Some of the early days are times I cannot remember about which my brother and sisters have told me.
I was born in Hondo, Texas. A friend there, Mrs. Cameron, was good to my mother and for her friendship, I was given her name, Cameron, as a middle name.
We lived in the house of my Grandpa and Grandma Johnson while mother was carrying me. Just before I was born, my grandparents found a house for us on the other side of the river and up a road a ways from them. There was a job for my dad when he got back from wherever he had been. As it turned out, he got back just in time to deliver me. Aunt Lola said dad was a heavy drinker then.
Right after I was born, Mother was very weak and Aunt Lola May Johnson, Mother’s sister, came to our house each day to see that the other kids got across the river all right to go to school. Then she would take care of me until the kids got back
. Where we moved from there, I don’t know. Eventually we reached Lamesa, Texas. In Lamesa we acquired a 1926 Ford Model T. After an amount of time we decided to move to Phoenix, Arizona. My Dad was acquainted with a man named Manual Stagg who owned a 1926 Dodge touring car. Our model T didn’t have a top so, when we all moved, we loaded the model T with all our belongings and towed it behind the Dodge like a trailer.
My dad worked on a Park restoration project in Phoenix and hired Vernon Bue to help him. As you will see later on, hiring Vernon Bue turned out to be a bad thing for Dad, the family and everyone else.
We first moved to Glendale then to Phoenix near a canal then to the desert near the city dump.
Chapter One… In the Beginning…
My memories are very vague of my early years. I have a few that are at my age of about two or three years. I haven't researched this with my brother or sisters; the memories are my own, as I recall, although, I will add a few things about what happened to me that were told to me by my siblings.
One of those things told to me was; once when my Dad was in California (or somewhere else) looking for work, my mother hitchhiked with me in tow to where my Dad was. Many times Dad would take Joan and Eva with him when he went places. Sometimes he would take Buddy and Eva and leave Joan, Mickey and me with Mother. She had hitchhiked before to be with Dad when he was gone to look for work.
Once she hitchhiked with all of the kids. Dad had gone to south Texas to the home of Grandpa Johnson, Mother’s Dad, to look for work. After he had been gone for a while, mother decided she should be with him so she took all of us kids and hitched a ride there. A man picked us up and fed us and told mother that any man who would leave his family like that should be whipped. Mother told me that after she was old so it might be a bit biased. I may recall more which was told to me later in this saga.
*As I said earlier, some things in this journal were told to me by someone else in the family. It is now October 10, 2003 and I just got an e-mail from my sister, Shike, with this story. It needs to be in my journal. I’ll copy it in as it was written by her.*
...Just got to looking at the picture on the wall and you were about 18 months old. The first xmas after that you had turned 2 the month after Christmas. I never will forget that one.
Mother never was a hand at making cakes but that year she made a white cake and it smelled so good like vanilla and she made a boiled frosting to go on it. Poured it on it. Made it all soft and juicy. We had it for supper with a pumpkin pie.
We couldn't open our presents till we ate breakfast so we all gobbled down our oatmeal fast as we could. You were still quite small.
We all got a huge orange and a big apple. Except you. We all had to give you two slices out of our orange. Mother fed them to you and saved some of yours.
We each got a little bag with Christmas candy in it. Some of those little ribbons and hard candy with soft centers.
Daddy got a big long present and when we all had a mouth full of candy we wanted to see what he got so we kept begging him to please open his present. When he opened it it was a huge peppermint stick. Wow did our eyes pop open!!
Of course we all stood around him until he finally said, well I guess I'd better give all of you some of my candy. That made all of us happy. I remember when he broke it up and gave all of us some of it. Daddy always loved peppermint forever after that.
I got a2 pink ribbons, Joan got 2 yellow ribbons. I think Mickey got a little necklace cause she never did have her hair in pigtails. also a little waist apron Mother had made her. I think Joan and I got a pair of anklets. Buddy got a new top and a new pair of overalls. I don't remember if mom or Daddy got anything but we all shared our candy with Mom.
We didn't have a turkey but had a big stewing hen. Mother made dressing with it.
We had a good time oh yes, you got a ball with4 colors on it. You could throw it clear across the room and chase it down. We would sit on the floor and roll it back and forth to you.
Well I just thought I would share these memories with you before I went to bed. Take care of my sister. Love to both of you. Shike.***
PS I did straighten the story out a bit with paragraphs. 'yay'