Alice’s 80th Birthday (front row, center) – Tampa, FL in August 2015
It’s been a long time since I published Mom’s interview questions so you can find the prior ones at the end of this post. I learn so much about my family history by doing the interviews. For now, lets focus on the last five questions. Enjoy!
Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
Not really other than when I got married, divorced and purchased a home. LoL
I was not mentioned, but my boyfriend, and ultimately, father of my children, was in the Mobile Register all the time while playing football.
Who were your friends when you were growing up?
Sugar (real name was Hermine) and her sister, Punch – These friends lived across the street from my Grandma Laura’s house. Sugar and Punch had tuberculosis, which was highly contagious at the time, so I was told not to go over to their house. In spite of her illness, I continued to visit until Sugar called me and told me not to come over. Tuberculosis almost wiped out their immediate family.
Alice (friend in college). When Alice came to our home during a college break, I was 16 years old at the time and in my first year of college. All my friends, even Yanetta who was younger, went to the Elk’s Club. However, I could not attend. My mother was very strict, and she told me if I went to the Elk’s Club, I would not be able to be a Debutante. I told her I did not want to be a Debutante, but it didn’t matter. I could not go. I thought my mom was the meanest person alive!
Yanetta (pictured above, front row, right) – We went everywhere together. The movies, parties, and fights…yes I said fights! Check out this story 10 Aug 2015 – The Ditch for details on how we became fighting buddies.
What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
Brookley Air Force base would periodically have air drills. This was in preparation for an attack on the United States. During the drills, all the lights, both inside and outside the home, were required to be turned out. The siren generally started about 11 pm. The thought process was that the enemy could not see it’s target in the dark.
My mother worked at Brookley; however, she lost her job because someone went to the foreman and told him that she did not need a job because her husband worked. Mom was fired shortly after that incident.
In 1964, my family moved to Chicago, Illinois in an effort to make a better living. Our first home was in a third floor apartment on the South Side of Chicago at 68th and Harper. We lived in the midst of the Black Stone Rangers’ neighborhood.
The Black Stone Rangers originated on the south side of Chicago, around 65th and Black Stone Avenue, four blocks away from where we lived. The Black Stone Rangers were estimated to have more than 23,000 members. Years later I asked my mother about the Black Stone Rangers, and she said they had a bad reputation with the police and the FBI, but they actually tried to help people.
Eventually, my parents purchased their first home, still on the south side of Chicago, near 93rd and Jeffery. When Eva and I attended James Bowen High School, we convinced our dad to let us have a house party. Eva and I were very excited. My mother helped plan the party. She made sure we had enough food and drinks. I remember my mother frying chicken and making potato salad. We decorated the basement of our new home. The basement was a finished, full length basement with a full length bar, a kitchen with all the works, and a half bath. The bar lights could be dimmed gradually. Everything was going very well. Eva knew a lot of people, so people came from everywhere.
Around 9:30 pm, my dad told my mother he saw someone smoking in the house. My dad said he was not going to have anyone smoking in His house. Then, my dad said someone spiked the punch with alcohol. Next thing we knew, our father threw everyone out of the house and the party was over in a matter of about 30 minutes. It was our first and last house party we had at our home.
Years later, Eva and I would remember this house party. It was held during a time when house parties were the going thing in Chicago.
The picture above includes my first cousins – Rose (on the left) and Diane (on the right) – and my Uncle Charlie (in the middle). Even though we are first cousins, I haven’t seen them since we were kids…with one exception. That one exception was when my father died in 1996 at 64 yrs old. Diane, Rose, and my uncles attended the funeral. At that time, my parents were divorced so my father’s new wife handled all the arrangements. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the lines of communication between my father’s side of the family and his children ended when my parents divorced.
Around 1945, Melzar (my grandfather) purchased and opened the Williams Seafood business on Virginia Street in Mobile, AL. At the time, Melzar was working full-time at the post office delivering mail. Ervin (Melzar’s father) and Uncle Luke convinced Melzar to open the seafood business stating that they would run it while he delivered mail.
Has anyone ever worked with a family member? Well, if you have never experienced this first hand, it can be really trying! Job descriptions are not well-defined, income can be fuzzy, and opportunities for advancement can be slim. It’s just not the same as working with professionals. I do not recommend it! Ervin and Luke quickly found out that the seafood business was more time consuming than originally thought. In fact, within a couple of months, Ervin and Luke quit the business and turned it over to Melzar so that they could do more fishing! This created a problem with Melzar already working full-time! Continue reading →
They met in high school. He came up to her in the cafeteria and said, “Hi, I’m Roland. I’m on the football team. What’s your name?” She responded, “Alice”.
“Nice to meet you. Do you have a phone at home? Can I call you sometime?” Roland asked hoping the answers to all his questions were yes!
Alice thought Roland was handsome. She hoped he really would call.
The year was around 1950. Both Alice and Roland attended Central High School in Mobile, AL. Roland was one of the star running backs (or wide receivers – we are researching this). Everyone that attended Central High’s football games knew that if Roland got the ball, he was going to score a touchdown. He was always in the local newspaper for his many achievements with football and track. He was truly a star at Central High! Continue reading →