Thursday, June 16, 2016

Remembering A Neighborhood Father

My Special Salute 

I grew up in a household where my mom was our sole provider. She doted on us and gave us everything we “needed”.

I would also say that growing up we did not dwell on our mother being a single parent. She had long been divorced and her main focus was her kids.

I could nominate my mother

I could nominate my mother for she was, in my eyes, both. From time to time us kids would do little things to say how special she was on father’s day for us. However this is a tad different.

This is behind the capitol different. From 21st to 27th Avenue different

There were many families that I knew that had fathers in the home. There are three that stand out in my mind as I go back in time. One of those three was in the military and was gone much of the time, but when he was there he was there emotionless.

I secretly said to myself that he acted like he would rather be back playing soldier than to be home with his wife and kids. 

The other father was there in the home but as I recall he was not a very affectionate person with his children. I just remember him sitting in a chair watching TV. Again another emotion-less father.

All the laughter and sounds came from his wife and his children to each other.


The third was an active father who when not working was in the home. He laughed and teased his children, all of them. Two of his children were born to this wife before he even knew her. However his love for them was the same as those four he had with the love of his life.

They worshipped together, ate dinner together and spent time with other family members together.

There are those of us who secretly or silently wish we had a father in our life just like this man I am speaking of.

I am not jealous that I was “not” lucky enough to have a father like that. I just marvel that my dear friends experienced a father’s love. You could tell in their eyes and faces that they felt the same way about their dad. This man I truly admire:

My Pick for The Back Behind The Capitol Father:

I take this time to say Happy Father's Day Wishes Mr. Fredrick Douglas Hurd.

 I bet your parents Henry and Theresa Conner Hurd were very proud of you when you entered into their life that January day in Richland Texas.

Oh, and thanks go to your children . They have been wonderful friends in my and my family’s life for well over fifty plus years.

What a resourseful person you were too. I say that because you were the first person I ever knew that cooked outside on the grill durn near every night in the summertime to save energy. 

Now everyone I know does that. See how you may have started a trend.

Just so you know, I remember you saying that you knew Lola Falana.
As a kid I would think "who in the world is Lola Falana.”I heard that name so much that I would sing, Lola, Lola Falana lalalalala Lola Lola Falana.

Then one day, I heard someone say Welcome Lola Falana!!!!

 I ran into the room where the tv was and saw her for the first time. She was very pretty. (Not as pretty as your wife though)  But she was real and you knew her….Lola, Lola Falana lalalalala.

I did get mad at Mr Hurd once because I thought I was going to get beat to death by my mom.

I went to Texas for a visit with my aunt who lived in Marshall. I was around 16 I think.
When it was my time to return, I called my mom to pick me up at the train station downtown.

On the way, the train had to stop in El Paso Texas because of a bad snow storm. We were already scheduled to get in late at night anyway.
Since there were no cell phones back then, there was no way to call mom to tell her we were stranded.

My mom waited and waited. The station was empty.

She called my aunt in Texas who told her that she had put me on the train.
Sometime during that time, mom saw Mr. Hurd who worked at the station and asked if he had seen me.

He then relayed to her that the train probably had come in and gone according to the schedule.

When I did get in, I called mom to pick me up and that I finally arrived. Boy was mama pissed. It took everything I had to get her to believe me. Mama did not play!

Mom finally talked to the people at the station, and found out that yes, the train was held up by a snow storm and that yes, there was no notice at the station of bad weather.

My moment of being mad at Mr. Hurd was over then too because he was reading what the board said. I promise you, I did not roll my eyes; I was too busy trying not to get a whipping.

 Speaking of families sticking together you and yours all were in Richland Texas in 1940. Wow and to think I was around all you guys in Phoenix in later years.

Here is a 1940 Newton County Texas Census via Ancestry

                        This is the excerpt of the same census 

You are also in my book of wonderful back behind the Capitol dads because you picked a wonderful partner to spend your life with.

I am sure your loving wife Carol Campbell Hurd is looking after you down here on earth. 

 Happy Heavenly Salute To Other Fathers From Back Behind The Capitol in Phoenix Arizona.

We always called them Mr.

Henderson Turner, Olen Mackey, Reginald Jones, Fred Gammage, Isom Stuart, Patrick Grant.

Then there was

Daddy Watee, Honey Hutchinson, Uncle Buddy, old man Slaughter, Mr Simmons, Mr Dixon, Mr. Cason and Rev. St. Clair.


Gerald Jones said...

Thank you Vicky for honoring my "Behind The Capitol" dad Reginald Jones. That term "Behind The Capitol" was never to imply that we were somehow better than anyone else but we were a community that had each other's back. My dad Reginald Jones was a true "Man's man." He loved his God, he loved his family, he loved his church and he loved his community of friends. He became one of the first black police officers in Phoenix but resented how he was expected to treat the citizens. He transferred to become a heavy equipment operator for the City of Phoenix. He also served as a custodian for the Phoenix School District where he mentored many schoolchildren. He taught me about Jesus, respect for others and myself and how to honor and elevate women. I shall always try to attain who he was. Happy Father's Day Dad.

Rod Grimes said...

Thank you Ms Vicky, I first met Mr Hurd when I was working up at the Westward Ho Hotel back in 1964/65, and he was one of the nicest guys up there always kind and considered. Found out through Charles Lucky that Mr Hurd had also worked as a Red Cap at Phoenix Union Station with my Dad, Ben Grimes, Sr. Found out from my Mom just recently that it was she who introduced Carole to Fred Hurd back when they lived in Matthew Henson Projects in the 1940's. I see from your blog that Mr Hurd made a huge impression on you too. Thanks again!

Cecelia Cook said...

This is a great tribute, Vicky😊

Anonymous said...


You have created a wonderful Praise Poem to Black Fathers, Dads,
uncles, friends, neighbors. They're the men who were there to do
what men are supposed to do––when others could not.

They were in every neighborhood. There would be two or three––
or just one––who would step in and do a, "man's job", for people
who needed a man by…or on their side.

My father was one of those men. My friends to this day speak of him
with affection, admiration, even reverence. He gave them advice and
help and parise and sometimes all he did was listen. Frankly, I didn't
realise how lucky we were.

At a time when Black men are jailed, reviled, hated, disrespected and
shot down––your wonderful tribute to the Real Men in your life reminds
us again how much we need and appreciate them. On Father's Day and
Every Day.

I smiled as I read your touching tribute. I'm still smiling.

With Love and Admiration,