I have called Miami home for 82 years.
Sometimes I feel like “The Last of the Mohicans” because there are so few native born left.
I was born in 1927 at Victoria Hospital. My husband Pete Williams also was born that same year, but we grew up in different neighborhoods so never met until high school days. We both had parents who came to Miami in the early 1900s — his from Tennessee and mine from Illinois and Georgia.
After dating all through our Miami High days, he went to the U.S. Naval Academy and I went to Florida State University in 1945. We both graduated in 1949 and then married in 1950 — after I taught school for a year and he served in the Navy. We’ve been married 59 years and have three wonderful daughters. God has blessed our family!
I have always wanted to honor my grandfather, James E. Crammond, and grandmother Lula Harry Crammond, as they were pioneers who came to Miami in 1912. They were both born in Gibson City, Ill.
As a boy my grandfather helped his father in the grocery business and learned the art of proper display of foods.
When he came to Miami seeking a warmer climate for his family and since the grocery business was all he knew, he established his first store on Avenue “L” or Seventh Avenue (as it is now known) and 10th Street. Within four years he had a chain of six stores.
Then he realized that he could better utilize his talents with a consolidated store so the White House Grocery was born.
It was one of the first, if not the first, supermarkets downtown.
He was the first to introduce the “cash and carry” system in Miami — and possibly Florida. He said he had never seen the system anywhere but with the coming of the war, employees became scarce and expenses ran high so he had to diminish both. The plan was a success!
The White House Grocery was located on North Miami Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Streets. His only son, my father Emert Crammond, worked for him and he loved to take photos from the store’s rooftop. He was so excited to see Miami growing, the first causeway being built to the beach and the Miami News Tower growing tall on the boulevard.
Then the 1926 hurricane came along and ruined everything, including my father’s pharmacy, which he had just opened. He and my mother, Sarah Jones Crammond, married in 1925. Then the 1929 Depression hit. Everyone was hit hard.
My grandparents decided to tear down their home on Northwest Seventh Street near 12th Avenue and build the 12th Avenue Curb market, their last store. Sadly my grandfather died of the flu in 1937 but the Curb Market survived for about 10 more years.
I am proud of my loving grandparents and parents. My grandmother died in 1949, my father in 1977, and my mother in 2001.
We must never forget the people who came before us and made Miami what it is today.