My name is Mickey Paulson Aranki
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Published in the Fall 2010 issue of the "Birzeit Newsletter"
Amy Aranki was born in Birzeit in 1922. She graduated from Birzeit College in 1942 at the top of her class. Immediately, she was engaged by the College as a Mathematics and Science teacher. In 1944, she married her cousin Fuad and joined him in Ramleh where he was working for Palestinian Railways. As a result of the 1948 war, they had to leave Ramleh and return to Birzeit.
In the early 1950's, Amy began what would turn out to be an illustrious career as a female educator. At a time when it was quite difficult for women to teach or indeed to receive an education, Amy got a teaching appointment with UNRWA. She soon became headmistress of a girls' elementary school in Birzeit which attracted pupils from the surrounding towns and villages. Over the years, she dedicated her life to improving her school and turning it into one of the most successful UNRWA preparatory schools in the West Bank. She ...
Nadia is the granddaughter of the late Amy Aranki. (Nadia is the daughter of Dr. Sary Aranki) This poem was published in the Fall 2010 issue of the "Birzeit Newsletter"
"I would like to dedicate this poem in Teta's memory. This poem reminds me of how much Teta Amy taught me through the activities we both enjoyed. It also reminds me of how important she was to me and how much of her I see in myself. I want her to live through not only my words but through all of the wonderful memories that we all have of her."
My mother Bonita Daniel Paulson had started writing her memories in a spiral bound notebook a few years belore she died. This is really a treasure as it is written in her own handwriting. I am going to put it all here just as she had written it with just a few entries for clarity.
Nana's Journal - Memories of Bonita Daniel Paulson
My Earliest Memories in Oklahoma
My earliest memory occured when I was approximately 1 1/2 years old according to my mother. That would have been the summer of 1934.
My mother's friend Frances Wheeler (she is the person who gave me my name) gave an Ice Cream Social. This was an invitation to several families to gather at her home for homemade ice cream and I'm sure since it was probably an all day affair, there was other food also.
In those days most families were rather large - so there were quite a few children. Among them were my half-brother Elmer - he as the oldest of my parent's children. He was the son of my Dad's first marriage (to Effie Vivian Hancock). His first wife died in the flu epidemic following World War I. Also there were my three brothers: J.B.(the oldest), Gurld - called Slim (the middle) and Will (the youngest). Also there was my sister Vitha (she is 2 years older than I) and of course me.
As I recall, Mrs. Wheeler lived in a large house with a porch all across the front. It is not clear in my mind if there was an addition at the side of the house that was 2 stories, or whether this was a separate building. However this building had an outside staircase leading to the upper level.
Of course children love to play on stairs and there were quite a few of us playing on them. Somehow I fell down the stairs and was knocked unconcious. I have no ideal how many steps I fell down - but mother told me that I was unconcious for quite a while.
I wasn't sure that this had realy happened or whether it was something I had only dreamed. But I asked my mother about it when she visited us in Waco in 1960 and she said that it had really happened.
A Visit To My Grandparents
The second early memory I have is a visit to my mother's parents. This was probably during the same period as my first memory as I recall being very small.
At that time my Dad did not know how to drive so our transportation was by horse and wagon. I recall the weather as being warm, so I would say it was also during the summer.
We were going to visit Grandma and Grandpa Jackson. So all the family was in the wagon. Mother and Dad wre on the seat at the front of the wagon and all of the kids were in the back.
As I recall the wagon had a tailgate that could be let down or taken off. I remember sitting at the back end of the wagon with my sister Vitha and we were swinging our legs and laughing. That is the only thing I remember aboiut that trip. Again, this was confirmed by my mother.
Mother said that Vitha and I were always very close because before I was born Vitha had been very sick and she had to learn to walk all over again. So we learned together. She said we were almost inseparable from my birth.
Another Visit to Grandma and Grandpa Jackson
My third memory concerns another visit to Grandpa and Grandma. I'm fairly certain this was another visit because it seems like I remember it being colder.
My mother came from a large family of 12 children. She was the oldest girl and she had one brother older than she was, therefore she had several brothers and sisters that were still unmarried and at home with my grandparents.
It must have been in the evening because I remember a couple of my aunts taking me out to the barn with them when they went to milk the cow or cows.
I remember there was a big feed box in the barn where the grain for the animals was kept. It had a cover over it , and my aunts put me up on the feed box while they milked the cows.
This is the clearest memory I have of Grandpa. I remember him as being a big hearty man and this time in my mind's eye I see him wearing overalls and a red plaid shirt.
I remember sitting on top of the feed box watching Grandpa feed the animals and my aunts milking. I also remember a cow coming up to the feed box and sticking her muzzle up towards me. For some reason it scared me and I started crying. I remember Grandpa scolded my aunts and took me back to the house.
This must have been shortly before my brother Howard was born. I'm fairly certain that I was close to 2 years old at this time. It's funny, but I don't remember anything about Howard as a very small baby. But as I recall these things it seems this is the order they were in and tallks with Mother the first time she visited Waco alone confirms this.
Selling The Calves
According to Mom and Dad, when they lived in Oklahoma, Dad was a share cropper as were most of the farmers back then. So of course I supose you would say they were poor people because they didn't own their own land.
But what little I remember of those times, we were no richer nor poorer than our neighbors. I don't remember it as a period in my life when I was deprived of anything. We had plenty of food to eat and a home to live in, and that was about all anyone had.
This was also the period of time when the great drought hit the middle section of this country. I don't recall the year the drought started nor the year it ended. I do know from school that it lasted several years.
Before the drought started, Dad must have been fairly successful as a share cropper because I remember Mom telling me that all of us kids had our own calf. Which brings me to the fourth memory, which is a very short one.
This must have been in the summer of 1935. I remember a man or men coming out to our farm with a truck and loading up our livestock. This included the calves that belonged to the kids. I remember crying and asking Mom why they were taking my calf away. She told me that we couldn't keep them any longer because we couldn't feed them, so Daddy had to sell them.
She told me that we were gtoing to be moving so Daddy was going to sell everything.
This bring me to the fifth and last memory I have of when the family lived in Oklahoma.
I don't know when Lee Hancock (Dad's brother-in-law from his first marriage) came to us. I do remember him being with us in the summer of 1935. The money Dad got when he sold our livestock and farm tools was used to buy an old truck. I remember being told that Uncle Lee taught Dad to drive before we left Oklahoma.
To me it seems like it was a big truck, but probably it was only a pick-up.
The last clear thing I remember about Oklahoma is the family loading all our bedding (feather mattresses and quilts and pillows) in the truck. And boxes and trunks with our clothes, and dishes and some cooking utensils. These were all put in the truck. Then all of us kids were told to find a comfortable place in the back of the truck and Mom, Dad and Uncle Lee with baby Howard rode in the cab.
I don't remember looking back at the home we were leaving. But I'm sure we were very sad to be leaving the only home I could remember.
My Only Memory of Texas
Leading up to probably the haziest memory I have of that period of my life would be our visit in Texas with Daddy's brother, Uncle Zee (Zeron). I don't recall any specific conversations concerning Uncle Zee and Aunt Dora. I do remember that their family lived in Texas, somewhere near Dallas.
I don't recall anything special about traveling from Hannah to Uncle Zee's and I don't remember how long we stayed and visited with them. My memory of Aunt Dora is very vague. I can't remember what she looked like or how she acted. Whether she was glad to see us or any details about her or their children.
I have no idea what kind of work Uncle Zee did, whether he was a farmer or not. My memory of Uncle Zee is very faint, the only memory I have of him is sitting on his lap while he and Daddy talked. I can't remember what he looked like. I don't know if he looked like Daddy or not. But he seemed very nice.
I recall that Aunt Dora was Uncle Lee Hancock's sister and that Daddy's first wife was Aunt Dora's sister.
In 1990 when I went to Henryetta to see Dad, I went to McAlester, Oklahoma to Mother's sister Ella. She told me then that Howard was sick when we left Oklahoma. As I related before, we visited with Uncle Zee and Aunt Dora in Texas for a short period of time.
I don't remember many specifics of our travels from Texas to Arizona. I do recall we camped out at night and slept on the ground. Mother cooked our meals over a camp fire and it was cold at night.
I don't know how long it took us to travel from Texas to Arizona. I'm sure we would stop for periods of time when Daddy and Uncle Lee could find work to earn a little money to keep us fed.
Anyone who has seen the movie "The Grapes of Wrath" will know what our life was like because it was very similar. Families would get acquainted when they found work and would band together and travel in groups of 2, 3 or 4 families. When one family found any type of work, they would let the others know about it.
I would think that the period of time traveling from Texas to Arizona was about 2 or 3 months because my next clear memory is in Arizona. This part of my journal will cover 3 specific events I remember in Arizona. I can't be certain how long we were there, or in what order these events in my memory occured.
Howard's Death in Arizona
My clearest memory of Arizona is the death of my baby brother Howard. Since it is clearest I will write about it first, although I'm not sure if it happened first.
We were near a big town or city. I think it may have been Phoenix. I don't remember any details about Howard's illness. In fact, I don't remember anything special about him at that period. I know he must have been very sick. I don't know if Mom and Dad took him to a hospital, or whether he died when we were camping.
The only thing I remember clearly is his funeral. I don't remember specific details about the funeral itself or where he was buried. What I do remember very clearly is his appearance.
I don't know if his funeral was in a church, funeral home or what. I distinctly remember being taken to see him in his little coffin. I saw my baby brother is what I thought was a little bed. He appeared to be asleep to me. He was dressed in fuzzy white pajamas. I remember crying and saying I wanted to take him with us.
I remember Uncle Lee putting me on his shoulders and taking me out of the room. I remember him asking me to please don't cry. If I would quit crying he would get me a big apple & a little apple, a big orange and a little orange and a big banana & a little banana. That is my last memory of Howard, and not understanding why we didn't have him anymore.
Again, Mother confirmed the details I described above. She said it was accurate to the last detail.
(Note: Too bad Grandma Daniel did not give the reason Howard died or where he was buried. I do not even have the date)
The next thing I remember also took place in Arizona. I'm fairly sure it was some time after Howard's death, but I can't confirm it since everyone in the family that would know for sure is already dead. Unless of course Slim might remember.
Our Residence In The Adobe House
The next clear memory is when we lived in an old adobe house in the desert of Arizona. my memory of this adobe is very clear. It was in the middle of the desert miles from anything. The walls were falling down, but it was a big house with several rooms. I don't clearly remember if it was 2 story or just had a ladder leading up to a flat roof.
There was only one room in the house that was whole and did not have a leaking roof. It had a fireplace and a dirt floor. The entire family lived in the one room. Mother cooked our meals over a fire in the fireplace. There's no way of knowing how old this old abobe house was, probably it was built in the 1800's. One day Mom was sweeping the dirt floor and I was playing nearby. Evidently, buried in the dirt was a live bullet. Mom swept it into the fireplace where it exploded. The slug whizzed right past my head.
It was very scary living out in the desert. All we could see for miles around the adobe house was cactus and sagebrush. At night it was very dark and we could hear coyotes howling far off.
The last thing I remember about Arizona is going into town one Saturday night to get groceries. There was a circus in town and some way Dad had enough money to take us to the circus. I'm sure it was probably a small circus, but to us kids it was unbelievable. That was where I saw the first Siamese twins I had ever seen. They were grown women and I was amazed that 2 people could be grown together. That is also where I saw the first so-called giant (a very tall man) and a midget. After the circus when we were getting ready to leave town and go home, we came upon a fight at the town square. It was between a white man and a negro man. It was a very vicious fight and the white man stabbed the negro. We never knew how seriously the negro was hurt because we left town immeidately. When I think about it I can still smell the blood.
The next thing I clearly remember is reaching the border between Arizona and California. Even then California was very careful about letting any produce cross the border into the state. That is how they have kept diseases from attacking the crops all these years.
I remember all the migrant workers from the central part of our country in their old cars & trucks had to stop at the inspection stations. There they had to unload all their belongings and let them be searched before they could go on into California. It seemed like it took a loing time to go through there. We were all relieved when the inspection was over.
Our Entry Into California
We crossed the Mojave desert into California's Imperial Valley. The only names of towns that I remember are Brawley and Calipatria. It was late fall or early winter when we reached the Imperial Valley. We arrived late in the day and perhaps on the week-end. I remember we had no money and very little food. Dad, Uncle Lee and anyone in the family big enough to work were seeking work picking the vegetable crops.
We located the nearest camp for migrant workers and set up our tent home. Then Dad, Uncle Lee and my brothers went to the packing sheds to see if they could find edible vegetables that had been scrapped so we would have enough to eat.
The next day the family went looking for work and found it. But we had several lean days until pay day.
The first charity (and only real charity) I ever remember our family taking was at that time. It was Christmas time and our parents couldn't get us anything for Christmas, not even a little candy & fruit.
Some women, probalby from a church came out to the migrant camp to see how many children there were and what was needed.
I'll never forget that Christmas. I was given a little baby doll, some candy & fruit. It seemed like the most wonderful Christmas to me. I finally had a real toy. I didn't understand then why Mom and Dad acted strange about taking the gifts for us. I realize now that they were ashamed that they were so poor, and it hurt their pride.
Later, probably in the Spring & Summer we had made friends with a couple of families and we went from crop to crop in the valley with them. There was a young single man traveling with us and all of us kids called him Model T Tom because he had a Model T car.
Going To School
In the fall Mom & Dad had to enroll the kids in school. I wasn't quite 5 years old then, but Dad enrolled me in kindergarten. The school was across town from the migrant camp, but the town was small. I remember all of the kids from camp would walk to school together because the local kids called us names.
We got into many fights with the local kids because of their taunts. They called us Okies and white trash. It certainly wasn't very pleasant for any of us. And we sure didn't like to be called names. So we really stuck together.
My first experience with school was not very pleasant. My first teacher was named Mrs. Keller and I didn't like her at all. She didn't treat the migrant kids very well and she had her class pet, a little local girl named Bonnie. What a little brat she was! She was constantly doing something bad and blaming me for it. I spent many hours in the corner for things I hadn't done. Mom and Dad told me that I had to go to school because everyone else had to work. That certainly made me very unhappy.
The only thing I liked about school was recess. Then I could play on the swings and slides and merry-go-rounds when the local kids would let me. But that wasn't always good either. I loved the merry-go-round but if I played on it very much I would get sick and have nightmares that night. Then Dad would get mad and scold me and tell me not to play on it anymore. But I always would go play on it some more.
My second bad experience at school involved a little boy in my class. One day at recess we were out playing and he came up to me and put a garter snake on me. As the whole family knows, I'm terrified of snakes! It scared me so much that I started crying and left school by myself. I was going home! Our friend Model-T Tom that I mentioned earlier had been put in jail for being drunk. I stopped at the jail on the way home and visited with him.
As I remember this incident took place during the morning recess. My brothers & sister and I always ate our lunch together. When I didn't join them for lunch they knew something was wrong. They left school and started looking for me. They knew I was very fond of Model-T Tom so they stopped at jail and asked him if he had seen me. He told them that I had stopped to see him and that I was going home. He told them about the boy putting the snake on me, and he was really mad.
My brothers and sister went home and found me at our tent playing alone. Needless to say they were very happy to find me safe and sound.
When the rest of the family came home from work at dark the boys told Dad what had happened. He went to school the next day to explain why I had left. The school principal said they knew I wasn't five years old and couldn't go to school anymore. So there temporarily ended my first experience with school for a couple of years. It wasn't really clear in my memory, but I think it ended Vitha's for about a year also.
I wasn't the least bit unhappy that I couldn't go to school. I had fun playing with Vitha out by the edge of the fields while the family worked.
The families were making some money and the people they worked for would provide food for lunches for them - sandwiches and sodas. I thought that was great! I liked the foremen that supervised the workers and evidently they liked me too. They were always giving me candy. What more could a 4 year old ask?
Dreams That Came True
It was about this time in my life when some of my dreams started coming true. I don't remember many of them, but Mom said I had several. The one that stands out in memory the most is about the time we were getting ready to leave the Imperial Valley.
The families were packing to leave the valley. I had had a nightmare the night before and told Mom about it. I told her I didn't want us to go through the mountains because I had dreamed about a big red truck that had gone over a cliff. She told me we had to go through the mountains to leave the valley.
As we vere going through the mountains, I told Dad & Uncle Lee please not to turn the way they were going to because that's where the truck was. They told me that it was only a dream I had had and that was the way we had to go. A few miles down the road I told them we would see the truck around the next bend, and sure enough we did, a big red truck!
Following The Crops
The next couple of years are very vague. Vitha said that we went back to Oklahoma when Grandpa Jackson died. I don't remember it, but she said she remembers him lying on a couch in their living room. I'm sure it was called a parlor back then.
That is probably when my Aunt Ida & Uncle Ralph Lester went back to California with us. I think Aunt Ida was only 14 or 15 when she got married. I remember several places we went where the family followed crops.
I remember we lived in Half Moon Bay, California and the family picked english peas and strawberries. Sometimes we lived up in the mountains and some times down by the ocean. To me the mountains seemed really big back then. And I loved the ocean.
It seems like it was near that time that school resumed for me, but I have no clear memories of it. About the only thing I remember about school is that the school was in a boxcar.
I'm sure we spent 3 or more years traveling back and forth across the lower half of California following crops. All my memories of those are all jumbled up and I can't pick out years that things happened.
I remember one incident. We were camped out on the beach, I believe it was near Half Moon Bay. There had been a storm earlier, and the next morning when I got up and went outside the waves were huge!
Another incident I remember is about a family that traveled with us. I don't remember their name, but they had a son that was probably in his late teens. I always called him my boyfriend. Evidently things were pretty good at that time because it seems that we were going to be there for awhile. Anyway, this boy came home one night very excited and happy. He said he had gotten a job in town working on a garbage truck and the pay was good.
I got very upset and said I didn't wnat my boyfriend working on a garbage truck because it would make him smell bad. The clincher is, he didn't take the job!
Another memory I have of the time around Half Moon Bay is when we picked strawberries for the farmer. The strawberries were so good, I probably ate as many as I picked! The farmer and his family were so nice. I remember his wife would bring us sandwiches for our lunch. That is where I ate my first egg salad sandwich, was it ever good.
Regressing to Grandpa Jackson's death, Vitha said she thought she was about 7 at the time. As I said I don't remember it at all. But this would put things more in context.
Somewhere in here, Elmer was a teenager and he liked to gamble and drink. My clearest early memory of him is during this time. I have no idea where we were in California at this time. I know I was small and I think this is before we went back to Oklahome (if we did!).
Anyway, one night Elmer had stayed out late. I remember waking up hearing him talking (arguing?) with Mom. She was asking him to be quiet before he woke Dad up. He said he didn't have to be quiet. Anyway, I remember Dad waking up and telling Elmer that he was drunk and he couldn't talk to Mom like that.
I remember Dad got his belt and gave Elmer a whipping. It really scared me. When I woke up the next morning, Elmer was gone and Mom said he had run away.
Some where during this period Uncle Lee had left us. I think he had gone back to Texas or Oklahoma. Any way we thought Elmer had gone back there. Anyway I don't remember him being with us for a few years.
I remember Elmer coming back to us when Rachel was a small baby about 6 months old. At that time we were living in Firebaugh (Fireball) California and Dad was working for a hugh ranch there. It seems like it was named the Irvine Ranch.
They had a camp or several camps for their workers that consisted of little one room wooden cabins. Our family had 2 cabins side by side. Mom, Dad & Rachel slept in one - that was also our kitchen. The 3 boys, Vitha and I slept in the other. The Ranch also had an elementary school there for the kids. That is where my first real schooling began.
Friends & Foes
We had a lot of friends in this camp. All the men folk worked for this ranch, plowing and irrigating the crops. It seems like the main crop was cotton. When the cotton was ready to be picked the entire families picked cotton.
Of course during my younger years I was always a tomboy. I thought I could do anything my brothers or any of the other boys I knew did, I could do it, too. I remember climbing up on tractor sheds and jumping off into piles of hay. And I loved to climb trees.
There is one incident I recall concernig Vi and the foreman's son. Vi was going to school, but I wasn't, I was too young. Vi & the boys rode the school bus with the foreman's boy. Mom had my hair cut short, and my favorite clothes were overalls & a shirt. Anyway this boy picked on Vi a lot and almost every day when she got off the bus she would be crying because he had been picking on her. I always met the bus when the kids came home, but this one day when Vi was crying was the last straw as far as I was concerned. Anyway, I took off chasing him across the field to his house, and he's yelling "Mama, Mama open the door." His mother came to the door and saw me chasing him. She yelled "Turn around and whip that dirty little boy!" He yelled back "I can't , it's Bon!" She opened the door for him because my brothers said I had beat him in fights before.
One of our friends in this camp was a boy named Bobby Baker. He was the clown in our group. One Halloween we were all gathered around our cabins (all the kids in camp) and Daddy was telling us ghost stories. Daddy always loved to tell stories so that was right up his alley. He had built a fire out in front of our cabin and all of us kids were gathered around listening to his stories and getting more scared by the minute.
After Daddy had told us all his ghost stories and gotten us thoroughly scared, we were given permission to play around camp for a couple of hours before bed time. we really had a blast running around scaring each other.
There was a traveling tent show that came around about twice a year that set up a big circus tent with benches and they would show movies every night for a couple of weeks and then move on. That's where I saw my first Tarzan movie. Anyway, most of us kids would crawl under the edge of the tent to watch the movie every night because our parents couldn't afford to pay for us to go every night. We were always afraid of getting caught, but we never were. Looking back on it, I'm sure they knew we were sneaking in, but they let us get by with it becuase they knew our parents would pay for us to get in a couple of times and give us money for popcorn and candy.
Another incident that happened about this time involved Vi and my brother Will. Some girl in the school called Will a dirty name and she & Vi got into a fight over it. It was next to the last day of that school year. This was a year or two before Rachel was born I believe. Anyway, my class had already been dismissed and I was at home when Vi and the boys came home. They said the teacher had told them that they would not be passed to the next grade. All of the kids that even watched were told they would not pass. All the mothers went to the school and talked to the teacher and all the kids were passed.
Halloween has always been one of my favorite days. When we were kids, we would plan our "costumes" for weeks. We would hunt through old clothes and check out masks at the store. Stephen and I never had a "store-bought" costume, and probably no one but us could guess what our homemade outfits were "supposed" to be, but it was fun anyway.(Except for those darn masks which were hard to look out of and would make you sweat like crazy even on cool nights.)
When I was growing up in Waco, the area we lived in was Trick or Treater's paradise. Nearly every house for blocks had their porch light on. Nanny (Mamie Eaves Paulson) would walk me and Stephen as long as we wanted, and we would collect so much candy that it would fill a grocery bag (in my memory!). We would make trips back to the house to empty our bags and go to a different street several times.
Mom and Dad would stay at the house to hand out candy and sort through all the goodies we'd collect. Dad would eat quite a bit of it, too. This was the days before people were afraid to eat homemade treats. We would get homemade cupcakes and cookies, my favorite were the popcorn balls. We would walk along eating the good things that people gave us without a care in the world.
Usually there would be one or two houses where a Halloween party was taking place. Sometimes the people would invite us in to get treats off the table, or a cup of punch. I really loved the costurme parties, to see the adults wearing costumes.
As we got older, Stephen and I would take Danny with us for the first part of the evening. It's always a good idea to take a cute small child, everyone gives them more candy - especially if they only have a small sack! Some years we would walk with a group of friends, which could be quite an adventure. Someone would always want to go farther than we had ever ventured, into strange neighborhoods that we weren't familiar with.
One year we had gone onto an unfamiliar street and were having pretty good luck. One house was sort of by itself with a vacant lot next to it. We saw a man sitting on a fallen log in the vacant lot, but still decided to cut across the lot to get to the house. As we approached the man, who had his back to us, we started hollering "Trick or Treat!" He turned to face us and he had a scary mask on. The group of kids ran in every direction but toward that house!
Of course, some people went to a lot of trouble to give their house "atmosphere" even back then. My favorite was on the same street as my grandmother's house. The whole family would put on sheets and sit on the front porch to hand out candy. When we were small you couldn't talk us into asking them for candy! One lady used to put the candy in a big iron pot in her front yard and wear a witch's outfit. My favorite thing was all the Jack-O'Lanterns, I always admired the carving job on each one I saw.
When we moved to Houston, Stephen and I would walk Danny and Mike around the neighborhood. We would still walk with a group of friends, there was safety in numbers since it was known that rough teenagers would try to take sacks from kids sometimes.
We would put a lot of effort into decorating our house, but we didn't buy decorations back then. We would stuff one of Dad's work gloves and have it sticking out of the mailbox (like "It" on the Adam's Family), and find things to make a "body" to cover with a sheet in the front yard. Then we would put a JackO'Lantern at each end. It was fun to watch kids poke at it with a stick to see if if would move. Once, Stephen had me cover him with a sheet to fool some of his friends. When they came up and started poking at him, he sat up! Of course they claimed they knew he was there all along when he caught up with them later in the evening.
My best friend, Elaine and her brother Calvin lived up the street in those days. Calvin would sit in a tree by their front porch and drop a sheet on teenagers who came up their path. The first year that we lived there, we had walked along with our neighbor with three small children who lived across the street. Calvin dropped the sheet on her, and you could hear her scream a couple of blocks away. She was a petite lady and Calvin had thought she was one of my teenage friends!
Thirty-two years ago today my husband arrived in this country for the first time. He had been fortunate to have a chance to come and live with an American family and attend college. In all the excitement of getting ready for the trip, he had not thought how long it would be before he would ever go back to his family home.
After making a connection in Paris, his plane arrived in New York. He had never seen anything as big as the airport terminal, but the most facinating thing was seeing black people for the first time! He had heard about them, but never actually seen one. His family back home still didn't own a television, they had only had electricity a few years. How much we take for granted now. Even in his hometown of Bir-zeit, everyone owns a television now and children are exposed to the whole world.
Some friends of his American sponsor family met him in New York and helped get him on the plane to Dallas. He was looking forward to seeing Texas, he already knew all about it from all the John Wayne movies he had watched at the cinema. He was excited to get some boots and a hat, maybe ride a horse. Everyone in Texas has a horse after all.
When he arrived at Love Field, he was a very tired 18 year old, and very grateful for the pillow and blanket that Mr. & Mrs. Maples had put in the back of the station wagon. He slept all the way to Graham, never guessing that the only thing he would be riding for awhile would be the yellow school bus to Cisco Junior College.
Regarding Dennis Paulson, son of William & Margaret Paulson.
We know that Dennis Paulson was married to Lula Nelson in 1889 because that’s when they had their first child, Jacob Paulson. (He may have a middle name, but we don’t know what it is.) In 1892 they also had Margaret. (We called her Aunt Maggie).
Both Jacob and Margaret were born in Oklahoma. (At that time it was called Indian Territory.) Sometime between 1892 when Aunt Maggie was born and before 1896 Lula Nelson died and Dennis Paulson married Dolly Tomlinson.
Dennis and Dolly (probably Dorothy) had William Charlie Paulson in 1896 and Jesse R. Paulson in 1897.
Around 1900 Dennis Paulson died, cause unknown. He is thought to be buried in Maud, OK and we have a picture of a gravestone, but we have no absolute proof that it is his grave.
Dolly and one or two of her brothers took her stepchildren, Jacob and Margaret to Dennis’ mother, Margaret Sullivan (then married to Dick Sullivan and living in Oklahoma City). On their way back to Dolly’s kin, (we don’t know where), Dolly was riding in a wagon with her children William Charlie and Jesse R. Her one or two brothers were riding horseback. While crossing a creek somewhere in Oklahoma, Dolly fell off the wagon and into the water. She became very ill, or perhaps she was ill before she fell off. She was thought to be pregnant at the time. The brother’s found a very poor family in the hills somewhere and left Dolly and the two children with them. The brother or brothers never came back and no one knows why. Shortly after they left, Dolly died.
The family just kept the Charlie and Jesse because there wasn’t anyone else around to care for them. Charlie’s memories of that time (he was only about 4 years old) were not happy, but keep in the mind that the family was already rather large and they were very poor. A man named Russell Beene from Ada, OK came by the house. He stopped there from time to time when he was on business trips. He stayed the night and went on to wherever he was going. A few months later when Russell was returning from his business trip and going back to Ada, he again stayed the night with this family. He was very surprised when he found the two boys still there, as everyone had expected Dolly’s brother or brothers to return for the boys.
Russell Beene took Charlie and Jesse with him to his home in Ada, and in later years legally adopted them both. Jesse kept the name of Beene throughout his life. Charlie grew up as a Beene, and when he married, he was married under that name, and all his children were born under that name.
Times were very hard then and Charlie was a moon shiner. (He and his wife and seven children lived somewhere in the hills of Oklahoma.) The revenuer, a man named Whitehead, was very close to proving that Charlie was a moon shiner and was and inch or so away from arresting him and sending him to prison. This was in 1935.
Russell and Martha Beene had kept the memory of Charlie and Jesse’s parents and history alive for them. So… in 1935, in order to escape the law, Charlie looked up his older half brother, Jacob, in Oklahoma City. Charlie and his family instantly became Paulson’s again and moved his family to Oklahoma City. (How he knew where to find Jacob is somewhere in my notes, somewhere in my house.) Jesse also moved to Oklahoma City shortly after that. I don’t know where Jesse was living prior to 1935. Maggie had always lived in the Oklahoma City area.
At the time the four children, Jacob, Maggie, Charlie and Jesse were separated, Jacob was about 11 years old, Maggie was about 8 years old, Charlie was about 4 years old and Jesse was about 3 years old. They were reunited 35 years later and they and their families all became very close.
Robert Raymond Webb, 73, died Thursday of acute respiratory failure at home.
Webb, a native of El Reno, Okla., lived in San Bernardino 10 years.
He was a senior cook supervisor with the Fresno County Sheriff's Department for 11 years. He was a member of First Assembly of God Church in San Bernardino. He was a Navy veteran.
Survivors include his wife, Vitha V.; two sons, Robert A. of Fort Garland, Colo., and Danny L. of Strathmore; two daughters, Kathyleen A. Weathers of San Bernardino and Linda M. Gooler of Riverdale; his brother, Eugene De Moss of Dinuba; five grandchildren and one great-grandaughter.
Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday with service at 11 a.m. Tuesday, both at Bobbitt Memorial Chapel, 1299 E. Highland Ave., San Bernardino. Interment will follow at Montecito Memorial Park, Barton Road and Waterman Avenue, Colton.
The first house I remember is the duplex house shared by my parents and my grandmother Mamie Eaves Paulson and her sister Bertie Eaves Dean. The address was 3712 Parrott in Waco, Texas.
There are so many things I remember about that house, from the wallpaper in the kitchen to the red climbing rosebush in front. When we moved in my mom was only nineteen, my dad twenty-four. My sister, Cynthia Gayle was born and passed away here. My brothers Stephen and Danny were born while we lived there.
The house needed lots of work when they bought it, I remember my parents doing re-modeling work. Dad was going to Electronics school and working at night. Nanny (our name for Mamie) and Aunt Bertie both worked at a laundry. Somehow dad managed to get a television set, the first in the neighborhood. I can't remember a time without the T.V., one of my earliest memories is the big globe turning at the beginning of "As the World Turns".
Times were different then, we didn't have air-conditioning, I don't even remember box fans when I was growing up - yet mom cooked and baked every day. I remember the old fashioned gas stove in the kitchen in Nanny & Aunt Bertie's side of the house; it must have been made in the '30's.
Lots of nights we would sit outside, sometimes friends would stop by to visit and we kids would have great games of hide-and-go-seek in the dark. We would catch "lightening bugs' and put them in jars to make lamps. Sometimes we would just sit and watch for falling stars.
The best times were when family came to visit for a few days. Mom would outdo herself cooking, and we would get special treats like homemade ice cream. I learned if I was still and quiet that I could get to listen to the grown-ups talk, I learned to love family history back then.
One of the best memories is of me and Stephen sitting on the front porch waiting for Dad and Nanny & Aunt Bertie to get home from work. Fridays were the best because they would always bring home some little treat for us, maybe a coloring book or some modeling clay. Then after dinner, we made our weekly trip to H.E.B. to grocery shop. Once the store was held up while we were there, luckily we were in the back and some of the stock boys hurried us into the receiving and storage area until it was over.
This is the house we lived in when I started school. I had wanted to go to school so much watching the other neighbor kids going off in the mornings, especially the first day when they had all the wonderful new school supplies! What I didn't realize was that mom wasn't going to stay there with me. I cried the whole first day. When mom came to get me, the little boy I shared the desk with gave me a kiss, I heard about that for years.
That first grade year was special because mom was expecting my brother Danny, and everyone in my class got to hear all about it. He was born the last week of school, after mom had made two "false alarm" trips to the hospital - it was like a cliff-hanger. I was so proud to tell the class I had a new brother.
After Danny was born, our side of the duplex was just too crowded and my parents found another house to rent. It was on Grim Street in another part of town. I had to change schools and I hated the old-fashioned building it was in - I was scared of the stairs. There isn't much I remember about that house, we were only there about four months. The week before Christmas my dad was laid-off from his job and so my parents went back to the duplex until dad's job called him back and they could get the money to move out again.
The next house was on MacArthur Drive. I think the area this house was on is now under the expanded Lake Waco. I have found every house I've lived in but this one on trips back to Waco. One of my dad's childhood friends - Leslie Rawls and his family lived just a few blocks away. We visited back and forth almost every day and would sometimes get rides to and from school with them.
This house was on the edge of wilderness, there was open land behind it. Somewhere back there was the ruins of an old military barrack from World War I or before. I never was brave enough to go back there looking, I know my brother Stephen and his friends did. We were at the stage where we loved to build things. We built a tree house and had a sort of "elevator" we rigged-up. We would set-up ramps and ride down them in old chairs turned over to make "racecars". It's a wonder we never broke anything!
Due to the house's location, we had a problem with snakes there. We had lived there about eighteen months when mom knocked a big snake down on herself while sweeping cobwebs down from the fireplace. When Stephen and I came in from school we found mom and Danny on the couch with their feet tucked under them, mom had run to get Danny when the snake fell and never saw which way it went. When Dad came home, he looked everywhere for the snake and never found it, we moved within two months.
The next house was on North 12th Street. It was a big old-fashioned house that seemed huge to me. It had a front hall and back hall separated by doors, a screened-in back porch, a butler's pantry between the kitchen and dining room and the biggest pantry I had ever seen. There were sliding wooden doors between the dining room and living room and old-fashioned light fixtures. This was the house we lived in when Micheal was born.
Our last house in Waco was on Ethel Street, it had probably the most beautiful neighborhood. The street was lined with pecan trees on each side whose branches met in the middle. It was always shady in the summer, and pecans were everywhere in the fall. We only lived in the house for a year when dad's boss decided to move the business to another town.
After looking at houses in that area, dad decided if he was going to move, he would rather take his chances in Houston. So we loaded up only what we would need for awhile and stored the furniture and headed for Houston. Dad found a job the same day we arrived and we rented a furnished house on Firnat Street. Micheal calls this "the bad old house"; it was the worst house I remember. It had only one bedroom, so I slept on the couch, and my brothers shared a roll-away bed in the living room.
We were able to rent the house right next door and lived there for two years. It was a much nicer house, with three bedrooms and a big fenced yard. I started High School while living here and went on my first date. I also met my life-long best friend, Elaine who lived up the street - her parents lived in the same house right up until a couple of years ago.
In the summer of 1967 we moved to 11027 Lera Street. I was relieved that I didn't have to change schools, as I was about to enter my senior year of high school. This house was memorable for several reasons, one because this is where we lived when my dad died in 1971. We had a next door neighbor named Pat Meuth who was unforgettable. Among the many stories about her that I remember, the one that stands out is how she climbed through my parents' bedroom window to come and visit after my dad had heart failure and was recuperating.
This was the "haunted house" that we often talk about. We lived there four years, and I was never afraid to stay alone in the house, but the entire time we lived there I was aware that there was something unusual about the house. I often sat at one end of the sofa to watch television that faced the hallway that led to the bedrooms. Many times I would see something, sort of like just outside my field of vision in the hallway. I would see a young man with light brown, a little longer than collar length hair , barefooted, with a white T-shirt and jeans, always with his back to me walking down the hall toward the back bedroom. Now this was just a quick glimpse, I would be watching the television and see movement, follow it with my eyes and it would disappear quickly. It was like a film clip, always exactly the same. I never mentioned it to anyone else because I thought I was imagining it.
My dad used to complain that he heard us up at night while we lived there. He often accused me and my brothers of getting up at night and raiding the refrigerator. I knew I was never guilty of it, but with growing boys it was a possibility. After dad passed away, Stephen and I were sitting together and talking about Mom's plan to buy a trailer and somehow I mentioned that I thought it best since there was something odd about the house. He stopped me and described the exact thing I had always seen. Together we went to Mom and told her, she also described the same young man. Turns out we had all seen the same thing, but had never wanted to sound crazy. We'll never know if Dad saw it too, but I'll bet he did.
When Dad passed away, Mom decided the neighborhood had gotten too rough for us to live there without him. She bought a trailer and had it set up on a trailer lot space on Rittenhouse. Mom got a driver's license and a job. Things were different than they had ever been before. I had worked for National Micromation and Stephen for Arco Refineries before Dad passed away. We were all busy with our jobs and social lives, but we had a lot of good times together. Steve met Marty; they married in January of 1972. They rented a trailer at the front of the trailer park at first. I met Osama, and knew from the beginning that I would marry him one day. Nanny and Aunt Bertie retired from their jobs and moved to Houston. We would often go and get them to spend a few days with us at the trailer. I have several albums full of pictures from these days. Shawn was born September 29, 1972, he was the much loved first grandchild and first nephew - everyone competed to hold him, we took him everywhere - Stephen and Marty were generous to share him with us.
In September 1973, I rented a small apartment on West Alabama. In those days this was still sort of a "hippy" neighborhood. It was so close to downtown that I had a very short bus trip to go to work. Many days when the weather was nice, I would get off the bus along the route and walk home. Most of the people who lived in the apartment complex were single, there were single guys living on either side of me, both asked me out, but I refused on the grounds of being engaged. I worked for Copy Con in the tunnel level downtown. On many Friday nights, my "boss" Rose Mendez would bring her sister Sylvia over in the evening with a bag full of ingredients for mixed drinks, and we would talk and laugh way into the night.
On September 23, 1974, Osama and I married. We lived in my apartment until July 1976. We were planning on starting a family, but did not realize I was pregnant when we moved. We moved to a larger apartment on Timmons Lane, this was right behind the Summit at Greenway Plaza. These apartments are no longer there, they were replaced by one of the big office buildings. This is where Rima was born on March 28, 1977. While we lived there, Osama's job with Avis Rental Car changed from being at Greenbrier to the Houston Intercontinental Airport. Since I was no longer working, and by the fall of 1977, I was expecting again - we decided to move close to the airport.
In January 1978 we moved to the Tejas Apartments on Lee Road, in Humble. Some of the happiest days of our lives were spent there. Leila was born June 5, 1978. The apartment complex was very small, only 32 units and most of the tenants were young couples with small children. There was a big area for the children to play, protected from the parking area and the street, and behind the apartments was a golf course. We made good friends there that I still hear from; the girls always had friends to play with. I baby sat as many as 8 children a day and decorated cakes so that I could be a "stay-at-home" mom. Rima and Leila always say they loved having the other children there; we always had at least one or two extra children at every meal. And we visited back and forth with our neighbors - eating at one another's apartment, so it felt like an extended family.
In October 1978, Osama was hired by Continental Airlines, fulfilling a lifelong dream of his to work for the airlines. We were able to travel to visit his brother in London, and his parents in Birzeit. Times were good and it seemed like they would never end. The first blow was Stephen's death in November 1980. He was only 28 years old and his children were so small, Shawn was 8 and Connie had not even turned 3. Stephen had just bought a piece of land in Huffman and had begun to clear it to build a house. Marty had the house built and we spent a lot of time together at her house and at our apartment. I was always glad that our children were close.
As is usual with apartments, most of our friends starting buying homes and moving away. We decided it was time for us to do the same. We bought our first house in the Kenswick subdivision. It was exciting, we got to watch the house being finished, we choose the carpet, wallpaper, floor tile, everything. We moved in the last week of July 1983, not too long after Mike and Eileen's wedding. We were still unpacking when Hurricane Alicia hit. That was an adventure! Nothing was damaged at the house, but we had no electricity for a week. We had to throw away everything in our refrigerator, and the heat was terrible. We were just getting everything back to normal, when Continental Airlines filed for Chapter 11 and Osama was laid-off. There we were in a house that we could no longer afford. By the time he was called back right before Thanksgiving, we were behind on everything, and he was re-instated at less than half of what he had been making.
We never did recover from all of that in the Kenswick house. I went to work, first for Rollins and then for the Sheraton Hotel. We never could get the mortgage company to work with us on the back payments, we learned from some of the other Continental employees that had also bought in the subdivision that they had the same problem. We lived there until 1986, and let them have the house back.
We moved close by in the Foxwood Subdivision, we wanted to keep the girls in the same school. The house on Foxvalley had been completed re-carpeted and re-painted and was just like brand new. We rented there about 18 months, and then had to move because the owner sold the house. We moved into an identical house on the next block - the shortest move we ever made, except for the time I moved from the "bad old house" on Firnat into the house next door. The owners of this house wanted us to buy it, but the foundation was cracked and it had a termite problem. We loved the floor plan; it had high ceilings and lots of light. We had so much space we bought a big sectional couch for the living room that still left lots of space in the big open living room-dining room area.
A co-worker of Osama's asked him if he would be interested in assuming payments on her house at the back of the Foxwoods subdivision. We looked at the house one time and decided that even though we did not like it as well as the house we were renting with an option to buy; we wouldn't have all the structural problems. We moved here to 7315 Foxmont at the end of May 1992.
1. JOHN1 NEWMAN1 was born 1797 in South Carolina, and died 1869 in Randolph County, Alabama. He married MARTHA BAKER1 Abt. 1826 in Georgia. She was born Bet. 1802 - 1804 in South Carolina, and died 1889 in Houston Co., TX.
More About JOHN NEWMAN:
Census 1: 1850, 1850; Census Place: Division 19, Coweta, Georgia; Roll: M432_66; Page: 288; Image: 387.
Census 2: 1860, 1860; Census Place: Northern Division, Randolph, Alabama; Roll: M653_22; Page: 407; Image: 8.
More About JOHN NEWMAN and MARTHA BAKER:
Marriage: Abt. 1826, Georgia
Children of JOHN NEWMAN and MARTHA BAKER are:
i. GEORGE2 NEWMAN, b. 1827, Georgia.
2. ii. SUSAN ANN NEWMAN, b. 1830, Georgia; d. 1880, Houston Co., Texas.
iii. RICHARD NEWMAN, b. 1833, Georgia.
iv. MARGARET NEWMAN, b. 1837, Georgia.
v. MATILDA NEWMAN, b. 1837, Georgia.
vi. MARTHA NEWMAN, b. 1842, Georgia.
3. vii. MARGARET JANE NEWMAN, b. 1845, Georgia; d. 1889, Houston Co., Texas.
Generation No. 2
2. SUSAN ANN2 NEWMAN (JOHN1)2 was born 1830 in Georgia3,4, and died 1880 in Houston Co., Texas. She married JOHN HORTON SAXON 15 Apr 1856 in Cowetta, Georgia. He was born Oct 1807 in Georgia, and died 26 Dec 1877 in Houston Co., Texas.
More About SUSAN ANN NEWMAN:
Name 2: Susan Newman
Date born 2: 1830, Georgia
Burial: 1880, Rockland Cemetery, Houston County
Census 1: 1850, 1850; Census Place: Division 19, Coweta, Georgia; Roll: M432_66; Page: 288; Image: 387.
Census 2: 1880, 1880; Census Place: , Houston, Texas; Roll: T9_1312; Family History Film: 1255312; Page: 272.2000; Enumeration District: 23; .
More About JOHN HORTON SAXON:
Burial: 28 Dec 1877, Rockland Cemetery, Houston County
i. JAMES3 SAXON, b. 1857, Georgia; d. 16 Mar 1889.
ii. CHARLES M. SAXON, b. 1858, Georgia; d. 16 Mar 1889.
More About CHARLES M. SAXON:
Burial: 18 Mar 1899, Rockland Cemetery, Houston County
iii. JANE SAXON, b. 1860, Houston Co., Texas.
iv. MATTIE E. SAXON, b. 1860, Houston Co., Texas.
v. VI SAXON, b. 1862, Houston Co., Texas.
vi. ELLA SAXON, b. 1864, Houston Co., Texas.
vii. L. SAXON, b. 1864, Houston Co., Texas.
4. viii. HARRIET"HATTIE" ELBERTA SAXON, b. 10 Sep 1868, Houston County Texas; d. 28 Jun 1945, Crockett, Houston, Texas.
3. MARGARET JANE2 NEWMAN (JOHN1)5 was born 1845 in Georgia, and died 1889 in Houston Co., Texas. She married ISAAC S. EAVES5 1876 in Houston Co., Texas, son of ABEL EAVES and SARAH FLOOD. He was born 1816 in Georgia, and died in Houston Co., Texas.
More About ISAAC S. EAVES:
Census 1: 1880, 1880; Census Place: Precinct 3, Houston, Texas; Roll: T9_1312; Family History Film: 1255312; Page: 312.2000; Enumeration District: 25; .
Census 2: 1860, 1860; Census Place: Western District, Trinity, Texas; Roll: M653_1306; Page: 315; Image: 157.
Census 3: 1870, 1870; Census Place: Precinct 3, Houston, Texas; Roll: M593_1592; Page: 245; Image: 496.
More About ISAAC EAVES and MARGARET NEWMAN:
Marriage: 1876, Houston Co., Texas
Children of MARGARET NEWMAN and ISAAC EAVES are:
i. STEPHAN WILLIS3 EAVES, b. 1878, Houston Co., Texas; d. 1913, Mount Zion, Trinity, Texas, USA; m. ALICE PENOLA WOMACK, 1900, Trinity Co., Texas; b. 10 Nov 1879, Trinity Co., Texas; d. 1948, McLennan Co., TX.
More About STEPHAN EAVES and ALICE WOMACK:
Marriage: 1900, Trinity Co., Texas
ii. HENRY HAGER EAVES5, b. 1881, Trinity, Trinity County, Texas; d. 1962, Trinity, Trinity County, Texas; m. CARA DEVON WHITE5, 1917, Trinity Co., Texas; b. 1887, Trinity Co., Texas; d. 1996, Crockett, Houston Co., Texas.
More About HENRY EAVES and CARA WHITE:
Marriage: 1917, Trinity Co., Texas
Generation No. 3
4. HARRIET"HATTIE" ELBERTA3 SAXON (SUSAN ANN2 NEWMAN, JOHN1)6 was born 10 Sep 1868 in Houston County Texas7,8, and died 28 Jun 1945 in Crockett, Houston, Texas9,10. She married LAYFETTE L. ALLBRIGHT10 Abt. 1882 in Crockett, Houston, Texas11,12, son of J JORDAN and HARRIETT SHERLEY. He was born 02 Sep 1858 in Houston County Texas13,14, and died 05 Mar 1932 in Houston County Texas14.
More About HARRIET"HATTIE" ELBERTA SAXON:
Name 2: Harriet Elberta Saxon
Date born 2: 1867, Houston Co., Texas
Died 2: 1945, Crockett, Houston, Texas, USA
Burial: 30 Jun 1945, Center Hill Cemetary/Lovelady, Tx15,16
Census: 1880, 1880; Census Place: , Houston, Texas; Roll: T9_1312; Family History Film: 1255312; Page: 272.2000; Enumeration District: 23; .
Notes for LAYFETTE L. ALLBRIGHT:
Descendants of Layfette L. Allbright
Generation No. 1
1. LAYFETTE L. ALLBRIGHT , son of Edward Albright & Hariet Shirley, was born September 2, 1858 in Houston County Texas and died March 5, 1932 in Houston County Texas. He married HARRIET "HATTIE" SAXON Abt. 1882 in Crockett, Houston, Texas, daughter of JOHN SAXON and SUSAN NEWMAN. She was born September 10, 1868 in Houston County Texas, and died June 28, 1945 in Crockett, Houston, Texas.
Children of LAYFETTE ALLBRIGHT and HARRIET SAXON are:
i. EDDIE3 Albright, b. December 1882.
ii. ANNIE Albright, b. March 1885.
iii. WILLIE Albright, b. September 1887.
iv. ETTA Albright, b. July 1891.
v. LELA Albright, b. October 1893.
vi. ESSIE Albright, b. September 1895.
vii. CHILD OF LAYFETTE & HATTIE Albright, b. Bef. 1899, Texas; d. Bef. 1900, Texas.