The Foundation for The Gator Nation An Equal Opportunity Institution Samuel Proctor Oral History Program College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program Director : Dr. Paul Ortiz Office Manager : Tamarra Jenkins Technology Coordinator : Deborah Hendrix 241 Pugh Hall PO Box 115215 Gainesville, FL 32611 352 392 7168 Phone 352 846 1983 Fax The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) was founded by Dr. Samuel Proctor at the University of Florida in 1967. Its original projects were collections centered around Florida history with the purpose of preserving eyewitness accounts of economic, social, political, religious and intellectual life in Florida and the South In the 45 years since its inception, SPOHP has collected over 5,000 interviews in its archives. Transcribed interviews are available through SPOHP for use by research scholars, students, journalists, and other interested groups. Material is frequently used for theses, dissertations, articles, books, documentaries, museum displays, and a variety of other public uses. As standard oral history practice dictates, SPOHP recommends that researchers refer to both the transcript and audio of an interview when c onducting their work. A selection of interviews are available online here through the UF Digital Collections and the UF Smathers Library system. Oral history interview transcripts available on the UF Digital Collections may be in draft or final format. SP OHP transcribers create interview transcripts by listen ing to the original oral history interview recording and typing a verbatim document of it. The transcript is written with careful attention to reflect original grammar and word choice of each interview ee; subjective or editorial changes are not made to their speech. The draft trans cript can also later undergo a later final edit to ensure accuracy in spelling and format I nterviewees can also provide their own spelling corrections SPOHP transcribers ref er to the Merriam program specific transcribing style guide, accessible For more information about SPOHP, visit http://oral.history.ufl.edu or call the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program office at 352 392 7168. October 2013
PCM 022 Interviewee: Sharon, Dennis Tully (and Gail Tully?) Interviewer: Amanda Noll Date: July 3, 2010 N: This is Amanda Noll with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program from the DT: Dennis Tully. N: And ST: Sharon Tully. N: like to get started just by you telling about your family and how you guys got involved in the Canal Zone. DT: It goes back to, actually, my grandfather, Robert Randall. Robert Lee Randal l He checking on that but they were down there and my mother was down there. My father went there in 1941 and he was in the Army Air Corps. He got out of the Army Air Corps and became a Canal Zone policeman. I found out later, on his deathbed, that he was actually never out of the service. He was a commander in the Navy and he was also a spy because the Canal Zone had all these cables he did. So, it was interesting. I was born in Margarita Canal Zone a church now where my hospital wa s. Sharon, she was born in Col n, and my
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 2 othe r sister, Gail, was born in Col n. So, we are Zonians and we do have the dual citizenship there. We loved it down there. I mean, we lived in several small knit community. If yo u ever want to know what a socialistic society was like, that was a success story, because they provided your housing and everything. Atlantic side, the good side. [Laughter] Balboa is our side. [Laughter] You will hear that referred to. N: Oh, I have. GT: The other side. DT: The other side. GT: the first time in history that the two have gotten along together. [Laughter] DT: Yes, we did. We shared ST: And we did. We got along quite well. [Laughter] DT: Yes, we shared a hospitality house last year with the other side. ST: They even let them drink their alcohol. We were very f riendly. DT: Yeah, we got along great, finally. You know ? But life down there was ST: Idyllic. Paradise.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 3 DT: Yeah, i t was nice. I mean, you could walk around and not have to worry. You had your doors open; you never had to worry about a nybody breaking in. You had Col n, where we were at even back then, it was funny because you could g o around. But if you went into Col n, the women could n ot wear shorts or they would get arrested. That was just the way the place was. N: Uh huh. And that was outside of the Zone? DT: That was outside of the Zon e, right. If they went into Col n, outside of the Zone, in shorts, they would be arrested. ST: Plus, on the Army base there, Fort Gulick, they were not allowed to wear shorts either on the base. The MPs would stop them and make them go back to their house. So, when I went to visit my friends for the weekend, I could not wear any shorts. I had to hav the Army base, but shorts were a no no. They would r eally they would pick you up, as a kid. No one could wear shorts on any of the Army bases. DT: We got our first TV in 1953, I believe. ST: No 56. DT: No ST: Elvis just came out. Pat Boone and we were in Margarita, just come back from the United States visiting Grandma.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 3 DT: watch much TV. We watched wrestling. We had a cat that liked to watch wrestling with us. [Laughter] GT: Tiger. DT: it. When the ads come watch the TV. GT: [Laughter] ST: I wish we had a video. DT: Most of the homes, now, in Old Cristobal and New Cristobal, most of the homes, there was no jungle there. Panama pretty much has thick jungles. But, when we lived in Margarita and France Field, it was jungle. You walk out your door and, the government service had control over the TV until, like, six or care about TV. We played games, we played football, baseball; we were in the jungle. Ring a levio was a famous game, you hid and had to have teams and
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 5 catch each other. I spent most of my time in the jungle. I mean, even weekdays, ST: We w in there. [Laughter] DT: It is always a cross breeze, because the isthmus is only fifty miles wide. So, you always have a wind; a breeze. The only place air conditioned in Panama whe n we lived there was the clubhouse, the commissary, and the movie theater. That was it. ST: l l later. Coco Solo got it before Margarita did. [Laughter] DT: know. But we could get soaked, walk in and get something to eat in the cold and dry off and walk back out and get soaked again. You never caught colds. But it was just a lot of fun down there. The schools were great. When I came to this country, I was a y go ahead; they made me stay back. I had to take everything all over again. It was the most boring thing in the world to do. [Laughter] So but, what else do you ? N: Well, can you tell me a little bit about your mother? Di d she work down there, or ? DT: No. My mom, she was involved in what was that? ST: She was in
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 6 DT: The w ST: I see the ring, the star. GT: Mason? DT: No, sh ST: DT: GT: A lot to do with the Elks Club. DT: Most of the wome was gone a lot because of all the organizations she belonged to. Now, in Panama ST: Eastern Star. GT: There, I knew it was a star. [Laughter] DT: In Panama, they had maids. Now, the Panamanians l oved to be a maid because over there Louise was ours. She was our maid since we were born. ST: You were. I was two.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 7 DT: nsider her a maid. She was there every day. ST: A nanny. DT: She helped raise us. She raised us, and I learned how to cook with her. But she was there every day, working. Like I said, she was family. ST: She was Jamaican. DT: We tried to bring her to the U the day because I was never home. [Laughter] I mean, I was gone. Like I said, TV have the customs they have up here. Life down there was just different. The high school, the grade schools and all, we learned the Panamanian school learned English from the time they started school as their second languag e. Our schools, the American schools, learned Spanish from the time you started school. That way, you both had the two languages, and that way you knew them. So, it was really nice that way. During the summer, the coach several, but we had programs: volley across the isthmus and play basketball against Gamboa, Balboa, Diablo Heights. All during the summer, they had a summer program for us, whereas up here, you have to invent your own or join the Y or something. Down there, it was just there
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully; Page 8 for the kids. So, it was a lot of fun that way. Then, we took vacations every other year, because my father got a month a year? One month, or ? ST: Two. Almost three. DT: months up here with my parents at Drew Park in Tampa. N: Okay. DT: Eleven cents, was it, back then? [Laughter] ST: no, fifteen. Fifteen and the fries were eleven cents. Back then, the Whoppers were they were this big, and you h it. then. The first Whopper we ha d was in St. Petersburg on US 19. I there. [Laughter] DT: the reason behind it, but we lived in Old Cristobal. Then we moved to New Cristobal. Then we moved from New Cristobal to Margarita, and then from Margarita to France Field when my dad got hurt. They have chivas down there, they call them made busses. They can make a bus out of anything. [Laughter]
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 9 Cars, anything. My dad had a motorcycle with a sidecar on it because he used to in a sidecar. But a chiva ran the stop sign and hit the sidecar and crushed his leg. came to this country then. We had an option of moving to Panama, into the Panamanian Zone or coming to the states. My father, later on, said he regretted not asking us what we wanted to do. All three of us would have said, move to GT: friend, her mom, Lita, grew up with my mom. And they were best friends. Then we became when we moved to Margarita, we became best friends. I know the one reason we moved from O parents, so I walked over to my grandparents before they left in 50, my granddad retired. I walked over. They lived on 3 rd S treet, and I walked over to getting an apple and slicing my thumb almost off. But I still got in trouble because, of course, they had to tell my parents what I did. I got in trouble because I wal ked all that distance. It was 49, so, I was about five years old when I did that. [Laughter] We moved over there because they had lived on that street. I remember the house they lived in and all. It was near the Union Church, like he said. At Union Chu rch, I was
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 10 baptized there. We went there. There was a church next door to us, but we always went to the Union Church. Right where the Union Church was, right o n the next street, that was Col n. That was the then, we were right here. Down the road was our high school, Cristobal High School, before it went to Coco Solo. I went to seventh and eighth grade there. Then, when it moved, I went to the one in Coco Solo. But w e used to sneak in there on weekends at night. Because I climb the fence and go over there. They would have jellyfish all over the beach. I got stung by a jellyfish and, limping home, a policeman picked me up and to ok me home. [Laughter] We had brig water that went all the way out. You had the blue water holes, so you had to be careful where you walked, because all of a was twelve years old. They lived on the Pacific side. She graduated from Balboa High School. DT: GT: where they lived. One of the places. One time, she was skati ng at Gorgas Hospital down the hill and she fell and broke her arm. When the same place and fell and broke her arm, had to go back to the hospital and get h er arm done again. [Laughter]
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 11 DT: Yeah. Our cousins yeah, our cousins lived on the same side we did, at first, Terry and Randy ST: Yeah. They lived in Gat n and they moved to Margarita up in Snob Hill, and then they moved over to DT: To Diablo Heights. ST: The other side. DT: ST: And m y dad, he met my mom through his cousin, Wally Wydell, who was dow n there as a police officer. And he met my mom through him. And got married in 42 and had me and had Dennis and had Gail. [Laughter] Like he said, Louise, she spanked us, disciplined us. When it got time for me, she taught me how to iron, which I was g good thing I knew how to iron because you had to iron your uniforms. The guys got to take theirs out, but all the females had to do their own. She taught me to iron, do the dishes. I would try to be sn her. Well, when I came home, those dishes were in the sink, and she goes, Sharon, you got to do these dishes. She taught me how to mop, how to sweep. A Like you said, all we
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 12 how to cook her food. One year, fruitcake, you would have fell in love with hers, because she had a big jar and g, why are the kids getting We were like oh, oh. DT: made her own eggnog and I drank it and I went, oo h, I like this stuff. [Laughter] GT: Mrs. Apple, to call he they were an adult, it was Mrs. or Miss or Mr. No first name basis. She gave me some eggnog. My mom told her off. [Laughter] Big give away right here, my little mustache. [Laughter] Bu t Dad was Grand Exalted Ruler of the Elks Club. First, he was Secretary; then, he was Grand Exalted Ruler. DT: Then he was Secretary again. GT: 15 Elks Club, Number 1542. They had the best food there. The Knights of Columbus had the best hamburgers. We cou ld get two h amburgers and all for twenty five cents. When they gave us lunch money, we usually had to walk home
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 13 for had to either walk home but, when they gave us money for lunch, we mostly went to Knights of Columbus because you got the better deal than going to clubhouse. DT: Well, we used to do dishes and get a quarter a week. But a quarter would last because you went to a matinee, you could go to the matinee and get a big bag of popcorn and a coke for a quarter. GT: Movie was a dime back then. Then it went up to fifteen cents, but it used to be a dime. Fifteen cents, though, for a double feature. You saw two movies Saturdays for fifteen cents. DT: people knew me as Dennis the Menace. Anybody, you mention my name, most of them know me. I was my best friend was Terry and, unfortunately, he passed away a long time ago, but he was Terry the Terror. And Dennis the Menace. I mean, one time, his mother asked us to take down the Christmas tree. Her we just sucked the bulbs off with the vacuum cleaner. We got in trouble o ver that. [Laughter] Then his father bought him a chemistry set one year for Christmas ST: Oh, I remember that. [Laughter] DT: Something boiling. We added an ingredient, a nd it started really smoking bad.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 14 So, we made it outside before it exploded. [Laughter] We got in trouble over that. He took the chemistry set away from us. GT: Big boom. You could feel it. [Laughter] Everybody s aid, w hat happened? DT: But you made your own we had roller skates back then, and you roller skated everywhere. GT: The old fashioned kind, with the key. DT: Old kind, with the metal and the key. GT: DT: Then you made your own little GT: Slide to go down the hill, out of palm fronds. DT: Slide, yeah. Or a box, wax the box. Then you took baby buggy wheels and made a flat cart you could go down and steer it. We played death defying things, because it was chicken. ST: Yes [Laughter] DT: The only way you could stop this thing was run off in th e grass. When you ran off that
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 15 ST: I did that a few times on the box. The box would stop bruised up; grass everywhere. [Laughter] DT: But I learned how to iron down there and everything, also, because I wanted a pair of pants. I was getti ng demanding to Louise, and my mom says, ho ld on. She says, come with me. She took me out, iron, and said I wanted them, I learned to iron. She say them when she gets the chance, but if you want something, you iron them. [Laughter] ST: what he did when he was in Balboa, but I know when he came to the Atlantic side, he worked at the dry docks at Mount Hope. I went a couple times with him. You go down into this steep area great big, huge machines, and it was so loud. wh at he did, but I remember the big machinery down there. I know he had to go down some steep things to get down there. I know it was the dry docks, I just because that was so far back that like he said, I was trying to find out information on that. Vaudie, one of her cousins we have the same cousins, and she did a history of it, so they would have
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 16 information on my grandma and my granddad. They were also Randy and Terry, that was it m information, get it that way, through her. DT: One of the biggest things we had that was a lot of fun was Christmas tree burns did GT: DT: had the Then, the first of the year, they had a big Christmas tree burning. Well, when I was in France Field, I went around asking for Christmas trees. This one girl that Beth Le wis be eating in there. I be gone. I could be right here and you could be right there, and you would never were that quiet. We got to do it re al well. So, I wore all black and I went in the and I did. We watched the m eating; we were watching them eating supper, and we took the tree. She came to my mother the next da y, crying, and she says,
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 17 I guess ST: find out where they had thei r trees stashed and talking about that in the Zone, everybody going trying to steal trees from each other. [Laughter] You have a big bonfire and roast the marshmallows and s. Oh, so good. [Laughter] And si t around telling scary stories and s inging songs. My dad was umpire. He would coach the Little League. DT: I got kicked off Little League. GT: He got kicked off Little League. DT: me, so I went up the hill and slid down the hill, having fun. I figured, what the bench, so he fired me. [Laughter] GT: You should h ave g ot in trouble for asking why DT:
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 18 [Laughter] ST: My dad, you did You usually just did it. Mom, you could get away with it. But if Da d said, empty DT: Oh, no. ST: we had gone to the jungle out there. We saw a farmer and two dogs DT: Andy. ST: Andy. The two dogs tha t he took for us, Teddy and Teddy and, great. I forgot DT: ST: Right. [Laughter] Tammy when Dad got home from work, he asked me, Sharon, what did you do today? And I just knew. Something told me, he knows what I did. So I said, I was in the jungle. He said, good thing you said that because I was in the jungle and s aw so and so and Andy, and he told me he saw Dennis and you on his farm. I go, dang, spot in this big jungle? Like catching a needle in a haystack, and find us there. I
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 19 punished. I spent more time in my room in Margarita; I was counting tiles and everything. I spent the weekend with m y girlfriend, Josephine, in Gat n. We decided to go to Balboa. We had enough money to get there, but not e nough So, we get on the train and we did get some money from some soldier over there but, meanwhile, someone had seen me and called my dad. And called the police station. They had to go out, notify my dad that his daughter was over in the other be. I was supposed to be in Gat coming ba ck and the train pulls into Gat station? My dad, in full unifor m. I looked and him and my heart goes, bing, bing, trouble. I said, bal and get o ff there. I said, well if I go to Cristbal in his motorcycle and go th trouble, because further. So, I got off the train. My heart went blah, blah, blah. He got me in his y stuff, took me back home, and that back in the room for. Another time, back in Margarita month in the bedroom on the third floor, and I loved slamming doors back then I banged the were going to the movie.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 20 DT: supposed to be, your parents knew about it. ST: They told. DT: on the roof, three floor s up on the roof they had the long roofs, metal. We were out, and somebody called them and told them where we were. ST: That was a police officer. I saw him eating his soup, and it went like this he looked up and he stopped. I said, oh, no, he saw. So, I went inside and waited for my dad to come home. Sure enough, there comes my dad. Another month. [Laughter] DT: So. But, it was just ST: It was fun, because you got to play. You got you had to be home by the time the streetlights came on. If Dad whistled and you could hear his whistle all over sixth street DT: But we could camp out in the jungle. Us, we could like, t hree in the father standing with a gun. [Laughter] Scared the tar out of me. [Laughter] You
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 21 re. I said, yeah. [Laughter] You know? Because he thought somebody had broke in. ST: The same thing happened to me. That was in Panama City. I was trying to surprise, him and I just got in from Lackland Air Force Base. I was going to ling with the key, trying to get in. Tammy starts barking up a storm, and he opens the door with a gun. I about dropped dead right there. [Laughter] I was just trying to surprise you. He thought someone was trying to break in after t hat. I said, oh, no. [Laughter] DT: and there was a pool table and bingo upstairs My mom loved bingo. She played GT: Sometimes m ore. DT: GT: And they were small, too DT: You go in there and you have a soda fountain. You could get the old soda fountain with syrup in it, and then the soda water. Then there was a part over here where y ou could eat; a restaurant right there. Then, a movie theater GT: Barber shop.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 22 DT: books. GT: Yeah. To your right was a little section, like a little convenience store. They had little things in there that the commissary, it was close to DT: Candy bars for a nick el. GT: Yep. DT: [Laughter] GT: Ice cream cones were a nickel. DT: The commissary yeah. The commissary is where you got all your food items and stuff. GT: Kool Kool Aid, go to the clubh movie theater and use it and come out with a red tongue, green tongue, whatever you would get. We used to take the lemons and make our own lemonade. But, once they got onto us, they put the lemonade s back behind the DT: The lemons.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 23 GT: So, you had to ask for the lemons. But they had the best before I forget it t hey had the best sticky buns. Everybody got t hem. Five cents. Oh, they were so good. DT: GT: And the donuts, the twisted donuts. They were the best twisted donuts DT: My mom would dr op Dad off at work in Cristbal d own in Col n and they had a bakery there. They did everything in a brick oven, good. N: Did you guys trav el outside of the Zone a lot? DT: nd my cousins and stay up there. The beach was beautiful in that. You could ride horses, and we went to El Valle, El Volcan. GT: Some other places. DT: They made their own ice cream. You could get, you know, ice cream there. The oranges, the navel oranges they had there were gorgeous.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 24 GT: Guava, and they had mango ice cream. Papaya ice cream, before it became popular. It was so, so good. DT: Coconut ice cream. GT: name of them now, but they were real thick and they were hard as a rock. Best thing you had to do was dunk them, anything to dunk it in. But they were good cookies. DT: Panama, you had to drink from the Chagres Ri ver. That was a must. I can say that I have drank from the Chagres River. But, you travel all over the place and do different things. But the biggest things we used to do is, like I said, up in El GT: It was a long trip, and plus, the beach I remember the steep stairs going down. if I looked at those steps now here to there. [Laughter] But we had to watch out for the scorpions, because
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; P age 25 get aggressive. Their tail comes up and c there with you, so you always checked your shoes. DT: We had a wonderful train back then ride was fifty cents across the isthmus. But they had straw not straw GT: I thought it was twenty five cents at one time. DT: It might have been, but, straw seats. If you lean back even a guy if you lean back and have hair and go forward, it would catch your hair and pull your hair out. No AC in that, of course. GT: s no AC. But it was fun riding the t rain, because you go through the tunnels and you get to see all the Gat n Lake and all the little villages. DT: One of the train station stops in Gat n was a village where they would get on with their animals; their pig or rooster or chickens, and people w ent, huh? so. But, my dad patrolled Gat n Lake ut there and all. To patrol Gat n Lake, it took six months to traverse the whole lake. Then you start all over aga in.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 26 GT: Yeah. You had two boats: one for regular patrol and one for dignitaries, a big boat when dignita ries came down, to show them. The comfortable boat, h is regular boat was just a patrol boat, a work boat. We everything because we bugged him sometimes about, did you kill anybody? He never told us that. He would never tell us that. He did tell us that the worst thing he had to take from the water was dead bodies, because they would just fall from the hands. You pick them up. He said that was the worst part of his job. DT: Now, the animals down there, we loved them. I used to have snakes all the time. ke them to school with me, boa constrictor or a vine snake. The only to catch them to know that. [Laughter] Once you caught him, you neck and i f they had fangs, you just tossed them away and found another one. on our shoulder. GT: Yeah, I used to do that. DT: Duh. The teachers would have a [Laughter] My best friend Terry, this is how GT: Mischievous.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 27 ST: Mm hm. DT: In Panama, when we grew up down there, some of the mischievous things we kids. You know? But, Terry and I were in the same class up to the fifth grade. Fifth grade, they actu ally had two teachers; sixth grade had two teachers. But, the teacher walks in remember the first words out of her m outh. She saw both of us sitting there. She stand outside. Terry, you come with me. [Laughter] So, she took Terry to the ass and Terry went to the ST: When I was in seventh grade, our history teacher now but he had a ruler and he would bang it if you were bad or if you were the office, but he threatened to send me, he just moved me all over the it in so many seats. Towards the end of the year, he goes, Sharon, he says, d o you have any brothers or sisters coming next year? I go, if
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 28 and everybody blamed me for the teacher going. [Laughter] Because o ne of his friends said, Sharon was so quiet [Laughter] DT: Yeah because Mr. Spitzer was our math teacher, and he had her. Then I came in [Laughter] ST: M m oh, just some trouble. My friends that knew me DT: Paul Beck was our principal. I got to know him re al well, personally. [Laughter] ST: Oh, yeah. [Laughter] DT: know? N: ots of things. [Laughter] During some of your travels ever any anti American sentiments that you guys felt?
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 29 DT: No, not at the time. Eisen time before we left, they wanted to come o ut and take the American flag down and put the Panamanian flag up. N: And what year was that in? DT: That was 60 GT: Either was 61 in the summer or 60 the year before, one of them. DT: Yeah. GT: Because they did have that riot in Balboa that Dad went to. DT: ean, I know stuff happened after we left, and I know the riots had happened. Now, I remember one time we were down there, and in Panama City, they had a problem. La Guardia the police, La the La with them. They were an elite police force and they were stupid. But they set up many Panamania anything. That was squashed by the then president and all. But they did kill about twenty, twenty of them or something like that. Once they did that, then it was
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 30 really, oh, what are you doing? But, then they had the riots after we left and Hotel Tivoli got all shot up and everything. But La Guardia arrested my mother. I was with her. A little kid ran out and h it our car. She was going maybe five miles a n hour. N: And where was this? DT: In Col n. And he bounced off and he was fine; he took off. The mother was her, so I remember bei ng at the police station in Col n and my dad come walking in. They knew my dad real well; he was very well known. I remember the sergeant at the desk saying, Hello, George. He said, Hello, Mr. Tully, what can I do for you? He sa ys, you have my wife locked up. He says, we what? He says, yeah, she and got her. He found out who had arrested her and all, and put him in jail, because it just was a no no to do that. But that was the La Guardia back then. They were very now, the economy is bad down there and the Policia Nacional, you five years old, or GT: If that.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 31 DT: real long time; twenty years, tops. So, if you get on when eight, you got to retire. N: Wow. DT: trained. The old Al have the malls like they do down there now. We went to the Albrook Mall and you three stories. I mean, Seaman and I, we ran away from home when we were four years old. ST: Yeah, you were young. About five, I guess. [Laughter] DT: We ran away. We got in the elevator where the eastern ST: YMCA. DT: Masonic Star is and that ST: Masonic Temple is there. DT: We got in the elevator because it opened, but we were too small to hit the We stood in that elevator they had every body looking for us. We were in there probably a good two hours.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 32 ST: About four. DT: Four hours? ST: About f our hours. DT: there. thank God for that. They were so worried. [Laughter] I walked over to my Grandma. She taught me how to do that, because when she went over to her Disappeared from our house and walked over to her house. ST: Mm friends and I would just decide, this is my time. [Laughter] I was in my underwear and I just took off and looked through Col n. Walked through all the seedy area and I get almost do surprised I got that far. I mean, my little underwear and just my little legs. [Laughter] Probably about three ye ars old when I did this. Said, where are you DT: Well, Sharon was famous, too, because she was probably the first child to fly to Tampa at the age of five.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 33 ST: Eight months. DT: I went eight months, too, but I also went by myself. DT: ST: Oh, yeah. DT: You were about five years old, she flew by herself. ST: Oh, yeah. I got in trouble, too. DT: Up to Tampa, and she was, you know they put her on the plane and all. She made the papers and all. ST: In Miami, I got away and I missed my flight. They were looking for me and I hey finally found me, and I remember the benches they got me a big hamburger, and another flight. Meanwhile, my grandmother and granddad were waiting for ng. It was Tampa International but i t was just a wooden shack. DT: Yeah, clap per ed. ST: [Laughter] They called Miami and said, well, she said had disappeared. But we DT: i n Drew Park.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 34 ST: back there at that tim e. It was more residential then DT: But we went a lot of places in Panama, different plac es. I mean, most of the time, you a ride. ST: The one time we got in trouble, we, Kenny he was a Navy of morning, we decided we were going to Gat n. So, all three of us snuck out of the ing up on the road to go to Gat n. A car picked us up and dropped us off where all the army place were you went right by the Chinese garden. DT: Third cut. ST: Third cu t. They had an army, bug white pole. And on there t hey had their little hammocks that were screened in, and we were in there talking to them. They been there a long time. I think it was daylight, then, when they showed up. They walking. The n we went and found this big tower, and we climbed up the tower. Well, this MP was being a smart jerk, and he told us to come down. He took his
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 35 gun thought he would shoot the gun because he had it out and pointed up at us. DT: Trying to scare us out of there, but ST: Yeah, trying to scare us. DT: All we did was shut the door a ST: the regular police came. And he got DT: The MP did, yeah. ST: GT: Mm hm. ST: Of course, we got i n DT: Oh, I got in big trouble over that one, yeah. [Laughter] Yeah, well, they had a Chinese garden there. That was really neat. You could get ST: Ginnups. DT: Ginnups, Chinese plums. If you d it was fun. It was fun for them take them to the Chinese garden. Ginnups are real sour. You can see their faces. The Chinese plums were really and your fac e would really pucker. But
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 36 Kenny, Kenny when he first come down, I used to eat red peppers right off the bus h wanted to eat one. I said, go ahead and have one. Well, he had blisters on his lip for about two weeks. They were that hot. Of course, I got in trouble for that. I GT: Well, you were egging him on, basically. I mean, daring him. [Laughter] ST: You just touch that, though I would accidentally touch it on the way to school. By the time I got to school, my eye would be swollen shut, and the person with we almost go there. I had to call my mom; I had to go home. [Laughter] Because, sometimes, you forget. You just go along, touching things, and I had forgot I had touched it and rubbed my eye. Boy, that was it. My eye DT: But, you had a lot of places like Front Street in Panama when the ships came in. they wanted something, to let us know and we coul d get it for them for a good price. You know? If they were willing to give us, like, five dollars. Five dollars in and buy it for them. The shop people finally told our cal led the police and all and told, would you please keep your children out of here when the ships are in
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 37 So, we were banned from coming an d g oing down Front Street when there was tourist ships in. ST: squeaked, the better they were. We paid, like, one or two dollars for them. They were made out of sort of wood stuff, and woven sandals were the back part to it. You try them on and walk around the store to charge them, like, twenty bucks for them, but we could get it for o ne or two love to have some more squeakers. You could get perfume there real cheap, and people pay eighty dollars; you could get it for five bucks on Front Street. DT: No w, the fishing down there was wonderful. Th C ST: A ceviche. DT: I her down here ST: My mom used to make it all the time. DT: morning, off the sea wall or whatever. You can fish off the Chagres River, the
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 38 Caribbean or Caribbean, howeve r you want to pronounce it Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. You had all those places to fish. ST: Pina Beach was good to fish, too. DT: Places to fish. It was all salt water or brackish, but it was good fishing. How many people can say, within two hou rs, you can be fishing in the Pacific Ocean? You go into the interior, where we went and stuff, that took a long time. ST: Mm hm. We did that one time, went on a picnic. We used to go a lot on picnics after Sunday church. We went way up, Pina Beach, somewhere around there. You had to cross the bridge; that was a feat, to go across the locks. You look up and see the huge locks and go across this small bridge, and then go way u p in the interior. We get all the way up there, my mom had forgot the chicken. she had. Then, when we got back home, then we B ut that one pier out there at Pina Beach. It w as deep water, not like the beaches up here. You walk out a few fish DT: Yeah. Mr. Brewer would be out there in his wooden boat back then, wooden boats were popular. But, when y ou went across the locks in Gat n, there was a
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 39 me to the ship. I could actually walk out and touch the ship, if I wanted to, the bottom part of the ship looking up. But, I mean, it was neat to see that. Never went through the l ocks, the whole time I was down there. ST: Yeah, me neither. DT: But you know, you had the yacht clubs you could eat at; Cristobal Yacht Club, Balboa Yacht Club. ST: Gat do it for the tourists, but DT: Yeah. There were so many different places you could go to. After church on a Panama City. They had a Grand China restaurant, or we go to Hotel Tivoli that had a buffet. ST: The best food. DT: The food was just so good. ST: Man, all kinds of m eats; all kinds of vegetables; a ll kinds of desserts. DT: Fruit s anything in there, because I had sugarcane, I had pineapple, I had coconuts. We had mangos, we had rose apples.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 40 ST: Guava. DT: And guava. St: Ice cream bean. DT: An assortment of food, so you never had to worry about eating. Now, when you went in the jungle, as far as us went: you went with two things, a Bowie knife and a machete. ST: We never took either one. Bobby and I would just walk. [Laughter] DT: Yeah. The coconuts there, they grew wild. Of course, if you got thirsty, we knew how to climb the coconut trees. You just had string with you and climb the tree and get a green coconut. You cut the top off and you had juice. If you get the brown coconuts, you crack them open, and then you had coconut that you could eat. ST: Yeah, I liked those. DT: and bananas grew wild down there. So, like I said, everything grew wild whereas, up here, no. ST: They even had those little trees, they have a long leaf, skinny one. At the bottom was a brown thing, and you cracked it open, inside was a white thing and you ate that. We ate a lot of
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 41 [Laughter] We ate that too. In Margarita, where Kenny, that place he lived behind him they had a guava tree that overhung the cliff. And guava trees are slippery. I would climb that tree to get the guava. If I had fell, I would have been as dead as a doornail. [Laughter] DT: That seemed like a thirty foot drop ST: It was stupid. I just climbed out there DT: But I go out there in the rain to get it and anything. The rain. ST: I never told my parents I did that, because they probably would have chopped the tree down. [Laughter] I climbed trees a lot back then. DT: ST: DT: Because, after forty nine years, I went back there. Every ho use that we lived in is that we lived in was still there. N: Wow. DT: I got to take An ita with me, and she got to see where I used to live and all, and
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 42 then she could understand more. But the climate down there, it was rainy season nine months out of the year. That rained every day. Dry season: three months you could have may be a half day. GT: Sometimes all day, though. It would rain on the tin roof. The rain sounded so not a lot of times, you get of f the school bus, you had to walk home in the rain because they dropped you off at the end of the street. Then, you had to walk home. Now, we lived in France Field, he dropped us right off at the house, which was nice. DT: GT: No. DT: You had to walk all the way down to the end of the road. Finally, our parents said, no, you need to come up here and get them. GT: But another fun thing we did was, since Dad was with the Elks Club and a police officer, every year for the Easter egg hunt, we had two of them: one at the police range, they hid eggs, and then the Elks Club also did it. So, we made out like a bandit for Eas ter. For Christmas, because we had the Santa Claus at the police
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 43 range. And, at the Elks Club we would have Santa Claus. They would have fish fries he Elks Club. there and have it. And the golf club; they had a golf range all the way down this one what was the road called? All the way down, the police range was on that range, too, but you had to go further for the golf course. I remember walking with my dad doing it, and they had the restaurant there, too, and people ate there, too. DT: Yeah. Playing golf, I learned to play golf in the jungle. That was interesting, because if y ou had a hook or a slice, your ball was gone. Because, if it went in really concentrate on hi ttin g that ball, because, like I said you woul d just lose it. So, it was interesting learning to play golf down there. But, the last time Anita and I went back, we played on a golf course at Summit, near Gamboa, and Teddy Roosevelt played on that course at the Radisson Hotel, which bought all that pro perty and GT: Now, Granddad, he rode with Teddy Roosevelt. He was with him. DT: Yeah, the Rough Riders in Cuba. GT: Rough Riders. He was a Rough Rider in Cuba.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon a nd Dennis Tully ; Page 44 DT: there were so many different places to go and see and do. Even in Panama City, they had tailors down there to go to the book, the tailor of Panama and stuff that people write about and all. My wife has tr ied to encourage me to write my memoirs and that I would you know. Because it was an interesting life. GT: I have up to eight chapters so far, and I kept them. Everybody wa s waiting for the next chapter, and I just never did the next chapter. [Laughter] I need to print it out and start doing it again. I think Granddad probably did have something to do with the canal, because since he did ride with Teddy and knew Teddy Roosev elt, N: Yeah. GT: Because Teddy started that. DT: But a lot of the families down there helped build the their family helped build the canal, which are Roosevelt medal owners and stuff. GT: itled to it. DT: It went that way until and, actually, Panama, when we were in Panama we actually gave them their independence from Colombia, which, that was all there
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 45 anymore. They signed a treaty a perpetual treaty with Panama. I think that most but he did it all illegally, because a perpetual treaty is never en but, he took it upon himself because he was president to break it and give it back to So, I mean, they still have there was a canal authority, a Panama Canal A uthority but ACP is how they have it, Authority Canal of Panama, because in Spanish, things are backwards. But the ACP is still down there. They take care of a lot of it down GT: T he Chinese fair. DT: went wi th my cousins. We would go over there and, like I said, up in the interior, nothing not to do. So, I mean, is there anything else you ?
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis T ully ; Page 46 N: transition for you guys. ST: That was hard. DT: GT: ates were just nasty, and it were so prejudiced. When we came up, they had the colored fountain and the ed I was looking for water and I finally found, and it said, colored. I said, why does it say [Laughter[ I care. Let them. I said, I enjoy my c onversation with you. The busses we had to
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 47 DT: GT: When he said that the school system, that he almost got expelled out of school the fir st day he was there from all the rules at Chamberlain High School. DT: You know? He actually gave me a screwdriver and actually I said, you know, if my then he gives me demerits, becaus e if you got so many demerits, you got expelled I said, demerits for what? I doing this? It was just, I did not lik e the people distrust teenagers. Down in as a totally different society. in school it was just like night and day. Even in Panama, like she down to Col n where Louise lived, and you had to walk. It was funny: y ou walked through alleyways They e got to her house and
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 48 of it and all. Up here, it was totally different. But, w e graduated from Dixie Hollins High S chool here, and there was some black kids th ere at the time. None of us now what the big to there was no r my father. I mean, he had to retire and come up here. And for my mom. My mom did go to work up here. Back then, when we moved to St. Pete, Webb City was prominent. That was a big, like, four or five story building. ST: Five, I think. Five or six. DT: Ye have malls. But, Webb City, every floor had something different on it. The top floor had the mermaids, so we always went down to look at the mermaids. GT: The rooster or the chicken was up there. [Laughter] DT: being born down there and coming up here, yeah, it was diffi the same. GT: make fun of you. I gave a speech that I had to give in my speech class, and I talk about the bugs and
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 49 the roaches well, we do have big roaches down there. There are some cockroaches and jungle roaches that are twelve inches. [Laughter] And they fly. speech, and I said, they need to go then they asked me if we swung through the trees like Tarzan to go to school. I said, no, we have yellow schoo l bus es like you do here in the states. Or rowboat to school? Do you have toilet paper down there? [Laughter] Man, we had everything down there: r unning water, hot and cold. DT: Now, I did used to tease the kids when I come up here on vacation. how do you get to school? I said, wel l, we swing through the jungle, vines and stuff. I said, well, our school is across the bay, so we take a ca noe. They actually ST: One of my friends, when she cam e to the States, she went to a L aundromat and maids did with the washboard and get the clothes and wrung them out and hung them up. She had to ask somebody how to operate the washing machines and she had no idea. My thing was the pay telephone. I was at Webb City and I had to call home. I put a quarter in, expecting change. A nd I called the t some dumb [Laughter] She goes, gee. I said, yeah, I said, I put my quarter in but I
P CM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 50 still tells that story today. Some kid call ed me. [Laughter] N: So, what was it like going back to Panama? DT: When I went back to Pan ama for me, and I told my wife, Anita when I told her, prior to, or to me, it was a healing process because I had been gone so long and I had such a chip on my shoulder about leaving when I was in high school there and all. I really, thoroughl y enjoyed myself. We had a gentleman, Allen Hawkins, who lives down there. He gave us a tour of the and he was taking pictures of me taking pictures of everything, where I used to live. I was so excited, trying to explai n the same, just different buildings now. And, of course, the roads are rough some of them. Everything, like I said, was still there. It was a very enjoyable trip; it ST: Yeah. / C in 1969. DT: Yeah. After we all graduated and moved out, then they get air conditioning in the house. [Laughter] ST: Well, they got it for my son, Frank, who was just born at the time. They had to get A / C for him. I said, what about for me? [Laughter] My mo m never bought sodas
P CM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 51 in Panama. W them or the clubhouse. She got fruit juices, Kool Aid. The grandchildren, she had a whole cabinet of sodas. d. G randkids. And then she had a freezer full of ice cream sandwiches, popsicles, the whole nine yards. [Laughter] DT: We had Fizzies, though. Fizzies were fun. ST: Yeah, we had the Fizzies, which is neat. Pop, pop. Fizz, fizz. [Laught er] Coke One s the root beers were the best. DT: Yeah, root bear Fizzies were the best. ST: But Dad, the reason he got to Panama, he was on an army transport ship. I wish I knew the name of the ship. They were going through the Panama Canal, and they had a list of guys to get off for Albrook Air Field, and Dad was on the list. He was headed f or Hickam Air Field in Hawaii. S have been born. So, there was a reason why his name was on the list to get off, and he got off. I guess DT: But he was in the Army Air Corps. He flew. ST: Wally was a cop on the Atlantic/Pacific side, and then he transferred over. DT: Dad was on the Pacific side first. He was a motorcycle cop.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 52 ST: DT: No, he recently died. Yeah. ST: Okay. He was talking on the Zone link about this police officer who w as taking this he was taking across, from Col n to probably Gorgas Hospital. He made it in record time. I forget what he said, and everybody has tried to beat the record since and never did. He said, that police officer was George Tully. I go, George Tully! Reading the e that about Dad. So I go, doo, doo, doo, that was my dad! I said, thank you, I that e mail, and George mail because he had moved and he was trying to look up everything. He said once he found it he would send it to me, Dad nformation; when he did it, what actually occurred in 98 or 99, when he wrote that e mail. N: ST: No. I just enjoyed I was glad I was born in Panama and got to live there for almost eighteen years. My mom, of course, she was lucky. She got to live there longer. Knew, like I said
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 53 DT: Mom and Dad, yeah. [La ughter] ST: Yeah. She knew so many people, and Dad knew so many. They knew everybody from the Pacific side and the Atlantic side, so they knew everybody. DT: ST: Especially our side. DT: to me and he said, Dennis, you know anything about the explosion in the old building over there? The airplane hangar like thing? I said, no. We heard it; we turned the fire extinguisher on off. [Laughter] So we left. He said, you know, somebody thought they saw you eating. [Laughter] I says, why, wha t happened? He says, well, this fire extinguisher blew up, and it blew the steel doors right off the building o ut in to the field. I says, man. Good thing everybody was at lunch. He said, yeah, thing for you everybody was at lunch. I says, what are you talking about? He you I says, okay. Keep watching me. [Laughter] Oh, we were very mischievous. ST: Yeah. We were throwing rocks and pebble s at the theater when people were inside the
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 54 DT: baked beans up there. ST: And rocks and stuff. Police officer we heard a voice go, ahe m, ahem. DT: We went to throw and, y no. [Laughter] But, yeah, it was a lot of fun. It was just different. ST: Halloween was just a trip. We loved Halloween because you went out and you came home we had candy from Halloween to April, to Easter. [Laughter] DT: We knew all the places, and we knew where the money street was. So, everybody knew that. I trick or treated at the fire station. I think Sharon was with me that night in Margarita, and we kept trick or treating. Finally, they hollered down, get out of here. [Laughter] ST: come back out again. We had four o r five bags, and just DT: And you could trick or treat all over the place down there. here. Safe neighborhoods. ST: Big candy bars no. They give us apples, bring us in and give us food and drink. eed us. Some would make us do a trick. They
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 55 says, it says trick or DT: But Halloween was a fun time. ST: It was. It was And every Sunday, everybody went to church. After church, you could go to the clubhouse. Everyone wants to go to the clubhouse and have their breakfast the re, or their lunch. They had a salad the best salad in the world : had papaya and mangos, bananas It was the best fruit salad, for twenty five cents. Big bowl. [Laughter] DT: But we could go on and on forever. [Laughter] ST: Yes. GT: did our own cooking. You could eat so cheap. I mean, the prices there are just wonderful. DT: Well, yeah. We got corvina, and I got a whole slab of corvina for fifty five cents. N: Wow. DT: Yeah. So [Laughter] GT: If you wanted to fish, it would be nothing. [Laughter] You could do it all by yourself.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 56 ST: Like he was telling you about the monkey plums, the Chinese plums, I used to got to watc h out for the little worms i because then I stopped eating the monkey plums. I still ate the Chinese plums and genips and monkey plum jam. If you ever get ahold of monkey plum, it is the best jam. Guava jam, that is so good. Even papaya jam. Mang o jam is good, mango salsa. You want to eat that, because it is fabulous. They do have a the monkey plums, once she touch anoth had to do was just walk anywhere and just pick it. And the ice cream bean tree GT: Have you ever been to Panama? N: er been. But, yeah, all these stories, it just sounds wonderful. DT: ST: Florida off of Fletcher? DT: N: Actually, I go to FSU.
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 57 DT: Oh, well. Very good. [Laughter] N: I grew up in Gainesville, but I go to FSU. DT: Okay. [Laughter] ST: Things ha ppen for a reason. N: But this is a UF program, so. [Laughter] ST: meeting yesterday. It was so funny how he was saying about the wedding took place, and that was so cute. N: Oh, yes. With the museum and UF. Yeah this. DT: ST: oing to get them to join. After that, they can join themselves. Because my son has come with me, and both my daughters have come with me. Charlotte would have liked to come this year, but she had to go to Myrtle Beach with her family. I told her, maybe nex t year I think that one. [Laughter]
PCM 02 2 ; Sharon and Dennis Tully ; Page 58 DT: ST: But it was the faul t of the hotel, becaus em how much alcohol and there was a big DT: ST: I t was a riot. DT: They got rowdy, and ST: Mm hm. They were upset. DT: anyways. ST: gonna have a rebellion on their hands with them folks. [Laughter] Because they drink. They like the rum. DT: I need to go. ST: Okay. N: [Laughter] Well, thank you so much, again. ST: I appreciate it. N:
PCM 02 2 ; Sh aron and Dennis Tully ; Page 59 ST: Thank you. DT: No problem. [End of interview] Transcribed by: Diana Dombrowski, February 4, 2014 Audit Edit by: Liz Gray, February 5, 2014
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