In 1956, we built a nice home at 3605 Ainsworth in North Dallas at a cost of $18,500.00. Dallas had a record high of 113 degrees the August day we moved in. We had a big attic fan in the hall but no air conditioning. We busily began putting in a new yard and getting settled in our new home. It was a 3-BR and 2-bath home which was very adequate for the five of us. However, about that time Alice, Charlotte’s sister, and her husband Winn, along with their four children were moving back to Texas. They needed a place to stay; Alice was pregnant with Kim at the time. So the six of them plus the five of us lived together for about four or five weeks. I can remember stepping over bodies everywhere as I made my way to the back door to leave for work at six in the morning.
We joined Highland Park Presbyterian Church. They had a great kindergarten there and it was supposed to be the best in town. I rejoined the Naval Reserve and began to attend weekly drills. By this time I was a Lieutenant Senior Grade, which is the same rank as Captain in the Army or the Air Force. The extra pay helped with the bills and I had accumulated about 12 years credited service. I planned to stay in until I retired with 20 years of service. I also joined the Northwest Dallas Kiwanis Club.
One of my favorite authors when I was growing up was Will James. He wrote western books for young people. I read Scorpion, the Good Bad Horse, Flint Spears, Lone Cowboy and Looksee with Uncle Bill several times. I used to read to the kids in the evening as we put them to bed. I would sit in the hall between the boy’s bedroom and Susie’s bedroom and read from Looksee with Uncle Bill. Chip recently reminded me of this and began telling me the stories that he remembered from the book.
One of the real newsmakers of 1957 was the Dallas Tornado. It formed out by Red Bird Airport, traveled up Singleton Blvd and toward Love Field. We saw it form and went up to the top of the Telephone building to watch it. As it went up Singleton, the sheet iron was ripped from the buildings and filled the air. I saw that it was headed in the direction of our home and began trying to call Charlotte on the telephone. Busy signal. I continued to watch and knew if I could see the Love Field tower when it passes that point that meant it was north of Love. We lived two miles north of Love.
I finally got hold of Charlotte about the time I saw the tower as it passed Love. I told her, “Now don’t get excited but a tornado is headed right for you. Get the kids and get into the hall closet.” Charlotte gathered the three kids up, drug a mattress into the hall closet and hid under there with the three children. Fortunately the tornado split over Bachman Lake and one arm went to the south of our home and the other passed to the north. Prayers answered again!
Photo of Highland Park Presbyterian Church found here.