A Story told by V. R. Rawls..... my dad.. April, 1999


Howard Rawls


Delmar Rawls

Jungle Town

by V.R. Rawls

About 1939 or 1940 we had just moved to Oakland. We had a house on near the intersection of fourteenth and fourteenth. Dad was working a Moorers dry dock and mother was working at Woolworth.

My uncles Howard and Delmar were staying with us for a while. One particular day they were to babysit me, my brother and sister while my parents were a work. Howard was recovering from surgery on his knee and was on crutches. Delmar was in the Army and had just finished his basic at Fort Ord. The house was small and I guess we three kids got on their nerves after a while.

Just across the street was a Drug Store and a Bar called Jungle Town. The uncles devised a method to beat boredom..Put three kids in the front yard, a spot about ten foot by twenty foot about eight feet above the side walk with a concrete retaining wall and a vertical drop to the side walk. They could then cross the street and have a beer at Jungle Town. All they had to do was come to the door of the bar once in awhile and look across the street and check on the kids. They would be safe so high above the sidewalk It sounded like a plan. They explained the rules to us kids and promised to bring us some candy from the Drug Store when they came back. They were only going to be gone a little while.

They crossed the street to the bar and we three kids sat on top of the wall and waited for our candy. We sat for a while and one of them came to the door of the bar and waved at us and went back in. After a while they came to the door and waved again. Then it was a long time and nobody came to wave to us. Then we heard a lot of noise from the bar and after awhile Howard and Delmar came back across the street real fast. They didn't go by the Drug Store and they didn't bring any candy and the wouldn't go back and get some. We were still glad to seen them come back . Because when they left they locked the house and all of us kids had to go to the bathroom real bad.

They were joking and laughing when they took us in the house, but I didn't find out why until my dad came home and they told him of their misadventures at the bar. It seems that they had their beer and few more as did a few more of the patrons and as luck would have it a disagreement evolved in to a fight. Howard being on crutches went to the floor early and was getting walked on a bit, this upset Delmar and he began to pound on those with big feet. Delmar was out numbered and needed a little help. Howard found a way. As a new comer faced off with Delmar, Howard would take his crutch and hit them in the testicles. This would open them up for Delmar to cold cock them. Sometimes Howard just reached up and grabbed their testicles and hung on until Delmar took care of them. It didn't take them long to clean out the place an escape across the street. As I remember it, Dad thought it was pretty funny but when Mother came home and heard the story she didn't laugh at all and really chewed on all of them. She didn't think babysitters belonged across the street drinking nor did she like the idea that her five year old blind son should be sitting on top of an eight foot high wall above a concrete walk in wet pants for a few hours . Delmar and Howard left right after and they didn't get our candy they promised us. After dinner Mom made Dad take us across to the Drug Store and I got a Carmellow. There was probably more to the story but I was just happy to get my Carmellow.

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