Dorothy Garza and Twilla Booker

Recorded November 5, 2021 Archived November 5, 2021 38:43 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby021213


Friends Twilla Booker (59) talks with Dorothy Garza (63) about Dorothy’s childhood, her family, her time in college, in the Air Force, in Alaska, and Japan, her children, and about the life lessons that she would like to pass on to others.

Subject Log / Time Code

DG talks about being adopted and about how she got the name Dorothy. She also talks about growing up in Mobile, Alabama.
DG talks about the relationships she had with her adoptive parents and her biological parents.
DG remembers being bullied in school and talks about becoming friends with her neighbors.
DG talks about going to Knoxville College for a year before joining the Air Force.
DG tells a story about going skiing for the first time.
DG talks about meeting her future husband, about their relationship, and about how they ended up marrying.
DG remembers when she was stationed in Alaska and her husband was stationed in Japan.
DG talks about going to live in Japan with her husband and about the different jobs and hobbies she had while living there.
DG talks about returning to the United States and about her children.
DG shares the message she would like to give to her children. She also talks about how grateful she is for her friends.
DG talks about her favorite color, lime-green, and about how that became her favorite color.


  • Dorothy Garza
  • Twilla Booker

Recording Location

Columbus Public Library



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00:02 My name is Twyla. Robinson Booker. My age is 59. Today's date is Friday, November 5th, 2021. The location is Columbus, Georgia and the name of the interviewer of my interview partner.

00:20 And the interviewer, my interview partner is Dorothy Jean Garza.

00:28 In the relationship to the partner is she's a sister from another mother.

00:34 Hi, my name is Dorothy Jean. Beeson Garza.

00:39 I am 63 today is Friday, November 5th, 2021. I'm as a Columbus library in Columbus, Georgia.

00:51 I'm here with my sister from another mother.

00:58 So Dorothy.

01:01 Can I call you sissy? Cuz I never call you Dorothy. That would just seemed strange to me. Yes, you can. But my name is Dorothy. Jean Beeson guards already told the fat, but I have to tell you this. The reason my name is Dorothy. It's because I was adopted and the lawyer named me Dorothy.

01:19 Oh, so none of the people that were okay. Why?

01:24 Because I don't have a name. I guess I didn't have a name because my, my grandfather found me and took me to my aunt and uncle and they adopted me and he found you, where he told me in a room.

01:37 In a house in a warehouse, and my mom was 15 years old and what is a fifteen-year-old know about a baby. But anyway, he found me by the grace of God, and he took me to my aunt uncle and I was in kind of bad shape. And my mom nurse me back to health and she and they adopt me and raised me and Dorothy means gift from God.

02:01 It wonderful, it's great. I just wanted to figure out they got. No just listen.

02:10 Anyway, anyway, I was born in Mobile, Alabama.

02:18 2649 Reed Street.

02:23 In Crichton.

02:25 We had a close-knit family. I mean, neighborhood people had kids. My next door, neighbor had 12 children. I was only child. People came to my house and played and I was all over the neighborhood. I went over there by the house. I ate at everybody's house.

02:43 Do you think that had anything to do with this? What you really young? So you don't remember your mom, right? Yes. I knew my mom. My mom, your biological my mom into what my mom to my house and introduced me to her. And so I had a relationship with both parents. So always thought of myself being very fortunate because I had to Mom's, I had to Dad's, it was good. You know, I had a mom. That was why I had a woman that was normal, you know, just straight.

03:14 And my mom raised me in church.

03:18 And I sing in the choir and it would be to you on Sundays. Let's be to you about the training on you and me and my friend would get there early.

03:31 And we would jump the pews. I said, let's race and he going to look in the back and I get in the back and we'll race to the front wheel. Jumped-up used to, we get to the front with this jump. The pews mean, just what I say. It will jump the fuel pump. Overdose of all the beauty. We get to the fry. His name was Glover Beeson. And my mother's name is Ethel Beeson. My biological, mothers name is Ruby, Lee Robinson Clements, and my father's name is Nathaniel Clements your Curry.

04:12 Anyway, but they was cool.

04:14 I was going all of it was all good. So you knew your dad too. I know my Dad. Yes.

04:20 He was, he was, he was easy. That's why I think I'm easy, because he was real, real easy. And okay, you say, easy wasn't me? I mean, so you don't get the same clothes on. And when I first, there was one time, I went to see him and he had dust under the dining room table and the next time I see him, that doesn't turn to dirt.

04:48 So it was good, you know, it didn't bother him. You know, he was easy. I just live there, he did live there and I wish I did not talk to him more cuz there was one time when I asked him, do you actually believe I'm your daughter? And he said, yes, that's okay. If you believe it, I believe it. And then, while I remember, I remember, I was, we were stationed in Okinawa of America 41 years to the same man, Leroy Garza who's a great provide, a great husband. Great, father, and we went to visit my father. We would always go visit him when I would go to town, come home.

05:25 Went to see the house looking for the house and the house was gone. And I was like big daddy or biological dad Big Daddy, sosic. What happened to Big. Daddy's? A bit that Community. I was just live where you lived, he lives in Mobile, but not in my not in Christ. Not in Crichton. Okay, you didn't have any more children. He had a daughter. I met her once.

06:10 And she knew she was your sister. Yes, and I bought it to my house, and she's about the same age as my baby boy. I have two sons Ranier Philippe, Beason, Garza and Andreas Kashmir Basin, Garza. And so, she's about the same age as my baby.

06:32 And so we didn't hit it off too good because she knows she's playing games and she's she's a young girl, you know, 8912. I don't know how she was but I don't play. I'm the only girl in the house. So

06:49 She's she's trying to Cozy up to my husband and cozy up to the boys and you know it, you know girl stuff.

06:59 She's a to go home. I said, I'm ready to go to and the next day I took out back and you haven't seen her since I have no idea where she is. I have no idea what she looks like and I forgot her name. Goodness.

07:14 So that's the only connection to your biological, right? That's all. I know. That's it. Yes, and I have no idea where Shane you don't know who her and her mother was what her mother was murdered. Don't ask me. No detail, but you do know that. And why my why she's asking me. I am not a detail person.

07:40 I might help you do whatever you need to do.

07:44 But don't ask me about details. I'll show you even in this interview. You see, she's interviewing yourself. I don't know why. I don't ask me about details because I'm not the one, she only remembers things from four years back. I did figure that out. If it's at least four years back. Sometimes it could come to her memory. But if it happened yesterday, you can kiss that. But I love you. Okay. I love you. Okay. I favorite move on to the next steps, right? Love you, okay.

08:15 I went, I went to college for, you know, I want to know how they chased you from school. And why, and you made this fast. I didn't even know what that was. But but there was David, I would run home because I would, I'm not a confrontational person at all. Even now. I'm not. And so, in order for me, not to deal with that. I just will run home.

08:41 Everyday everyday, but my next door neighbor.

08:46 It's to Vanessa.

08:49 See, I saw walking home with them.

08:52 And nobody bothered the McCoy babies know their last name is mccorvey. I was but nobody bothered them cuz you know, her mom had 12 kids and nobody bother them. So I just walked home with him. I was a right right. So I thank God and we are still friends today. I talked to her today and we are still friends and I consider her a sister.

09:19 And get you a lot. And so I am so grateful for all of the people in my life because I'm an only child and most of the women that I know are strong strong women, who have been through horrendous challenging.

09:44 Oh my God. Stuff that I never had to go through but they're my sisters and we still

09:53 Communicate, we still have things in common. We accept each other as we are, and I just love that because God blessed me with another kind of family. You don't have to be alone if you don't want to be alone.

10:08 That's a choice.

10:11 Anyway, so that's sad. And so she's my, she's my dear dear friend. And so I went to college for you.

10:18 And not. Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee, HBCU on it. I had to hurry up and get out of there because they parted too much for me. Cuz if I had to stay there and party with them people, OMG, I'm probably would have not been in my right mind and you know that I'm from Knoxville. So I don't know why you say that. I'm in my right mind, stop it, but you weren't at Knoxville College, honey. So I was going to be an anesthesiologist ticket. I did not know what anesthesiologist had to do to become a anesthesiologist. I did it because they were so nice to my is my mother, my father and they and they had to go in surgery and they were really attentive to them and I've never seen the anesthesiologist.

11:18 Statistics and algebra, and I don't think so cuz I don't do that. So I stay for year and then I had the bright idea, a boy friend of mine suggested, I go in the Air Force.

11:40 So, because they were going in the air for note, just told you to go. Yeah, and I do it, and it was good. It was a good experience, traveling. The first, my first Duty assignment, but I made it through basic. I went skiing for the first time.

11:58 You know, cuz I'm good with people, I can get them. Almost anybody with skiing. And this is funny story. I was I was with the chaplain and I bought some new blue jeans and so we went all the way up the mountain. And so, it took me all day to get down and I'm seeing people going up and down up and down like, on the ski slope, but it took me all day. Okay, I didn't know I was trying to get down trying to sleep. I've never skied before. So we had to go sideways. I was going straight and so are you how it goes straight? I would be lying. So I was hit the ground. I'll be slapping my butt. And so when I can finally got to the bottom cuz it's going to take me down, cuz it was taking all day. You looked up with this Blue Streak going down down where my jeans had, paid it all the way down.

12:58 But I made it and I was drinking cocoa and you knows 10, please. And so then okay, then.

13:21 I was in the mood. I was in the military. I was in the Air Force. Where'd you meet Miss? The leak? I was in the military for 3 years. 11 months. In that time. I met mr. Garza, OK. And we didn't like each other in the beginning.

13:40 And I don't know what happened. But he's like. Who's that girl? With the skinny legs? And then one day, we kissed.

13:49 You just kissed him. I don't know how that happened. But you know, there are other things that happen, but one day we kissed and OMG in the hallway at work wear.

14:01 One day we can.

14:06 And so then we would give each other signals. He was past me little notes and that is Big Ben's would have all the supplies and stuff. And so he was saying meet me at 10, go meet me in the foxtrot whatever and we would go to the back of that thing and kiss. OMG.

14:26 All them was the best kisses OMG and then he's asked me to marry him, but I want to get married and one day, my friend came to me and he says Dorothy.

14:38 He says God told me to tell you either do it or don't do it at all.

14:46 God look at me and like, I don't know who you see everything but, you know, he's looking at me. And why did you say it was his friend? He was a minister at the time.

15:00 I told me some, you have to be to get married.

15:03 Oh, you told him? Oh, yeah. And 5 days because you know, you're told me now, fix it. Where you in the United States? Then, yes, we were in the military Fairfield California, California was cursed, and I thought California was cursed all kind of stuff over that. It was but walk crazy. But anyway, and ended up in California.

15:37 Met my husband in California. So California ended up being blessed. You know, so, you know, you can't perspective about his true. So we got married. This is funny. So we thought that we would get married and nobody would know. We got to work that day and there's like, I didn't know that they put that in the newspaper and saw the people that works as you guys got married.

16:09 How do you know if it was a baby? I had no idea and

16:16 He got orders to Okinawa and I got orders to Alaska.

16:25 And from that point on, I decided, I said, okay. I said, now, the military does not assign you a wife or husband, but having a marriage does not last last, when you're separated.

16:40 So I went to Alaska and he went to Japan and I told him I said I'm going to get out. I said, I'll follow you and I'll be in a hole next to you.

16:50 But we will be separate like that again, because I was there for you. I didn't see I saw him 2 weeks out of a whole year, and we have been married one year.

17:02 Wow, and so did y'all grow apart? No little, no, no.

17:08 No, you just missed the kisses. I miss the kisses and

17:14 That was a good experience because I was in shemya Alaska. And there was cross the street from Russia.

17:20 You can see Russia from your if, you know what you looking at. Yes, because we were only a little here for it. We was going to loosen chain, and it was on, and this is for Mi, by four miles or whatever. This is a small island. But I had a wonderful time. Did you see a lot of bears in life? No bears there. It was all Fox and seagulls boxes and seagulls, and it was 50 million + 450 y + y. Yeah, and we choose as they were super saiyan hamburgers from McDonald's.

18:04 Are we going to mail on Tuesdays and Thursdays? And I would order things so I could get mail because mr. Lee doesn't write, but I want a more mail. And so, and then I worked at the NCO Club, which is I had, we ain't good. We had snow, crabs, and ribs. I mean, steak everyday to. It was not worth it into a club and Country nice country. And western night. I would dress up and overall time and I'll talk to them just like they talk on it and I make good tips. I had a ball.

18:41 Oh, and is one thing I worked at a part-time and I was in the military.

18:48 I work part-time at this place called This is secret. Boom. Boom. Boom. And my mother is a real secret secret. But listen, listen to know the secret sister, Linda or so, my mother. I'll tell you when we get out of here until my mother always had two doors. And I had the dust, and I had to mop and sweep the front walk and my mother would have me dusting and mopping, and stuff. And I never clean the bathroom and I never realized that I was in Alaska.

19:26 Working at this place, making $9 an hour, clean the bathroom and Dustin. So you already been trained. I already been tried. And so, you know, if you pay attention, your mother is trying to teach you something. You never know when you're going to use it. But if you just so, you know, but get him ready. Everybody has their own path. Everybody lives, the way they need to cuz grown people do with grown people do.

20:00 That's the bottom line, grown people do with grown people do. Okay. So you left Alaska and went to Japan or you left Alaska, and both of y'all came back to the States. How did I came home? Because I had to get my orders yet and I had an experience at home that I never had before me. And my friends were riding bikes to the neighborhood. And this Caucasian man came out with a shotgun and he said,

20:30 You need to get out of here cuz you don't belong up in here and all we were doing was riding in the neighborhood. We were going to be weren't staying. We just was riding at Old here when you were here or I saw my life flash before my eyes. That's why you're going to have felt, you know, cuz that never experienced that before. How old were you being? That was I was I was 20-something. It was just riding in a book is a Sunday evening and Butt-head never experienced that before. And so that was interesting. I said, okay. I made it to Japan. That was wonderful and

21:13 Nice Island, Easy Living, Easy Living out play racquetball almost all day. I'll go to the gym, almost all day. It's a little like to go nowhere. So I was gone. I joined the choir is about 60 people in the choir. I took scuba diving. Did you learn Japanese? Konnichiwa? Okay. All right, whenever I needed to, I did it but I work there. And so I work for, I work for the Marine Corps and we would go to work like, 2 or 3 in the morning and get off at 8 or 9. And then we would go play golf, you know, cuz you go to work at 2 and get off at in the morning, in the morning, at 8, in the morning because America is open at that time. And so we would play golf and I was just pretend, like I knew how to play golf hit the ball, and it was

22:11 Oh, and while I was there, you know, I was 25.

22:17 And so a Tamia 25. I wanted to know who are you and what are you made out of? And so they had a pageant, a black history, pageant in Japan on Base. Kadena Air Force Base.

22:35 So, I

22:39 And they gave people to help you with Ava. Somebody help me with my costume with my gown. Somebody help me with my talent, you know, that kind of stuff and help her. It was full funny. I said, I was going to sing. OK. And I said, I was going to sing, Summertime Summertime and the livin's easy and I know all the words, but I just made it. And I just I just sent had, I don't like African dress and a half and I had two plants on stage and I just went back and forth thing and don't worry.

23:28 Nobody else injured.

23:32 Was there a no you can't help me. They gave me confidence and and it is not mean to say, okay, you can try things and why did you not have confidence are right. You need to know who you are a special at 25 that way you can proceed on and and do other things. So, when I did that at, that told me that if I try something, I could have succeeded, because I took up scuba dive, and I never took up scuba diving for you. No black, you don't like water. So they say, but I took up scuba diving.

24:18 And I said, I would never go night diving and I went night diving. And that was wonderful cuz it looks like a little city down there. When you turn the lights on, it looks like a city. But are you seeing his eyes? But you still like a little said, it wouldn't lose that stuff, but that was interested. So I do different things. Oh, I climb Mount Fuji only halfway cuz I was pregnant and

24:54 Did you know you were pregnant? Or did you just think? I knew I was pregnant and so they said, you can't go all the way up because of the altitude and I said, okay, but it was a it was a good experience. You know, I did did it cuz I said I wanted to do it.

25:10 And that was good and so we let we stay there for 5 years. So you had the baby in Japan. No, I had the babe. I wanted my baby to be an American. So I came home. That's why I came home because if you have a baby with have dual dual citizenship, and I don't want, that is one of the America.

25:30 Where you was at a fear, no sign of fear. That's just what I wanted to do. And one day, one day. My husband was gone for the military and I we lived on post and you come back to Scott Air Force Base story it off now. Okay. Well we got to know.

25:59 Anyway, so I'm at home and then you have typing was there. And, you know, you have the shutters up to close the shutters and stuff in the win and you can go down to the ocean in Ocean's coming up. You know, it's just awesome the awesome experience. Okay, but anyway, so I'm left you can sleep with the doors open. I did we still don't know where you are. I'm in Okinawa Japan. Okay, we can come on. I was like, oh, I forgot that part. Okay. So where was it? So this one particular night. I had a cat and the cat's name is Nico's and in Japan, Japan Nikko Smith cat.

26:38 So so you called the cat cat? Yes. I'm telling the cat not to get on the bed is so I'm saying get out the bed, get out of here. Get out, you know, like that. Right. Meantime. I don't even know it. Somebody to cut my screen and came in the house and I didn't even know, and they went out the back door, and I didn't know that to that morning.

27:10 Because when I was fussing the cat, he thought I was talking to him. The person that killed the screen was cut into the door was open and it was a camera on the kitchen table and I'm thinking if I was in America.

27:31 I probably been raped dead and my camera been gone, but but God, you know, so that was just at the cat cat Niko's, get it, right and the Mets and whoever was thought, I was talking to them, which was wonderful.

27:52 We came back to.

27:56 Scott Air Force Base, which is in, Illinois.

28:03 And I was working there. I got a job.

28:08 Oh, let me tell you, one more thing about Okinawa and that was good because I was hacked, your own postal. I saw you get to know who and where things are. Right, and then I want to be civil service. So in order to be civil service, easiest way is to take a typing test and you be a clerk-typist. Did you know how to type?

28:38 Yes, but you have to do a certain speed in the hurt and have a certain amount of whatever. So I will keep my typewriter in the back of my taxi.

28:46 And on Fridays, I will go take the test and then I go to become a taxi driver again, but didn't know realize that I already passed the test, but they said you already passed it. Okay? To eat a lot of times cuz I didn't know who that has chanced it. Yeah, but anyway, I became civil service and I worked for the hospital and I was a procurement clerk. Wonderful job, really like that job. What if they buy? Okay, and you get to learn the vendors in, I love that job. So good people. When you came to Illinois, you were still the procurement card cuz you said that. No, no. Okay. Now I'm confused. OK, Google ask thing. You told us about Okinawa was the guy cutting the? Now you're in Illinois at that place and then where did y'all go from?

29:46 Wait, you only had one child. When did the second job, second child came and Scott's the Scott Air Force Base.

29:54 And I had wonderful friends. We were pregnant together.

29:59 And we encourage one another. We did things together.

30:04 And I was boys grew up together.

30:08 Until we got stationed. Now, with the last name like Garza is Mister Lee. Hispanic Hispanic. Yes, he is. And what Hispanic population? Puerto Ricans are Mexicans Latino. They're all populations which one it is called a Hispanic, okay.

30:30 Okay, the only funny part is I might just my sister even though that I don't know anyway, because I've been married for 21 years and no matter what is your story right? But that don't matter. No. It didn't run. None of that. None of his Hispanic miss or whatever. You're African-American. So you never had a problem with that ever.

30:58 Not really. Okay, but we've been married for 41 years. We have two lovely, young sons who are 30 and 34, I think 31 and 34, one of their productive, citizens in Seattle, Washington. And do you think they ever had a problem with their parents? Like, it's cool or telling, or people seeing their parents. They never told me, okay?

31:30 But what I want to say also to them is

31:34 Which day do now they're authentic.

31:37 Be yourselves, be true to yourself between two other people. Cuz if you lie to yourself, you a lie to anybody.

31:47 And,

31:49 Be compassionate for other people.

31:54 And,

31:57 Maintain friendships, friendships. A very important. You don't have to have 50 friends but a good three or four is good. Some people have one but you know, some happens. Is that what you going to do? Simple. I am so grateful for all my friends.

32:16 And I'm Grateful Dead people show me love and I pray that I show people love because I don't mind helping people. I like helping.

32:30 I just want to do it, but I'll help you. Can do anything you want to do and I'll help you when I'm not doing it.

32:40 I like when you say I helped me and my friend with that we were to us in Singapore who made it any way back to Asia, Singapore and wonderful, and I've been to Puerto Rico and I've been to New York and I mean a travel and I've seen some things that I want to see other things course, but I am grateful for the places and the friends that

33:07 I know, and I've been

33:09 Is there anything that you regret so far?

33:14 If you look back down through the corridors of time that you can remember, if you could do it all over again, when I probably should have stayed in college, not a Knoxville, but somebody's college so you did, but I should have stayed in college. She went to college, but mostly a Hands-On person and I won't be doing all that reading and stuff. And so I probably could do you read a lot now?

33:49 You have to read to me. Okay, books on tape is wonderful.

33:56 Baby came up with that. They came up with that. And if someone gave you the choice today of,

34:07 The next place that you would want to visit in this world or Another World, you know the moon. Whatever, what would she wear? What's a place you would choose?

34:24 I've always wanted to go to Brussels.

34:28 Oh, I want to go to Dubai Dubai. Yes, okay, because it's beautiful. You heard it and clean and that's why I went to Singapore because it's clean. Is it? Yes. Okay. So when you were in Japan, you were only in Okinawa. You guys didn't travel. I did, I went to the Philippines. I went to Career but you just didn't go to Singapore. So the Singapore cleaner better kept in Okinawa is Philippines in Singapore. Singapore. Everybody has a home, really? Yes. It's wonderful. Okay. So refresh. My memory is Singapore. A socialist place where they give government, or can people just afford everybody can afford their own home.

35:21 You don't know. Okay, whatever.

35:25 Cuz I just know they got their own perfect and nobody sleeping on the street.

35:33 But sounds great, but it's been, it's been a great 63 years. So, what's your favorite color? My favorite color is lime green. It makes me happy and makes you happy. I love all colors. But lime green makes me happy and when did you know that?

35:54 When I was working at Fort Benning and I will pass out these notes to the kids, breathe.

36:01 Blew out the stupid and I would give him these notes to put in a wallet to remind they breathe, blow out the breeze. Blow up the stupid. And I was using these notes and put him at 10 to put put in the wallet. And I said, if I see you in the world, and I asked you for that green note, and you don't have it. I'm a hit you in the throat.

36:25 Something to remember me by, so is the green sticky, green sticky, and freaking out and having a panic attack. Take the No Doubt breathe.

36:40 Okay. So what kids are we talking about? I worked at Fort Benning in the Behavioral Health in, what in Behavioral Health? Okay. So it really was children, not a very, very basic training people. They were, who basic training guys at all. They were soldiers and Anna kid and when they got there and freaked him out so bad. Like what in the world and I'll say breathe who brought you here. You did. What are you learning? Because we need to be learning about every experience. So we want to make stupid mistakes all the time. But you know, he's some people, some people like to go to boom, boom, all the time.

37:33 It's so so I'm going to stick with the breeze. Blow out to the field trip on a green. And so you realize that green lime green was your favorite from a sticky pad. So now, do you do just do sticky pads or do you do all types of lime green? Like close, or closed like statues? So you like other things, ready and I love grass.

38:04 Grass Knot weed, grass green grass. Oh, okay, okay.

38:12 We know that's legal at the but you know that crazy place you talked about California, right? I know first place, but it's all good. And it's all good. Trust God.