I am blessed to have been born into a very loving family. There were 4 of us in my immediate family: My Dad, Mom, my brother and me. I was the youngest one in the family. There were a total of 22 in our whole family, counting grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The “big” family would get together on birthdays, and Christmas. Those were very special occasions. As for my immediate family, we had some great times together. My parents were very loving, God-fearing, and hard working. We weren’t wealthy financially, but we were rich in love and heritage. Daddy worked and Mom stayed home and took care of us kids. We ate supper together every evening at 5:30 p.m. sharp. We played games together, sang songs together, giggled and laughed and Daddy would tell us stories. Mom would tuck my brother and me in at night and she taught us how to say our prayers. I grew up learning about my Heavenly Father and learning that He loved me, and I loved Him.
I grew up during the 1950’s and there was a recession of sorts going on at the time. We weren’t wealthy but we kids didn’t even know it. Mom was so resourceful that she could make a feast out of Swanson chicken pies, salad and iced tea. We had fish sticks, french fried potatoes and Campbell’s pork and beans on Fridays. Many a night we would even have pancakes and bacon for supper and loved it! In later years when Mom and Daddy could “splurge”, Mom would make a roast, meatloaf or fried chicken. Then there were the eating out occasions when Daddy would get a few extra dollars. We would go to Thornhill’s Cafeteria in Palm’s Center, or, we loved to go to the Chuck Wagon. That was a real treat. The Chuck Wagon was a place on Park Place Boulevard in Southeast Houston where you would pull up in front of the eatery (which really was built to resemble an old-time chuck wagon), park you car and look at the menu. They had hamburgers, hot dogs, I think they had french fries, and for dessert…hot fried fruit pies…apple, cherry or pineapple. The drink selection consisted of Golden Age soft drinks in a huge ice chest right next to the order window. I loved grape and there was also orange, cream soda and root beer. The hamburgers came in a small size called a “hub”, the big size was a “wheel”, and the hot dogs were called “spokes” (get it? the parts of a chuck wagon wheel). Those were some truly fond memories. We didn’t have all of the modern technology that we have now as far as internet games, iPods, etc, but we knew how to play, ride our bikes, bond with the neighbors, stay outside until dark playing ball or croquet or whatever games we had. We played cards and board games, Tickle Bee, and I was always tackling Daddy at the front door when he came home from work saying, “Daddy, Daddy, play Candy Land with me. I want to play Candy Land!” You know what? He always found time to play Candy Land with me.
Then there were the vacation trips. They consisted of either going to Fort Worth to visit with my Dad’s parents (Grandmamma and Grandpapa Jones) or going to Sargent Beach where my Mom’s parents (Grandmamma and Granddaddy Stewart) had beachfront property…that is until Hurricane Carla paid us a visit in 1961 and demolished the beach house! Did Grandmamma and Granddaddy let that stop them? No way! They purchased property just a little way across the road along the Intracoastal Canal and built 3 houses… one of which was just a little screened-in tool shed for getting out of the sun and also for cleaning all of the fish that we caught, a small house where the Grandparents stayed when they went to Sargent, and a big beach house where all the family stayed when we all went down there for the big get-togethers.