Mixsonian Barbara and Morris

Early Married Life

Morris and Barbara settled into to their married life with Morris working at the University and Barbara working at McCrory’s.  With both Morris and Billy working at the University, they would drive to work together in Morris’s or Billy’s car.  It was only about a ten-minute drive to the University which Morris was happy about with it being considerably shorter than the half hour drive he had when he lived in Flemington with his parents.  Barbara and Betty would sleep later than the men before getting up, fixing breakfast, then driving the other car to McCrory’s that didn’t open until 10 in the morning.  At lunch time the two girls would sit at the soda fountain in the store and have a grilled cheese sandwich and coke together.  The men would get home from work shortly after five and Barbara and Betty would make dinner having it on the table at six o’clock after which they would clear the table and play Canasta or Monopoly until it was time for bed.

Barbara and Betty did everything together, buying groceries together with the $10 a week they had budgeted, they ate a lot of corn beef and Spam. They also did the housework together, it taking only a few minutes to clean as they had very little furniture, no carpets and only one small bathroom. On their day off from working at McCrory’s they took their clothes to a laundry mat and washed them, then brought them home and hung them up on a clothesline in the back yard and after drying would spend the rest of the day ironing them. Barbara said that every piece of clothing they owned had to be ironed with Morris's shirts and pants being starched first.  At least she had an electric iron, Morris’s mother still used an iron heated on the wood stove.

The four of them were happy and enjoyed their time together but in March Betty found she was pregnant was feeling so bad she had to quit work.  When Betty told Barbara she was pregnant, Barbara said, "Oh, Morris and I are going to wait a couple of years before we have any children.” Much to her surprise, in April, she too found herself pregnant and was so sick in the mornings she also quit work and she and Betty stayed home together in their misery.   Fortunately, the sickness didn’t last long and the two of them spent most their days planning for the arrival of their babies.  

That summer Barbara remembers as being one of the best ever, her and Betty would sleep late, ate all of the watermelon and chocolate pudding they wanted gaining weight which for Barbara seemed like a lot since she only weighed 97 pounds when she got married.  Barbara particularly loved chocolate pudding because she never got enough of it when she was growing up having to share with her brothers and sisters, so that summer, she and Betty would make pan of it and sit out on the steps of the front porch and eat the whole thing.   Some nights, after their game of Canasta they would drive to the Krispy Cream and get milkshakes and a dozen donuts which Barbara and Betty would eat most of. 

With the Barbara not working they found it hard to live on Morris’s three hundred dollars a month he got from his job at the University, so Morris and Billy got early morning paper routes to make extra money.  Morris and Billy would get early and deliver the paper before going to work at the University.  The reliability of their cars were always an issue and on several mornings either Morris’s or Billy’s car would break down and the girls would deliver the papers.  Dad and Billy would get up early, drive to the Sun’s office, pick up a stack of papers, roll each one putting a rubber band around it then driving their route going from house to house, tossing the paper out the window into the person’s yard or driveway.    Years later when

I was living on my own and short of money I thought I would get a paper route.  I contacted the paper who said yes, there was an opening and could go with the current delivery man to check it out.  I got up at 5 AM and met the man at the paper company to pick up his stack of papers then road in his car with him on his route.  He was happy to have with him as I could roll the papers and put the rubber band on them while he drove saving him time.  It was a strange experience, totally dark except for a few street lights, no other cars on the road as we drove down one street, then another and another as he tossed the paper out the window to a house on his side of the car or sometimes with a hook shot over the car to a house on the other side of the car.  House after house, street after street, although many people got the paper at that time, it wasn’t all of them, so he had to know who got the paper and who didn’t.  His driving was crazy, driving on the wrong side of the road, going the wrong way, U-turns, even going backwards down a short street. After about an hour he dropped me off at the paper company when he stopped to pick up another stack of papers for the remainder of is route.  It was crazy, there was no way I could remember all the houses and route, and my ’68 Camaro with dual exhaust and cherry bomb mufflers would wake half the neighborhood.  I didn’t call them back about doing the route.

On the last day of July 1951, Betty and Billy’s daughter was born who they named Janice Elizabeth Yawn.  With the arrival of the baby, Betty and Billy needed they the second bedroom, so Barbara and Morris found a small apartment at 1311 NW 7th Avenue, Gainesville.  Having only a bed, Barbara’s parents gave them a few pieces of furniture and they bought a new couch at Sears, again on credit. Needing pots and pans to cook with, Barbara finally made the past payment on the ones she had on layaway. 

Barbar, Morris with baby Brenda

On November 9th the University homecoming parade was held on University Avenue which the main street though Gainesville, which was closed, and people lined both sides of the street to watch the parade.  The Chemistry Department was in Leigh Hall just a block from University Avenue and in previous years Barbara would meet Morris there and walk to see the parade but that year, with the baby due, she missed the parade going instead for a checkup at Doctor Winston Summerlin’s office who told her to go home and take two tablespoons of castor oil and wait.  On the way home she and Morris stopped by the drugstore and bought a bottle of castor oil and at home she tried to take a spoon full of it, but it tasted so bad she couldn’t swallow it until Morris mixed it with some sugar for her to get it down. It was about midnight when she knew the baby was coming and Morris drove her to Alachua General hospital and the baby was born at 4:18 AM on November 10th and they named her Brenda Gay Mixson. Per the custom at that time, she stayed in the hospital for five days where Morris would come visit her when he got off work bringing her donuts.

It was cold that November and Barbara was always cold. Their apartment was poorly insulated and heated with bottle gas which would last only a few days before needing to be refilled which was costing them way too much, so they looked for a new place to live and by luck were able to rent the house right next door to Betty and Billy.  When Christmas came Barbara and Morris celebrated with Betty and Billy with most of the gifts being for their new babies.

Updated: 08-08-2022