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Posts Tagged ‘Wilmer’

Jeana’s day in divorce court

September 10th, 2017 Comments off

[I found this in a steno book from around 1951. The photo is from the 1940’s  ~ Sperry Hunt]

Judge Hunt and Jeana 40sRestaurant

My husband is a judge. I was waiting to have lunch with him. He was trying a divorce case. He denied the divorce, and added, looking straight at me, “Young man you have had nothing worse happen to you than any of the rest of us.” The whole court room howled.

[Click below to open the image.]

Jeana’s Day in Court

The Judge, Children and the Elbow Story

August 25th, 2017 2 comments
Lalu and her father at St. Anne's in Houston (c. 1940)

Lalu and her father at St. Anne’s in Houston (c. 1940)

Happy Birthday to my father Judge Hunt who was born on August 25, 1903.

Our father adored children.  Every kid who remembers him has a story. (If you do, please leave one as a comment.)  My dad would often engage one sitting at a nearby table. You can’t do this any more, but many times he handed a stick of gum to a passing tyke. His love of children and playing cards would sometimes lead him to engage older ones in a round of poker or gin rummy.

One of his favorite pastimes was leading a kid on with a card trick, a joke or a story.  My favorite was his tale about kissing his elbow. I watched him do this with dozens of two or three-year-olds. Here’s how it went:

Dad would sidle up to the child who was in the middle of say… eating pancakes.

“When I was a little girl,” he would say. “I put honey on my pancakes.”

The kid would freeze mid-bite, squint up at him and state the obvious with utter conviction. “You weren’t a girl,” she would say.

Dad would nod and continue. “When I was a little girl, I would pour so much honey on my pancakes there wouldn’t be any left for anybody else.”

The kid would roll her eyes, heave a heavy sigh and say, “You were a boy, not a girl.”

Dad would nod again and march on with his pancake story.

Exasperated, the victim would invariably pose the obvious question, “If you were a girl, how come you’re a  boy now?”

“I kissed my elbow and turned into a boy,” he would say as though everyone knew this is how gender was redetermined. He would then complete his pancake elaboration and turn away.

Onlookers following the ruse would then observe the child scowl as if deeply in thought.  After a moment’s contemplation she would seize her elbow and try to draw it to her lips, then stop and shake her head.

As to whether she chose not to kiss her elbow because she couldn’t or shouldn’t was left to question.

 

 

 

Judge Wilmer Hunt sat on the board of Houston’s first African-American hospital

November 25th, 2016 Comments off

riverside-general

In the early to mid-1960’s my father, Judge Wilmer Brady Hunt sat on the board of Riverside General, Houston’s first African-American hospital.  Here is an article on the institution, which finally closed in 2014. He took me there on a visit in the summer of 1963.
Sperry Hunt

The article reads:

The Houston Negro Hospital was created in 1926 when the earlier black Union-Jeramiah Hospital was no longer capable of accommodating the rapidly growing black population of Houston, Texas. African American community leaders began a campaign to garner support from local physicians when oilman Joseph Cullinan, who had earlier supported the existing hospital, donated $80,000 to construct a new facility. The city of Houston donated three acres of land in the Third Ward for the new fifty-bed hospital. Construction began in 1925.  

The dedication of the hospital was held on June 19, 1926, a major local holiday in Texas known as “Juneteenth,” which commemorates the day Emancipation occurred in the state.  At the dedication a bronze tablet from the Tiffany Company was unveiled stating that the building was erected “in memory of Lieutenant John Halm Cullinan,” Joseph Cullinan’s son who had died during World War I. The tablet also declared that the hospital was “dedicated to the American Negro to promote self-help, to insure good citizenship, and for the relief of suffering, sickness, and disease among them.”

Read more…

Jeana’s conundrum: Take a husband or paints to France.

November 25th, 2016 1 comment

qe-2

In 1975 Jeana wrote:

Dear Ones. The terrible week of decision. This has happened many times and I have yet to come out of ahead. What to take on an extended trip to a foreign country, where I really want to work. Of course the first selection is whether to take a husband. This is an impossible decision. He will go. I will enjoy him. I will not get as much done as I would like to. The second selection is paints. I go to a country where there are thousands of artists. Last time I went to France I decided to leave my paints and other supplies here and buy a small, fresh supply there.  Paris is immense. It was icy cold and my French is always scared, so the supplies I purchase were to say the least inadequate. So I shall take them with me. On the ship going over the weight will not matter, but we are flying back. So, I shall take an adequate amount and use them up and only return with the finished products. Voila! Then comes the clothes. We go over on the Queen Elizabeth which is sailing on the 21st of July. We dress for dinner every night. Then we will be in the country in France where it will not matter so that means an extra suitcase of clothes, which they will weigh on the plane when we return. So I have decided to take caftans which will serve as dress-up clothes and country clothes. I will fix those French for over-weight. I think that they should count the weight of the person.  Wilmer [husband] certainly should not be allowed as many pounds as I, who have so systematically shed so many pounds, that soon I have to have y face lifted.

I have made Daddy [husband] a caftan out of blue denim and it makes him look like an old sheik. All he needs is a wrapped white turban above his white beard. It was like making a tent. I have sewn seams and sewn seams. I think he needs a girdle.

Love and kisses,

Jeana

[Eugenia Howard Hunt]

Judge Hunt was a serious poker player

November 7th, 2015 Comments off
JudgeSperryPlayCardsLivingRoomFriarTuck1960ish

Judge Hunt and Sperry playing cards in the living room of the house at 526 W. Friar Tuck, Houston circa 1957

My dad, Judge Wilmer Brady Hunt, was a very serious card player. Notice the expression in this photo. He’s playing a ten-year-old (me) and was as focused as a terrier at a rat hole. Note the hat. He always wore one when he played cards. It was likely to cover his expression as he studied newly drawn cards. (The second hat likely belongs to the photographer – probably Uncle Philo or Uncle Brother. (Yes, Uncle Brother, as Henry Safford was known.  His wife, Aunt Georgia, called him Brother, which must have raised some eyebrows occasionally.)

My father’s favorite people to play cards with were probably his mother (Lucy Brady Hunt) and his sisters (Lucy Hunt Barada and Lennie Estelle Hunt). All three were sharks. His mother, whom we called Nana, was the Miss Marple of cards. She was a master of bridge and hearts. Nana rarely glanced around the table. Instead she would stare at her cards, cluck and shake her head grimly. And she would win – decisively and often. What made her particularly difficult to beat was that she held her hand upside down and completely unorganized – so that if a competitor or kibitzer happened by …

My dad told me some of his best times as a young man were playing cards on ships. He did his undergad at Georgetown University in D.C.  Most people would have taken the train from Houston. It was a two-day trip. Instead Dad took a ship from Galveston, which would take four or five – leaving plenty of time to drink whiskey and play cards. He was also very good at shooting skeet, which he probably did at the fantail in those days.

As a lawyer and a judge, he played cards with and his friends every Monday night, barring holidays and assassinations. When he hosted the party (in the room in the photo), I made a habit of drifting by for the cold-cuts and the wonderful chatter. One of the men he played with was Judge Pete Salito, who brought wonderful Italian food of his own making, which he warm-up in our kitchen before the game.  Another, and I don’t remember his name, drove up in a beautiful Jaguar XKE, he could barely get into. The men always enjoyed themselves.

Among my dad’s favorite sayings at the table were:

  • I’d rather owe it to you than beat you out of it.
  • Boys are no damn good (which he told me sisters often)
  • A woman’s just a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke

I’m looking to my family to assist me with more.