As a child, he had an accident; during the 4th of July celebrations, he
put a firecracker into a bottle of soda which exploded right on his
face; he lost his right eye.
1921 : aged 3 and a
half, he had another accident. He was travelling to Kentucky with his
parents for the holidays. They drove in a convertible and while his
parents were arguing, he fell from the car. He hurt his hip and limped
for the rest of his short life.
May 11, 1923 : the divorce of his parents was pronounced and Gladys obtained her children's custody
One day Jasper came and picked the children up for a week-end custody;
he brought them to Flat Lick, Kentucky, at his own mother's home,
thinking the children would be better raised by his mother. So he
settled there, wanting to start a more quiet life.
Robert was hospitalized in Louisville because he still limped with his
injured leg. During his stay at the hospital, Gladys arrived, furious
in Flat Lick and wanted her children back. In vain, she asked the help
from Myrtle, one of Jasper's sisters. But they kept Berniece hidden and
asked Gladys not to go to the Louisville's hospital to see her little
boy. Anyway she settled in Louisville, and worked as a housekeeper,
waiting for Robert to be in a better condition.
Tired of waiting and not having be able to see her children, Gladys then went back to Los Angeles.
Jasper regularly went to Louisville where his son Robert was
hospitalized. The doctors had diagnosed a bone tuberculosis. After 2
years, his condition improved, but he still limped. He had to continue
his treatment. He alternated the stays between the Harlan hospital
(closer) and the Louisville's one.
The family settled in the town of Middlesboro and Robert was brought
back home. But his condition worsened
and his kidneys couldn't handle
He died on August 16, 1933, aged 15 (-).
He was burried the next day at the Flat Lick cemetery.