I grew up in an apartment building on South
Orange Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets back in the 1940's.
The first Black family that moved into our neighborhood back then
was Roosevelt and his wife Lottie and their four children - Geneva,
Mary, Junior, and Goo Goo. Every summer they would go down South
for vacation and would always bring something back for the other
families who lived in the building.
One summer they brought back a crate of live chickens and gave
one to each of the kids to bring home to our parents. I can still
remember being so happy with the black chicken that Lottie gave
me. I ran home with it under my arms, rang the door bell, ran up
the stairs, and just as my mother opened the door the chicken flew
out of my arms toward my mother. She screamed, shut the door, and
told me to take the chicken back to Lottie.
What Lottie did with the chickens was amazing - especially to
all of the five or six year old city kids who had never seen live
chickens before. In the back yard, she wrung the heads off of the
chicken, where upon they chickens ran around for a few moments with
no heads on, and blood squirting up from their neck, where their
heads once were, and then fell over. Lottie then plucked the feathers
and sent the cleaned chickens back with the kids to their parents.
Another year Roosevelt brought back a huge turtle. Must have been
three or four feet in diameter. The biggest turtle I have ever seen.
Over the weekend several of the kids father's helped Roosevelt kill
the turtle. I can still picture in my mind how they tried to get
the poor turtle to stick his head out from under it's shell, etc.
When all was said and done, Roosevelt and the fathers, enjoyed home
made "Turtle Soup."
We didn't have much money back in those days, but I sure have
one heck of a lot of memories that money can't buy.