Tag Archives: Tampa


My parents met in Tampa Florida, in 1959. She was working in a diner and he was working at Continental Can Co. He went in the diner often, and his friend suggested he ask her out on a date. They are still married 51 years later.

A Life in the Making

on the beach

We believe this was taken during their honeymoon, May 1931.

They met while she was attending clerical school in Tampa. He was a hardworking salesman at the time. Later working in the appliance industry. They bought some land in Tampa, several parcels, and built a home. He had moved from Oklahoma several years earlier, with mother, brother and sister. He had been attending Oklahoma A & M, but, quit to help raise the family. From what we understand, father James Harvey Pickens deserted them. Now, this could be due to hard times. That often happened. But, James Harvey was found in the 1930 census in Oklahoma, in the residence of Wynnona Ward. It has not been determined what that relationship was. James Harvey was also buried with is parents In Hillside Cemetery in McClain county Oklahoma. I am still really anxious to know that story.

Mamie and Harvey had two children. My father, Hershel Harvey ( yes, this is a family name ) and Ann Marie. They lived in Tampa up until 1970 when they moved to Bradenton to be closer to both children, both had families.

The house in Tampa that I remember, well, it is different now. I visited in 2008, mainly to visit my aunt Ann. The neighborhood, had some familiar things. Such as the overgrown lawn across the street, on Crawford. The trees and azaleas were still there. I have fond memories of the swing, made of rope, on a paper bark tree in the back yard. My grandfather would give me an orange and cut out the top, so I could squeeze out the fresh juice. They had the most beautiful yard in the enighborhood. It had thick, lush St Augustine, which was perfect for running around, playing hide and seek and easter egg hunts!! Many a picnic was had in that yard, and many fond memories. Both grandparents were avid gardeners. Papa had studied hydroponics, before it was popular, and never used insecticide, instead he used cayenne pepper plants.

Their last home in Bradenton, had a beautiful yard as well. I loved to help Nana plant flowers and assist Papa in picking green beans. There was always a delicious meal on the table.

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Where do I come from?

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This is me, about age 1. I grew up in Tampa, Florida. My parents are Hershel Harvey Pickens and Alberta Louise Dean. I have one sister, Christina Lynn Pickens.

My interest in genealogy began at about age thirteen. I was at my paternal grandmother’s house , eating lunch with her. I remember asking about her mother. ¬†” What was your mother’s name”, I asked. She said it as if she had not said her name in a long time. ” Maude, her name was Maude Jeffers” . She then told me that she had died at an early age. That was all I knew or was ever told. Years later, that would peak my interest again.

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