This article contains the final part of the memoirs of Addie Mae Ritter Miller, as told to her daughter, Rosanne Miller Redman in 2003. Addie Mae was the granddaughter of George Hugo Ritter, the man who settled Flour Bluff in 1890. Addie Mae, who died November 25, 2009, paints a personal picture of a time gone by in Flour Bluff and nearby areas in her memoirs. It was her desire to leave the story of her life in early Flour Bluff and Corpus Christi to her descendants. The rest of Addie Mae’s memories appear in earlier articles on this website.
Herbert and I were married on October 2, 1936, in the rectory of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He was not a Catholic, so we couldn’t marry in the church. Mama and Daddy were there, and Alice and Mickey stood up for us. It was supposed to be a small affair with only Alice and Mickey there, but Mama had to be there, and she unknowingly invited a few other guests. I always regretted not having the Millers there. Mama also planned a small reception. When Herbert got there, I thought he was going to leave me at the altar, but he didn’t.
Alice and Mickey married in 1937 at the same place. She was working at Weil Brothers and then became pregnant and had to quit. I took over her job (which had been my job first). Herbert and I lived in town for a short while until I finished working there. We then moved to Flour Bluff so Herbert could fish. We lived in a small house that used to be Ben and Opal’s. They had lived in it for years until they built their house on Don Patricio Road. When it became empty, I asked Grandma Ritter if I could have it, and she said yes (Remember, I was a favorite of hers). That probably caused some strife in the Ritter clan. Herbert had a job driving the school bus for Flour Bluff School District. He was the first driver for the school. They furnished him with a small car, also. That job and fishing kept food on the table.
We spent our time playing bridge and dominoes and going to dances. A lot of time was spent with Alice and Mickey. I have many happy memories of those times. They had started their family, and we enjoyed their children, Deana, Butch, and Cheryl, so much! We were late in starting our family, so I guess they filled a void for us.
We always had good friends and lots of family around – Aunt Opal and Uncle Ben and their family, Aunt Alice and uncle Harry and their family, Cattie and Lewis and their family, and Annie. Aunt Jo always had a special place in our hearts. Then there was Velma and JW and their five kids. They always came to Corpus in the summer, and we enjoyed going to the beach and having meals with them. They were our big city relatives. Melba and Jim Porter were always there to help us out when needed. Herbert used to drop me, Kathy, and Karen off at their house on Saturdays for lunch. Clyde and Howard were there also. They were the fishermen of the family and kept us supplied with fresh fish. We shared holiday meals with Alice and family and Melba, Jim, Clyde, and Howard. We continued many traditions started by our own parents. Thanksgiving was usually spent with Herbert’s family. Christmas Eve was always spent with Alice and her family. We exchanged gifts and at Mexican food and finger food. A big turkey meal was served on Christmas Day with Herbert’s family again.
My mother died in 1955 of liver problems. I missed her terribly. Life was not the same without her. She only got to spend a short time with her grandchildren. My father died in 1964 of a heart attack. I also missed him terribly.
Our family was finally started with the birth of our first daughter, Mary Kathryn, on October 28, 1945, at Spohn Hospital. (Miss Lena was gone.) She was named for Grandma Ritter. Karen Elizabeth – named for Grandma Miller – arrived on December 25, 1946. We were having Christmas dinner at the Miller’s when I decided I hat to go to the hospital. The doctor kept saying to me, “You are not going to have this baby on Christmas, are you?” Well, I surprised him and the whole family! Our family was complete with the birth of Rosanne Louise – named after Mama – on August 14, 1956.
I suffered some ill health after Rosanne’s birth. Kathy and Karen were only 10 and 9, but they had to help out a lot around the house. I was always puny during those years, but I got better.
Herbert stared working as a carpenter after being a bus driver. We never had a lot of money, but we always managed to squeeze by. We lived in the same house all those years. Before I had the girls, I would work at Weil Brothers when they needed me. I had to ride a bus to town. As a carpenter, Herbert worked on building the Naval Air Station. He also worked on the Harbor Bridge. He continued with odd jobs until his retirement. I started working at Flour Bluff Schools in 1962. At first, I worked in the Primary Library and then moved to the curriculum building. At some point, the curriculum building closed, and I was moved to the new Primary School until my retirement in 1982.
Herbert died on November 30, 1974, of lung cancer. I would describe my relationship with him as stormy, but we did love each other, and I felt a great emptiness when he was gone. The rest of my life has been spent enjoying retirement. I got to travel because of Rosie; until then, I had never left the state of Texas. I traveled to Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. I made my first quilt while staying with her for the birth of Nathan. I made many more quilts after that, and I am still making quilts to this day, although I have slowed down a bit. With the impending birth of two great granddaughters, I just completed two more baby quilts. I’m sure I am not done because there are more great grandchildren expected.
I lived in Flour Bluff for 80 years before moving in with Karen and Mike. Since 1997, we have lived in New Braunfels, Seguin, and now Schertz. I continue to share their home. I am the last one left in my generation. I have lost my parents and both my sister and brother. Aunt Opal and Melba are still with us, and I have a few cousins left. I do enjoy getting together with them and talking about old times. I wanted to share my stories with all of you in hopes our family legacy will continue. It is good to know where you come from. I pray that my parents can look down upon all of you and see what a wonderful family they helped create. They would be proud!
Kathy married Kenneth Nelson, and they had one daughter, Kimberly Janean. Kenny was killed in 1973, and Kathy then married Douglas Orrell. They have one son, Eric Douglas. Kim married Troy Perkins, and they have two children, Kathryn Victoria and Collin Andrew.
Karen married Michael Mosel, and they have two children, Michael Kreg and Kelly Marie. Michael married Cindy Jones. They are expecting a daughter in January. Kelly married Robert Talavera.
Rosanne married Michael Redman, and they have three children, Jennifer Michelle, Stephanie Nicole, and Nathan William. Jennifer married Michael Robertson, and they have one son, Michael Grady, and are expecting a daughter in December. Stephanie married David Flowers.
The family tree continues to grow….
Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day. She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.