Thursday, February 1, 2018

Memoir: Cap't William E. May and wife Mildred

Captain William E. May (1905-1970)
and his wife Mildred E. Lawson May (1907-1968)
Neighbors of my Aunt Anne and Uncle Jack Crompton

Photos captured from my parent's undated home movies
Location 42 Dedham Ave. Providence. RI
Blog posts should include remembrances or memoirs of people that touched your lives or the lives of your ancestors because in the larger scheme of things they add information to the neighborhoods and communities of long ago. These people may have been included with your family in holiday events or simple backyard cookouts. Let's hope they are not forgotten.

As my aunt and uncle were childless, they had a wider circle of friends than most people of that time. Time was passed by playing cards, listening to the radio and eating out at neighborhood restaurants.  

Mr. May and his wife lived at 16 Dedham Ave. in Providence, "up the street" from my aunt and uncle and they also had no children. Included in my paternal family events, it is to my family's credit that no one be excluded. As a curious child, I asked questions about people at these events and was rewarded with answers. This is how a childhood genealogist thinks about family.

Mr. May was a Providence Policeman, who rose from the rank of Patrolman in 1940 (1940 census) to Captain by 1964 (1964 Providence City Directory). My aunt, after a long day on her feet at various jobs, including one at Victor Cleansing Co., my family's business, helped care for Capt. May's wife Mildred (Lawson) May both before and after work. Capt. May's job was juvenile offenders. 

Crime & Delinquency , Vol 6, Issue 1, pp. 91 - 93, First Published January 1, 1960
located in Sage Publishing Journal [] accessed 1 Feb 2018
One day, I went home with my aunt and was picked up by my father after we ate supper there. My aunt, an excellent cook, fed my dad when he lived with them, before my parent's were married in 1946. He lived in a room upstairs, which he showed me that night.

We had just returned from taking "a plate" (whole meal) of supper to Mrs. May. We walked down the sidewalk to their home with the hot food. Mrs. May was wheelchair bound as she had rheumatoid arthritis. She opened the door and her dog, an English bulldog, growled. She reached down and said to the dog, "Friend" and he settled down and we entered. He was the first working animal I ever saw. He obviously was trained as a police dog. I was only allowed to pet him when she gave the command of Friend. He then transformed into a wiggly friendly animal. My aunt told me he was there to protect Mrs. May as she could not walk very much. He growled at my aunt every day without fail. That night, she let the dog outside and we waited until Mrs. May wheeled to the table to eat before we let him back inside for his own food.  

My aunt helped her twice a day every day for many years. This was the kind of person that my aunt was, helping others before her own needs. Aunt Anne lived until age 92, long after her husband, Uncle Jack died. My daughter's middle name is Anne after this strong woman.

As we were ready to leave, Capt. May returned home. He looked enormous in his police uniform, complete with gun and handcuffs. He left the room to secure his weapon and my aunt set out his supper before we went out the door. The dog stayed with her on alert the whole time.

Capt. and Mrs. May are buried in St. Anne's Cemetery in Cranston, RI. along with his two sisters and brother-in-law. I remember them.