It is always, at this time of year, that I miss these people most of all! My “Aunt” Marie and my “Uncle” Harry were my only family in Miami, Florida, for over five years. They were some of the most selfless people I have ever known. Marie Pfeiffer Ingalls and Harry O. Ingalls were literal lifesavers to many, myself included. I have never been able to learn too much of their backstory, but I did know that Aunt Marie was from Erie, Pennsylvania and Uncle Harry was from New York City often bragging that he grew up on the same street as actor George Raft and other men of note. Harry was as old as the century, his birthday being somewhere around January 1, 1900. He was eighteen years older than Marie. Harry was a carpenter and a refrigeration specialist by trade, and Marie was a waitress and a seamstress. I believe they had each been married before, but in those days children were not given much information about the grownups in their lives. At some point, they had moved to Miami, Florida and had built a home that seemed magical to a four-year-old! My mother and I moved to Miami for my mom to take a nursing job at Jackson Memorial Hospital and were in search of an inexpensive place to rent. A former co-worker of my mom had an aunt and uncle who she believed might be willing to rent a room to the two of us. And so, sometime in 1954, we moved into the house on North West 101st, Miami, Florida. Not long after that, my mom went out one Friday night, and that would be the last I would see of her for over five years. It became quickly evident to Marie and Harry, who together, had no children of their own and that they were now the caretakers of a soon to be lively five year old.
… to be continued.