Mixsonian Morrs and Barbara


The first Sunday in May we skipped Sunday School went out to see Grandma and Grandpa Mixson early and Dad mowed their yard and then Dad, David and I went fishing at Plantation Lake while Mom and Brenda went over to visit Betty and Billy.  Later that afternoon we got back from fishing, Mom and Brenda returned from Betty and Billy’s and we had dinner with Grandma and Grandpa before returning home.  It was getting dark when we left, I was sitting in the front seat between Dad and Mom looking out the windshield onto the dirt road that Grandma lived on, the road lit by headlights of the car, when Dad slowed down and out in front of us, just at the edge of the head lights were two red demon looking eyes glowing in the road, as we got closer I could see it was some kind of bird, and Dad said That’s a whippoorwill.”  Read the full story at The Call of the Whippoorwill.

The following Friday Mom picked Brenda and I up from school and then we went out to Betty and Billy’s and had dinner with them afterward mom and dad play canasta with Betty and Billy while us kids played board games.  Mom said, “Betty & I beat the socks off from Morris & Billy!”  In earlier days Mom and Dad played against Betty and Billy but Dad would get mad at how Mom played and she would no longer partner with him so they changed to Mom and Betty against Morris and Billy.  Mom always was happy when her and Betty won proving to Dad that she knew how to play.  We stayed the night at Betty and Billy’s with us kids sleeping on the floor.  The following morning, we got up and Mom and Betty fixed breakfast.  While we were sitting at the table eating, Billy got a frog in his throat, quite literally.  There were always small green frogs on the outside of the windows eating bugs attracted to the light at night and somehow one got inside the house and in Billy’s coffee.  When Billy took a sip of his coffee, the frog went into his mouth and with a burst, spit it out with the coffee onto the kitchen table.   After breakfast we went over to Grandma and Grandpa’s and dug up the potatoes that we had planted in February.  Mom said, “Got 6 bushels. Larry & David picked up every one!  They were dirty & tired when we got through.”  Some of the potatoes were stored in the cool dry sand under the house where they would be good though the winter and the next spring’s planting.

One day in May Grandma Junior came over after Brenda and I got home from school and we drove to the new lots that Grandma and Grandpa Junior had bought a few miles out on Newberry Road (now 102nd Street) where we picked blackberries.  The blackberry bushes were everywhere, rising well above the head of us kids and were thick with blackberries.  We picked enough that, when we got home, Grandma Junior made for blackberry pies which were really good served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it. 

On Sunday in May we skipped church and went to the beach in St. Augustine.  It was a perfect day for it, Sunny and warm but not hot yet like in the middle of summer.  Dad drove the car down onto the beach where we parked and after spreading a couple of blankets down on the sand, we kids headed for the water which we played in the waves until lunch time when we had a picnic lunch that Mom and bought from home.  These were the days of Coppertone suntan lotion which we spread liberally all over ourselves and each other’s backs.  I would always tan quite dark. Many years later when I was looking at old family pictures with Mom and came across a picture of some kids at the beach in the water and one of the kids looked black.   I didn’t have my glasses on, so I asked Mom who was the black boy, and she said that’s not a black boy, that is you.

Mom became good friends with our neighbors Agnes who lived next to us and Melba who lived in the house behind Agnes on the next street over.  Agnes and Melba were about the same age as mom and both had kids a year or two younger than me.  Mom, Agnes and Melba would often spend time together at one of the houses while us kids were in school. Since David was not in school yet he would often play with the Agnes’s and Melba’s daughters Sharon Fay and Sally.  Mom said, When school is on all he has is girls to play with. He gets along real good with them. Very seldom they quarrel or fight.” One weekday night, Mom, Agnes and Melba left the kids home with the husbands while the three of them went to the movie “Imitation of Life”.  Mom said, It was a real good movie. Melba and I cried all the way though it.”

New Screen Porch
David, Happy and Larry in front of new enclosed porch on right. 1955 Chevy under carport.

At the end of May, Mom and Dad had the screen porch at the front of the house enclosed.  The had an old friend named William Chesser, who they just called Chess, do the work. On the front and two sides they built a concrete block wall about three feet tall and then put in Jalousie windows on top.  The back wall was all concrete block with a door opening into the main house living room. A new front door was put the porch opening into the carport.  Chess just did the walls, window and door while Dad finished it out, painting the walls and ceiling and putting linoleum tile on the floor.  Mom bought many yards of a rough green burlap cloth at 58¢ a yard and one day Grandma Mixson and Aunt Bessie (Grandpa Mixson’s sister) came over and they made curtains for all the windows. With so many jalousie windows it was always cold on the porch until a few years later the city put in gas in the neighborhood and Dad then installed a small gas heater on the porch.  On cold winter days, Dad, who always got up first, would light the gas heater so it would be warm by the time the rest of us go up.

Updated: 03-24-2022