Monday, January 16, 2006

LIFE IN THE 30's. (Cont.)

Wallace A. Johnson MBA
Apollo Project Test Pilot
CDR Spaceship DEWAJ
Senior Navigator Test Pilot

It was 1935 when my father died. I was 11. I had a Sister (Wanda) who was 9, and a brother (Willis), who was 7 and the youngest of the three. Mother did her best to hold the family together and I did my best to take my fathers place since I was the older of the three children. Mother ended up working as a seamstress for the WPA (Works Progress Administration). Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the president of the United States and his "New Deal" with its alphabetism of Federal Agencies, was an attempt at government to solve the ensuing problems associated with the results of the market crash of 29. Were it not for some of those programs, I really don't know what our family would have done. My mother had two brothers and a sister that lived in Houston and I remember that my uncle Raphael moved in to help mother with the rent. It was the sum total of $12.00 a month for a two bedroom apartment. I still remember the address as 1213 Decatur St. and I was attending Dow Junior High School.

But let me go back a little and fill you in on some of the little things that I remember during that time which made such an impression on me as a young boy.
Before my father died, he arrived in Houston with some savings, and I remember him going up to Navasota and the Hemstead area of Texas to look at some land to buy thinking that maybe if things really got bad he could somehow live off the land if he had to. I can see him now reaching down and picking up some of the loam and crushing it in his hand and actually smelling it, as if to get a feel for its quality. I know now that he was trying to determine whether the land would be fruitful and able to sustain a family of five. Thank God he decided that there was no way the land could support us. It too was worn out and useless so we returned to Houston where he ultimately bought the Texaco Filling station.

While in the Navasota area, we stayed with my Uncle Fernando and his wife Malcom whom he had recently married. Her father had a small farm, and it somehow fed us all and kept us together. Here is where I got an appreciation for the land and the other animals we shared our meager existence with. You have to see how the lower animals struggle to survive the visitations we as humans bring to them. You have to see animals give birth, then those born become beast of burdern followed by their dying, to marvel at the wonder of it all. And you dont have to be too sharp of mind to realize that somehow we as animals fall into the same circumstance as we live our human experience. To survive, we as humans have somewhat of an advantage due to our higher intelligence, but sometimes I am saddened when I realize how little we think of the lower animals and the way we treat them. I remember vividly one occassion when a poor mule was being used to drag a scupper which was used to take out the muck and mud at the bottom of what was actually a drinking pond for the animals. It was low on water and the mule would walk through the mud and the scupper would take out the mud. Unfortunatelly, the poor mule got bogged down in the mud up to is belly, it coudn't move out on its own much less pull the scupper through the muck and mud. The farm owner who at the time was drunk and mad with rage at the mule, took a chain and started to beat the poor animal. The animal was crying out in terror at the pain inflicted on him and I in turn who was watching this bestiality was crying out loud as well. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Undoubtedly the drunkard thought that if he inflicted enough pain on the animal, the animal would somehow miraculously gain sufficient strength to extricate himself from its predicament. It ultimately required chains being wrapped aroud the neck of the animal and a string of men literrally had to drag the poor beast out. How that animal survived his treatment at the hands of that man is beyond me, but I think of that episode often when I see someone mistreat a lower animal for no reason at all. I believe it is a sad reflection on the human conditions when we treat animals the way we do only because they are "lower" animals. If we allow our children to mistreat animals, then why should we be surprised when those children become adults, and have little regard for the feelings of humans? They have become desensitized to those feelings necessary to understand the sanctity of a living being, whether a lower animal or a higher human animal. There are too many of us that have forgotten that humans are animals too. It's no wonder it is so easy to have men kill each other in this thing called "war." The lower animals kill as a necessity for survival, whereas man kills in many cases for no reason that has anything to do with survival. As I said, it's a sad reflection on the human condition.

As I said previously, when by father returned to Houston he bought a Texaco filling station as an investment. My aunt Mary's husband Joe Ferguson ran the station for him. It was onLeeland Ave, and I remember it well. However, as you can imagine, any investment during those years quite oftern went sour. Nothing seemed to work out and in short order the small stake he brought back to the States after leaving Cuba, dwindled and he found himself just as broke as many others were in those dark days. It wasn't too long after, that he had an accident at the refinery. His health suffered and his spirit as well. His body slowly gave in and he died a rather sudden death. His death certificate says he died of Uremic Poisoning due to Kidney failure. In those days, a lot of people died for reasons unknown. Pneumonia was often the culprit, and in my fathers case I don't really know what the cause of death was exactly. I believe, it was more from a broken heart than anything else. We believe he was 49 at the time.


At 16 January, 2006, Blogger nadaclue said...

Dear Mr. Johnson,
I was blog surfing and came upon your fascinating stories. Please do continue..

Thank you
Jeff g

ps if you have multiple posts from me saying the same thing, I apoligize as the blog posting is giving me trouble tonight... hehe

At 29 January, 2006, Blogger Wallace Johnson MBA Senior Navigator said...

Dear nadaclue,
You have a most interesting site. I'm just getting the hang of how a blog should be made up. Your's is unique and I like it. Just thought you might want to know, I just put up my 4th. entry into my Blog Spaceshipdewaj. Keep up the good work.
Wallace A. Johnson MBA
Apollo Project Test Pilot
Commander Spaceship DEWAJ


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