by Travis Hardin
Emily Little Gondola
Searching in late 2012 for information on the
Little family, I found a small tree containing Emily Little posted by
her grandson Marc Lucca at this url: trees.ancestry.com/...
Emily Little was the second child of Alma
and Graham Little. Until now, I only knew of her and her siblings from
a photo made when her family visited White relatives back in Alabama in
Emily married Italo Gondola, a son of
Italian immigrants. They were born and died in Vallejo, in
Solano County, California. There were two children: Anita
Louise Gondola married Carl Lucca, father of Marc Lucca. The other was
Larry Lee Gondola who died in 2005. I constructed the tree here from
his obituary and the Marc Lucca tree.
I had a little correspondence
with Marc Lucca, and what follows are some excerpts of his
"I moved to Oregon to go to college, and I
really liked it."
"Fred and Virginia Little moved to Oregon to
be close to their daughter in the 80s when she went to college. They
moved back, and then retired to southern Oregon. Aunt Virginia died a
few years back, and her daughter Patricia might still be in the area.
We don’t have contact with her."
"Emily, my grandmother ... was a
phenomenal grandmother. She loved her kids and grandkids
fully. Fussy, pretentious (as a reaction to the poverty they
escaped in Alabama and the early years in California), she was a
consummate mother, as she was the oldest and took care of her siblings."
"Alma was really sweet to me (she lived
until I was out of high school)."
with Barbara Little Dugan
Marc Lucca put me in touch with his great
aunt Barbara Little Dugan -- Emily's sister . Our two talks by
telephone in January 2013 were pleasant and informative of the Little
family and of the larger White family.
What follows is a lightly-edited transcript
of our two conversations. She spoke from her home
in northwest Oregon. The audio of the first interview is in the "Extras" folder.
Telephone interview with Barbara Dugan 2
by Travis Hardin
[about the 1942 picture of the Little children]
I was 12 years old (You're talking to Barbara). My younger
sister would have been 5 – that's Clara. My brother is 5 years older
than I, so he would have been 16 I guess. Then my older sister – that's
Emily – Emily passed away last year. Fred passed away when he was 68.
Clara is living up here in Oregon also. I am 81, and I'm in pretty good
health. I have a little bit of a heart problem but I ignore that.
T. You sound very young.
Well, I'm 82. I don't know about that, but I
love life, I guess it all comes about because I love the Lord. It makes
things so much easier. We moved up here to Oregon in 89 from the
Vallejo (Va- LAY-o) area. No, at that time I lived in Modesto. I think
they all lived in Vallejo at the time.
Now what else can I tell you that you need
to know? You were talking about the pictures. We were back there [to
Alabama] in 1942. We drove back in a Studebaker. I can't remember, it
was a few years old. It was during wartime. We could go only, I think,
45 miles an hour. It was an exciting time for me, being 12 years old. I
look back on it. It was a great time to get to see everybody.
And now the only ones that are living is my
younger sister and myself. My younger sister would be...
T: She was born 27 April 1937.
T. I've got your birthdays here. California was very kind to put those
Emily's birthday was December 1st. Clara's
birthday is April 27th. And my mother's birthday was September 3rd,
‘01. My dad's birthday was– oh, come on –
T: How about 14 January 1894?
T: I would love to ask about your parents a
little bit. Did your father die in Hayward, California?
Yes. They were living in Hayward. And my
mother, when she passed away, was living in Vallejo.
T: What did your dad – As I can piece things
together, your father worked for Kaiser – What was it, building ships
or submarines or airplanes or something?
Yes, he did during the wartime. He worked
for Kaiser on Mare Island. They build ships. I think he was still
working there when we came back from Alabama. And then, I remember when
I was in high school, he worked as a carpenter. He was building a dam
or something up in Napa County. Mom – my mother – mainly she worked in
Well my folks were not well off. In my
opinion they were really quite poor. When I grew up they lived in
Strathmore, which was a little tiny town. Mom and Dad both worked in
the packing house, packing oranges. Dad picked oranges. I remember he
used to talk about going out to smudge. Do you know what that is? I
guess smudging was setting – it's a fire, they call them smudge pots. I
can't think of what was the name of them, really, but he started those
whenever there was a – when it got really cold they'd go out
and start these pots, and that's what kept the oranges from freezing. A
very cold job. Probably nothing like it would be living in the Middle
East, or something, but we were definitely not well off. We had a
little tiny house.
When we lived in Strathmore, I remember we
had a little house. I remember on the back of the lot there were ant
hills. It had a kitchen, a living room, and a back porch – screened in.
T: In Tulare County?
Being from the South we pronounced in
tu-LAHR-e County [short a]. Most people called it Tu-LA-re County
T: Did you know any of the other Whites? Did
you know Ernest or Jessie?
Yes, I knew Ernest and his wife Hester. In
fact, I lived with them for a little while. I lived with them – me and
my dad -- and this is why I'm talking poor – whenever they moved up to
Vallejo there was nowhere to live. We lived in the tent for about six
weeks. I'm talking dirt tent. We lived in a tent for six weeks whenever
we first moved up to Vallejo. My aunt and uncle were Ernest and Hester,
and would be ... your uncle?
T: Did you know that Hester died in March of
I was going to ask about that. I always
liked Hester. I thought she was the nicest person.
My mom did not get along with her brothers
at all. It was Ernest. She and Ernest didn't get along.
T: These Whites have trouble – patchy ...
Does your family have grudges?
I'm wondering if it's not
T: I wonder that too.
Praise God I don't have them. I refuse to
have a grudge against anybody. If you can't forgive you can't be
forgiven. That's what scares me. I know that my brother Fred had a
T: Against? ...
I know his grudge was so bad that when he
passed away he had never even seen his grandchild, because he wouldn't
talk to his daughter.
T: Oh my God.
Oh, it was awful. And my mom did not like
her brother, she didn't like her sister-in-law. Now my brother was in
the same boat. Emily would hold a grudge for awhile; eventually she got
rid of it. But my younger sister – oh my goodness – I don't get to see
her very often because I can hardly stand to– she– she holds grudges.
It bothers me very much, because some of those grudges are against my
T: I'm sorry to hear that. You know, I'm
composing a letter to Mark. He mentioned something on that subject. I'm
composing a letter telling him a little something about the strange
personalities over here.
Oh, I didn't know that it -- This is very
interesting. Maybe it's a good thing I find this out, because it has
really disturbed me. I remember I had a clock on my sister one time.
She said, well she has to ask me to forgive her. I said "no, she
doesn't have to ask you to forgive her -- you have to forgive her." It
doesn't matter that you're asked or not -- That's a grudge.
T: The thing about the grudges, it's
amazing, it must be something in the genes, rather than the
environment, I don't know.
I kinda wonder sometimes. Personalities are
passed on. That's kind of scary.
T: Now let me ask you – I don't want to
overtax you –
Oh I like to talk about the past.
T: I was wondering what you know – the
person I know the least about is Jessie White, Jessie Jones.
I didn't know a lot about her either. We
didn't see her very often. Now Melvin – did you know her son Melvin?
When I got you I thought you were...
T. No, I know their names, but I don't know
where they are. I don't know them, I cant find anything else out about
them. Do you know where any of them went to?
I had some information I was looking at the
other day. When I lived in Modesto and we lived in the country and we
have a big reunion, Jessie didn't come. Melvin came. Her son came, and
his wife. Now he would probably be, if he's living, he's almost the age
of my brother, so he would be almost 90 now. I thought that's who you
were talking about. You're talking about your grandfather?
T: Yes, the Melvin who is over here in
Alabama is my great-uncle. He would be Jessie's brother. Melvin White
is Jessie's brother, and my grandfather is Ausie White, also Jessie's
brother, and your mother's brother.
Your grandparents – no, they couldn't be
T: My mother's dead and my father and my
grandparents. I'm looking and what I have on Melvin Jones was that he
was born in 1926.
OK, that would be almost the same age as my
brother. He (Melvin) had polio when he was a kid. He couldn't use one
of his hands – it was kind of useless. She had 2 other – She
had four children. One was Cecil...
T: Annie Laurie?
Anna. Yes, there was an Anna. I think that's
the third child. First was Cecil. Then there was Eunice. Yes. Eunice
was the second one and Melvin was the last one.
I have an old address book here, and once in
a while I dig it out when I'm looking for an old address. And I think
it has an address in there for ... Eunice or some information about
her. The reunion had to be – we moved up here in 89, so the reunion was
85 – somewhere between 85 and 89.
T: What I'm doing is, I'm trying to get a
history of the family together, who's kin to who and a little something
about their history, and that's all.
I think it's very interesting. The thing
about the grudges I found very interesting. I've been wondering where
this came from.
T: Well that I will keep in the back of the
– This will not be something I put in the genealogy. But it'll be
something that is interesting.
I understand but when I find it happens this
way and when I meet other families – my husband's family never had that
problem. I look at some of these things and say, "Oh my goodness. What
is this? Is this something that's contagious or is this something that
comes from our genes? I'm still looking here in the old address book.
Sorry about the shrieking. I have a hearing aid and sometimes it
doesn't like for me to put the phone up there...
T: Isn't that interesting. I hear that Fred
was hard of hearing.
He had a hearing problem. My mother, she
couldn't hear. By the time she passed away she couldn't hear anything.
She also couldn't see any longer. The problem was partly hers, because
she had one cataract removed and she wouldn't have the other one done.
So she completely lost her sight. She wouldn't have the other
cataract removed because somebody told her you don't have to have the
lens removed – oh, no, she said "You don't have to have an
implant." I said how could you not have the implant? You're taking out
the lens. She wouldn't do it. I don't know who told her that, but it
was an old wive's tale. I'm still looking.
T: By the way, her brother Melvin White is quite hard of hearing, and
so is one of his daughters.
I didn't have any problem until maybe four
years ago. Oh, I've got another book here. Maybe it's in this one now.
I was reluctant to get a hearing aid. I'm so glad I did. It's so much
easier on my family. And I don't want to miss out on anything. OK, this
book is a little easier to look at. It's in alphabetic order but I
can't come up with her last name.
T: Who are we talking about?
We're talking about Jessie's family.
T: OK, there's a Stadtmiller.
Stadtmiller. That's what it is. Now here it
is. And Eunice. My goodness I don't know if they would still be there.
I even have a phone number for them.
T: Well here's somebody who'd be alive.
Gloria Darlene Stadtmiller is the name of their daughter. She was born
in 1939 in Tulare County.
My goodness, I've never heard of her. Where
T: I don't know. She was born in Tulare
County. I can see all the births on the Internet. I looked previously
and I copied it over to my genealogy records.
Do you have the address of Oral and Eunice
Oral was an electrician. I remember that
because when he came to visit us he was looking at our house and I said
something about I'm looking for an extension cord. He had an extension
cord and he fixed it for me.
T: Wait, Barbara. She died – Eunice
Stadtmiller died in 2006 in Redondo Beach – maybe this a different one?
Did she ever live in Los Angeles?
Yes, she lived in Redondo Beach.
It's 246 Paseo de Granada, Redondo Beach,
California. I don't know if her husband is still there – I only saw him
once after I got–They weren't at my wedding, so I don't know when I saw
them the last time except when they came to see me. They are the only
people –Wait, Melvin came too, I think -- They're the only people that
came to the reunion. I think Melvin came too, or maybe he was telling
me something about Melvin. He didn't get married until later in life,
so I don't know if he had any children.
T: I'm going to click on something else
here. I'm going back to Eunice's father and mother. OK, we're talking
about James Melvin Jones? I have that he died – you'll have to tell me
if this sounds right – he died in 2009 in Lubbock, Texas. Does that
I wouldn't know that because I completely
lost track of him after – I guess my older sister had some information
on him, but I don't know what she had either.
T: This could be somebody else.
No, I think it's the same person. I wouldn't
be a bit surprised. I don't know where he worked, but -- where did you
say, Lubbock Texas? -- Seems to me there was something to do with the
government, but I'm not sure -- or building something.
T: Do you have children?
I have two sons. That's the reason we moved
here [to Oregon]. We moved here because the children were here. My
oldest son just turned 59. My youngest son is 57.
T: May I put those down in my records? Would
you give me the name of the oldest son?
Ronald Dugan. He was born April 16, 1952. My
youngest son – this sounds so funny calling them the oldest and the
youngest – my youngest son was born in 54.He would be 58. They both
live up here. My one son lives right across the lake from me.
Yes, a nice lake. I love having him there, and that's the
reason we moved up here. I said "Let's move to Oregon" and he said OK,
T. What was the reason you moved?
Because our kids were here. They took our
grandchildren up here, too – how do you like that? (Laughing),. One son
has four children. The other son, the youngest son, has six children.
T: I'll get that from you later, but what's
the name of your youngest son?
His name is Donald. Donald Dugan. My
daughter-in-law says, "Barbara! Why did you name your kids Ronald and
Donald? We've had some good laughs on it, because there wasn't a Ronald
McDonald when we named them.
T: You're in good health. Your husband has
died, has he?
Yes, he passed away April 17th, ‘99.
T: Mark has Astoria Oregon is where he died?
Yes. He was born in Minnesota. I met him
when he was in the Navy when we lived in Oakland. We were married for
T. I was married 20 years then I was single
for 20 years then I'm married again. (She laughs) I enjoyed the
independence because I didn't quite experience it when I was younger.
Well I have absolutely–there's no way I
would get married again. ____ for that anyway, but I have no desire. I
don't want to take care of somebody. And I certainly want them taking
care of me.
T: I've talked with Ernest White's son and
his name is Orville. But he calls himself–
He doesn't like to be called Orville. He
likes to be called O. J.
T: That's what I gather. I finally got
enough information that I figured out where he was. He's in Fresno.
He's been in Fresno all his adult–
I haven't seen him in –oh, my goodness...
probably... When we lived in Modesto my mom and I went on a trip back
to the old places where we lived. We drove around, and at that time we
visited Orville and his wife. I haven't seen them or heard from them
since. We were in Modesto, so that would be before ‘89. I haven't heard
from him or anything. Have you talked to him?
T: Yes, look up his wife's Facebook page and
they've got lots of lovely pictures...
Oh, that would be interesting to see.
T: ...and that's how I got in touch with
them, and I talked for about 10 minutes with O.J. and he was busy. It's
tax season and he's a CPA – tax – so I said "I'll call you back after
(Laughs) So it's Orville, and I forgot what
her name was.
T: His wife's name is Patricia L. and that's
the way ...
I know they have two children, a boy and a
T: The girl is a lawyer, and the boy is
president of a wholesale fruit company. His name is David and her name
is Melissa. I didn't talk long to him but I was able to find a little
about... They're pretty well documented on the Internet.
Orville if I remember correctly is pretty
cut and dried. He tells you what you need to know and not any more.
(Both laugh) He doesn't really want to talk that badly, I guess. I
T: What I got out of it was that he is an
ambitious person who encouraged his children to study and work hard and
succeed in life. He said as much to me.
I guess he has grandchildren by now.
T: Apparently Melissa in unmarried, but
David has a lovely daughter and a son. They're teenagers – young
teenagers. Look at her Facebook page if it's still public -- It was
public when I looked -- and you can see her pictures. Type in "Patricia
This computer thing is just – I"m going to
start another computer class I guess a week from Monday. I haven't
taken a class yet. I know how to do a lot of stuff, but there's so many
things I think I'm missing. I want to find out more.
T: Yes, people of a certain age, like us,
have trouble with this.
I've always liked office work. I just need
to learn more about that, too.
T: May I call you back and talk some more
another day? I'm going to be hours taking down what you've said.
I can't think of anything else right at the
time that would help. I told you all about Emily and Fred and my family
– my Dad. I'm trying to think if there's anything else we need to talk
about. You can email me too. GRAMMADUGGIE@Q.COM
T: I'm going to put out a DVD. I hope to get
it out in a few weeks. It's not complete but it's got a lot about the
White family. I'll add some of the things I've learned from you, and
I'll get your address and send it to you if you'd like a copy. What's
T: I was simply looking that he [Graham
Little] was working for Kaiser, and you know that was a company which
began very early the health insurance for employees. Very few companies
had that at the time of World War II.
That's right, I forgot about that. The
Kaiser Insurance. Oh that's right, I remember he did go over to Kaiser
Hospital on occasion. I forgot about that. I don't think he was working
for Kaiser. He wasn't [or might have (unclear)]working for Kaiser later
Like a contractor?
Yes. That was when the war was going on.
After that – I remember we moved to Napa because he didn't have a job,
and that was when he started doing some carpentry work. One of the dams
in the area, Mendiceno or something like that.
[Monticello Dam is a dam in Napa County,
California, United States constructed between 1953 and 1957. ]
T: I'll send you what I come up with to
proofread and correct.
My kids will be very interested in this,
especially about the grudge thing. Because we've wondered about that.
That's kind of an interesting thing.
T: We've had – My mother and her
sisters, they've been miffed at each other many times, and they have
cut each other out of their photographs.
Oh my! Really.
T: Is that news?
Yes. My sister got hurt one time whenever
she was visiting me. We always have each other's keys. Whenever I have
to go to Portland I'll stop at her house and go to the bathroom. She
comes to my house and [if] I'm not home, well just come on in and do
what you want to do. So we had a key. I gave her my key – Well she got
angry with me. When I wouldn't get angry with my granddaughter she got
angry with me. She said, "I want my key back." I said, "I won't give
you your key back, and I don't want my key back and I won't accept it.
Because I'm not going to cut you off.." We are at least seeing each
other once in a while now.
This grudge thing I don't even understand.
It doesn't sound like you've got it.
T: It doesn't happen so much in my
generation, but in my mother's generation it was always a grudge with
one of the other brothers or sisters. So strange.
Well I know my mother did not like -- She
and Ernest would get together and it was immediately something would
bug her that he said. He really knew how to pull her chain, and he
seemed to like to pull it.
T: I have a picture–
So it was an interesting thing anyway. And
this has been great. I don't hear from Marc very often, but when I
heard from Marc I thought, Oh my goodness, I've gotta call
about this one. Thanks so much for calling me back.
T: You're welcome. I will show you a picture–
I don't think I gave you an address. 1517 SW
Oak Avenue. Warrenton, Oregon 97146.
Second Telephone Conversation of Barbara Dugan
and Travis Hardin, 11 Feb 2013
Barbara, now age 83 and very conversational
and pleasant to talk to, says she did not have a career, but
she did work at times, which included about five years at Litton
Industries as a secretary. Her husband Kenneth Dugan's career was with
3M Company where at his retirement in his 50's he was in management.
Earlier he had sold copy products for the company. He loved to sell.
They lived most of their lives in southern
California in the Los Angeles area, then moved to central California,
and much later to Oregon.
I asked her about early memories of her
ancestors. I was not over four when Jim White died (she says). When my
parents lived in a rented house in Strathmore in Tulare County Uncle
Ernest and my grandfather came to see us. Ernest wore a black hat all
the time. Ernest read me a book. I remember the name of the book" "The
Little Red Hen Found a Wheat Seed." I would say "Wheeet" with
a rising pitch every time I said it. I guess they thought
that was cute, because I remember them laughing every time I said
"wheeet." Ernest was tall. Jim White was shorter. I don't
remember very much about my grandfather Jim White. He died before I
I remember being told a story of how my
parents (Alma and Graham) met (Barbara says). They were both
on the boat. One lived on one side of the Coosa River and the other on
the other side. (At my prompting she believes it was a ferry. She did
not remember more about the story, but I told her the Whites in 1920
lived at Hokes Bluff on the east side of the Coosa at Croft's Ferry
Road. She registered some memory of Hokes Bluff.)
Her mother Alma had five children. The
firstborn child died at about 18 month. They had named him
Barbara's parents and siblings visited the
Alabama relatives in 1942. That's when the pictures were made, the
pictures that Theoria and Connor had in which Barbara is 12 years old.
She remembers Aunt Vassie–how she chewed tobacco and spat "way over" on
the stove from where she sat a distance away. She remembers spending
the night at Vassie's house, which was a very humble wood-sided house
with cracks. It was in summer. Barbara remembers waking up with itching
mosquito welts all over her. Baking soda was rubbed on the bites.
Barbara did not recall visiting Melvin White
nor the stone house, but she remembers visiting Ausie White. She
remembers the name Theoria. Instead of using a bank, Ausie
said, he kept money in a can in the back yard. He showed her a pile of
cans. He pulled one out and showed her the money inside. His idea was,
Barbara said, that no one knew which can it was in so it was safe. She
remembers something about a gun and that Ausie "handled a gun
Her father also was not careful with a gun,
and no one would hunt with him.
Barbara's husband Kenneth Dugan took up
sculpture as a hobby some years after he retired. He made bronzes. It
was expensive to cast bronze items. He sculpted some horses in
particular. He sold about ten or twelve pieces. A lot stayed in the
family, (says Barbara) and I have several that I'll give to my children
and grandchildren. I have ten grandchildren.