The Stakes Family1 & 1A Our two old houses, one shotgun house, one boarding house, 2009 Antelope street & (1A) 723 Doss on corner. I only have limited amount of photos of this time window as many of our photos destroyed by Hurricane Celia, August 3rd, 1970. This was a poor, industrial neighborhood. There was crime, but it seldom affected us, as you can't steal from someone who has nothing. Our shotgun house was hit by a 500+ pound fan from Coca Cola, as my dad Homer T Stakes, momma Sarah, brother Tommy Stakes, me and dog Bootsy huddled under one of the beds; the roof ripped away and hell came into our crappy little house, water, rain and those damned pebbles Coca Cola had on roof were like bullets. We ran next door to grandma's house (723 Doss) which was built in 1890s, and held up well. During the eye, besides running next door to check on Mister & Missus Bates, a tree next to our driveway had uprooted, and natural gas was hissing. My dad quickly took a radiator hose off one of our Ramblers (of which most glass was gone from those Coca Cola roof rocks) and pulled the two broken pipes close and used hose to seal them! In the eye! And during the eye I looked east towards Driscoll hotel, 600 building, there were desks, and office equipment hanging out the buildings, no windows left and the black sky BEHIND them racing north toward Portland at a un Godly speed. To the west, I looked down Antelope and debris all the way down to Nueces Bay Blvd is. Black sky racing south at this angle! Then the rest of Celia hit. We did get a free use of double wide trailer thanks to the late Senator John Tower, many Corpus Christi residents did, and wow, new home for us! To live in abstract poverty I hope whoever reads this never experiences. For every step forward my family took, there was 3 steps back. My father made $156 a week working at American Motors dealerships as a ace mechanic. He also worked at Andy Anders Rambler, Pagan Lewis & George Young Toyota. And sold rebuilt bikes on the side at the house. Also rented them to sailors, $5 a day! This was in the 1960s. Both Tommy & me made good grades and went to Catholic schools, first Cathedral, then Academy on Lantana, then Tommy went to W B Ray...me I went to Incarnate Word on Alameda, but they only went to 8th grade, after that only girls, so I went to St Josephs on 18th (?) street near Ruth street in the ghetto off Agnes. After that I went 1 quarter at Miller, but too many fights, drugs, so I lied about my address, using 610 Naples, home of the Hernandez clan, (to which I will be eternal grateful a debt I could never repay!) but used that to go to W. B. Ray where I almost graduated before getting kicked out with 3 months to go for skipping even though I was on the principal's A & B Honor roll.
For 3 years when I was about 12, a family friend, Lloyd Remple, who was a car guy and owned a lot on Leopard street near Josephine, let us rent his house at corner of Staples & Naples. 642 Naples, it is the house with all the damned windows. $300 a month. This was when I met the Hernandez family including Danny my running buddy. We stayed at this house 3 years until Lloyd realized he was not getting rich off my dad and hiked it to $600 a month so we were doomed and moved back to the crappy 723 Doss house, the 2009 Antelope house was mostly gone and city of Corpus Christi demolished the rest for us. Tommy & me did our homework by coleman lanterns the smell of those still haunts me to this day, but they worked. We also had no hot water, so outside we had a big wooden box to take shower, was tough to do in winter, sometimes the pipe froze, so when I started working at La Quinta downtown, I would go up to highest floor, there is small bathroom there I would wash hair with warm water. And since I worked there as busboy, could use towels. Sometimes Tommy used the McGee beach free shower.So after we got kicked out of temp 642 Naples house, back to 723 Doss, the 2009 house was still in snhambles roof caving in. We had no electricity, no hot water, no indoor plumbing, no telephone, only gas stove. This is from roughly 1973 until I moved to Houston, but even then, my mom, dad and Tommy, then wife, lived same location in squalid conditions until I sicced the CC Department of Health & Human Resources on Tommy to 'force them out' of which they moved to navigation apartment. All except momma who had died a few years before in 1988. The reason I emphasize this repeatedly in my stories is those that knew our family, knew of the dire conditions, but few helped. Family, church, even neighbors. My grandma Maria D Alcala was from Saltillo, Mexico and used to get up and make 150 tortillas each morning, we traded these out to neighbors for other food. Both her legs got cut off due to gangrene, so confined to wheelchair until we had to put her in nursing home. There were some good memories at this house, not all bad, just dirt poor poverty, wear dirty clothes to school, beans, rice, tortillas to eat, but when poppa got paid on Friday it was off to McDonalds on 'rich' side of town, Everhart to eat filet o fish and fries, then momma go spend part of check at Woolco at Parkdale Plaza. Next door neighbors included the Rabagos, Ortiz, some more Rabagos. Photo #1 from about 1966 shows my dad, me, Tommy & ONLY photo I have of my dog Bootsy. Yes, no shoes, note Tommy's school pants and crappy old shotgun house with lead paint behind us. We were happy though! Photos 2, 3, 4, 5 some early photos of me, Tommy, momma and poppa in 1960 I was not year old! And yes, we had electricity, hot water, flushing toilet and bath!