there.  Mr. Shelton, who was in charge of that period would walk over.  He had big eyes.  He’d look at me with a look that was frightening, and William would sit there, an innocent studious guy.  I don’t remember if I ever had to stay after school, but I may have. 
William could play the piano at the age of four.  He became an excellent musician and choir director.  He was the organist and director of a famous downtown Chicago church.
I had a pretty good year in school that year.  My classmates accepted me more.  One of my classmates was named Pace.  I don’t know what became of her.  Since I became a Pace it would be nice to know. 
Our senior advisor was Catherine Dietzon.  She had taught Alba too.  She taught English.  When Alba was either a Junior or Senior he drove the car, a big touring car, for some of the high school teachers for an extended western tour.  Alba was well liked.  It doesn’t hurt to have a well liked brother to go before you.  Miss Dietzon let our class do some interesting things.  I also had some dates.  One was a fellow named Clyde.  I had  several good girl friends, even names I can remember.
I had a nice part in the senior play.  I had the love interest, described as beautiful but dumb.  Sam had the part opposite me.  We had to kiss in the final act.  Rachel, Mary Louise, Clyde, Sam - at the moment I can’t remember the others.  Miss Dietzon was our director.
A college recruiter called on me to attend a Girl’s college in Nashville, Tennessee.  That college has moved to another state now.  I didn’t think I wanted to go to an all girls school.  Miriam and Mary Louise were going to the University of Chattanooga, and I went there when fall came.
Mother and Daddy bought the old school property, where I first went to school.  I’m sure it must have been Mother’s idea to build a motel.  They tore down the big building and left the separate building.  Mother named the motel Courtesy Court. 
Lois Barker was now living in Jasper.  I had been visiting her and had the feeling that I should go by the construction area to see how things were going.  So I left and went back to So. Pittsburg, and when I got to where the work was going on, a workman rushed out to me and said, “I’m glad to see you, your father has had a heat stroke”.  I think the doctor was there.  They put Daddy in the back seat and went with me so they could get Daddy out of the car.  They put him to bed, and the doctor was there.  He was very ill for some time.  I was very worried about him and it was so fortunate that I went by just when I did.  I stayed with Georgia some.  She always had the same job for me each year - to straighten a closet.  It was a large closet with shelves for both china and linens.  We took everything out each year.  She would hand things to me and I put everything on the dining room table.  She would check, rearrange, clean if needed, and I would hand everything back.  She had to use a ladder a lot.  She was short like me.
I dated some of Georgia’s friends’ sons that summer.  We went to some dances, movies and parties.  I also played bridge with daughters of her friends.  It was called auction bridge, now its different, its contract bridge.  George says no one plays auction bridge anymore.  It’s an older game.  I think that’s right. 
We went to Daytona Beach, Florida again.  I’ve got a picture of me with a whole string of fish we caught.  There was a real good place there to get ice cream.  Food again.
School time came and I started to U. C.  I roomed with Miriam and Mary Louise.  This was in a private home.  They rented two other rooms and one man lived in each of those rooms.  We ate our breakfast and supper there.  They had a cook, and boy, what good food!  We all ate around a big table.  There was the father, mother, daughter, and five boarders.  The daughter, Virginia, finally married one of the boarders.  She was older than we were and had finished college.  I never missed a meal.
It was a big mistake for me to go to school there.  At that time they didn’t have any Home Economics classes.  That was what I wanted to take.  There must be a gene in my line that leans toward cooking.  Grandmother, two uncles, Mother.  The only subject that interested me was Spanish.  This time I had remembered it.  My Spanish teacher liked my accent.  She was going to take a group on a tour of Spain and wanted me to go.  I wasn’t interested. 
I was in a History class with a girl named Dorothy.  I didn’t know her very well, but she must have liked me.  She put my name in to be a Pledge to the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.  Miriam belonged to a local sorority and put my name in there.  Her sorority later became a national one, but I chose to go to the Alpha Delta Pi.  I met my Chattanooga friend Nancy there.  She was a pledge too.  My sorority had a real nice house.  They entertained a lot.  You could go there when you didn’t have a class.  No one lived in the house, maybe a housekeeper did, but students didn’t.
There were dances in the University gym and football games to go to.  I had my car (our car) there a good part of the time.  Sometimes we, Miriam, Mary Louise and I would go to So. Pittsburg for a weekend. 
There was a Jewish boy in school that talked to me a lot.  He was from New York.  He had asked me to go out with him, but I had refused.  Soon after that another older student came over to me, when I was in the library, and said, “don’t go out with that Jewish fellow - he doesn’t have any respect for a Christian girl.  He will try to degrade you”.  I don’t know if he knew that, or if he just didn’t like Jews.  I never went out with him, but he only asked me out once more.
I’ve tried to figure out which years I did what, from 1934 when I graduated from high school, to 1939 when I met George.  I didn’t stay in college.  I left after the first term, so I never became a member of the sorority.  My grades were okay, but I wasn’t interested enough in my subjects.
Sometime during these years when I was not in school, I happened to be at Georgia’s when she got sick, just too sick to go out.  She was a very good artist.  She did paintings and china.  She was teaching art at Baylor school.  She had me go over and take care of her classes for three days.  I have no qualifications to be a teacher and certainly not an art teacher.  All I did was keep order in the class and see that they were working on something.  I’d walk around and look at their work -  try to make an intelligent comment.  These were all boys and they were well behaved.  I believe it was the 7th grade.  From what I hear of schools today, first, I probably wouldn’t have been allowed to do that, and if I had been allowed, the kids would have given me a hard time.
Georgia told me for years that if I would pick out a china pattern, she would paint me a set of dishes.  I kept telling her that I liked everything she painted and would be happy for anything.
One Christmas in the 1950’s, she sent me a place setting and said if I liked that pattern, she would paint me a set.  Of course I did, and she did.  She was getting arthritis in her hands and sometimes her hands would go numb and she would drop what she was painting.  She said this pattern was the easiest she did, and she could almost do it in her sleep.
We had stayed in a number of motels in our back and forth trips to Texas.  We stayed in a motel in Arkansas that had air conditioning.  The air conditioner was a box built by a window.  The window was open, the box was filled with hay or straw and wet with dripping water. A fan blew air through the hay.  Some things have improved.
The motel was built.  Mother named it Courtesy Court.   We sold our home to the people that had rented it the last year we were in Texas.  Most of the motels we stayed in were built with a room, then a garage (with no door) - a room - garage - etc.  That’s how ours was.  There was a filling station in front, then a dining room, the station office - with restrooms, and the kitchen back of the station.  The dining room was as large as the station and kitchen.  Our living quarters were next.  We had two bedrooms, living room and bath.  The separate building, that I had started to school in, was left and upgraded.  Sometimes it was rented to a family or as a sort of bunk house for several men.  A number of men that worked at the stove foundry would rent there, but their families lived in Chattanooga, and they went home on the weekend.
Before 1939, another row of rooms was built and metal material was used to build a row of garages.  A storage space and wash house for laundry was built at one end of the garages.  The bus station was moved to our place.  Tickets were sold in the filling station office.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner were served 7 days a week in the dining room.  Carry out lunches were prepared for workmen that lived there if they needed them.
I often sold gas at the station.  One time a fellow had a flat tire that I changed.  I don’t think he thought I could do it.  He stood over me, watching all the time.  I’m the one that now knows I couldn’t change a flat tire.  I don’t even want to get my own gas, and its a lot easier than it was then.
I also helped wait tables and sell candy, gum or cigarettes when I was home.  One time a fellow came in and wanted to know if we had Brachs.  I didn’t know what he was talking about.  That’s a candy company.  If he had asked for the kind, they make several, I would have known what to tell him.
Don was Mother’s main cook.  She was a real good cook.  Her younger sister, Grace, also worked there.  She was like a mother to Grace.  Grace was married but Don had never married.  Mother, Don, Grace, and another lady, whose name I have forgotten, did the kitchen and dining room.   Another lady cleaned the rooms.  I helped her sometimes.
It could have been the summer before I went to U. C. that I took Daddy back to Texas to see his doctor - Alba had been  transferred to New Orleans.   On this trip I had a new car.   I was with Mother when she was buying this car, and I was wearing a gray suit.  This silver gray car, a Dodge, with spare tires on either side near the front, looked great with my suit.  That’s the one we got.  If you think that buying a car to go with a suit is a bit much, how about the time we bought a new one because the one we had was dirty.  We made a trip to Sister’s once and when we got back,  because the car was muddy, we bought a brand new clean one.
I drove from Chattanooga to New Orleans and we stopped to visit Alba and Virginia.  Alba showed us around New Orleans.  I guess we stayed a couple of days.  We left and spent the night somewhere along the way, then drove to Harlingen.  I drove a long way from early morning till about 8 P.M.  Dub knew I was coming, so he and Pinky had a little welcome party for me that night.  I was so tired that I really wasn’t too excited about that, even though I was glad to see them.  I went to the party, but I didn’t remember much about it.  I do remember that I woke up in the night and didn’t remember if I had come home.  The next morning, I asked Daddy what time I came in and he said 10 o’clock.
The surgery Daddy had had never healed properly.  We stayed in Texas awhile and I had a good time and Daddy saw his doctor several times.  Mother must have been supervising something in Tennessee because she didn’t go with us.
Seems like I had a lot of boy friends, but most were boys that were friends.  I was a good listener, and they would talk to me and we could enjoy being together.
Around that time I dated a Tennessee fellow named Allen.   He was a younger brother of one of my So. Pittsburg High School teachers.  He lived in Chattanooga.  His sister had introduced us.  She had left teaching and was the book keeper at the Broad Street Garage, where I parked our car when I went to town.  My friend Nancy knew Allen too.  We double dated.  Several times we went to the “Alhambra”, a night club in Chattanooga.  When I dated Allen I was at Georgia’s or at U. C.  Allen was a good dancer and I enjoyed dancing.  Allen did or said something that I didn’t like.  I think it had something to do with Daddy.  I didn’t hold anger long, so I knew I would forget why I was mad at him, so I wrote it down and put it in the safe.  After a few months I took it out and threw it away, so I don’t know why I was mad at him.
Nancy spends the winter in Florida now.  Last time I saw her, Nancy asked me if I knew what Allen was doing.  I had forgotten him completely.  He’s a lawyer and Nancy told me some of the things she’s read in the paper about him.  Some of his doings seem a bit shady.
The union at the stove foundry was in the news again.  Daddy wrote a piece for the paper that the union took offense to, and threatened to harm Daddy.  He went to Birmingham and stayed with Sister till it blew over.
My daughter, Susan, sent my husband, George, a book:  “Ladies of the Club”.  The lady that wrote it lived where Daddy grew up.  That book explained to me where Daddy got his views about many things.  When unions were first starting, that area was not a union area.  With Daddy, if you worked for someone, he was your boss.  If you didn’t like what he asked of you, you quit, like he did at the Cement Plant.  When we still lived at the house, Daddy had something in the paper that the union didn’t like and they threatened to burn our house down.  A police detail watched our house, but nothing ever happened. 
George’s father was a union man and for him it was good, and most union people are good people.  I think the unions were necessary, and are now, but I think they have gone too far and asked too much sometimes.  George and I can disagree on that issue.
Uncle John became ill and was taken to Temple, Texas.  There is a very good hospital there.  Aunt Bessie needed to be at the Hotel, so she asked me if I would stay in Temple with him.  I got the train in Bridgeport, Alabama.  A friend took me to the train.  It was during the 1937 flood - January.  I had to change trains in Memphis, Tennessee.  I got a sleeper there.  The train pulled out at night.  The Mississippi River was right up to the tracks.  The train barely moved.  I was told a man walked in front of the train to be sure the track was still there. 
Aunt Bessie had rented a room for me across the street from the hospital.  I ate my meals at the hospital.  I read a lot of books and magazines and sat beside Uncle John.  He was not able to get out of bed.  He had fluid develop in his chest cavity.  They would put a needle in his chest and draw out the fluid.  This would have to be done every few days, and it was very   painful.  There was tuberculosis in this fluid, but no place else.  It was something very rare.  Dr. Moon was his main doctor and he gave a report about Uncle John at one of the large doctor’s meetings.
Alba came over to see me and Uncle John.  He was living in Tyler, Texas.  He always worked for NCR.  It was pretty cold there.  My heat was a small gas heater in my room.  Alba didn’t like that.  There was no vent for the heater.  He told me to turn it off at night.  He was afraid I would be asphyxiated.
We were there about two months.  A lady from Harlingen came to the hospital for some treatment.  Aunt Bessie told her to look me up.  She did.  She was staying at the downtown Hotel and she had her car.  She took me to lunch at her hotel.  I really enjoyed that outing.  That and Alba’s visit was the only diversion I had.
The doctor’s decided there was nothing they could do to help Uncle John and Uncle John wanted very much to go back to Harlingen.  So Aunt Bessie rented a house and hired a nurse, and Uncle John and I went back on the train.  An ambulance took him to and from the train.  He was bedfast.
I moved into the house with Uncle John.  I had the front bedroom and Uncle John was in the back bedroom.  I had Uncle John’s car, so I went back and forth to the Hotel.  I ate most of my meals at the Hotel.  Most of Uncle John’s food was prepared at the house.  There wasn’t much he could eat.  Most of his nourishment was given intravenously.
My friends were away at school, so there wasn’t much for me to do.  I stayed at the house most of the time, did a lot of reading.  A nurse was always with Uncle John, but I sat with him a lot.  I could talk to him about things and places we had been.
One time we were going on a trip.  Some wild turkeys were along the road.  They flew up just as we got to them.  One broke the windshield of the car and the glass cut Uncle John on the neck, near the ear.  He was bleeding a lot.  I don’t know how we happened to have some bandaging in the car, but we did.  I got the bleeding stopped and put a bandage on.  We were a good ways away from a town, but when we got there, we found a doctor who took better care of that injury.  We still had the turkey.  It wasn’t hunting season, but I don’t think we had any trouble about that.
I have a ghost story.  After Uncle John died, I went back to the hotel to stay.  Most of my things were still at the house.  I had forgotten something I needed to wear for the funeral.  It was dusk, when I remembered, so I drove out to the house.  I parked in front, and went in to get it.  I had to turn on the living room light, it was that dark.  As I started to my bedroom, the door knob slowly turned on Uncle John’s bedroom.  The door opened just a bit, and I left - jumped in my car and took off.  The next day Alba went with me to the house.  There was an outside door at the back of Uncle John’s bedroom, and tire tracks in the side yard.  Someone had gotten in that door to rob the place.  So I had a burglar, not a ghost.  I guess he didn’t expect anyone to be there, so I guess I scared him too.
Uncle John died April 20, 1937.  His services were held at the Baptist Church where he was a member.  Aunt Bessie’s father had been a Baptist minister.  Uncle John is buried in a San Bonita cemetery beside two of his sons.
His oldest son was named John.  He was injured playing high school football.  His kidneys were damaged.  Aunt Bessie took him all over the country trying to find a doctor to help him.  He was never well.  When I knew him, he stayed in his room most of the time.  He must have still been in his 20’s when he died.
The younger son was Edwin.  He clerked at the desk of the Hotel.  A real likable guy with lots of friends.  Aunt Bessie had always lived in Chattanooga, till she went to Texas about 1926.  Edwin had a girlfriend in Chattanooga.  Aunt Bessie wanted him to marry her.  Edwin was dating a girl in the Valley (from Brownsville to Edinburg is called the Lower Rio Grande Valley).  Aunt Bessie was going on one of her many trips to Tennessee with “Little” John, and she took Edwin’s car because it might make a handicap for Edwin and his dates.  Edwin was with a friend, in the friend’s car and there was an accident.  They were both burned to death.  It was difficult to identify which was which.  Edwin, too, was in his twenty’s.  Edwin and Alba were near the same age.
That left Raymond.  He and Dayton were about the same age.  Raymond had always gone away to a private school.  Aunt Bessie didn’t think the Hotel was any place for a child to live.  Aunt Bessie decided that if I would agree, she would rent a house in San Antonio, hire a house keeper, and I would live there and look after Raymond.  She would pay for me to go to a Business school.
Soon after Uncle John died, the Dining Room Cashier and Hostess quit without notice.  Aunt Bessie asked me to take her job - I enjoyed it.  I liked to be with people.  I soon learned you must seat a waitress’ customers at their station or you will hear about it.  They were nice about it, and I tried to remember.  I took care of ordering all kitchen supplies - after the requests were made.  I also paid those bills and kept records.  Menus were updated as directed by the chef.  It was a busy job and I didn’t have much free time.  Alba had asked me to go with him and Virginia to Galveston Beach on their vacation.  That was before Aunt Bessie asked me to take the job.  I had told Alba I would like to go - so I told Aunt Bessie to try to find someone else.  I guess I only worked about 8 weeks.
I went to Tyler, Texas where Alba lived and went with them back to Galveston Beach.  I got some rest and also had a lot of fun.  After the vacation I went back to Harlingen.  Aunt Bessie had her other three nieces come for a visit.  Two sisters, I only remember as Ted and Sis.  Ted was my age and Sis just a little older.  They were daughters of Aunt Bessie’s brother.  The other niece was Jerry.  She was the daughter of Uncle John’s brother, Will.  Will had died when Jerry was a baby.
I don’t think I ever met Will.  He was the youngest of their family.  I had always heard about Will’s first wife, Maud.  She was so beautiful.  They had three children, Gertrude, Billie, and a boy.  The boy was run over by a street car when he was about 2 years old and was killed.  Sometime later, Maud died.  Will remarried, and Jerry was the daughter of this marriage.  There had been a number of years between marriages, because Jerry was younger than I and Gertrude was married and had children when I was still a teenager.  Jerry’s mother also died while Jerry was still a baby and Jerry’s grandmother, her mother’s mother, raised her.
I had never met these girls before.  We got along fine and had a great time together.  Aunt Bessie still had Uncle John’s car and I had permission to use it.  We went to the beach at Padre Island, to old Mexico, played tennis, and even took a few tennis lessons.  We all felt sorry for Jerry.  She had her first menstruation period and didn’t know what was happening.  We three tried to enlighten her on life’s little problems and a bit of the birds and the bees.  I must say we were poor substitutes for the experts.
I guess Jerry was born in Florida.  Her father died there.  He worked on repairing ocean vessels.  He was working on a ship when the coolant in the refrigeration unit was released and the chemical got into his bloodstream, causing his death.  Jerry’s grandmother lived in Johnson City, Tennessee, so that is where she was raised.
After a few weeks together, Aunt Bessie took us all back to Tennessee.  I don’t remember Raymond being with us.  He was probably in Tennessee and Aunt Bessie would take him back to Texas.  I remember Aunt Bessie being upset with Sis.  We had passed a skunk that had been run over and the odor was awful.  Sis said it made her sick at her stomach and she had Aunt Bessie stop.  Sis got out and gagged a bit but really wasn’t sick.  Sis wasn’t as agreeable as the rest of us, and I think she upset Aunt Bessie every once in a while.  Ted, however, was a super gal.  I liked her very much.  I guess it was a year later that Ted was diagnosed as having tuberculosis.  Aunt Bessie paid for her to live in a sanatorium in Kerrville, Texas.  She did recover.
There wasn’t too much summer left, but I was at Georgia’s some.  Aunt Bessie’s sister lived in Chattanooga, so she stayed with her.  With Georgia and Aunt Bessie in the same place, my enjoyment of the favors of both, kept me alert at all times.  I’m not sure if I went back to Texas with Aunt Bessie or not.  I think I went back on the train.
Anyway I was back in Texas before school started for Raymond.  He went to the Peacock Military Academy in San Antonio, Texas.  Aunt Bessie had rented a house about two blocks from the school.  Mrs. Daniels was to be our housekeeper.  Mrs. Daniels was the head of housekeeping for the hotel.  She was there when I went to school in Harlingen, so I knew and liked her.  If ever I was spoiled, Mrs. Daniels spoiled me.  She was an excellent cook and delighted in my enjoyment of her cooking.  She had meals to fit my schedule.  She kept the house in perfect order and left nothing for me to do.  She did my washing and ironing.  She welcomed my friends and supported every direction I gave to Raymond.  It was a wonderful life, and it was mine.
I enrolled in Draughns Business College in downtown San Antonio.  Our house was on a corner and the bus stopped there.  I rode the bus to and from school.  I studied short hand, typing, bookkeeping and spelling.  One of my teachers must have just read:  “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.  He kept elaborating and talking about that book as a way to get ahead.
I met my friend Beano there.  She was living in a boarding house, “La Casa”, a few blocks from the school.  There were lots of nice kids at the school, but only Beano became my special friend.  I don’t know how Beano met these fellows, perhaps through her older sister - but she went with a fellow named Bob, who taught math and was a football coach.  His friend was named Bernie, who was a High School Principal.  I was introduced to him and he became my boy friend.  There was a third one named Ray, and he was a science teacher.  He dated a girl named Jane.  I only saw Jane when we all went out together.
We three couples had a lot of fun together.  Many weekends we went dancing.  This was what we call the “Big Band Era”.  They all came to San Antonio:  Guy Lombardo, Glen Miller, Harry James, etc.  There were dances at the hotels and a night club; all were nice places.
We also went ice skating.  There was a nice ice skating rink in San Antonio.  Ray had more trouble than the rest of us.  He was tall and what I call lanky.  Sometimes I would help him go around the rink.  We were certainly a Mutt and Jeff - short and tall - couple.  Sometimes his long legs went every way but the right way.  I’m sure several were amused by us.
Occasionally we would have a picnic - sometimes a cookout, and sometimes we took prepared food.  There were a number of interesting places to visit around San Antonio.  It’s a beautiful city.
There was a high school boy that lived next door to us.  He had a sail boat, and there was a nice lake almost next to Raymond’s school.  I can’t remember the boy’s name - but he took me sailing several times.  His was a small boat, and I was forever forgetting to duck when he turned the boom.
One day when I was coming home on the bus, I saw Raymond in the school yard doing something I had told him not to do.  I don’t remember what it was - but I know I confronted him with it.  He never found out how I knew.  He thought I had some super power.  He was really a good boy.  I really felt sorry for him.  He never had a chance to live the life of a real boy.  I tried to do a lot of things with him, like go to the parks and zoo, - the movie and ice skating.  I encouraged him to do things with his friends.  The school had activities and I always attended anything that was for the parents or the public.  I helped him with his studies - he was a C & B student.
Now that I couldn’t go to a movie for free, I went more often.  Doesn’t make me very smart.  An usher recognized me from school in Harlingen.  I didn’t remember him.  We would talk a bit and he asked me to go out with him.  I went with him once, but I had more fun when I went with Bernie.
Bob Hope was going to be at the theater.  For advertising, they gave out an item that looked like a free pass.  I had one and that’s what I thought.  Lots of people thought the same thing.  The theater took out a full page newspaper ad to tell people they were not free passes.  I did go to see Bob Hope - that was early in his career and I liked him then, and I like him now.
I went home to Tennessee for Christmas.  When I came back to San Antonio, my world had changed.  A lady had asked Aunt Bessie to let her keep house for us, and Aunt Bessie would still buy the groceries, pay the rent, etc., but the lady would not get a salary.  She and her daughter would live there and the daughter would go to business school.  The daughter was named Millicent.  I don’t remember the last name.  Now the meals were served on her schedule, whether I was there or not.  I did my own, and Raymond’s washing and ironing, cleaned my room, and some of the other work.  The cooking left much to be desired.  She constantly had unflattering comments about how I looked, where I went, what I did.  
Millicent rode the bus to school with me, but she wasn’t in any of my classes.  I guess because of her mother, I never gave myself a chance to know Millicent.
One time I did look awful - whatever Millicent’s mother said would be true.  Someone at school told me that when you rinsed blond hair with buttermilk, it gave it a shine that was beautiful.  I had a date to go dancing with Bernie and the others, so I thought I’d make my hair shine and rinse it with buttermilk.  I did it, and Oh! it was awful.  It was a greasy mess.  I tried to wash it out, but it wasn’t helping.  I was running out of time, so I had to get dressed and go.  All evening I was asked:  “What did you do to your hair?”  I felt so stupid, I never did admit, I just said it needed to be washed and I didn’t have time.
I spent more time after school with Beano.  I would go by “La Casa”, sometimes before I went home.  I got to know several of the girls there and enjoyed them. 
Aunt Bessie had written me and said she wanted to go on a trip west as soon as Raymond was out of school.  She said she had bought a new car, and she wondered if I knew how to drive a car without a stick shift.  It was a big fancy car with all the latest - cruise control.  I really didn’t know what she was talking about, but I said “sure I can”.  Down at La Casa, a girl named Honey had a boyfriend with a car like that, so I got him to show me and let me drive his car.  Of course it was easier than the stick shift.

Flowers
Submitted by Richard Bloss

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February 27, 2005