Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Part 7 of Papaw's Remembrances

Mrs. Chapman said all the relatives would come to visit, and they would stay if she fed them. She said she quit cooking for them, and they quit coming. After Buddy's father died, his mother moved the family back to Helena so that Buddy could go to school there. She had a little money left from the insurance so she bought a new Buick automobile. Now Buddy could take her where she needed to go. She could not drive. Now he had wheels and could party. Everything was OK until she found out just how much partying he was really doing. She sold the car. He didn't think it was fair, since he made good grades in school and had a little job that paid for the gas. He didn't know how badly his mother needed the money. The insurance money was gone, and she didn't have any other income. She was deaf and couldn't get a job away from the house. She took the money from the sale of the car and bought a little three-roomed house in West Helena. Times were really bad for them, so James built another room on the house. Buddy now had a room of his own, and Virginia shared a room with her mother. The little house was small, but it was nice, and they had a permanent home.

The summer before Buddy's father died, Buddy went to visit Helen in California. He had saved enough money for a train trip to Los Angeles. Helen lived in Los Angeles and was working at Pine Thomas Movie Studios. She had an apartment with a girlfriend. He stayed with Helen all summer and he had planned to stay there permanently, but his father got really sick and he came home to help his mother. Neither he nor Helen had enough money to buy a ticket for him to come home, so they went to social services and got money for a ticket back to Helena. While he was in Los Angeles, he had lots of fun, and he got to see a lot of movie stars. He got lots of autographed pictures from this visit. It was a fun time for him.

After his father died and his mother had finally bought her little house in West Helena, Buddy didn't want to finish his high school days in West Helena. He lived part time with Lucille and her new husband, Elbert Weaver, in Helena so that he could finish school at Helena High School. He had many friends there. He was popular and liked to dance. He and his friends would go to the American Legion hut every Saturday night and dance. Jitterbug was the dance at the time. He graduated from high school in 1942.

(Keep tuned for WWII experiences. Happy Anniversary, Memaw. You and Papaw married 65 years ago today-February 21, 1947, in West Helena/Helena, Arkansas.)

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