Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Midway Memories: 13 Kids

Many of the people that were out on the Carnival were family.  One of those families belonged to Roy and Willie Earl or maybe her name was Willa Mae. They were from Edinburg Mississippi. Roy had a Cat Rack. They had thirteen kids.  #1 Beau was the oldest whose real name might be Roy Earl according to school records. #2 Sofrona or Sofronia in school records, she ran off with a ride boy who eventually had a few rides.
Sofronia Suber and Pat
Sofrona and Pat …as far as I know he was just a friend.
#3  Nonna or Nonia #4 Loretta at the age of thirteen she married Kelsey from Ogden Iowa who was electrocuted on some other show, Loretta died in a boating accident. #5 Jo  #6 Robert or Bobby who was Far Guys friend, Bobby was eventually a Flattie.  (A Flattie  works a Flat joint where you control the win….not the loss but the win.) When Bobby got married they were married on the Ferris Wheel.
Kaffee fest Willmar MN
In this old newspaper clipping Bobby is running the coaster.  The diggers are circled, this newspaper clipping is probably from the early 1960’s
#7 Wayne born in 1950 and died August 26, 1968 of asphyxiation in a motel. #8 Danny #9 Steven #10 Morris #11 Buster not sure if Buster had a real name. # 12 June #13 The baby whose name was most likely Frankie.

Far Guy used to make the rounds with Bobby, they would try to sneak a peak under the canvas of the girl show, sometimes they got an eyeful before they were run off.  They would sneak into the grandstand without paying…

The kids that were old enough all had jobs, they were ride help, worked in joints or were ticket sellers.

Far Guy says that he introduced me to Bobby once…but for the life of me I cannot remember the meeting. We met one of Danny's sons one year he was working for Freddie Grover.

Through the years I heard  about this family that lived in a truck, almost nightly beatings with a belt occurred as the old man beat his wife and kids.  I heard this from a number of different people so I believe it is true.    Back then I guess everybody minded their own business.
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  1. The thirteen kids really gets me. All from one mother? Yikes!

  2. Some of the folks on carnivals were really different . You've described a good example today.

  3. So, what the heck was a Cat Rack? I'm thinking of stuffed (like a pillow) cats sitting on a shelf that you tried to knock off with a baseball. I think I remember seeing those a long time ago at our midways out in CA.

    1. Yes Cats sit on a shelf or rack and they are knocked down with a baseball. The cats have long hair all around their shape.

    2. Thanks. I figured it had to be something like that. I really enjoy these posts about the carnival. Please keep them coming. Maybe I was a carnie in a different life.

  4. Wow, 13 kids living on the road working at carnivals! I can't imagine how they did it. Sad so many of the children died young. It was interesting to see the newspaper clipping view of the carnival with the diggers circled among all the other booths, rides, people, etc.
    You need to write a book about the carnival life in Minnesota with all your stories.

  5. With a dad like that I probably would have run off and got married at thirteen, too. People never "interfered" back then. Sad. They're still hesitant, but there are places for families to get away from abusers in so many towns now. I'm glad things have been changing over the years.

    Love the old pictures and the newspaper clipping. I can remember seeing cat racks. My dad never let us spend any money on any of those games because he said they were all rigged--but he let us play the diggers with a few dimes for each of us three kids. That's why I remember the diggers so well--LOL! You guys could wrte a book. :)

  6. Wow what a big family. One died so young. Married on a ferriswheel is something you dont hear often! Sadly people did mind their own business when it was abuse.

  7. Interesting stories....asphyxiation at age 18 sounds a little fishy. I imagine when you have that many children your family stories can't help but be interesting! LOL!

  8. Interesting story; thanks for sharing. Also, belated Happy Birthday!

  9. That is some story!! When I was growing up on the farm next to us the family also had 13 children but their story is much tamer. One became a nun, one was mentally challenged, and one was born with cleft palate. He was one of the youngest and I hardly knew him but he went to school with my sisters and apparently was an awful kid. Maybe he got teased and that made him nasty, although his lip was quite well "fixed" through cosmetic surgery.
    Memories, huh?

  10. Your point about people minding their own business is true, I'm sure. Wives and children were considered the property of a man not so long ago. Thank goodness things have changed!


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