was born in Beeville in 1935, where
my father worked first for the Coca Cola plant there. My Grandparents
were Sidney and Fannie Winfrey and they had a grocery store for years
on the highway that went to the Air Force base. I went to school in
Beeville until we moved to Houston. I remember the caliche pit and
the graveyard just a block from our house. I went back to Beeville
in the 80's and there is now a freeway where our house use to be.
My parents were friends with the Sheriff who was at that time Vale
Ennis. The Walkers were the owners of the local funeral home and I
remember going there after school and talking to Virginia Walker as
she put makeup on the corpses.
My first boy friend was Wayne Geisler and we dated on and off even
after my family moved to Houston. I would come down for a week during
the summer and stay with my Grandmother. I remember my mother would
pack shorts for me to wear because there was no air conditioning and
immediately after I arrivied my Grandmother would take me to town
and buy me a proper dress. I have pictures of the summer she bought
me a straight up and down dress with big yellow flowers. You can tell
by the look on my face that I would rather be dead than seen in that
and German Spies
There are things that happened in Beeville
before we entered the war, there were people living next door to us
that would have meetings and when the people would leave the house
they would click their heels and say "Heil Hitler." This was late
30's and they were just being what they thought was loyal to their
country. When the war started they were using a short wave radio to
send messages to German Submarines off the coast. I really have only
second hand information on this but I do remember when this happened
because my bed springs were picking up the messages and my Mother
knew Morse code. My Father who was a good friend of Sheriff Vale Ennis
had him come to our house and Mother translated to him as they all
sat around my bed. These people came to my Mother and Daddy's 50th
There was gas rationing and people stopped going on Sunday drives.
But for some reason (which I can't now remember) our family had extra
coupons and since that was all we had to do in those days, Daddy would
take us for rides in the country. It seemed that there was always
a dust storm about three o'clock every Sunday afternoon. I also remember
the red ants and the rattlesnakes.
"Prescription" and that Damn Life Magazine
My brother and I could walk across town to my grandparents store and
granddaddy always was watching for us and had candy in his hand. I
remember that my Grandmother believed in the Bible and the fact that
you had to drink a Dr. Pepper at 10, 2 and 4. I was there at the store
one summer and I had the job of dusting the canned goods. This day
a stranger walked in and tried to pull the old trick that he had given
her a five-dollar bill when it was only a one. She grabbed a pitchfork
that she kept by the meat counter (between customers she would have
time to work her flower bed). She chased that fellow halfway to the
county line. One time Life magazine had the word "damn" in it, she
canceled her subscription.
I asked my brother (three years younger than me) what he remembers
and he reminded me of the the neighbors we had after we moved to the
"country" which was really just a short distance from town. The next
door neighbor owned the little airport and when he was going to be
late coming home he would fly low letting all the kids know to go
in the house. On his second pass he would drop a wrench in his back
yard with a note attached. telling his wife what time he would be
home for supper. He took me and my Grandmother for a ride in an open
(double) cockpit plane.
|Stuck on the
Railroad Tracks - Again.
I also remember that our milk was delivered by a man in a horse and
buggy. He and his wife were friends of my parents and sometimes he
would let me finish the route with him. We would end up back at his
place in the country and I would spend the rest of the day playing
with his daughter. He used to always pretend that his wagon was stuck
on the railroad track and that he was just sure the train would come
along at any minute. It worked the first few times.
|The Case of
the Tempting Tortillas
We had a Mexican family that lived in a little shack at the back of
our property. The lady of the house made the mistake of letting me
taste one of her bean and corn tortillas. After that when they would
go to town on Saturdays she always left some sitting on a plate on
the kitchen table. I would climb in the window and eat some. I found
out much later that she knew what I was doing and was deliberately
leaving them there for me.
|Is it my imagination,
or does this pork smell a little like skunk?
My grandparents store was a small building with a small apartment
on the side. The building was up on blocks and one terrible week we
had a skunk come in under the meat counter and die. They had to take
up the floor and even had to disconnect part of the meat counter.
My grandparents would carry people on credit at their store and if
they were in a hurry they would write the amount and name of the customer
on the marble counter top on the cash register. When things slowed
down they would transfer it to that family's credit book. When my
grandfather become ill and had gone into a coma, my mother would come
by the store at closing to take my grandmother to the hospital. In
her hurry, my grandmother failed to transfer a Mrs. Truxow's debt
to the book. My mother and grandmother got to the hospital only to
be told by the nurse that they did not think granddaddy would make
it through the night. Mother and Nana both told this story all through
my life. Granddaddy came out of the coma for just a few minutes and
looked at Nana and said "don't forget to write Mrs. Truxows charge
on the book" and then he died.