My First Decade - Page 2 of 6

Photo of Dad and me on my first birthday.
Jeanne and Jo 1942 - In February 1942 I began my second year. Momma was 22 on her birthday and expecting again. Dad was 20. The rest of the family had not changed. Nila and Irving had no children. Thelma and Coleman had his two daughters by a previous marriage. The daughters were Virginia (17) and Elizabeth (15).
     March 16th my sisters were born, Jeanne Fran and Josephine Ann, named for their grandmothers. Josephine was a 'blue' baby. Because of a congenital heart defect she didn't get adequate blood flow. Of course that was 20 years before the heart-lung machine was developed so there was no hope of correcting the problem; they could only hope that the defect was not life threatening.

Early in 1942 our family moved to 123 Victory Courts in Conway, Arkansas. The war effort was gearing up and Dad had a job in the petroleum industry with Cities Service Defense Corporation. I'm not sure just when we moved but the following photographs at the Victory Courts were made when the girls were just a few months old.

    Conway, Arkansas, is at the intersection of US64 and US65. It is about 30 miles NW of Little Rock and 30 miles SE of Lanty. I don't know how often we visited my Grandparents in Lanty during that time, but we probably visited several times. They also must have visited us. Grandpa didn't have a car so he may have come by bus or train or perhaps he returned with us from a visit. Four photographs at the left were apparently taken on the same day during a visit by Grandpa Maxwell while Jeanne and Jo were still small. It could have been in May 1942. The photos of Dad by himself and of me with the dog, Betty Lou, were apparently made on a different day.
     The Victory Courts consisted of a bunch of simple wood frame duplexes. I think they were built to provide cheap housing for workers in the war defense industries.

    The only memories I have of that time are about the dog and a plane crash near Victory Courts. They aren't real memories, but re-inforced memories based on asking about them over the years. I recently read a letter my mother wrote about the crash of a small single-engine plane in which two men killed. It obviously made an impression on the neighborhood.

    On Thursday, November 5, 1942, Momma wrote to Dad's sister, Pauline, who had recently married George W. Yawney. (Pauline saved many old family letters and mementos and we now have many of them.) Momma asked, "How's the ole married couple? George, is Pauline beginning to act like a wife yet or is she still the blushing bride?" She added, "We do hope you'll be as happy together as we have been and that will be plenty happy." Later she told them, "Jimmie's little dog, Betty Lou, got killed by a car today. He helped me bury her and has been calling 'Betty Lou' all afternoon. He trys to say everything we do. . . The girls are fine. They sit alone and crawl (backwards). They play with each other a lot and just worship Jim. Jean Fran is fatter than Jo Ann now." Then, "James is going to join the Masons next week. Has to wait til he's 21 you know. ha! . . Moma has been visiting us.. . . I must hush. I'm coming down with a 'crying cold'; and don't feel too good."
Dad's 21st birthday was November 7, 1942, so he could then be considered for membership in the Masons. I only remember the little dog because Momma told me about her. I didn't remember that she had been run over although in later years it was mentioned.

My photo at Grandpa's house in 1942 and again in 2000.
1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950
1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960

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Originally Posted 1/28/01
Revised 1/15/05 w/counter at 322