Saturday, July 7, 2012


Miami, Florida
We piled into Dad's 1949 Pontiac
In 1949, seeking a warmer climate, Rosetta and Al moved from Chicago to Miami, Florida. It was a disaster from Day One! But, being the supportive person she was, Rosetta stayed cheerful through the entire ten month ordeal--at least on the surface. We kids never saw the stress she was under. 

We got as far as Evansville, Indiana when Dad's car broke down and we were stuck in a hotel for two nights while it was being fixed. Was that an omen of what was to come? Who knows.
Morgan St. James

It took almost a week for us to drive to Florida, and when Al pulled up in front of the address his sister Helen gave us, I thought he made a mistake. The building looked so small I couldn’t imagine how it could hold three apartments.

We quickly discovered what his sister hadn’t told us—her “apartments” were only efficiency units. In just one room the living space was combined with a kitchen space, if you can call it that. A sink with a drain board took up one wall. Under the drain board was a small refrigerator and a few cabinets overhead. We had a tiny bathroom, and as far as sleeping arrangements, closet doors on another wall in this room hid a bed on hinges known as a Murphy bed. It was built into the wall and at night you opened the doors and pulled down the bed. Once the bed was down, you barely had any space between the couch and the bed.

These efficiency units were furnished with a few sticks of furniture, and it just took one glance for us to realize they were only meant to accommodate a single person or a perhaps couple in a pinch, but certainly not four people.  Al and I were pretty upset that Helen hadn’t explained what kind of apartments she had, but we couldn’t say anything to her. She meant well. With no children of her own, she probably didn’t have a clue what it would be like to live in that one room with two kids.

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