Friday, October 8, 2010

Who is James David Huff ???

It is October 1949 and I have just turned five years old.  Momma has rented our home out for a year, packed our 1942 Nash Sedan and we are going to California.  Remember her one surviving daughter, May, well she lives in Atascadero, CA and we are going to surprise her by turning up unannounced.

Sixty nine year old woman, five year old kid, driving 3195 miles across the U. S. of A, alone.  Why not?

We left early on a Saturday morning after saying good bye to everyone in the neighborhood.  Somewhere there is a picture of Skip and the other kids in front of our house seeing us off on this adventure.  (like others, will add it to this page when I find it again).

Adventure it was to be.  Back then they did not have "child seats", at least we did not.  In order to see over the dashboard, Momma put a cracker box on the passengers seat and I road it all the way.  No seat belts, not even anything to hold that 8x8x16 wooden box to the seat, but I could see everything. Shifting that old flat head eight into first gear, waving to everyone and we were off.

Being close to the winter months, we took the "southern" route West by Southwest.  Two lane roads, occasionally three lanes, and driving only in the daylight we took ten days to get there.

I remember looking for Burma Shave signs along the road and the big Mail Pouch tobacco ads painted on barns across America. 
Paint your barn for free, if you let them put their ad up.

As the miles went by I discovered a great big beautiful country with wonders to behold.  Miles of wheat fields, forests, deserts and rivers with bridges that were long and high.  Sometimes the railroad ran along side the road for miles, with an occasional train passing us by.  There were always little motels, with my job being  to watch for "vacancy" signs in the late afternoon, family run and every one different. 

We stopped early each evening and found a diner for supper.  During the day we would eat sandwiches at the many picnic table rest areas that dotted the highways.  Gas stations were actually "service stations" and they would check your water and tires when you stopped to buy gas.  Sometimes we paid almost twenty five cents a gallon, but usually less.  One night finding "no vacancy" for miles, we slept in the car under the covered area of a gas station.  The owner went across to the all night diner and told them to keep an eye on the old woman and kid so we would be safe.  What a country we had back then.  Everywhere we traveled, people went out of their way to be nice to us.

The Painted Desert and the Petrified Forrest were wonders to behold.  Back then you could get out of your car and walk anywhere you wanted to and we did.  Momma picked up a piece of petrified wood as a keepsake and we kept it at home for years with other mementos of our journey.  No tourist traps for us, we had the real thing.  Arizona and the badlands, awesome.....  I kept looking for Roy Rogers, but did not get to see him until later.  (Yes I did).

We stopped in Carlsbad, New Mexico, but Momma did not know that you could get wheeled thru the Caverns, and missed going into the Carlsbad Caverns.  We did stop for gas at an out of the way station that advertised Gila Monsters on display.  Beautiful as a beaded purse and very poisonous.  Being an inquisitive five year old, I tried to put my hand thru the chicken wire cage and pet one.  Almost gave the gas station owner and Momma a heart attack.

As we traveled we were often stopped on the road while real cowboys drove real cattle across the roadway.  As we got into California we saw military convoys of troops responding to the Korean War.  Everyday had some new and exciting adventure.  When we arrived at Aunt May's house it was all worth it.

May had been having a cup of coffee and a cigarette when we pulled in her driveway.  She came out the front door to see who was visiting and when she realized it was us she "flew" off the front steps with the coffee thrown in one direction and the cigarette opposite.  Momma loved the fact that we had pulled off this surprise.

Next page I will tell you about May and Cyril and the turkeys, and Sunday School and kindergarten and the cottage we lived in and pork and bean sandwiches and ............

But, that is for next time

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Who is James David Huff ???

I promised I would introduce you to the Huff family.  If I can locate a copy of the genealogy one family member put together around 1955 I will be better able to document actual dates and places.  As it is, this will be from memories of events passed down from Momma over the years.

Momma's grand parents came over on a sailing ship from Hessen Kassel on the Rine, Germany with several members of the family  Just before reaching the shores of the United States one of the girls in the family died and was buried at sea.  Two brothers of the Wolf family moved to Pennsylvania.. one in the Lancaster area and one to the Northeast part of Pennsylvania into the lumber woods.  Peter Wolf married Christina Klinstiver and from that union we came.

Catherine married Arlen Huff and they lived in Poverty Point. Momma used to joke that she "never got far from poverty".

Catherine had three children.  Melvin, Fay and May.  Melvin was killed in a hunting "accident" that was probably murder.  After being shot he laid in a cold creek bed for hours before being found.  His hunting buddy was found at home eating supper and claimed to have no idea what had happened to Melvin.

Fay died of quick consumption (tuberculosis) while in a sanatorium.

May survived to at least 60 years of age.  May married Cyril Best and resided in Atascadero, California.  She will be visited when Momma and I leave for California at my age five in the next page.

Momma also raised two of her sisters children.  Verys and Vedus were born as twins and their mother died in childbirth.  Catherine took them in and raised them as her own.  Vedus died mysteriously in a swimming accident in the bay of Presque Isle, on Lake Erie at Erie , PA.  Another unsolved death in the Huff family.  Vedus was an excellent swimmer and while in a dingy, while going to a yacht party on the bay, was lost overboard and drowned. 

Verys married Richard J. Smith and became my somewhat, sort of like, sister who was to influence my life dramatically.  Richard (Dick) was a Marine who was in the second wave to hit Okinawa in WWII and also served shortly in Korea Conflict and was the reason I chose the United States Marine Corps. 

Dick and Verys had two girls, Terry and Cindy who also played a roll in my life that will never be forgotten.

When I came along, everyone else had either died or got married and family of their own.  Momma and I were alone together and could not have been a better match.

I will pick up next, with me being five years old, as we leave for California.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tarpon Springs

Check out travel video link - Opa!
Stopped here two weeks ago and again yesterday
Salt water taffy from Atlantic City, Australian Licorice, Kona Coffee Beans (chocolate covered of course), NIPS and more.......... Kid in a candy shop...

Hellas Restaurant


Can't believe I ate the whole thing.

Spoke to one of the sponge divers and am trying to get a shoot at a hard hat dive.  Remember the divers in the suits with lead boots, brass breastplate and helmet that screwed on.  Then, screw on face plate and send you to walk on the bottom of the ocean.    I wanna do it!!!!!

Any way, this was the end of my run a way weekend.  Getting in practice for the big time.  Spent Saturday by the pool working on tan and reading.  Enjoying being with the Greek community Sunday.

this is a dive boat.....fancy huh

Friday, October 1, 2010

Flag = sign of the times

Trying to figure out why the disgraceful display of our nations flag at the Bloomingdale Branch of the Brandon, FL post office bothered me so much. 

Guess it has to do with respect.

Between my mother and my drill instructor in the Marine Corps I learned respect.  I give it and I expect it in return.

Our nation's flag is a symbol of what we as Americans stand for.

To me, a faded, tattered and torn flag says we don't stand for much anymore.  I don't believe that is true.  We have forgotten the ideals upon which this nation was founded.  We have turned our back on God and the Biblical principles that made us once a great nation.

We  don't need change, we need to get back to the basics.  God has given us, as a nation, the opportunity to be an example to the world of what great and mighty things he will do for those who love Him and seek after Him. One Nation, under God....

In history when Israel followed after God, He gave them great kings and prospered their land.  When they turned and went after other gods, He brought judgement upon the land.  Who you have ruling over you is just whom you deserve.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (King James Version)

14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land

God was very present in the hearts and minds of the founding fathers of our nation.  Now, He seems to be deliberately "missing".  God in times past has heeded the prayers of His people and withheld His judgement on nations because a few good people took a stand.

Be salt

Here are two links that say it much better than I.