|Birth: ||Jul. 22, 1922|
|Death: ||Apr. 28, 2013|
San Diego County
US Navy Record
1942-1973 , Chicago, Ilinois, Washington DC, Virginia, California, England, and the Pacific Area.
Enlisted June 30, 1942 in the inactive Naval Reserves Active duty July 1943 Midshipman Chicago, Illinois. Graduated Sep 1943 as Ensign and was assigned to General MacArthur's Group, Amphibous Forces , Leyte Gulf, in the Philippines. He was in London from 1955-58, on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, with the Navy in Korea at Hipong in 1950 for 1 1/2 years on the LSD (Landing Ship Dock) "Catamount," also in the Pacific Area of Operation Indoor China Seas. Also in Washingtion, California and Yokohoma, Japan in 1965. Duties: Gunner Officer Navigation, Officer Communication, Supply Officer. His resoponsiblity entails operation of a retail store, two enlistd men's clubs, the main and three branch cafeterias, the concessions in all personnel services units, laundries, dry-cleaning facilities and bakeries, including the largest Baking Exchange, Navy-wide, right behind Yokohoma Central Station. His area was along side of the Bill Chickering Theater, at Bayside Courts near the "O" Club, the golf course inside the old Yokohama Race Track, and the various cafeterias strewn about the area. Excerpt from The Mainichi Daily Press, 4 Jan 1967. He retired Sep 1973 as a Commader after 30 Years Service.
Dr. James Henry Ard
Birth: 19 Aug 1858 in Dale, Alabama
Death: 21 Sep 1920 Geneva, Alabama.
Mary Ella Gainer
Birth: 8 Feb 1875 in Milton, Santa Rosa, Florida.
Death: 3 Jan 1959 in Prince George's County, Maryland
Birth: Aug. 18, 1895 Geneva, Alabama
Death: Jul. 17, 1971 San Diego, California
Annie Margaret 'Marg' Hall
Birth: 20 Jan 1900 in Atlanta, Georgia
Death: 9 Jun 1992 in San Diego, California
Margaret Estelle Ard
Birth: 7 Jun 1920 in Geneva, Alabama
Death: 13 Feb 2009 in San Diego, California
1st Marriage 7 May 1944 in Washington DC
Lillian Leigh Hunt
Birth: 1924 in Brussels, Belgium
Nieces: Katherine and Frances Mooney
Estelle's bio continued from her memorial:
One afternoon we were told we could go to the tent where they were distributing clothes. It was fun to go through the piles and boxes of donations from kind strangers. I was only allowed one dress. It was my own choice however. I got one that was a pink calico print. It was obviously homemade. It had long skinny sleeves. Now in my mind it looked sort of like a feedbag. I was grateful however: besides at the time I thought it was beautiful. I guess there were other clothes. I don't know what I had been wearing--no drip-dry in those days.
One evening after supper it was announced that telegraph wires were now in place and any one wishing to do so could send a telegram to anxious relatives--collect. Nobody had any money and charges to your phone were unheard of. I still have the telegram. It was sent on March 17, 1929 at 7:26 P.M. to my parents. Grandmother stood in a line with a good many others. A table had been set up in front of the office where a Western Union clerk handed out forms and then counted the words the sender had written. They would send the messages. At the time I thought it was from there--I believe now they closed up shop on the Hill and went elsewhere to send them--at least I didn't hear any dit-dot-dits.
I believe we were there about a week when Grandmother was told it would be possible to go to her house to assess the damage. The Health Officials had examined the water supply, the water had receded and basic cleanup had been done. I can't recall how she traveled--a bus maybe but we were doomed to stay behind. For several days she came and went and we pumped her as to what it was like. She told us about the mud everywhere in the house; all the mattresses were ruined; the furniture had floated around and had to be up-righted, cleaned and would eventually dry. There was a dead cat in her bed. The front steps were washed away and they were replaced in a new location by wooden boxes and a chair. (We fell off the porch regularly at the old location until new ones were built.) The day finally came when we were allowed to go home. It was exciting to see all the changes. The mud was gone but everything was still wet. There were new kitchen chairs; new tableware; new mattresses; everything looked scrubbed. I went to visit Marjorie Wilkinson and Leonora Jenkins. It was to get me out from under foot, I think. I went home at dusk. When I entered the house Grandmother said, "What's wrong? You are as white as a sheet." I said, "There is a rattlesnake at the corner." I had jumped over it and run the rest of the way. A search party found the snake all right--he had drowned.
The next week or so was pure child heaven: no school, preoccupied adults, plenty of flood-damaged stuff to play with. We spent most of the time at the Hart's. They had an abandoned electric refrigerator complete with food. There were tables and chairs and lumber. There was a slightly off-base wooden shed we made into a playhouse. We made use of ketchup bottles and messy soap--you can imagine how. The Hart's backyard was on the edge of a small ravine which itself was steeply downhill. There were large trees at the high and the low end. I don't recall how but we constructed a wild ride between the two. We stretched a wire from one end to the other. On the wire we strung what must have been a large soup bone. We would hold the straight part and jump off the hill and ride, hanging over at least ten feet of nothing, to the bottom--at least fifty feet away. I was near the bottom the day the bone wore through. We were not allowed to rebuild.
It was anti-climax back to school. There was no evidence to speak of that a flood had occurred. The only thing I remember was the back cover of Pinocchio. The book had been on its side on a shelf almost out of the reach of the water. We fell into routine as if nothing had ever happened. It was our custom to stand around on the playground and gossip before school and at recess. We were told things like "Yesterday I held my baby uncle on my lap." (An obvious lie.) After the flood we told about plane-spotting, dead cats in beds, dead snakes on the path. We knew that a man had drowned when he got washed away when the dam broke; I always thought of him as the same man who had been seen herding everybody's cows to market (drowned on his return trip). We knew it was the truth when one girl told of going to the cemetery with her family to put a relative back in the ground. She saw the body. Its nails and hair had grown long and it was apparent there had been an attempt to escape! The person had been alive at the time of burial! (An obvious truth.) The cemetery was near the river and was frequently flooded so many of the coffins were moored to a long iron spike by a chain. They settled back into their accustomed spot usually and new soil was all that was required to make things right again. This had been an unusually severe flood so some got away this time. My Grandfather stayed put so we didn't get to see him.
Mayday arrived soon and in Geneva that was special. We had Maypoles at school and it was the custom to make and decorate May baskets. I made a square one out of white cardboard. It was covered in white ruffles made of crepe paper. I filled it with pale pink wild roses. Louise made fudge (with my help, of course) and I put some of that in. I delivered it to Miss Stallingsworth, my teacher and my idol.
Across the street from the Chapmans there was a large vacant lot. For a long time there had been piles of bricks and lumber, which we had been using in various ways to play. The materials had begun to turn into a house before the flood and were getting finished. We examined it nightly to see how it progressed. It was the latest word in convenience and elegance. There were all kinds of built in alcoves and linen closets. There was a built in ironing board and a mysterious closet that seemed like a torture chamber. We found out later the master of the house used it for exercise. (It was Nordic track minus the track.) After the house was occupied we sneaked around looking in windows and saw it in action. The house was destined for Mr. and Mrs. Albert Carmichael. She had been Miss Stallingsworth; he was a native of Geneva and the Lieutenant Governor of the state. He was older than my father who disliked him intensely, I don’t know why.
After they moved in to the house we must have driven her insane but she never showed it. She made checkerboard cakes like everyone else and let us help and lick bowls and spoons. We tired of going there after a while and in the fall they went to Montgomery. I never saw her after that.
The Chapmans had a reception for the newlyweds in their garden and we of course had perfect spying spots for that. We watched as the bride crossed the street--the perfect picture of Twenties chic. She wore bone-colored shoes and matching stockings; her dress was voile, I think; it was a pastel flower prim, with a sash around the hips. She had short blond hair and to make everything complete she wore a headache band that matched the sash. She went to the back where the action was and we took up positions in the hedge. When the party was over we were allowed to scrounge around and were given little sandwiches and punch.
The summer was to see the end of our year in Geneva: we were to go home in time to start school. But lots of interesting things came before that. We had a school picnic and swam in the creek with a water snake; we marched through town and had an athletic field day. I remember doing a broad jump--not very broad. After school ended we were free to sneak around again. We played much the same games as before. We climbed trees (I used to hide in the top of a pecan tree). I stayed up there for long periods with my Whitman’s box of treasures because the only way to get down was to fall. I could shinny up the bare trunk to the thick branches but coming down was difficult.
Once during the summer Mary Dell borrowed a car and took us to shop in Dothan. There was a typical Southern storm--a cloudburst. We came to a place where a puddle covered the entire road. Mary Dell stopped and we debated whether to go on or not. Go on. When we returned we found all but the center of the road washed away. We were quite impressed with our escape.
We didn't go back in time for school after all. We were not told at the time but my father had been very ill and we stayed so long because of that. We started the school year in Geneva. It was a rainy fall so we spent a lot of time indoors even at school. We still came home for lunch. One day we returned to school to find giant boxes of oranges and bags to put them in. We were urged to take as many as we could carry. We were almost in Florida and orange country, so we were aware of the infestation of the fruit by Mediterranean fruit flies. (No Med flies for us.) Since they could not ship them, the growers gave the oranges away. There were no flies on the ones we had.
Going back to Washington came to the front again. New clothes arrived and money for train tickets. Elma was to come with us. We got out of school but nature intervened in the form of a hurricane. We spent several days huddled in the house while the wind howled and the rain beat against the walls and windows. I wonder why it is I never remember the details of getting to the train or of saying goodbye or to whom I said it. I recall Louise trying to finish some pajamas she was making for me. She finally had to mail them.
Leave we finally did. I don't recall the Geneva train but I do recall the Pullman. I had all new clothes--A skirt on a bodice and a tan silk blouse. Elma had the luggage de rigeur--a black patent leather hatbox. Jimmy had new knickers. We all had new shoes and other stuff. Since it was late October it got dark early and lights were on in the train as well as outside. Traveling in Pullman trains was very elegant in those days. The people were well dressed and all were friendly and well bred. Eating was an adventure and we thought the food was good. We never went out to eat in restaurants so we had nothing to compare. We were handed a menu and a pencil and a card to write an order on. The only meal I recall is dinner. I had a fancy lamb-chop complete with frill, mint jelly, potatoes rissole, and salad. Milk to drink--only grown-ups got tea or coffee. Dinner was followed by finger bowls. The waiters were in snow-white coats, the china had a crest, the water and cream-pitchers and finger bowls were silver. (The only improvement later on was the addition of bars after Prohibition--Once during the War I was having a drink as we passed through a still dry area...the shades had to be pulled down.)
Eating on a moving train was a feat of dexterity and walking even more so. We would walk through all the cars to the rear platform. We'd watch the tracks and get a breath of fresh air. The double windows kept the train warm and quiet. The swaying train, the rush of sound and air was repeated as you passed from car to car. There isn't much else to do on a train. If the amenities of train travel could be combined with the speed of airplanes... Zeppelins almost did it. Oh well. Our parents at Union Station met us. Elma hadn't seen "Brother" since 1922 and we were nearing 1930.
In looking back over this period of my life it seemed a chapter was ending. There are parts I forgot--we spent a week at the home of my Grandfather’s friend Dr Gay. Dr Gay treated our entire family (I believe for nothing... doctor courtesy.) He took Jimmy on his rounds and I was jealous. When I had malaria I was promised some trips if I'd be a good girl and take my medicine. I took the quinine but I balked at the castor oil in cocoa. I used my Nursery smarts--I poured it on a plant and got full credit. The flood had exchanged minnows for the Gays' goldfish but they had had only shallow water in their house. Many years later the doctors of Geneva were still making house calls. The cutthroat game among my Grandmother's friends was Dominos. She frequently played at the Gays. Years after our visit she was playing there at a party celebrating the Gays' wedding anniversary when Dr. Gay was called and went out. This was in the fifties! He was gone so long a search party went looking for him. He was finally found at the bottom of the infamous Pea River. Anyone who has driven in the South has seen the sign on the side as you near a bridge--Maximum Weight-9000 pounds or something similar. Unfortunately Dr Gay had started across and a truck coming the other way met him in the middle. Both were found drowned in their vehicles below the collapsed bridge. I was not surprised. Who knows how old or poorly built that bridge must have been?
My family had moved to a new address, an apartment across the street from a high school. It was only two rooms but we stayed quite a while. The Depression was beginning and money was scarce. Elma was another mouth as well and we also acquired a Collie. The sleeping arrangements required being switched from one bed to another but we were use to odd arrangements--we'd slept on trains and cots and floors; we'd shared beds with relatives and rooms with complete strangers.
The dog did pose a problem. It grew up to be quite large, of course, and loved to wander. It was not illegal, just a problem. It had become my dog so I had to fetch her home. In summer her favorite place to cool off was in the Anacostia River Flats--a muddy area near the river. Also on the Flats, above the mud, was a Hooverville with that day's homeless. They lived in shacks made of refrigerator boxes (wooden in those days) roofed with sheets of corrugated metal. I don't know where those came from. They kept track of the dog for me and never gave me any trouble. Nobody bothered them. We finally had to give the dog to friends in the country. Jumping over the dining room table contributed to her exile mourned for a while but reports that she was thriving in her new home eased the pain.
Elma took to city life and made friends with some single women living upstairs. They called her Helen because she looked like Helen Morgan, the singer. She took up smoking, a symbol of women 5 growing independence (and moral decay, it was said). It was 1930--new things happening all the time. Talkies and color arrived almost at once. Half those movies are regularly shown on TV even now. More and more women were working and the 1930 census required many workers to tabulate the results. My mother went to work for them; Elma went to school to learn shorthand and typing; my Father went to work at the Veterans Bureau. Soon everyone was working at something.
In those primitive days the checks paid out had to be hand signed by an authorized person. Check-writing machines permitted one pen to operate twenty. That's what my father did. He was not chosen on the basis of penmanship. He worked for the Bureau all his life. After graduating from law school he became an adjudicator deciding the merits of Veterans' claims against the Government. It was a job he loved. It involved research, some medical knowledge and a certain amount of power.
My mother was lucky, too. She became a paymaster at the Census Bureau and when the temporary employees were no longer needed there she got a similar job at the Treasury. She worked there until after the war. She later became a bookkeeper but for years she handed out real money every two weeks. Checks came into use during the war but even then they were handed out personally.
I saw the check-writer in operation once and was reminded of a pastime I used to love. I was at home in the Union Station long before we ever traveled by train. In the back of the station there was a bulletin board that told the arrivals and departures. A trainman using chalk filled it in. Under glass was a marvelous gadget. A large sheet of paper was blankly waiting. All of a sudden something would shudder into action and a pencil suspended from the top would start writing: 11:02 from Richmond or Baltimore: On time. Long distance calls were not yet very long and wireless messages needed an interpreter. I don't know what (electricity?) worked it but it looked like magic.
There were lots of children in the apartments and neighborhood. Once we started school there were many more not too far away. Huge groups could be mustered for Cops and Robbers or Cowboys and Indians. We played Red Light, Mother may I? Statues, Stoop Tag... many more. Old Granny Witch. Ain't No Boogeyman Out Tonight. Hide and Seek.... I can't even think of them all. We got plenty of exercise and kept very busy. We had skates and dolls and paper dolls. Boys had scooters and wagons and a few had bikes. There were radio programs but they were for adults. News came from papers--it was really exciting to hear extra! Extra! In the distance. Papers cost a penny or two and I would be sent to get one. The radio seemed to have only one program and while not every one had a radio there were enough to hear from every direction the theme song of Amos and Andy. We all said, "Buzz me, Miss Blue." and sang "Is I blue?" Andy's version of the very popular torch song "Am I blue?" We didn't have a radio and if we had, playing outside was better than listening to the radio any time. We used it to tell time--seven o'clock! Another half hour at least for most of us.
My best friend was Marilyn Williams whose mother was the apartment manager. Marilyn’s mother never let anyone into her house beyond the front hall where all the keys were hung. She was a compulsive cleaner--she came downstairs at least twenty times a day to shake her dustmop. Marilyn called her parents by their first names--Gwen and Ern. Gwen was in charge. Ern looked and acted like Mr. Milquetoast, a comic strip popular at the time. Jimmy’s best friend was Jack Kowaleski. We stayed friends with them for many years. We visited in their new homes when they moved. The war sent us all in different directions. But that was more than ten years in the future.
We didn't play all the time. We had to go to school. It was already October. I was assumed to be ignorant since I came from Alabama so I was to repeat the third grade. After a few days they relented enough to place me in the slow fourth and after I took an I.Q. test they got it right. Later that semester the teacher told me I had a ninth grade vocabulary. The main things I remember about the fourth grade don't seem very important: our ink-wells were filled and we were given pen points and pens; I had the mumps; Talmah McConchie entered my life; I hated the song Old Dog Trey--we seemed to sing it every day. I got in trouble now and then--I was too out-spoken. I soon lost my Southern accent because everyone made fun of it. I soon had friends of my own and ignored the teacher and Talmah.
There were all kinds of exciting events in those apartments. I can’t recall any exact sequence as to time but they occurred before we moved to a larger apartment. We had a girl with a cleft palate. She sometimes had a metal roof made but she outgrew it so fast her parents elected to wait until she was full grown to do any more. No plastic--no medical insurance. Even though a doctor's fee per visit was only a dollar or two, people had not acquired the doctor habit. We were exceptional because my Grandfather had been a doctor so we went at the drop of a hat. We had a full-grown retarded man who spent his time trying to develop a perfect kite. The kites were always the same. They were octagon shaped, made of brown paper glued to two inch wide laths cut into about four inch long segments. They had tails made of torn strips of cloth about three inches long tied in the middle at about four inch intervals. They always crashed. Well-meaning people tried to explain why but he wouldn't listen. Occasionally the tail would be longer or shorter. We gave him scraps of cloth sometimes. He was large and tall, dark-haired and always wore a cap. (No one ever teased him.) It wasn't true of the cleft palate... we couldn't resist mimicking her speech. All the non-working mothers sat on benches on the side of the front walk and sewed and gossiped until someone would announce "I have to go in and peel my potatoes." Almost every one had that chore. We were immune--Southerners almost never ate potatoes.
I had a hard time understanding some of their gossip so I was caught off-guard when men in actual white coats came and dragged away a screaming and combative post-partum sufferer. Its Grandmother took the baby away and the family never returned. Elma's friends had many boy friends. As far as I know they were just popular but today we would assume the worst. Their parties were not wild--just interesting. Women were having their first taste of independence. The generation just past would have had them under some relative's roof in involuntary servitude. Our dog became ours because of a lovers quarrel. My father went outside for a walk most nights after dinner... he nearly always needed cigarettes. One night he barely shut the door before he opened it again and came in with a puppy in his arms. The puppy had been a gift to one of the girls upstairs and was now confiscated by the giver. My mother lost the argument for keeping the beautiful purebred Collie. She was a problem but we all loved her. I still remember the look she gave as she was taken away later on.
That apartment was the scene for many memorable events of my life. I got a watch for my birthday and it was broken by noon. It was not my fault. I put it on as soon as I got it... at breakfast. I thought it belonged on the right arm so that's where I wore it. I came in at about noon because I had found a tick on my head. I sat facing my mother so she could remove it in the approved way --with tweezers. The pain startled me when the tick was detached and jerked my arm so hard it hit the head of the iron bed. The watch never worked again. It was a long time before I got another. The first turkey we ever had was cooked there. No one thought to see if the stove would accommodate a turkey. It wouldn't. We tried cooking it with the oven part way open. No luck. We ate something else for dinner that day or maybe we ate part of it. In any event it had to be cut up to cook. Disasters are more memorable than success any way. (Another somewhat similar event occurred in Connecticut in 1941 or thereabouts. I was living or visiting there at Christmas one year when Aunt Rachel's mother turned off the oven. We were too busy drinking eggnog to notice there was no turkey smell so the dead turkey that greeted us at about six P.M. came as a complete shock. We had a good laugh and got to work. We had an omelet, corned beef hash, and Uncle Gus made the best salad dressing I ever tasted. I sometimes wish I had the nerve to fix such a meal on purpose.)
The Depression and we had arrived in Washington at about the same time. Our family was hardly touched by it because there were three people working but we were still poor and five of us were living in a two-bedroom apartment. Modern adults would be surprised at how little material things mattered to us. We had ropes and skates and jacks and balls. Golf balls were best for jacks--I don't know how we got them. I have no idea what is inside a modern golf ball but ours had a smaller ball made of rubber bands. A largish ball was necessary for Dodge or O'Leary but they cost a quarter at the dime store. I could do all my Christmas shopping for a dollar, bath salts, nutcrackers, handkerchiefs for men or women, all kinds of games and toys cost about a dime apiece.
We began to see more and more ragged and unhappy people as we went to school or work. It was a mile from our house to the Capitol Building and that was our usual walk. I remember seeing people whose legs were wrapped in newspaper tied with string. The same insulating technique keeps ice from melting in the trunk of your car on the way to a picnic. The poor occupied empty buildings--my friends in the Flats built fires to keep warm and to cook their food. The longer it lasted the more apprehensive the politicians became. W.W.I veterans began to demand the Bonus they had been promised in 1917. Hoboes rode freight cars back and forth across the country. "Brother, can you spare a dime?" was heard everywhere.
There were things to keep us happy, of course. Washington used to have lots of parades; there were free band concerts, and in our neighborhood the High School across the street was used as a social center at night. Few people had radios as yet so the auditorium would be open for major events like nominating conventions and election returns. On Saturday there were classes in arts and crafts, music and dance. The auditorium became a movie theater at the end of classes. The classes were for children and adults (I was in grammar school) but only a dedicated parent could stand the awful cartoons--the kind where the farmer’s corns sprout into full-grown ears and everybody runs over and after everybody else at the end. Movies only cost a dime but the dimes were scarce.
Halloween was like Mardi gras only sober. There was a parade; the grown-ups got dressed in costume and THERE WAS NO TRICK OR TREAT! Sometimes we would go to the parade. Sometimes our parents would go to a party with friends. Sometimes we had a party ourselves. Nothing much but apple cider--bobbing for apples--no drinking--Prohibition was still in effect and most people were law-abiding. By the way real cider doesn’t taste like this modern stuff, which is really just apple-juice. Real cider was made from apples, which had fallen or were too ripe (we always said the fruit flies gave it a special flavor). Apples in those days had a stronger flavor than most do now. The cider was not pasteurized nor homogenized and it was aged a bit.
Exact chronology escapes but time had begun to fly. 1932 was an election year and we were excited by it. The Depression really was depressing. Somehow we all caught the fever of hope. A straw vote in my class at school produced a lop-sided victory for Roosevelt. We listened to the convention on the radio and at election time we went to the school auditorium to tally the results. The Republicans kept telling us that Prosperity was just around the corner. It didn't jump back out as soon as the election was over but it felt better.
By the time of the Election and Inauguration we had moved to a new apartment. It was four blocks away on the same street. Every city dweller knows that a move even of a short distance is like a move to another small town. It isn't so true now since most neighborhoods are just bedroom communities. Our new apartment was in a single building with four floors. There was no elevator. There had been a dumb waiter large enough to stand up in but it had injured the janitor so he had to carry the trash down to the basement. The manager-owner of the building was named Mr. Garlock. Today he would probably be in jail or, at least hot water. He liked little girls and was a voyeur. He never made any serious advances that I know of but in looking back I feel he was a bit too "fatherly", and I know he spied because I observed him.
There was a stationary fire escape on the rear of the building. We often used it in preference to the stairs. There were no screens (mosquitoes and flies don't like heights). My chair for reading was near the fire-escape window and I wouldn’t even hear him but I would look up and there he'd be. He would mumble some excuse and go back down. Those open windows were a menace at any event. Bats liked heights well enough and came in often. They always flew out again very soon.
The alley behind the building was wide and was one of our major playgrounds. It was well lit by very tall gaslights. The lamp lighter came near dusk carrying his ladder. I guess they were so tall to keep people from extinguishing them. The lighter had to come again at dawn to turn them off. The lighting was a signal to go beg to be allowed to stay out after dark. Sometimes the games were on the sidewalk out front. There were electric light posts for bases and light to congregate under. Boys wheeled lazily around on their bikes; girls were busy deciding the games to play. The boys would usually join in. We played hide-and-seek and all kinds of tag games.
Our side of the street was the playing side. There was a church at one corner and a drugstore at the other. The church owned most of the block. There was a row of several houses and a fairly large vacant lot, and then four privately owned houses, then the apartment house, then more houses, then and the drug store. We were allowed to play on the lot and of course the mean old maid lived right next to it. We played baseball there. We lost lots of balls. The only Halloween tricks were played on her.
I was now in the sixth grade. Our year was in two semesters and I was allowed to skip the first semester of that year. As a result I don't know how many pecks are in a bushel. (In fourth grade I missed long division by having the mumps--I learned that later but I never bothered with pecks). My new favorite subject was introduced this year. Ancient History... Cave men, Lake dwellers, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans...I loved them all forever.
My new best friend was Mary McVeigh. She lived next door. It took a while to become friends. She went to the Catholic school. She watered their lawn and we eyed each other. I liked to draw pretty, rich young women clad in the latest fashions--I found some drawings of hers... somehow we met. We would draw by the hour; we became almost inseparable. We ate lunch, we played cards--Strange games like "I doubt it" played with ten people and four or five decks. We played in the McVeigh's back yard. Mary's father was a dentist and his office was on the first floor of their house. The kitchen was in the basement. They had a huge stove and a restaurant-sized double-doored electric refrigerator. We still put a card in the window for ice.
Soon after we moved to this apartment we had another addition to our family. My mother's youngest sister Barbara came to live with us. When my mother's mother died at forty she left nine children. That was in 1913. The oldest son (Gus) was twenty, then Sara, Beck, Marg (my mother), Mattie, Hartley, Mary, Tom, and Barbara, only one year old. The girls ran the house for two years before my Grandfather remarried. They cooked and sewed and mothered the young. They had household help but there was plenty to do. During that time Tom was Sara's responsibility and Beck took charge of Barbara. The person who became their stepmother was Kate Green. She was a speaking acquaintance of their mother. She was a ghastly mistake. She was a dyed-in-the wool old maid, set in her ways, opinionated, homely and self-righteous. I may have overlooked a few traits, but I hardly knew her.
Unhappiness and dissension reigned for years. My Grandfather became selectively deaf. He couldn't hear her. The older children left home as soon as possible. The role of my Great-grandmother in all this was wrong--she encouraged rebellion and disrespect and the stubbornness of her son didn't help. In 1919, first my mother, then Beck, Sara and Gus got married and left home. Barbara went with Beck and her husband to the Philippines but a huge fight kept Tom from going with Sara. After all, he was a boy and Miss Kate claimed him. He led a miserable existence with her and he soon ran away. (It was still possible to run away to sea.) He never went home again. He kept in touch with and visited Gus and Sara and wrote to Barbara. He committed suicide in 1929 at twenty-one.
Barbara meanwhile moved about with Beck and Doc (Beck's husband, a Cavalry officer and polo player in the Army). She came to live with us for reasons I didn't understand at the time, but she came. Elma still lived with us and she and Barbara became life-long friends. Barbara lived with us only a short time before she got married. It had been done in secret but kind friends found the announcement in the Vital Statistics column. I was roused from sleep by angry voices and ultimatums being issued. The upshot was Barbara left in a huff. Reconciliations were made soon enough and Barbara and Jab found an apartment with our help. I loved visiting them there. It wasn't long before the reason for the marriage became apparent. Eugene Alexander Carusi, Jr. necessitated a larger apartment. I became an adept baby-sitter and that is why when my turn came I may not have been a perfect mother but I knew how to hold a baby.
All the while life went on. Every fall soon after school began we went to an open-air market to get the last of the fresh produce that we'd see until spring. In those days every thing had its season. Very few imported, shipped or hothouse fruits or vegetables were available. A few years later Birdseye invented frozen food and refrigerated freight cars and trucks took care of the rest. The main thing we had to do was make pepper sauce to last a year so my father could be happy. Like most Southern ex-patriots he needed hot peppers or vinegar or both to keep going. The peppers were on a bush pulled up by its roots. We would pick the dry peppers off, rinse them, pack tem in jars and pour vinegar over them. The vinegar would get hot and could be replaced several times. I nearly burnt my eyes out (or so I thought) when I rubbed them without first washing my hands after picking peppers for a while.
As long as we had nice weather we'd rush out after dinner to play. The evening hour was somewhat spoiled by a neighbor who had doomed aspirations to be an opera singer. Mrs. Ciancerola looked the part but I'm sure she was far too old to begin singing even if her voice might have warranted her hopes. But, alas! She sang scales and played ever-higher chords until not one opera lover remained in that block. Mr.Ciancerola avoided the sound by retreating to his garage. Garages, then, were at least fifty feet behind the house and opened onto the alley. He was building a boat ala Columbus. It had been going on for years. Maybe he would escape in it. It was finished at last and ready to be floated. He could then take years to fit it out. The first major snag occurred as we waited for the finished product--it wouldn't come through the garage door. The neighbors lent a hand to tear down the building and the boat was hauled away to the river. In a day or two we heard a final bulletin: the poor boat sank.
Somehow the school year and the bad weather become a sort of blur. Christmas vacation would come and break it up. Sometimes Christmas would be cold and clear; sometimes it would snow. It was our custom to visit and be visited. Sometimes we would have dinner with Barbara; sometimes she and her family would come to our house. One year we were at Barbara's without Jimmy. Jack Kowaleski had gotten a bike (a sidewalk bike!) from Santa and he and Jimmy could not be pried off of it. Jimmy was to be delivered to us by Jack's family in time for dinner. He was a bit late but not much so no problem. But, later, when we stood around the door saying "Goodbye" and "Thanks" my mother pointed out Jimmy's new sweater, a gift from Aunt Rachel as yet unknown to us. It was a heavy, tan and dark brown hand-knit with a shawl collar. She grabbed his sleeve to pull him back. It was stained with blood.
Reluctantly Jimmy confessed he and Jack had both been on the bike and had had an accident, which they were hoping to conceal. I seem to remember they were holding onto a bus or maybe they had cornered too sharply and were grazed by a car. No real harm was done but they hoped to avoid grounding. Punishment in those days was swift and (we thought) severe.
The apartment building had four apartments on each floor. As in any community, some were occupied by friendly people and some were recluses and some were just strange. Next door to us there was an old woman with two almost middle-aged children. One was a daughter, one a divorced son. I don't recall their last name. I remember the son's first name because it was Hartley, the same as my aunt. One day the mother did some serious house cleaning and I acquired some serious junk. There were large souvenir books from World's Fairs; a run of Natural History magazines; old books; a Mah Jongg set (no directions); a four inch china doll with real hair and open-and-shut-eyes; a goldfish complete with food, bowl and net.
The daughter left soon but the son lingered on. He was handsome and fun. Elma went out with him for a while. He provided some real excitement on two occasions and then he moved away. The first event took place in the middle of the night--so late that everything was still and dark. We awoke knowing we had heard a blood-curdling cry. Somehow it was possible to tell you'd only heard the end of a much longer sound. Everyone--my father, Elma, my mother, me Jimmy--we all sat up feeling fearful. We got up, put on bathrobes and stood around shivering. It remained eerily quiet. You can only imagine it. Nowadays nothing is ever really that still. No running footsteps, no police sirens, no ambulance, no doors opening and shutting, no one in the hall... we had to go back to bed. Thank goodness we were able to find out next day who and why.
Our neighbor had walked in his sleep. He awoke with one leg over the sill of an open window, the twin of our bat entry. In a few days very strong iron bars were installed. They were real jail bars, custom made. They curved outward to accommodate washing of the window. The other window in that room had the fire escape and the kitchen had a nailed in screen.
I believe their mother died (their father had died soon after we moved in) and Hartley lived alone for a while. One reason I'm so cautious now that I, in effect, live alone is because of him. He was an experienced carpenter and workman at all sorts of jobs. I seem to recall he earned his living at some sort of trade. One day while on top of a ladder doing something with a screwdriver, the screwdriver slipped and drove itself deep into his eye. He came down and then tried to remove the screwdriver. It was embedded so deep that his pulling removed the eyeball! He was in deep shock but he acted like an automaton--He called for an ambulance (no 911) and then waited for them before he collapsed. Carrying him down from the fourth floor was made easier by the landings but he was quite heavy and old-fashioned stretchers were unwieldy--no light weight material, no folding, no wheels. There were no paramedics and no radio or phone communications. They relied on speed and the right-of-way. They phoned from the nearest phone since not everyone had one. (We didn't.) I suppose the eye was lost but I never did know. He moved before the bandages were off.
Not having a phone got an afternoon off for my mother. Summer days were long but we had no trouble filling them. Many days we would go back to our old haunts and play on the High School lawn with our old buddies. One such time Jimmy fell down a bank or terrace and got a huge splinter in his leg. It looked as though a matchstick was jammed cross-wise in the calf of his leg. Jack Kowaleski and I tried in vain to get Jimmy to let us take it out. When that failed we went home. Once there Jack and I scrounged up a nickel and crammed ourselves into a phone booth to call my mother. We were very excited (Jimmy was in pain and carrying on). We told her Jimmy had a matchstick in his leg. We didn't quit there. We decided to take him to a doctor.
Most doctors then had their offices in their homes. Our block had several and at least two dentists. They had their names in gold leaf on the transom over the front door. A transom is a small window over a door or window, even interior doors, to provide circulation without having to have the larger window or door unlocked. There was Dr Murphy on the corner. There was a doctor directly across the street and one even closer--right next door. We chose him. We rang the bell and waited. We looked through the glass door. We heard shuffling noises. Finally the door was opened by the oldest person I had ever seen. We both talked at once and somehow got our message through. I don't know why Jimmy couldn't talk. Maybe we didn't let him. The doctor said, "Come in." We went. It was very dim. We went into the office. Vincent Price would have felt at home. Antique instruments, examining table, and cabinets everywhere. The light came from a side window with a shade partly drawn. The doctor had Jimmy sit down facing him and in one second it was over. He had pulled out a three-inch thorn. A swab of iodine and that was it. We told him we had no money but our credit should be good. We lived next door. He said we owed him nothing. "It was my pleasure to serve you. I have been retired for twenty years and it felt good to be of use." We hurried back out. The sun was blinding. All this had taken about an hour. A street car stopped and my mother got off. She thought Jimmy had broken his leg and had been allowed to leave work. She made herself some iced tea and relaxed until time to cook dinner. We resumed whatever we were up to. We got a phone soon afterward.
Today is November 11,1993--Armistice Day. England has announced this will be the last year they will observe it. We call it Veterans Day in honor all our wars so we will keep it up much longer. The force we sent to Europe in W.W.1 was called the A.E.F. and in 1932 veterans of that war marched on Washington seeking some relief from the Depression. I may not have it exactly right but I believe the men were owed their pay from the war and had been promised a Bonus if the Government were allowed to put off paying them until 1945! A bill to that effect was passed in 1924. In 1931 a Veterans' group proposed accepting fifty percent of the promised amount if they could have it immediately. Congress passed such a bill but Hoover vetoed it. The B.E.F. (Bonus Expeditionary Force) arrived in Washington May 29,1932 announcing they would stay until a Bonus Bill was signed. They were a peaceful group and were welcomed at first. There were about 17,000 of them and they camped in vacant buildings and on empty lots with permission of the chief of police. The greatest number was camped on the Anacostia Flats--our backyard. They were lent tents by the army and the camp looked like an army base. Men like my father roamed the area looking for and finding old friends not seen since 1918. My father had his picture in the paper with just such an old buddy.
In June of 1932 a bill was introduced into Congress that would have paid the Bonus but it was defeated in the Senate. At that point many of the veterans went home but many with no homes to go to stuck around. This annoyed Hoover who saw them as a thorn in his hopes of re-election. He ordered the police chief to see to it that they vacated the buildings they were in and leave Anacostia as well. Since Chief Glassford had treated them well they began to honor his request to move out of their own accord. They didn't move fast enough to suit the "high authority" who wanted them gone so by afternoon that day (July 28,1932) they sent General Douglas MacArthur (accompanied by then Major Dwight Eisenhower) at the head of a procession of tanks, cavalry, machine guns and marching soldiers armed with sabers and tear gas to roust them out. By then only a few remained. The rag-tag squatters were chased from the buildings and the soldiers pursued women and children and, rumor had it, even a few legless veterans into the swamp where they burned the shacks. The rout took until midnight and in the last hour an infant was supposedly killed. Hoover claimed they had posed a threat to the government. The country did not believe it and it cost him in the election. The next year another Bonus army came to Washington. By then Roosevelt was President and while he treated them with respect they still didn't get their Bonus. (In fact his veto had to be over-ridden in 1936 when it finally was passed.) During the time the B.E.F. was camped at our doorstep we visited it many times.
The camp was laid out like a W.W.1 army camp. It had streets and like all of them up through Desert Storm there was humorous labels and references to home. Veterans living in Washington were able to seek out home-towners or at least people from their own home states. My father was always gregarious and made friends easily. During the second year the army was there he befriended a couple from Florida (almost home--his mother was from there). He brought them home one day and we entertained them in our house for a while. As I remember it the wife stayed with us but the husband came to dinner each night and then went back to camp. I don't recall their name but I remember what each looked like and each left a deep impression on me. They kept bees in Florida and they gave us a large jar of orange blossom-honey. She was pretty, with light brown hair. She was deeply tanned; she wore sandals with no stockings; she had painted toenails! She gave me an armful of thin metal vary-colored bracelets and he taught me a card trick. Very satisfactory people. I can still do the trick and every time I do my mind conjures both of them up.
While all this was going on I managed to follow the election and go to the Inaugural Parade. We stood along Pennsylvania Avenue and saw the Presidents going and the President coming. That first one was in March and it was cold and windy. The parade was an average Washington parade--the bands always seemed to quit playing before they got to me. It was much later that the interminable marching bands took over. Nobody could afford to send a band all the way across the country. Besides it took a week to get from California and on top of that we just barely knew California existed.
I had been going to school through it all. Days were longer then? I sang in a Glee Club still and mostly enjoyed school. If I hadn't skipped half of the grade I don't know how I'd have stood that sixth grade teacher. She disliked me for some reason. Her sister taught cooking and sewing and was infected by my teacher, Miss Condon. The sister told me she marked me a certain way because of what she had been told by my homeroom teacher. In those days the teacher was always right. If you were punished it was because you deserved it. One time my father believed I was right and he came to school to complain about it. There were no automatic bells that could be heard outside so some teacher's pet (always a boy) would walk around the school ringing a heavy brass hand-held bell. I angered him somehow so he hit me in the face with it. I went to Miss Condon for help. She told me she would do nothing for me because I had been talking in class. My father agreed the offenses were unequal.
In February 1932 I graduated from Elementary School and went to Junior High. We had a somewhat formal graduation about which I remember nothing except that I had a new dress. It was Teal blue and had a fancy jabot. That color became peacock in its next incarnation. A jabot is a frill or ruffle separate from the dress. It can be removed and cleaned and a dress can have more than one to change its appearance. I took some part in the ceremonies but I can't recall what.
Hine Junior High was a rather long way to walk but there was no other way to get there. We lived on the edge of two school districts and Hine was less crowded than Eliot. Hine was housed in an old building that had once been Eastern High. The new Eastern was where we had played so often in the past. It had been built in 1924. Who knows how old Hine was. It was a dreary old place. It was exciting to go from class to class and to have many teachers even if some were real duds. Almost no teachers were married and a collection of frustrated old maids made for some unpleasant times. We almost all hated gym but most subjects were tolerable. We had Math, English, History, Art and Music Appreciation.
The first semester was pretty dreary at first but as the weather improved and I made new friends it seemed better. The next semester was an improvement. I submitted the winning design for scenery for the Christmas play and was allowed to paint the flats that were used. They depicted the windows of a toy store. The play? Who knows? My former teacher from Grammar School requested the Principal at Hine to permit me to be excused early for several days and then for a half day so I could take charge of a program to be presented by their Glee Club at their Graduation. Talk about swelled heads! The rest is a blur. In February a big hitch in my education developed when it transpired that the school had no Latin and in Eighth grade a language was required. Hine offered only Spanish and French. Spanish was considered a second class language and my father insisted French would not do.
The new Junior High behind Eastern High had Latin as well as the others but a petition to the most high was required in order to transfer. Two other girls--my best friend Evelyn Sobotka and Charlotte Hall whom I knew slightly-sought to transfer to Eliot. Evelyn was not allowed to go--too far from the dividing line. Charlotte and I became temporary best friends but she was not really my type. She was boy-crazy and boys were Charlotte-crazy. Her family must have pushed the Latin. I, on the other hand, loved Latin and all the things associated with it... Mythology, History, Archeology, books by Graves and Erskine... plays by Greeks, plays by Shakespeare... word origins, word games, and, later on, French and Spanish. I also loved my Latin teacher. Her name was Virginia Mitchell Brown. She influenced me as much as my fifth-grade teacher, Miss Harper.
During all my life I have been a moviegoer. I recall a few vivid scenes from silent movies I was taken to by my mother... the lepers in Ben Hur, the Sheik from The Sheik, Mary Pickford, with a blouse full of stolen potatoes, leading orphans in an escape from an orphanage and avoiding alligators, Loretta Young sitting in front of a dressing table loaded with cosmetics. "What is all that stuff for?" I asked. There was a movie (The Rainmaker?) about a drought, at the end of which, when it did rain, everyone brought chairs outside and enjoyed getting wet--that appealed to me. I saw Our Dancing Daughters, The sin Of Madelon Claudet. I didn't then, and don't now, know what her sin was, but now I can guess at least.
Every Saturday, armed with fifteen cents, we went to a matinee. There were several theaters near us. The theaters in Washington were classified as first, second and third run. Most were owned by the studios... Fox, RKO. Keith, Warner, Paramount. Our neighborhood theater was The Home, a second run. Of course Saturday matinees were in a class by themselves-usually a Western or a comedy plus a serial and one-reel comedies and a newsreel. Whenever a new serial opened there was free candy in a bag and at least one bag had a dime--the price of admission. The same crowd was there every week. In the twenties my favorite movie star was Ken Maynard--a Western hero; in the Thirties Laurel and Hardy replaced him. Once in a while we went to a movie on Sunday. That was a newer movie and cost thirty-five cents... took a lot of begging. Once Elma and I, and I guess Jimmy, went to see Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Frederic March in the leading role. It was a beautiful Sunday, in fact Palm Sunday. When we came out there was snow about four inches deep. It was the latest snow on record that late in the year and it stranded many people who had gone to summer homes for Easter vacation. (For some mysterious reason that is the first snow I recall so vividly.)
Imagine my delight to find that my new idol (my new home-room teacher, Mrs. Brown) shared this movie enthusiasm. She was the sort of teacher who attracted a coterie and it was a high honor to be in it. We went in early to talk to her and help with chores and our reward was that she would come and get us on Saturday and take us to Art Museums and lunch and then to a movie. We went to her house sometimes as well. There were tie-ins like Caesar and C1eopatra but mostly we learned social graces and liberal opinions. She told us jokes and taught us to knit. She introduced us to football. She was a graduate of George Washington University and had known Sammy Baugh there. He became Slinging Sammy Baugh as a Professional Football player for the Redskins. Professional football took a backseat to College football in those far-off days but only a loyal few bothered with George Washington. They played in a high-school stadium and couldn't fill it. Mrs. Brown recruited our whole eighth grade class to help. We regulars got carfare, hot-dog money and giant chrysanthemums to entice us to go. No tickets were needed. Eventually we learned when to cheer.
Another favorite teacher at Eliot was Miss Bonnell. You either loved Bonnie or you hated her. She was the Music teacher and her patience did not extend to non-believers in good music. Only a small handful of popular songs were admitted to exist. (I can recall only one--Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.) I soon was invited to join the Glee Club--a signal honor. It met before school but not every day and left time for the Latin room hanging out.
At Christmas time, in our red (girls) or green (boys) cambric capes with hoods that had tinsel around the edge surrounding the face, we serenaded the board of education; we sang in department stores; and most exciting of all, we sang at a midnight service at Bonnie 5 church in Virginia. We rode a chartered bus and when we returned we drove along the long sweep of "The Avenue" (Pennsylvania--the one the Presidents used to go between the Capitol and the White House.) There was no other traffic, the traffic lights were all blinking yellow which gave an eerie ambience and the only sounds were the bus motor and the singing tires... we were all sung out.
Most of the time, while I really enjoyed school, it was bland... the usual mild infractions... some of us got in trouble for helping the class clown write "I will not talk in class" one hundred times. I had to write, "I will not write 'I will not talk in class’ for George Wilson" one hundred times. George did have a big mouth. He could put his whole fist in it... or a California orange! Mrs. Brown read to us--The Patchwork Girl of Oz--She and we loved all the puns. Late in the afternoon we would play Simon Says "STAND UP! SIT DOWN." It was good to exercise, especially since we didn't even know we were doing it.
We almost all hated gym. We had had to make gym bags in sewing and on the days we had gym they hung in the backs of our chairs and had to be carried from class to class. As a result the whole school smelled like a gym and our gym-suits were a wrinkled mess. Mine was a green one-piece suit with bloomer legs, a fitted waist and a middy collar. The girls who had started at Eliot had red and black versions of the same thing. Mine was leftover from Hine. I suppose it was washed occasionally but I don't remember that... maybe it was even ironed... it never looked or smelled like it.
Each department at the school produced one or more Assembly programs each year and once a year the teaching staff produced one. We were always surprised to find that teachers (even some of the most despised) were really quite human as they sang and recited and joked for us. I was in two Latin Department plays. One was based on John Erskine's book Helen of Troy--a humorous mixture of History mixed with anachronisms. I played a hotel maid carrying towels who constantly interrupted Helen and Paris at who-knows-what. Pretty risqué for eighth graders but nobody squawked. The other was not really a play but a series of vaudeville blackouts. I was Venus de Milo. I wore a white bathing suit and was draped in a sheet. On my arms I wore black socks and I assumed the proper pose. On my hip there was a board hung by a string. The skit involved some sailors touring the Louvre. As they passed by me, after a lecture on Art and Antiquities and the awe they should inspire, one of the sailors struck a match on my hip and then lit his pipe. I slapped him with my non-existent arm. We thought it was funny.
In Latin we produced a newspaper, The SPQR, complete with a pair of NRA eagles and two eaglets. The motto of the NRA (National Recovery Act) was "We Do Our Part." Ours said, "We Did Our Part." Juvenile humor again. Mrs. Brown didn't scold us for it as our parents would. Mrs. Brown’s husband was an artist and architect (he was working on the Supreme Court Building, which was not yet finished. The Court was still meeting in the Capitol). He did illustrations for our paper.
Outside of school the world kept turning, of course. The Senators--the D.C. baseball team was in the World Series and everyone was herded into the Auditorium to hear the games. I guess they couldn't close the school for that and as yet, while the number of radio owners had increased, most people still didn't have them. We didn't. If a baseball game was what you wanted, you went. We acquired a radio second-hand from Barbara and Jab who acquired one second-hand from Jab's brother Ugo. We really needed it because Jimmy was confined to bed for a month with Pleurisy, an acute inflammation of the membrane enclosing all the organs in the upper part of the body and enfolded over the lungs. It is painful just to breathe and coughing is worse. One whole day flat in bed is bad but a month seems eternal. It seemed eternal to me as well. This happened in the summer so I was at home and delegated to read aloud to him. Thank goodness for the radio and the Morro Castle, a passenger liner, which burned off, the New Jersey coast in 1934. It beached on the Jersey shore. One hundred and thirty people were killed. There was an inquiry into the disaster... the usual queries as to how it began... why was the crew so inept and cowardly?... was the Captain drunk?... why did it take so long for the radioman to seek help?.... Fill in the name and almost all inquiries sound much the same. Substitute an iceberg or a shoal and there you are. It was all new to us then and probably the first broadcast at such length. Jimmy lay flat in the bed. I sat alongside in a chair. The summer was outside the window but it was the shady side of the house. We sat mute and listened enthralled at horror and fear and stupidity and heroism. No determination as to exact cause was made as far as I can recall. Several years later it was determined that the radioman had set the fire. He was caught at another crime.
During the winter Mary McVeigh and I sang in the choir at Holy Comforter, the church at our corner. We sang at Vespers in Church Latin. We stood in the choir loft at the rear. In the summer we were invited to work at the church carnival on the school grounds. I was a bar-maid serving beer! That's not in mesume!
The Eighteenth Amendment had recently been repealed and the Church was no slouch at business. When I was very young I was surprised there were still inebriates... How could there be?... I learned about breaking the law but I also learned it was legal to make wine and near-beer at home. My father was blue-nosed but my grandmother wasn't. She made wine and cordials and friends of hers made beer. Whiskey was available for medicinal purposes. I was dosed with it when I had whooping cough. I got a spoonful over sugar. Jimmy didn't need it but he cried for and got it.
While we were in Geneva at a garden-party at the Keenans I remember a bottle shooting its contents across the yard. I was given a small amount to taste. People drink this stuff? I put sugar in mine--even worse. My Grandmother made wine from scuppernongs (a sort of whitish-brownish grape) and cordials from pomegranates. She used the dark sweet ones I know and maybe the red as well. She would look at the brew in the crock, skim the top and taste it to see how the fermentation was progressing. At the exact right moment it had to be bottled. It smelled good and, as it turned out, it tasted okay too. Once my Grandmother (and everyone else) was away. The fermentation process was over but the wine was still in the crock. I decided I would try some for myself. By the time the adults reappeared I'd "had a little drink about an hour ago and it went right to my head." I don't recall any punishment--maybe I slept through it.
When I worked at the beer-garden no Feds appeared to arrest us so I guess the stringent liquor laws were yet to come. There was plenty to do, besides work, at the Carnival. There were shooting galleries, simple fishing for prizes for small children and rides. There was a large Ferris Wheel, which stalled while I was on it at the top. Everything was free to the workers. It is easy to see how the Catholic Church would appeal to me. So much cooler than the Protestants. They took pleasure (and sin) in stride.
Although I had tried alcoholic beverages in several forms I had not acquired a taste for any of it. In my set the drink of preference was an ice-cream soda... ten cents! All drugstores, even the small one at our corner, had soda-fountains and the larger ones had lunch counters. One summer after school ended some of us were invited to come to the empty school to help with some housekeeping chores. Books had to be counted and shelved in the storeroom; lockers had to be checked for left-overs; the blackboards had to be washed; the janitors cleaned all the floors; the lunchroom, kitchens, etc. were clean, empty and ready for next year. I worked in the Latin department and when everything was done our pay was a sandwich and a hot-fudge sundae at a soda-fountain.
Most years we also had an outing to Chesapeake Beach, a nearby amusement park where there was swimming, rides were available and there was a huge dance pavilion. No dancing while we were there but the dance floor was surrounded by mechanical fortune-tellers and nickelodeons left from pre-movie days. We had come to the park on a chartered streetcar (trolley like Judy Garland's) and at the end of the day, tired from sun, sand and food, while we awaited its return we spent our last nickels watching can-can girls and car-chases.
Time, in its usual way, moved on. It always seemed both slow and fast. Tempus fugit! We Latin scholars proclaimed and thought how funny we were when we said, “Tempus is fruiting!” Soon I was in the ninth grade. When you're doing it everything seemed so important--tests, book-reports, thinking of ways to avoid gym. Our gym teacher had it figured--it was the getting dressed we hated. To make up an absence she made us stay after school and suit up. She would then inspect us and erase the absent mark.
Sorry Stelle's Bio is to long and will be continued on her mothers site.
Lehron Ard (1895 - 1971)
Annie Margaret Hall Ard (1900 - 1992)
Helen Elaine Peterson Ard (1920 - 1995)
Margaret Estelle Ard Mooney (1920 - 2009)*
James Henry Ard (1922 - 2013)
Greenwood Memorial Park
San Diego County
Plot: Court of Ascension Court of Ascension Crypt 12 Tier A
Created by: Omer Divers
Record added: May 06, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 110112743