I haven’t finished reading Mamaws journal, but I found the perfect picture to go with this story. I thought it would be perfect to go ahead and share this little bit!
I must have been two or a little older when Grandma and I rode the train from Ocilla to Miami. A really big trip for those days. We were going to Aunt Melba and Uncle Dalphus’ house, who lived in Coral Galbes. Both were good caring people. Uncle Dalphus was Spanish and had come to the US after having been on the side of a revolution against Cuba’s dictator, Batista, and found himself imprisoned in the dungeon of Monaco Castle on the shore line there in Havana. Having visited there when I was sixteen I could understand the really terrible conditions those prisoners endured. Damp, cold and dark not to mention poor food and no medical attention at all. He came to this country and was a hard worker and a talented man as well. He was a master wood carver and made beautiful furniture and other things too. He designed and created the furnishing for many large department stores and for malls in many places. He felt very strong about being an American, speaking English and working hard to have the American dream. He helped other Cubans, especially the children who wanted to come here to live. I’m not sure all of these were really his relatives or not. He had a few rules for everyone though, they could not speak Spanish in the house, but they were to learn English by hearing and using it at home. Also, no Spanish newspaper. They either had to be in school or work. Many many years later he and Aunt Melba adopted a son of Spanish descent. I must have stayed with them for a good while, but I have no idea how long. I know that Daddy came down to see me there.
Daddy told of how he waked up one night late and found I was not in bed. He got up to look for me and found I was out in the front yard using the bathroom. I guess that was old habits from being at Grandma’s, where you went outside. I recall it did take me awhile to get accustomed to indoor plumbing. Daddy also told me many years later that Aunt Melba and Uncle Dalphus had wanted to adopt me. Uncle Dalphus was a devout Catholic and he even told Daddy he would not try to influence me to become Catholic if they could keep me. I know Daddy was very grateful to them for caring for me, but he had definitely planned to get all his family back together as soon as he could. They were wonderful people and often went to Hileigh to the races and as he was doing quite well you could say we were living the good life.
Meantime Daddy was working hard and this was the thirties and times were hard for most folks. James, who was seven years old when Mama died stayed with Daddy more since he was the oldest. Bud was with Grandma Thompson, probably not the best situation but everything was as best it could be. Grandmas Thompson loved Bud, I’m sure of that. She called him her “little gold mine”. A title I’m sure he grew no to retish very much. However she did, I’m sure, the best she knew. She lived in Fitzgerald in a small wood frame house that never seemed to have had much attention and with, as I recall, only the barest furnishings. There was no indoor plumbing, but few people had that in those days. Grandma’s brother, Uncle Ab, lived with her. I really don’t know if she owned the house or if he did. Possibly neither of them did. Uncle Ab was the sweetest kindest man but was rather simple minded and eccentric. He made a plaster of paris molds and rode a bicycle. I’ve heard he owned a building downtown but never knew how he acquired it. I think he had a little money because he never went anywhere and he only seem to want or need very little. But he had a big heart and always seem to try to be especially sweet to me. Grandma and I never had any kind of relationship at all. I spent one afternoon alone with her when Daddy took me by there while he went somewhere else. That was the only time I ever can remember being alone with her. I was about fourteen or so at the time. Of course there was no one to help foster relationships with her or really with any of the Greens or Hudsons as well. I sort of never felt much kinship with any of them especially after I got to be a bit older.
Since I was very shy and not at all inclined to speak out or inquire about family I was not apt to feel close to anyone. Also social skills was not at the top of the list for parents to teach children then. I think bread on the table and a roof over the head certainly took priority. It was many years later I learned to write thank you or thinking of you notes. There was no telephone to call anyone so I guess a sort of isolation existed even though we didn’t recognize it.