In April 1942, we moved to Tucson, Arizona, as a result of Dad's transfer from "Mines Field" (now Los Angeles International Airport) to Davis-Monthan Air Base by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). Dad worked a lot of long hours and graveyard shifts at Davis-Monthan where the new B24 bombers were being tested and their pilots trained.
This was a true homecoming for Mom. In 1903 my grandfather, Charles Walker, had moved to Tucson, which was then a tiny, dusty pueblo in the Arizona Territory. This was still the "wild west"! He returned to Bloomington, Indiana, the following year to marry Alice Seward, and brought her back to Tucson to live. Grandpa worked as treasurer of the Southern Pacific de México Railroad for five years and later was cashier at Consolidated National Bank.
During their 20-year stay in Tucson, Charley and Alice's eight children were born, although Alice journeyed to Bloomington for the births of two of them. They lived on Stone Ave. for awhile, then had a fine house built for them at 338 Granada Street which was completed before my mother's birth in 1913. One of Mom's cousins who lived in Casa Grande told me once that the Walker residence seemed like a castle to them. The house still stands, and is used as a lawyer's office.
As was customary in those times, the Walker children were taken regularly to photographers' studios, dressed in their finest clothing, to pose with an assortment of props. Here are pictures of Mom and her little sister Alice which were taken in Tucson. Mom's must have been taken in Tucson when she was about five years old. Alice remembers that her picture was taken when she was about three, and that she was very unhappy that day at having to get all dressed up to go have her picture taken...1
Here is a picture of Grandpa taken in 1920...
In 1924, the Walkers moved to Santa Monica, CA, where they had often gone to escape the very hot Arizona summers. Charley drove across the desert in his Cadillac touring car with Elizabeth, Chuck, and Jeanette. Elizabeth was 16 years old at this time and remembers being allowed to drive the Cadillac on this or other California trips. A few days later, on Pat's first birthday, Alice brought the younger children to Santa Monica on the train. Frank was in his second year at University of Arizona and stayed behind in Tucson. The children gave their pony and the pony's new colt to some friends and turned their Airedale dog over to Uncle John to ship to them later on. When this dog arrived at their home in Santa Monica, he took too great an interest in the neighbors' chickens and had to find a new home!
In 1942, the only family members living in Tucson were Mom's Uncle John and Aunt Augusta Walker. They lived in a big brick house at 1009 East Speedway and we lived across the alley in a little pseudo Spanish stucco house at 1124 North Park Avenue. (This whole block of homes disappeared in the University of Arizona's expansion.)
I often wandered across the alley to visit this white haired gentleman who had come to Tombstone around the turn of the century. He had worked as a clerk in Federal Court there in Arizona Territory days and later in the United States District Court in Tucson. I spent many hot Tucson afternoons on his back porch watching him "roll his own" Bull Durham cigarettes while he told me tales of wild times in Tombstone. I wish I had had the presence of mind to write down just a few of his stories!
When my twin brothers were born in 1943, Mom and Dad wished to honor Uncle John by naming John Walker Carey after him. When Dad informed him of this honor and that the other baby's name was William Samuel Carey, he retorted "Well, I guess you didn't know my middle name is William. You just went and named both of them for me!"
Toward the end of July 1944, Dad received orders transferring him back to LAX and bought a little green wooden trailer into which we put all our belongings. We drove back across the desert to Charley and Alice's home in Santa Monica, where we stayed until our new home in Westchester was ready. After moving back to California, we returned to Tucson more or less annually to visit our friends there for several years.