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Patricia Puckett Hall remembers Lee Harvey Oswald before the world descended on her grandmother’s rooming house

Photo: This 2006 photo shows Patricia Puckett Hall at the home where Lee Harvey Oswald rented a room in 1963. (Credit: Michael Mulvey)

For Patricia Puckett Hall, there’s “a whole lot more than a ton of history” wrapped up in the red-roofed house on North Beckley in Oak Cliff.

For more than half a century, her grandmother Gladys Johnson ran a rooming home there.

Ms. Hall remembers no fewer than 16 tenants standing by the piano singing hymns as Grandma “Mimi” played her heart out, and, of course, sharing meals at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

She remembers Katie Gage, a live-in maid who was “so wonderful,” she seemed more like a second grandma than hired help.

She remembers the dapper gentleman who brought his daughter to the house on weekends, giving Ms. Hall a treasured playmate. It was the time of her life, one shared happily with two excitable younger brothers.

Tenants would come and go, some staying days or weeks, others 15 to 20 years. Some were so lonely that the occupants of the rooming house were the only family they knew. Mimi was endlessly caring for such souls, prompting her granddaughter to feel that “Mimi treated strangers more like family ... than she treated family.”

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