BRADFORD ROBBINS GRIMES
(Familiarly Known as “B. R.”)
Daisy Ferguson Grimes
(Mrs. B. R.”)
August 1870 marks a great change in the young boy’s life. He left parents, brothers, sisters and the ranch for far away New York, to live with an aunt and uncle and attend school. It was six years before his return. Six years in which were many days of homesick longings, yet days of study, pleasure and change.
The journey, accompanied by his Aunt Fanny, required three weeks. It followed the usual way from the ranch in Indianola, via sailboat and steamer to Galveston. Bradford recalls the coast steamer, long in services as the S. S. Harlan, and the courtesy of having supper in one of the upper decks with the Captain. More especially, he recalls, the piece de resistance, real sardines, (no Maine shiners”) and a new and most delicious food to him.
Another Gulf steamer carried the young passenger from Galveston to New Orleans, then by Mississippi river “side wheeler” to Cairo, Illinois; and the journey completed by rail to New York.
There was new experiences, new scenes, and the opening of a new world to the small-bewildered lad.
In New Orleans, he was greatly concerned about his trunk. He hunted until he found it on the wharf, hired a Negro to put it on the “side wheeler,” while the check remained in his pocket. He was innocently unconscious of its connection with the trunk.
True to the traditional appetite of a boy, he says, “When we got on the river and had pink blanc-mange for desert, I knew we were really living.”
No better home could ever have been had for the small earnest Texas boy than that of his Aunt Emily and Uncle Harry Childs in New York City. He was welcomed as their own and became as one with the other three cousins May, Emily, and Harry Jr. Here he found love, kindness, example, and precept in their guidance through five years of his teen age. Added to this was the never failing interest of his mother in hid mental and moral growth. Her frequent letters were replete with words of her own or clippings of good advice. He felt of supreme importance the wise counsel of his Uncle Harry. He respected and cherished him in life, reveres his memory in death.
Schooling now began in earnest, Young Bradford enrolled in the large five story boy’s school on 13th Street, known as Grammar School 35, having an enrollment of four thousand. Backward at first, as he must have been from his inadequate foundation, he advanced rapidly to the standard of others. One teacher projects into memory. Miss Arabella Field is remembered as exacting in requirements and strict in discipline, yet one for whom all the boys had the highest esteem. He recalls her praise of his original theme quite unfamiliar to a city boy. He recalls also the boy’s voices in song in morning assembly singing “Jerusalem the Golden”.
There were educational advantages outside school. There were frequent visits to Central Park, The Art Museum, the Musicals, or the theatre Wallacks or Booths, all of which were encouraged by his Aunt and Uncle. He confesses, though, while a daily listener to classical music, it never replaced his preference for the rhythmic waltz or gavotte. Strauss’ Blue Danube has ever remained his favorite. One evening, when he had the choice of seeing Sarah Bernhardt, or the Georgia Minstrels, he chose the Minstrels. He had, also, dancing instructions from the best master in the city. Summer vacations were spent part time with grandfather and grandmother Robbins in Hartford, Connecticut. Here, he had for pals his six months’ older Uncle Philemon Robbins, and Collie Colt, son of the founder and owner of Colts Arms Company.
Completing in four years, the work of Grammar School 35, it was followed by a year’s commercial courses at the College of the City of New York.
Growing in mental stature throughout
these five years, Young Bradford, the lad, had become Mr. Bradford,
a man 6 feet tall. While talking a physical examination at the
College, he dropped in a faint. The physician recommended a summer
in the West, so he left New York expecting and intending to return.
“The best laid plans o’mice and men, “Gang aft agley.” He never
returned to New York other than on business trips.
To New York
Copyright 2007 -
Present by the Grimes Family
Oct. 25, 2007
Oct. 25, 2007