Heir to Oswald boardinghouse shares its history

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DALLAS — Gladys Johnson didn't allow drinking.

If a liquor bottle or beer can was found inside a room, the landlady wouldn't issue a warning.

Patricia Puckett Hall's grandmother simply piled a tenant's belongings on the front porch, her method of informing the rule-breaker that he was no longer welcome at her Oak Cliff rooming house at 1026 N. Beckley Ave.

Hall, 57, loves the old place.

It's hers now — her inheritance, her responsibility.

Her childhood dwells within its walls, memories as timeless as the family portraits.

One autumn day in 1963, her two younger brothers got into a scuffle in the front yard where Johnson's grandchildren, who lived six blocks away, spent most of their free time.

A roomer witnessed the roughhousing and stepped in.

Hall, then 11, watched as he sat the boys on the porch, one on each side of him.

"I want to tell you something really important," Hall heard the slender young man say. "I want you to listen. You're brothers. You have to look out for each other."

Then, "don't ever do anything to harm another human being."

On Nov. 22, just weeks later, that quiet man, who rented a 6-by-13-foot room from Hall's grandmother, was arrested for assassinating President John F. Kennedy and gunning down a Dallas police officer...

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