Part One - Paul's Heritage

4 - All But One Of Dad's Sister's Eventually Ended Up In California


Extended family - "A family unit which includes grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles, etc. in addition to parents and children".

Mom had one sister and three brothers while Dad had four sisters and one brother.

This chapter deals with my Dad's sisters who pretty much settled in Los Angeles when I knew them.

My Three Aunts

Aunt Opal was the oldest born in 1901 in McRae Arkansas.  She was married to Jimmy Robinson until he died in 1955. Aunt Opal has one child, Cousin Kat, who is 85 years of age and still going strong!

Aunt Edit was the youngest of the sisters and she just passed on this year (2005) after gracing our planet for 95 years!  She was married to a childhood friend Claude Parchman born in Oklahoma February 21, 1909  and died March 1976) who passed on in the late 1970s.  Edit had one child, my cousin, Claudia who is as old as me!

Aunt Alma spent many years in Virginia and then moved to Los Angeles to be with the family after her husband died.  She had three children.

The Little Houses

The Robinson kit home in PAramount, California
A tiny house so full of warmth and love

Croquet In The Front Yard

Croquet If croquet is a refined sport then I be refined. In Paramount where my Aunts were located, they had huge front years so afternoon were spent playing croquet.

Routlege's Handbook of Croquet, published in England in 1861, inspired a wave of popularity that swept right across the Atlantic. Croquet equipment was advertised in the New York Clipper in 1862 and two rulebooks were published in 1865. One of them was "Croquet as Played by the Newport Croquet Club," indicating that the sport was already a fixture in Newport's summer colony.

In 1867, a New York newspaper editorialized, "never in the history of outdoor sports in this country had any game achieved so sudden a popularity with both sexes, but especially with the ladies, as Croquet has."

The National Croquet Association (NCA), founded in 1879, held its first national tournament in 1882. While English lawn croquet was played at scattered locations, an American form of croquet had also evolved into a very different game from the rather sedate English version. It was played on a court of hard-packed dirt, with hard rubber balls, very narrow wickets, and short mallets. The court was enclosed by a wooden barricade to keep the lively balls on the field of play.

Croquet In 1899, a new set of rules was standardized for the American version, which was given a new name: Roque, formed by clipping the first and last letters from "croquet." Like billiards and unlike lawn croquet, roque requires skill in making carom shots off the boundary board and in the use of English to change the path of the shot.

During the early part of the century, croquet became the dominant form of the sport. A new governing body, the American Croquet League, was founded in 1916, while the NCA became dormant for many years.

Lawn croquet made something of a comeback during the 1920s, at least among wealthy people playing on large, well-leveled lawns at estates on Long Island and in Hollywood, the two major hot beds. Croquet was frequently mentioned in Broadway and movie gossip columns because of the names involved. Among its well-known players were Harpo Marx, George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart of Broadway fame, Hollywood producers Sam Goldwyn, Howard Hawks, and Darryl Zanuck, and composer Richard Rodgers--all of whom, not so incidentally, are now in the Croquet Hall of Fame.

After World War II, croquet achieved a different kind of popularity as a middle-class, backyard game for all ages, often played under rules invented on the spur of the moment. This new popularity led to the reorganization of the NCA and a new standardization of rules--although that standardization didn't necessarily reach into most of those middle-class backyards

Cutting Hair in The Back Year Under The Big Tree

I will never understand how the ladies knew it was time to cut hair but they would decid it was time and head for the tree with a bag full of combs and scissors.  They would chat for what seemed hours and cut each other's hair and put all sorts of stuff on their hair. As a kid all I remember was that it smelled horrible....

Did you know? - A permanent wave, commonly called a perm, is the chemical and/or thermal treatment of hair to produce waves, curls or straight hair. The use of the word 'permanent' is justified insofar as when the wave is permed, it remains so; however, as the hair grows, the new hair that grows has not been waved, while cutting the hair from the end removes that which is waved, giving the impression that the permanent wave gradually disappears. In cosmetology, it is termed a type of curl reformation.

This hair cutting time wasn't all bad.  It gave the "men folks" time to listen to the ballgame on the radio in the house or in the front yard.

I do remember the soft breezes moving though the big trees on the property.  Sometimes I can also hear the wind and see the ladies gathered together chatting away.

Football Sundays Before There Was TV

I remember going over to see the aunts and the men would gather in one of the tiny houses or sometimes under the tree in the backyard and listen to the radio announcer broadcast the "big game" of the weekend.  They didn't have TV's until about 1955 so if it was a "big" game, everybody would come to our house on Comey Avenue to sit in front of the little 17" tube.

Gracie Moore Our Friend

Grace Moore and Kat Robinson met in the 1950's and became lifelong friends.  Kat taught her the dental hygeine trade.

Concord Grapes On The Garage

Down the side of the garage at aunt Opals house was a wild concord grape plant which grew to cover the entire top of the garage.  In the late summertime my mother and aunt Opal would go up on the garage and pick the grapes (because the roof was not strong enough to hold any men).  We would eat grapes all the way home.  The would be wearing their aprons and gathering the large clusters of grapes.  They would move toward the edge of the garage and hand the grapes off to the men who carefully watched what was going on. I  can still taste them today!

Cranking The Old Iron Ice Cream Maker

Homemade ice cream was the bestest If that machine were tied to a car it would have gone 90 miles an hour! Every summer weekend when we visited the aunts (and that was most weekends) the ice cream maker would come out, Dad would go to the ice house and get ice and salt, and off we would go!

My cousin Claudia and other cousins would join the "fun" all taking our turns cranking and cranking until it was difficult to turn.

Once it was hard to turn we knew that ice cream was about an hour away... We had to pack the entire bucket in ice and let it sit I order to set up.

The melted water with all the ice would go into the ground down the driveway but it never seemed to bother the plants and maybe made the concord grapes even better than normal.

I remember this ice cream capable of delivering a brain freeze faster than any other ice cream I ever had.

Poor Old Kat

Kat and Edith Poor old Kat, at least that's what she says these days.  Kat was born in 1922 to Opal and Jimmy Robinson and for whatever reason, she was never married and became a fixture at her house.  My father always liked Kat and explained to me it was my responsibility to take care of her when he left as her parents took care of Mom and Dad when they came to California in the 1930's.  So I will continue to do so.

Sue and I had to move her from her home into an Adult Assisted Living Facility as she could no longer care for herself.  Kat lived in Garden Grove and finally passed in 2011.

Kat's New Ford Crown Victoria

Kat's Crown Victoria She was proud of that Crown Vic! I remember driving all the way out just to see the new car.  It was the first car she ever owned and she picked it out herself even though her dad, Jimmy, got mad because it was a Ford and not a Chevy

Uncle Claude (Edith's husband) and Dad told Jimmy to be quiet and let her enjoy her car.  It almost caused a family feud but Jimmy came around and let the Ford stay!

It was a beautiful car which Kat drove around for years and years polishing the paint and chrome every few days!

The New House Goes Up From A Kit

Did you know? - Kit houses were produced in the United States beginning in the first decade of the 20th century. Their popularity lasted into the 1950s, but their heyday was in the 1910s and 1920s. Seven national companies operated during in the period, along with many regional and local companies selling homes in kit form.

I can remember the new house going up... Every week we would go out to Paramount from West Los Angeles (remember, no freeways yet) and see the progress.  I loved taking the sawed off 2x4's home to make things!

Shuffleboard In The Driveway

While growing up I remember that on Thanksgiving, we used to go to Aunt Opals house.  Her little house was probably 800 square feet and was built in the 1920's.  The house still stands today and is used as a rental house for my cousin.

The house was on a lot that was about 70 x 600 so there was plenty of front yard.  The front yard was croquet=land sometimes and sometimes it was a large garden!

Most memorable is the fact the women would go into that super small kitchen and cook all morning while the men would sit outside.  No, there  was no TV but they did listen to the radio!  When the turkey went in, the ice cream makers were pulled out, filled up and started.  We usually had two and sometimes three ice cream makers going. 

Seal Beach Submarine Net Floats

Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach was commissioned in 1944, at the height of World War Two, as a Naval Ammunition and Net Depot.  The base at that time had two primary missions:   Storage and loading of ammunition onto Pacific Fleet ships bound for the war, and servicing the anti-submarine nets used to protect fleet bases and anchorages around the world.  The Depot was built next to the seaside community of Seal Beach, located on the northwest corner of Orange County, California.  Seal Beach was considered an ideal site due to both a large amount of available open space for weapons storage, and the area's proximity to the navy fleet concentrations in Long Beach and San Diego.

The function of these nets were to block Submarine attacks. A Submarine Net had to either block submarines attempting to enter a port or, if they burst through the net, cause their immediate destruction by revealing them to net Patrol Craft.

This was the heaviest, most massive net used. It was installed at major bases and ports where concentration of merchant shipping and probability of attack justified the necessarily heavy expenditure of material required in constructing this type of net. This type of net properly installed and maintained provided the highest degree of security from submarine attack essential for a major fleet base where otherwise ships would be particularly vulnerable.

It was in effect, a wire fence securely attached to the ground and equipped with a closely guarded gate. The fence, that was the net proper, was suspended from buoys floating on the surface which in turn were secured at intervals by chains running from Mark II buoys to heavy anchors on the bottom. The gate was a net which could be opened to let friendly ships pass through. It was operated by a barge type vessel called a Net Gate Vessel (Designated YNG).

The Submarine Net was constructed with diagonal mesh in lengths called PANELS, measuring 300 feet. Nets were tailored to fit the depth of the water where they were to be installed and had to reach the bottom without excessive width which would foul the bottom and possibly impair the functioning of the net under attack.

Sunday Drives

In the late 40s and in the 50s, our family would jump in the car and go for a Sunday Drive.  Could be an hour, our could be the entire day.  Generally we would point the car down the road and see where it led.

I guess this was an event that had gone on for 20 years prior to me arriving. I remember Otis and Dad telling me about  the day they went into the forest up around Big Bear on a Sunday drive and had to back up almost 12 miles because there was no place to turn around!


We went to the beach, mountains, desert, San Diego, Palm Springs, almost anywhere in Southern California.

Gas was 9 cents a gallon and cars got good mileage!

Thanksgiving In The Little House

In the late forties and throughout the fifties, my family went to Aunt Opals for Thanksgiving. Aunt Opal and Uncle Jim lived in a tiny house in Paramount, California. The neatest thing was that they lived next door to Aunt Edith and Uncle Claude who also had a tiny home. Tiny means about the size of a modern two car garage... Maybe 800 square feet.

My family was from Arkansas and Oklahoma. They came to California in the early thirties because of the conditions being so bad in the South.

Aunt Opal and Uncle Jim came first and settled in Paramount. The properly was wide open in those days. No sidewalks or curbs, the yard went to the street.

Their houses were on deep lots so we have a front yard about 100 feet deep and 100 feet wide. Until the mid fifties, when they both built new houses in the front yard, they yards had vegetable gardens out front we still had plenty room for playing.

The little houses was filled with family and if my memory serves me, the ladies stayed in the kitchen and cooked up a storm while the guys sat outside under the trees and listened to the football game. We didn't have TV's yet. By the mid fifties, we had little black and white TVs, a real improvement.

My cousin Claudia (my age) and I would sneak into the kitchens and grab olives and other goodies and sometimes we were full by the time dinner was served. Full except for the room we keep for the homemade ice cream!

The food that came out of that tiny little kitchen was amazing. Sometimes I can still smell the aroma of those beautiful turkeys and hams and green beans and mashed potatoes. We started eating about one o'clock and ate the rest of the day.

By late in the afternoon, all the guys were taking naps under the trees (probably trying to avoid clean up duties! I remember a fair amount of beer going down but these folks never got tipsy.

I remember grace being said and people joining hands around the table. Oh, the table was always outside on the driveway. It was the only place we could all sit down together. I always sat with the kids until I got to be ten and then I was promoted to the big peoples table. That was a major milestone in my life.

While growing up I remember that on Thanksgiving, we used to go to Aunt Opals house.  Her little house was probably 800 square feet and was built in the 1920's.  The house still stands today and is used as a rental house for my cousin.

The house was on a lot that was about 70 x 600 so there was plenty of front yard.  The front yard was croquet land sometimes and sometimes it was a large garden!

Most memorable is the fact the women would go into that super small kitchen and cook all morning while the men would sit outside.  No, there  was no TV but they did listen to the radio!  When the turkey went in, the ice cream makers were pulled out, filled up and started.  We usually had two and sometimes three ice cream makers going. 

Walking To The Little Store

Claudia and I would go around the corner to the little grocery store.... I mean small about the size of a garage.  We would have ten cents and it was burning a hole in our pockets!

Damned Red Ants!

Paramount was on top of the worls largest red ant colony.. Just ask my feet!

Red Ants

Aunt Edith (1911-2005)

It is with great sadness that Aunt Edith Parchman passed on September 9th, 2005.  She was a "Great Aunt" and a friend of our family.  Here are a few of the snapshots of her at different family events over the past severalyears. Born in McRae Arkansas January 19th 1911 she graced us for 34,657 days bringing happiness and wit to all.

Aunt Edith     Aunt Edith

Funny Stories Time

Aunt Edith Funny story time... Edit, Kat, Sue and I go to the Caribbean on  CRUISE SHIP during Dodger Season.  But we can't get the scores easily so Aunt Edith gets to know the crew and by the second day, every time we walked on deck some crew member would give her the score update! 

She was invited to the radio room to listen to shortwave radio,  In the evenings at diner the waiter would pass he a slip of paper with the scores on it!

Aunt Edit, Kat, Sue and I went to Santa Catalina for Halloween.  We went on Friday night and stayed over night to go to the masquerade ball at the Casino.  We decided to meet in the lobby of our hotel, in costume, and walk to the Casino.  Sue and I and Kat meet and begin to talk. 

No one else is in the lobby except a Mexican lady with deep black hair, comb in he hair and a red dress.  She was reading the newspaper.  So, Sue and I are off again to find "E".  We check he room, no "E".  We walk the halls thinking she got lost, no "E".  We walk around outside, no "E". 

We lost her.  When we approached the front desk clerk to complain "We lost our aunt", "E" drops the newspaper and yells "SURPRISE!".  WE were surprised; flabbergasted; amazed; and all the other emotions!  She had bee sitting three feet from us the whole time and we did  not recognize her! "E" has a good laugh on us!

Aunt Edith      Aunt Edith

Aunt Edith      Aunt Edith

Christmas time and the Christmas Play was a tradition for the family.  For many many years, Kat and Edith would join us for the play... Always bringing smiles and stories of Christmas for the family!

Aunt Edith         Aunt Edith

Aunt Edith So we arrive in Ensenada, Mexico the next morning and all plan to get off the ship a visit Ensenada except Aunt Edith, Kat, Sue and Paul. 

We have a little bite for breakfast and then sit back and enjoy the rest. 

Around 10:00 am, Sue and Paul decide to find Kat and "E" and go to an on-board activity. 

No Kat!  No "E"!  We searched the ship top to bottom. Claudia is going to shoot us, we lost her Mom!

Finally, we are going to the Captain to report the missing ladies and we see, out of the corner of our eye, Kat and "E" walking up the gang plank carrying shopping bags and wearing sombrero's! "

I was dreading having to call cousin Claudia and say "I lost your mother in MExico".

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN???", we yelled!!  Aunt Edith says, "Oh, we decided to go shopping so we caught a cab and bought a new purse and these hats!"

Aunt Edith      Aunt Edith
A;ways a kick in the pants

Uncle Claude's Garage

I was always ready to go with Uncle Claude into his magic huge garage with all those machines and inventions underway! It was a boys fantasy land.  Claudia probably never appreciated the magic that came from that garage but I did!

Manchester Boulevard

What memories of driving the 30 or so miles from West LA to Paramount.  We would take Inglewood Boulevard and then catch Manchester for the rest of the journey.  No traffic in those days!  It was 40 years later and after Mom and Dad were gone that the 105 made it easy.  We finally took the LB freeway.