Chapter 8 - Ronald Waugh

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Ronald 'Ronnie' Waugh, the youngest, and still not yet 1 year old, of six Waugh children abandoned in a storefront in Avondale.

Ashland, Kentucky  Summer, 1944.

"Our mother, Magdalena did what she could to keep us together, with what she had to work," Ronnie summed up his life.

"Although, I didn't think much of him, when he died I went to Georgia to attend our father's funeral.

I did meet my birth father, Albert Waugh once before he died.   I was eleven or twelve years old, for reasons still unclear to me, my mother sent me to Georgia to live with him. I'd never met him before and there I stood on his doorstep. Our reunion didn't last long before he shipped me back to Ashland, where I stayed with my Aunt Bert Akers for a time until she put me on the bus for Baltimore to live with mother and Forest again. 

In 1960 at age 17, my life at home, as unsettled as it was, ended forever when I joined the Navy. Eventually each of us children found a way to leave home as quick as we could, Ralph joined the Army, next Darlene left home to marry. There was never more than four of us still at home with mother and Forest, at any time," Ronald explained,

In 1953 my mother's second husband, Forest Roberts was stationed in Germany, by then he had achieved the rank of Sergeant.  Virginia, Marjorie, Phyllis and I went to Germany for two years, followed by a stay in Alabama. After that, each of us took up the journey we'd begun years before in the slums of Avondale, and that was to find our own way.

When we  lived in Baltimore as a family,  I entered first grade there," Ronnie recalled. "After I joined the Navy, it was on a tour of duty in California that I met my wife. We settled in Hawaii where she grew up, and where we still live."

Ronald Waugh was the younger of Magdalena's six children born June 14, 1943. Magdalena's older sister Minnie Boyd, lived across the street from Magdalena and Albert, in June, 1943.

" I called the doctor for her," Minnie recalls.  

"Albert Waugh had already deserted her," Minnie said. "Even before her labor pains began for Ronnie to be born, he'd skipped out on all of them," she continued,  "It's not quite clear to me even now, but I believe Magdalena took Ronnie when he was just months old, to the Walker family herself."  Minnie said, "When I think about it, it is still perplexing to me, that her life had become so sorry in just a few years after she married Albert Waugh. Magdalena gave birth to six children, in rapid succession, all of whom Albert Waugh abandoned just as he had his first family with his first wife, Alice,"  

"Albert Waugh was cruel to Magdalena through neglect mostly. She was a young, high spirited and fun loving woman. Her reasons for marrying him, an old man twice her age, when she was a lovely girl of fifteen, is inexplicable to me even now.  Other young mothers might have carried on, and many of us did, but he broke her spirit. He used her up, left her disillusioned and confused. Albert Waugh was a tall man, with broad shoulders and a set jaw, an attractive man too, and he could be intimidating to Magdalena a tiny woman, who was five feet tall."

"After Albert Waugh slipped off, we heard he went to Georgia. Our parents wanted to intervene, to have the courts bring him back,  and promised her help if she would just stay in Westwood. She refused. After that, Magdalena's  decisions for herself and her children were confusing, traumatized. She moved  from place to place, and each place was a run down slum. Our mother often would find the children alone, and send our father out, time and again to track her down in some beer joint in Ironton. She'd last two or three days, at home with her children, before she was gone again."

An interview with his Aunt Minnie who lived across the street from his mother, Magadalena when Ronnie was born, May 14, 1943.

Minnie Skaggs Boyd  January, 2006

Ronnie Waugh  Saturday, December 20, 2005. Ronnie is the first Waugh child I located after a two year search. Second, I found Darlene and Ralph. Followed by Marjorie, Phyllis and Virginia. LJE.

Darlene Waugh Fairchild-Jones died in September, 2006 in Ashland. Ralph and his wife Audrey came soon after her death stayed two weeks at a motel.

NEXT -Chapter 9 - Minnie Boyd