We have previously introduced Slade, the last member of the West Family to occupy the house. Today we will get better acquainted with him. We begin with a picture of him made in 1972 when the historic marker was unveiled. He was 68 at the time.
We go back to his early life by showing a picture of him and his caregiver when he was 5 Â½ months old. It is obvious the West family was part of the upper level of society in those days. These were people who had the nice homes, could trace their ancestry back to the colonial days and had house maids, gardeners etc.
We now show a picture of Slade and Marion at St. Elmo.
I recently found a diary for 1929 that Slade kept. He had his 25th birthday this year. While at home he did lots of work on the house. He and his mother would often visit in their neighbors homes for tea, dinner or to play bridge. He went to see lots of movies and he rated them in his diary. They often visited with the Holdens. He occasionally had a date with Sally Carter. He mentions buying an Oxford grey suit and pair of shoes at Schriebers and going out to visit the McKinnons. He tells of their buying a Ford Sports Coupe and of he and his mother getting driving lessons.
Early in the diary (January) he mentions Mr. Bannerman comes to play bridge with them and Mr. Whiteall. Mr. Whiteall seems to be a store keeper who is often at the home. He helped Slade with repairs etc. As the years go by he seems to be more involved in the West family affairs.
I do not have the records regarding his education, but am confident he attended the local schools. I do know he went to the University of North Carolina. In the diary, he attended school in Columbus, Ga., from March 14, 1929 to October 10, 1929. He came back to Marianna and on the 15th. Mr. Whiteall and Mrs. West took him to Mobile in the Whippet (auto). They left on the 18th. On the 22nd he was made a part of the crew of the steamer S.S. GATOMPSKA. His first assignment was mess boy. As a result of this and what follows I believe his schooling in Columbus had to do with maritime affairs.
I think I should mention here he always referred to his mother as "Mama". I want to include here the entire entry for Feb. 26, 1929 â€“ "Got up at 5:00 AM, left at 6:15 for Columbus (Mama and me). Went by Victory Bridge saw a terrible wreck. Had breakfast at hotel in Bainbridge and went by Donaldsonville(sp), Blakely ,Cuthvert, Cusseta where we had to detour 11 miles. We travelled 203 miles arriving at 3:00 PM. The Doziers came out late." This was an 8 hour trip. Now we make Columbus in a little over 2 hours.
While in school in Columbus, he was often out to St. Elmo. He mentions his Aunt Marion quite often. I presume this is his mother's sister for whom his brother Marion was named. He made lots of short trips. I want to mention one that occurred on Aug 5. He rode to Atlanta with Kirk Smith in his Pierce Arrow. This was a very high class car. I saw one when I was about seven years old. It was a big convertible with a rumble seat and chrome luggage rack on the back. It belonged to the richest lady in our town.
Now back to the diary. It begins on Jan. 1, 1929 in the Caribbean Sea at night. He reports seeing lights on the shore of Cuba. He stays in Havana until the fifth when he boards the "Gov. Cobb" for Key West. The weather was very rough. Water came so high most of the second class passengers got wet and everyone was sea sick but him. From there he took the S.S. Cuba to Tampa where he stayed, visiting with Marion. He left there by train on the 8th, taking a parlor car to Jacksonville. He left there in a day coach at 9:40 PM and got to Marianna at 5:00 AM on the 9th. He walked to the house. He slept until about 9:30 and walked down to the store to see Mr. Whiteall. This is his first mention of Mr. Whiteall.
Now back to Oct. 22. The ship Slade was assigned to was a freighter. After much ado they sailed to Pensacola where they loaded the ship. He had sent a telegram to his mother saying in would be in Pensacola for a short time. She and Mr. Whiteall went for a visit. The ship sailed for Hamburg, Germany on Sunday, the 10th of November. He was assigned to the saloon mess. He describes the whole trip telling about passing Key West, up the east coast and between Cape Hatteras and New York they headed east. On the 16th he says the waves were so high they got on the deck. On Friday, the 22nd there was high wind and hail. He says the waves were higher than the ship, about 150' high. Water came in the galley and the hall to the saloon. When off duty he slept and read and loaned equipment to two boys to make pictures of the storm. Their orders were changed and they went to Bremerhaven instead of Bremen. We will return to Slade next week.