Spies, Flim-Flam Men and Stolen Tortillasby
Yvonne Hastings (Winfrey)
was born in Beeville in 1935, where my father
worked first for the Coca Cola plant there. My Grandparents were Sidney and Fannie
Winfrey and they had a grocery store for years on the highway that went to the
Air Force base. I went to school in Beeville until we moved to Houston. I remember
the caliche pit and the graveyard just a block from our house. I went back to
Beeville in the 80's and there is now a freeway
where our house use to be.|
My parents were friends with the Sheriff who
was at that time Vale Ennis. The Walkers were the owners of the local funeral
home and I remember going there after school and talking to Virginia Walker as
she put makeup on the corpses.
or Question? |
My first boy friend was Wayne Geisler and we dated
on and off even after my family moved to Houston. I would come down for a week
during the summer and stay with my Grandmother. I remember my mother would pack
shorts for me to wear because there was no air conditioning and immediately after
I arrivied my Grandmother would take me to town and buy me a proper dress. I have
pictures of the summer she bought me a straight up and down dress with big yellow
flowers. You can tell by the look on my face that I would rather be dead than
seen in that dress.
and German Spies|
There are things that happened in Beeville
before we entered the war, there were people living next door to us that would
have meetings and when the people would leave the house they would click their
heels and say "Heil Hitler." This was late 30's and they were just being what
they thought was loyal to their country. When the war started they were using
a short wave radio to send messages to German Submarines off the coast. I really
have only second hand information on this but I do remember when this happened
because my bed springs were picking up the messages and my Mother knew Morse code.
My Father who was a good friend of Sheriff Vale Ennis had him come to our house
and Mother translated to him as they all sat around my bed. These people came
to my Mother and Daddy's 50th wedding anniversary.
There was gas rationing
and people stopped going on Sunday drives. But for some reason (which I can't
now remember) our family had extra coupons and since that was all we had to do
in those days, Daddy would take us for rides in the country. It seemed that there
was always a dust storm about three o'clock every Sunday afternoon. I also remember
the red ants and the rattlesnakes.
|Dr. Pepper's "Prescription"
and that Damn Life Magazine|
My brother and I could walk across town
to my grandparents store and granddaddy always was watching for us and had candy
in his hand. I remember that my Grandmother believed in the Bible and the fact
that you had to drink a Dr. Pepper at 10, 2 and 4. I was there at the store one
summer and I had the job of dusting the canned goods. This day a stranger walked
in and tried to pull the old trick that he had given her a five-dollar bill when
it was only a one. She grabbed a pitchfork that she kept by the meat counter (between
customers she would have time to work her flower bed). She chased that fellow
halfway to the county line. One time Life magazine had the word "damn" in it,
she canceled her subscription.
I asked my brother (three years younger than me) what he remembers and he
reminded me of the the neighbors we had after we moved to the "country" which
was really just a short distance from town. The next door neighbor owned the little
airport and when he was going to be late coming home he would fly low letting
all the kids know to go in the house. On his second pass he would drop a wrench
in his back yard with a note attached. telling his wife what time he would be
home for supper. He took me and my Grandmother for a ride in an open (double)
|Stuck on the Railroad
Tracks - Again.|
I also remember that our milk was delivered by a
man in a horse and buggy. He and his wife were friends of my parents and sometimes
he would let me finish the route with him. We would end up back at his place in
the country and I would spend the rest of the day playing with his daughter. He
used to always pretend that his wagon was stuck on the railroad track and that
he was just sure the train would come along at any minute. It worked the first
|The Case of the
We had a Mexican family that lived in a little
shack at the back of our property. The lady of the house made the mistake of letting
me taste one of her bean and corn tortillas. After that when they would go to
town on Saturdays she always left some sitting on a plate on the kitchen table.
I would climb in the window and eat some. I found out much later that she knew
what I was doing and was deliberately leaving them there for me.
it my imagination, or does this pork smell a little like skunk?|
grandparents store was a small building with a small apartment on the side. The
building was up on blocks and one terrible week we had a skunk come in under the
meat counter and die. They had to take up the floor and even had to disconnect
part of the meat counter.
grandparents would carry people on credit at their store and if they were in a
hurry they would write the amount and name of the customer on the marble counter
top on the cash register. When things slowed down they would transfer it to that
family's credit book. When my grandfather become ill and had gone into a coma,
my mother would come by the store at closing to take my grandmother to the hospital.
In her hurry, my grandmother failed to transfer a Mrs. Truxow's debt to the book.
My mother and grandmother got to the hospital only to be told by the nurse that
they did not think granddaddy would make it through the night. Mother and Nana
both told this story all through my life. Granddaddy came out of the coma for
just a few minutes and looked at Nana and said "don't forget to write Mrs. Truxows
charge on the book" and then he died.