Now this story takes a different turn because drastic changes took place at the beginning of my second decade. My memories of primitive living conditions during the Great Depression years were about to be trumped.
Here is a verbal snapshot of our family in 1942: my mom and dad divorced that year. I was ten, Gene was six, Larry was four, Donnie was almost two. Mom and dad went their separate ways but they both remained in Louisville. Gene and I were sent to live with Grandmother Dickens in Springfield, Tennessee; Larry was sent to live with an aunt and uncle on their family farm in Adams, Tennessee and Donnie stayed with mother.
We were all going to live in different environments than we had known. No more living without electricity and plumbing and no more living in the thicket far from any city and no more living with mom and dad.
In Springfield, Grandpa Dickens and his family had lived at 1113 Batts Boulevard in the 1930s. After his death in 1939, Aunt Floy bought a house across the street at 1114 and the family moved there. Their household in 1942 consisted of Grandmother Dickens and her three grown children: Aunt Floy, Uncle Neily, and Aunt Mamie. Floy, Neily, and Grandmother lived in one side of the house; Aunt Mamie and her husband Ewing Evans and their daughter Virginia lived in the other side of the house. Aunt Mamie died from complications of diabetes on August 27 of that year. Ewing and Virginia continued to live there until Ewing remarried and moved out. Virginia remained with the Dickens family until she was old enough to go out on her own.
Aunt Floy worked as a drugstore clerk, Uncle Neily drove a CocaCola delivery truck, Uncle Ewing was an automobile mechanic, Virginia was a student, and Mamma Dickens ruled the household (we all called her 'Mamma'). Meanwhile:
Franklin D. Roosevelt was in his third term as President and far away war intensified. Adolph Hitler continued expanding his conquests in Europe. The United States was now at war with the Axis nations across the Atlantic, and Japan in the Pacific.
When Gene and I arrived to live with Mamma Dickens the United States had just recently entered World War Two. Hardships of the Great Depression were forgotten as every facet of life was suddenly geared toward fighting the war. Like other ten year old boys of that time I was ready to fight the enemy. I didn’t know that I had another fight ahead of me. I didn’t know that this trip to Mamma Dickens’ house marked the end of my life with mom and dad.
Copyright © 2005 - 2006 by Howard Douglas Dickens
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