In Her Own Words: Part 4

This is the final installment of a family history written by my grandmother. Click here to access Part 3.

Our school band, of which I was a member, played music for promotion of the unions, for a fee. I always wondered how safe our group was from violence at these types of outings, but nothing ever happened to make us quit playing for them. We needed the money for instruments as the members of the band could not afford them on their own.

During our elementary school years, a federal health group provided lunch for all children who were underweight. After the school nurse decided who was to have the lunch, our parents were notified and my brother Raymond and my two sisters had to have their lunch at school. I came home for lunch because I was not underweight. I am not sure of the duration of the program but my siblings did not like it at all. I was glad to go home to have lunch with my mother.

Most of our activities revolved around the school. We had basketball, tennis, glee club, and band. We had a library in our main assembly hall, it was about 10 by 10 feet and the first year I was in high school, I had read all of the books and was made an assistant librarian. I felt very important but I was not in any way a qualified librarian. My English teacher was the librarian and she was not qualified either.

Our school was never overcrowded as about 1/3 of the students came from the very rural areas and by bus. Some of the farmers would not send their kids every day if they were needed for farm work. Our basketball team was one of the best in the state for a couple of years. One of the players, Shade Hunley, was an eighth grade student when the coach spied him playing and put him on the varsity team. As a result, a player could only play four years and he had to stop playing in his senior year. He later became my husband and father of our four children.

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Shade Hunley (1917-1962)

After I graduated from high school, I stayed home with my mother as she was an invalid. She could not walk for six years and we had to feed her for three years before she died at 46 years of age. There were three of us girls and we could never go anywhere as I always had to be home with our mother. My father and brother left home to work in another state and only came home on weekends.

After the death of our mother, our lives changed. My sister Flo went to California to get married to a young man from our town who had moved out to California and he sent for her. My brother left for schooling in Wisconsin and later to Charlestown, Massachusetts shipping yards for a job. My youngest sister was still in school and she and I stayed at Betsy Layne to let her finish and I was busy taking care of two children and a house. When Juanita finished school, we made plans to leave for Boston, Massachusetts. Shade and Raymond had gotten a house for us and furnished it.

We closed up the house and left on the train with Michael and Saundra, my two children. The train was full of military men and they had a great time helping me take care of Michael. Saundra was 2 1/2 years old and quite the little lady. We were supposed to be met at the Boston train terminal but the man who was supposed to pick us up forgot and when we got to the house in our taxi, he was sitting on the porch and was very embarrassed by the whole event.

We stayed in the house less than three months because I did not like the area. So I found a three bedroom and one bath near the subway lines for $37.50 per month and it was heated and water furnished. We lived near the old opera house and the hall for concerts.

Even in the early forties there was a lot of prejudice. I had a very dear friend who was Irish and her husband was Filipino. Because of the Filipino heritage they could not rent in our area. We stayed in Boston four years and while there Beverly was born and we had the best of care. I took the children to Fenway Park (this was home to the Red Sox ball team). Aside from the winter weather, Boston was a great place to live. The history of our country is all there and we had access (free) to most of it. Shade’s father and mother visited us there and Shade took his father to the Boston Gardens for a wrestling match. It was a big deal to him.

1940_1949
Fenway Park (1940’s)
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My Grandma’s Handwriting

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