My First Decade - Page 3 of 6

1943 - On my second birthday, February 11, 1942, I began my third year. Momma was 23 that month. The twins were one year old in March. Dad had just turned 21. His older brother, Irving, was 31 and his younger brother, Joe Noland, was 12. The four of us were born at ten year intervals: 1911, 1921, 1931, and 1941.

Josephine's Grave

     Josephine Ann died of the congenital heart defect on April 6, 1943. She was buried at the Lanty Cemetery. Uncle Irving made a 16mm movie outside the church house and at the cemetery. He may have been the one who took a picture of Josephine in her casket. I don't have any memories of this time period.

The Skipper Siblings
The Skipper Siblings
Pauline Yawney (25), Irving Skipper (32), Joe Noland Skipper (12),
Thelma Edgeworth (35), and James A. Skipper, Jr. (22)

Maxwells and others at funeral
The Maxwells at Josephine's Burial
      These photographs were taken in the little dirt lane in front of the cemetery. Lanty is to the east in the background and Grandpa's house is about one mile further west. The road was narrow and rough and difficult to travel by auto.
     Standing are Hattie Pearl; her mother, Dove Martin, Grandpa's sister; Kate Fraiser, another sister; Marvine, Kate's daughter, holding Jeanne; Grandma Maxwell; my mother, Louise Skipper; and Grandpa Maxwell.
     In front are Wendell Martin, Dove's oldest son; James Luther, Dove's youngest son; Nell O'Neal, who often went places with Marvine; and my father, who is holding me. I can't identify the car in the background.

The Move to Louisiana - In September 1943, Daddy received a transfer to the Cities Service facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He was authorized gas for travel by personal auto. The company was to handle other moving arrangements. He was to report to the personnel manager at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, October 4th.

Dad sent a postcard to his big brother on October 6, 1943, giving his address as 1017 Cole St. He said, "Dear Bud & Sis, how are you, I'm O.K. got here about 10:30 A.M. yesterday made the trip fine. I finally got straightened out on my job. I go to work for the Kellogg Const. co. as a steamfitter's helper aint that hot. I don't know anything about steam fitting but I guess I can learn. I'll work 10 hrs. a day 6 days a week. You ought to see the plant it sure is collossal (big) I don't know when I can move Louise down, but the houses they are building should be ready in a mo. or tow. Well I close, write me. James." Uncle Irving and Aunt Nila lived at 222 South Cross in Little Rock at that time.

When we moved, they packed a bunch of personal things in the car including a load of 'canned' food in jars in the trunk of the car. They piled a bunch of bedding and stuff in the back seat to make a bed for Jeanne and me. The distance to Lake Charles is about 500 miles and it was a long hard drive on two-lane blacktop back then. I don't know whether they spent the night somewhere, but while traveling a night, Dad had to swerve into the ditch to avoid a bunch of cows sleeping on the road. The cows were just over a little rise and were not visible at night until too late. The car was on its side in the ditch and I think they used to tell us that they got us out through the trunk amid all the broken 'fruit' jars. The car wasn't hurt much; they had it towed out and straightened a fender and were able to go on I guess. Even though I was just approaching three years old when we moved, I remember long, straight, two-lane roads built up above the general land level, bordered by swampy forests. That was a scary memory for a long time.
     Dad's 22nd birthday was in November. We lived at 1228 Boulevard in Lake Charles. I drove through Lake Charles recently and looked for the place on "Boulevard." The street is actually (something) Boulevard, but it has been known as just Boulevard for a long time. The is a Boulevard Baptist Church and another denomination also used the name. Businesses did too. I stopped at a fire startion and talked to the chief, but he didn't know much about it. We drove up and down the street a couple of times, but since I didn't have the street number with me I was sure. I didn't see the old house, but I saw a modern brick building where I thought I would have been. I'll have to go back again someday.
     I have a few memories of the place. I think it was on a corner lot with a white picket fence. A concrete walk led from a gate to the front door. I think I can remember Dad coming up the walk and I believe that is one of only two memories I have of him. The side yard connected to the neighbor's yard. They had an arbor of some sort and a hammock. The door on that side of our house opened into a narrow hall and there may have been a narrow stairway. We may have lived upstairs. We used to play in the shrubbery on the other side of the house. The neighbor girl had some doll house furniture made of painted wood and, unfortunately, I stole her toy bathtub and brought it back to Arkansas with me when we moved back.

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