It was 1958 when my husband, daughter, and I moved to Dallas, and my mother
said,"Lock your doors, you are moving to the big city of Dallas, where there is
The meanness she referred to was the highly visible and talked about crime in
Dallas that was publicized in newspapers, radio, and TV all over Texas for years.
Gangsters discovered Dallas in the post war eras. There were nighttime
assassinations and assassination attempts around the city, illegal liquor sales,
uncontrollable gambling, and hundreds of prostitutes that lingered in the city
over several decades. Some say it really took hold when the Dallas city council
voted in favor of an "open city" that included these vices in their preparation
for the Texas Centennial that was held in Dallas in 1936.
By the end of the 1950's, earnest attempts to stem crime changed the
criminal climate and the big city's image, somewhat. My husband assured
my mother we would be safe.
My husband's colleague in his new job drove us around Dallas and
was quick to point out areas where crime occurred with more frequency.
One location, he pointed to was Candy Barr's residence. She
was an infamous burlesque star and friend to gangsters. She was employed
at Jack Ruby's club and many people flocked to see and film her for her
gorgeous, natural beauty, especially in its natural state. She had been arrested
numerous times. Our driver told us it wasn't unusual to have shootings
occur in her neighborhood. Her pictures are still popular on the internet today.
Later, we found out that my husband's colleague who drove us around
Dallas was not without a criminal background, as well. He had several aliases
and different wives under each name. However, he soon left the company
after we arrived. The very famous oil company family who employed my
husband and his colleague did a good job of keeping the criminal
information under wraps.
Through my studies, I have since discovered that one reason Dallas
started cleaning up her act was because "The Greater Dallas Crime
Commission" was organized earlier, in 1952. It was organized to help bring
some stability to the city and rid it of crime.
Also, when we arrived in Dallas, the famous District Attorney,
Henry Wade had been in office eight years and would continue to hold
office twenty-eight years more. He would eventually try and successfully
convict Jack Ruby in 1964 for assassinating Lee Harvey Oswald who was
accused of assassinating President Kennedy, in Dallas, in 1963.
But interestingly Wade did not always win his cases. He would eventually
lose his case in "Roe vs. Wade, " which culminated in the Supreme Court's
Abortion Landmark case, in 1973, which made abortion legal. But no one
seemed to blame him because he was strict on law and order. But possibly too
quick on judgment as numerous cases have since been overturned using DNA
tests, that were not available then.
We found an affordable duplex that summer after my husband finished
college at UT Austin. It was in South Dallas, Oak Cliff. We bought the minimal
amount of second-hand furniture and set up house-keeping. We had one
bedroom, so we placed our daughter's baby bed near ours. She was still
in diapers and barely walking. We only had one air conditioner and placed it
in the living room. We opened the bedroom door and placed a fan near our
beds and it kept us relatively cool in the evening. We solved the problem
by sleeping simply, in fewer clothes. CONTINUED NEXT POST. SEE
WHAT HAPPENS TO ME IN MEAN DALLAS.