Daddy never talked much about his childhood, leaving me with the impression that it was not always a good one. He laughed about having lived on almost every street in the Newtown vicinity at one time or another, always one street ahead of the creditors. The 1940 census lends some truth to that.
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Fred and Julia Slade were among the first to be enumerated in district 116-8 of Portsmouth, Virginia, page 1A, on April 3, 1940. My granny Julia (age 32) was the informant. She and my granddaddy Fred Robert Slade (38) were renting either an apartment or one side of a duplex for $22 a month at 403 Crawford Street in Portsmouth, Virginia. Their house probably sat in what is now a parking lot.
Corner of Crawford and Queen Streets
from Google Maps
click to enlarge
They lived in Portsmouth in 1935, but not at this address, suggesting they were indeed on the move, just as Daddy had said. In 1930 they were living with Granny’s mother Mary Theresa Sheehan Walsh.
But she died in 1939, taking with her the only real stability my dad had known. Granny became an alcoholic early on in life, but she was adored by my granddaddy. Unfortunately work must have been difficult to come by at the time. According to the census he had been unemployed 20 weeks, but had earned $500 in 1939 for working 32 weeks. Listed as a taxi cab driver, he had not worked at all the last week of March 1940.
|Refurbished Catholic school turned into offices|
Daddy was 11 and had completed 6 years of school at St. Joseph’s Academy, which was run by the Daughters of Charity. The building was at the corner of Washington and London Streets, a fairly easy walk from his home on Crawford.
©2014, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.