My mother, grandmother, sister and I were on a Greyhound Bus. We had been visiting my aunt who lived in Atlanta, Georgia and were on our way home to Mobile, Alabama. As we passed through the small towns and took on riders, the news traveled quickly. I remember going through the small towns with colorful names—Greenville, Evergreen—and as we came farther south the excitement grew. By the time we reached our destination, the bus station in Mobile, we had trouble getting through the traffic. Driving home all the horns were honking. It was the end of an era for us. Those were the years of extended families living together. My uncle had been on a battleship in the Pacific Ocean, and my aunt and cousin had moved in for "the duration" with my mother, father, brother, sister, my grandparents and me. My uncle came home and that family moved to California. My grandparents died several years later and my brother went to college. The family that had numbered nine was quickly downsized to four. As my father-in-law used to say, "Time sure changes things."
I was only 10 years old at the time, but remember how different things affected my family. Food stamps and one pair of sneakers to last all summer, IF you could get them. And my father's car up on blocks in the garage, running it every couple of weeks or so to keep the battery charged. Living as we did on Long Island Sound, lots of fishing and clamming to supplement our diet.
A fine summer evening when we heard the news and all the kids and adults parading in the streets, banging pots and pans—like New Year's Eve, only better!
Bronx, New York