THE LOST $10,000

In 1967-68, our family stopped at the Handy Andy on Ayres in small shopping center near Winns, pretty much Ayres & Roosevelt street, next to the ghetto La Armada place. Well it was not that much of ghetto then, but still better than where we lived on Doss & Antelope, might have been Hewit Drive apartments compared to us! It was raining hard, usual, tropical rain that hits Corpus from time to time.

The reason we went to this location, on this day, as had been there before.

And Ant Kat (how I spelled it then) lived on Whittiker around corner near Tarleton, so could go both places. Ant Kat first, then shopping. Take Port Avenue back home to north side. Well dad pulled up close to store, momma got out, and walked inside store, which had fancy glass swinging doors, you step on mat either side to open. She got maybe 5 feet inside and was on her back.

My dad, late brother Tommy & me saw her slip, feet came up, momma went down, and didn't move. Dad backed the Rambler up, and parked and we went inside, him preferring not to block door where he dropped her off. No one was around her, employees going about business bagging groceries, cashiers punching buttons on register. She could not get up though.

Older Mexican man put down his groceries and asked if he could help her.

Then I think a manager come rushing over, she had already been down 5 minutes though. Ambulance came, took her to the hospital behind Ayers Theater a few blocks down. They would not let Tommy & me in because minors, but dad came back and said "they want to keep her overnight for observation".

A family friend said 'you oughtta sue!' and sent a lawyer her way. Handy Andy wanted no part of it, and settled with her for $10,000 & open medical for 2 years in case back didn't get better, which it didn't she had to go to therapy 2 times a month. And even after that ran out, still walked with noticeable limp for decades afterwards.

Momma didn't like banks. Didn't trust them like so many others. She had a little wooden box with the money she kept from the settlement. But only used it sparingly. Dad's income was $156 a week working at the Rambler dealership, but would use that. Rarely, I mean rarely would she tap into 'the box' for anything. Would have made a HUGE difference on how we lived though.

We never took food stamps. Read that again, the poorest family in Corpus Christi no food stamps, no help. Call it ignorance, stupidity, or stubborn, but momma called it pride.

The big house on 723 Doss belonged to my grandma Maria de Alcala, after hurricane Celia took us out and destroyed the 2009 Antelope house, we got short reprieve one year living in a Senator John Tower big trailer on property like so many others. But trailer taken away after year, and back to stone age, no electricity, hot water, indoor plumbing or air condition.

Lloyd Remple let us rent cheap 642 Naples for 3 years, then back to sh*thole

723 Doss and stone age.

The 723 Doss house was built turn of last century and at one time a boarding house. Built on cedar stumps, in some areas those now sinking farther and farther into ground. Ok, in some areas inside house it HAD sunk to ground.

And some boards you could lift up and there is dirt right below you inches away!

Momma was a hoarder and most of the rooms filled with junk we would never use, or things had sentimental value to her I guess. And she hid stuff to boot. We had some 1800s furniture in one room, wished still had that! Her mind was intact, just hid stuff though and dad thought she hid the wooden box with $10K (or slightly less ) under the house.

We last saw the wooden box in about 1975. But our financial situation remained unchanged, struggle from week to week with food, clothes, small bills like gas. We had gas for stove. Food we had to keep in Igloo ice chests outside, bought big blocks of ice from the ice black place on Agnes. The money could have helped us get electricity, even a meter from CPL on property on a stick, then we could have run extension cords all over for whatever.

Momma died in 1988, taking the secret with her. I have searched banks, some still around, some not, the Texas state site for dormant accounts, and found one in her name, but not much in it. My dad, and late brother Tommy continued living in 723 Doss even as roof caved in. When the house was torn down, bulldozers razed everything, and stumps pulled. There was no digging on property.

I asked my dad about what HE though about the missing money, and he would just say "I'll never know" with scowl on face, unhappy that his wife of 36 years didn't share secret with him for whatever reason. Tommy and me reminisced about "what could have been" new toys, some clothes that didn't spend a eternity in Lay-A-Away at stores, not having to do homework by Coleman lanterns, and flashlights, even sleeping in a bed five taco sized rats would not run across you in middle of night, yea, that would have been nice. I used to hear them, shine flashlight at them near my bed in attic, see the eerie glowing eyes in corner before they scurry off. Sometimes try to balance the flashlight while shooting them with bb gun. So even simple things most take for granted, a six pack of tshirts or underwear at Woolco would have been awesome. Bags of rat poison!

So. If and that is a big IF, the money WAS buried, it might be like the D.

B. Cooper money, the hijacker who never got caught, and they found some of his money a few years ago in forest in Oregon, tattered, pieces of bills left in elements since 1970s, but serial numbers readable enough to ID it. I would guess the box still buried on the property, maybe a few feet deep, and wood box probably rotted, as are the bills, jewelry, or whatever momma stashed in it. Thought about renting a ground penetrating radar and going over the property too!

If you see the house next door to where 723 Doss once was, it has sank into ground too. This is a short minute video from 2011 I filmed of our old property. Corner of Doss & Antelope.

A educated guess here would be that the loot, if still there, would have been under ground under front of house, maybe 2nd bedroom street side. This is where boards could have been easily lifted up from floor. And dirt under it soft, rich black dirt, the only thing on property that was rich. The property no longer belongs to my family, my brother let taxes slip and off it went. And now the new crosstown overpass has destroyed Antelope street so all dirt road there, but could come up to property from Doss next to Gulf Radiator on Leopard. If you find anything will split it with you!

PHOTOS: Photo #1. While financially strapped, one thing momma & poppa always seemed to have was a smile on face despite the grueling hardships. The old house 723 Doss in back of them, the front porch now walled in, and was a big bedroom. Other rooms too full of junk. But there were 'trails' thru house.

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Photo #2. The back of 723 Doss shown here in I believe 1989, momma had passed away in 1988, and I restored a 1970 Big Bad Blue AMC Javelin to sort of knock him out of doldrums and gave it to him. Late brother Tommy, me & dad. Note back of house drooping, and most of it was already touching ground on floors.

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Photo #3. This photo from late 1980s shows 723 Doss from front should anyone want to try to get idea on actual location on where it was. More towards NE corner of property. About 12 feet from Doss, but on Antelope side pretty close!

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Photo #4. Since we fooled with American Motors cars, our 'back yard' was a graveyard of sometimes parts cars. And great place for momma to hide stuff, like when she found one of my liquor bottles. Here sits carcass of 1968 Javelin that Tommy bought in Flour Bluff.

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Photo #5. Unless you have lived like this you have no clue. The cars like this 1972 AMC Javelin in driveway became a "storage locker" yea, another great place for momma to stash stuff, but some of the cars that had all windows, and doors that close, we put Igloo coolers in them too and filled with things like rice, tortillas, bread, so rats could not get them. Nothing worse than a new day old loaf of bread with a hole gnawed into it.

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Photo #6. Well a lot of crooks in this area at Doss & Antelope could not read, but could hear when we would fire off a round into the air. Funny, two blocks from CC police station, they never come by. I don't think any crook ever stole momma's cash box though as we had 10-15 dogs on chains in the yard. This sign though was where our 2009 Antelope house was, facing Antelope, and 10 yerds from the 723 Doss house. I don't think that the old 2009 house would have ever been considered a 'hiding place' as too many broken boards, nails for momma to navigate.

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Photo #7. This is house next to 723 Doss, which was a small duplex sandwiched between the Rabago's house (Spanish Kitchen guys) and out house, look closely, it is sunk like a big "U" in middle, settling to ground like ours did.

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Photo #8. Back in the driveway, here is some of the Igloo ice chests we used to keep food cold. This about 1977, Tommy on left, my ex wife Cindy Sullivan in middle. I seriously doubt momma would have stashed the money box in any of the old cars. Why? Because we sometimes worked on the various cars, and Tommy would eventually sell his Chevy II Nova, and the convertible Impalas back there. So steers me back to old house.

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Photo #9. Even though she fell and busted ass at Handy Andy, got settlement, we still shopped there, was nice, clean store, especially the one in Woodlawn up Leopard where Up River road hits Leopard.

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Photo #10. Overview of the 723 Doss property I took in 2019. Un on the hill (now gone) facing SW. Choked with weeds, but now, with all the construction, it is mostly cement piles, rebar, no roads either so tough to get to, unless you have a lawnmower, a ground penetrating radar, hint hint.

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