My Bro', Roderick Perry Hughes Jr.
Sandy was the first respondent to my note about who I am and since she had little experience in knowing my brother, asked me to record some words about our relationship and joint experiences. Below is a first pass at that and I will try to drag him and his family into other life events as we go along.
First, let’s get his name straight. It is not clear what my father’s name was. I think he was named after his mother’s father, Roderick Perry but Dad’s dog tag from WW1 labeled him as Rod Perry Hughes. There may have been a contraction going into service to get through some registration process quicker. Ginny can probably resolve this issue from census records or other family records. My father was also know to his friends (especially business one) simply as R.P.
Nevertheless, my brother was Roderick Perry Hughes Jr. Incidentally, there are at least three following generations with the same name.
In any case in early memories he was known to family and all that knew him as, Perry. It seems like that is a Hughes habit for attaching middle name handles to Juniors. When he returned home from the marine service, he insisted that he be called Rod and all of his adult friends obeyed but I think Mimi, Pa and I stayed with Perry.
I do not have vivid memories of my early years with Perry. He was five years older than me and we did not share a lot in the arena of play and games. I do remember playing checkers and monopoly with him. Of course, tree climbing was an active sport of all ages of farm boys and we had a yard full of big maple trees and lots of woods on the farm It is a wonder that both of us survived boyhood without broken bones. As a sport we also swam together. Bullock Pen creek ran through our farm and supplied a variety of “swimming holes”. Among
them were the “Sycamore Hole”, “Hughes’ Hole” and “Johnson’s Hole” They varied in depth, size and available trees from which to jump. All are now at the bottom of Bullock Pen Lake. Also swimming quality was proportional to recent rainfall. Swim suits were not needed. We both probably got our first view of female anatomy by distant views of visiting female swimmers.
Perry was always a good student and managed to finish high school a year early in 1939. I think he skipped a grade in his elementary school at Verona probably because our mother had taught him to read before his school years.
Perry was a good athlete and basketball player. We like all families were in regular attendance at all ball games. I was the manager of the team mascot, my one eyed Boston Terrier. Butch was trained to bark on command and he performed for every goal. He also would grab a leash and hold tenaciously while being rotated off the floor by centrifugal force. We did do basketball things together with a goal on the end of the scale house and he mentored me into basketball. We both had Joe, Lee Duval’s son, as a basketball mate. He his sister, father, aunt and uncle lived on our farm. He was the best shooter but his school (which was separate from ours in those days) did not have a basketball team.
I always looked on my brother as a mentor. The age spread kept us from being very competitive with each other. I do not ever remember getting into a fight with him. During younger years he was always around to help me repair or build toys, do homework, or finish a tinkertoy, erector set or chemistry set project.
Among his teen age accomplishments that I remember is his passion for tap dancing. He was a good dancer in general but tap had a special appeal for him. Remember that tap dancing was the theme of many
movies and musicals of that time. People like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers were star dancers of that time and many big bands had a tap dancer in their repertoire (even Lawrence Welsh had a tap dancer). He took weekly lessons from a teacher, Mrs. Krause in Walton and did daily practice session with a 78 rpm Victrola. His teacher also taught piano and put on a big recital of her students at the James Theatre in Walton every year.
Perry graduated from Crittenden High School in 1939 and then moved on to college at Hanover College near Madison, Ind. I do not have strong memories of our relationship during his late high school and early college years. That was probably because during that period he discovered girls and did not have much time for a younger brother. I don’t remember their names but I remember them as being very pretty. One was from Crittenden and, I think, was a classmate. Another had a last name of Southern and lived in West Carrollton, Oh.
Our families were friends and I remember playing with her two brothers who were near my age while Perry was courting ? . I think he found his real love, Ann Kasper, during his second year at Hanover. As best as I can remember Perry was still dating ? Southern during the summer of 1940 when he was home from college. They went to big band dances at Castle Farm, a dance hall near Seymour and Reading Roads in Cincy, at the Cotton Club on 5th st. Cincy and at Coney Island. Another venue for dance bands during this period was the Alms Hotel near Victory Parkway and William Howard Taft. Marge and I also danced at some of these venues except for the Cotton Club.
The Southern family reminds me of another character in the Hughes family story. Mable Shebanyek was a friend of my mother and I will return to her later for some interesting life experiences. She was originally from Middletown, Ohio and was friends of the Southerns causing our families to become friends.
This is enough for a round of Hughes history and I will return to the more mature relationships with my brother at a later time.