Where? Miami, Florida. When? Early-Mid 1940’s. Who? Two Little Boys and a Colonel.

21 May


Two little boys living in Miami in 1940.

Having much fun, making childhood memories – with each other, friends and animals.

Always up to mischief.

Mom nearby in case of need.

And Pop, too!

When not at play, they’d have fun at school.

My Dad (bottom row, 2nd from right in the band picture above) always speaks very fondly of those years in Miami.

He always speaks of Colonel Ordonez, who lived next door with his beautiful, young wife.

The Colonel was from Mexico, came to the U.S. at the time of The Mexican Revolution. The thought was that he came (sneaked?) across the boarder with great wealth (hidden?) and married the much-younger stewardess that he met on his travels.

The Colonel and the Mrs. did not have children, so they spent lavish time with the little boys next door. They took them deep sea fishing.

They’d go to the beach.

They’d go to Biscayne Boulevard

and to the shopping district.

Over the years I have greatly embellished the stories of Colonel Ordonez in my mind. In fact, one or two of the stories above are slightly embellished, just to go along with the nifty 1940’s postcards that I found on eBay.

I don’t think that they went to the shopping district together.

My Dad tells of how Colonel Ordonez would cook huge Mexican feasts late in the evening, and come insist to my Grandmother that the boys get up from bed and come join him and his wife.

One time, Dad told me – there was a Mexican Submarine docked in Miami. The Colonel knew the Captain, and took the boys in for a tour.

True Story.

Not Embellished.

What a treat!

“Tell me more!” I’d beg. “I want to know more about Colonel Ordonez!”

We didn’t even know how to spell his name.

So, I recently spent an afternoon at the New York Public Library.

Which, by the way, is this week celebrating it’s centennial.

There were Lego Lions outside.

I spent some time in this research room studying microfilm.

I looked at Miami City Directories from 1932 to 1944.

My Grandparents were listed from 1940 through 1944. I knew that they moved to Atlanta in the Spring of 1944.

I found Colonel Ordonez. He was listed from 1939 through 1941.

His full name was Colonel Xavier Ordonez, and his wife was Eleanor.

She was President of The Ventolite Blind Company. He was Vice-President.

And in 1940, the first year my Grandfather was listed in the City Directory, he was listed as Manager of The Ventolite Blind Company.

So, not only were they next-door-neighbors, The Colonel and his beautiful, young wife were my Grandfather’s bosses.

Very Interesting!

I enjoyed looking through the City Directories. I looked up “Koch” and found Walter O – who was my Grandmother’s first husband. He had remarried – a woman named Bernice – and he was the Assistant Superintendent at Prudential Insurance Company.

My Aunt Dotty was listed – for a couple of years as a saleswoman at Walgreens, then later as an employee at Florida Power & Light Company.

But, back to Colonel Ordonez – what became of him and lovely Eleanor?

Sadly, I do not know.

But, I know where he came from!

Thanks to Ancestry.com, I found his Border Crossing papers.

It says that he arrived in the United States on December 12, 1937. His Port of Arrival was Loredo, Texas. He was 46 years old (birthdate about 1891) and his birth place was Pachuca, Mexico.

Here’s a picture of Pachuca (entitled “Road To Pachuca”) from 1924:

Here’s a view of Pachuca in the 1930’s:

At the bottom of the Colonel’s border papers, it says something like “claims will return to Mexico and later come back as (something?) son in N.Y.”

Can you make it out? I *think* it might say “son in N.Y.”…

I cannot WAIT for the 1940 U.S. Census to become available next year!! Maybe we can then find out more about Colonel Ordonez!



P.S. Here are a few images of WWII taking shape in Miami, when my Father and Uncle were there. About the time they toured the Mexican Submarine.

Non-family pictures and postcards borrowed from eBay and Google Images – with thanks!


2 Responses to “Where? Miami, Florida. When? Early-Mid 1940’s. Who? Two Little Boys and a Colonel.”

  1. doose May 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    I was going to e-mail you with everything I knew about THE COLONEL, but I think that you know everything I do and more. Very interesting.

    The picture of the troops marching thru Miami reminded me that during WW2 the hotels on Miami Beach were taken over by the military to house troops while they went thru basic training.Amongst those troops was Clark Gable. A couple of times during basic, they would go on 20 mile hikes which would take them right by my school, Miami Shores Elementry and the powers that be would let us out of class to see them. Amongst those thousands was Clark, so I can honestly say that I saw Clark Gable when he was in basic training in Miami.

    • sallanscorner May 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

      I found out a lot yesterday – it was fun!

      LOVE your Clark Gable story! Thanks for sharing.

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