Thursday, October 19, 2017

Things I Should've Put In the Book, But Didn't- Episode 2


These days I help teach U.S. History, and I really do believe in the quote, Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I have always been interested in reading and learning about U.S. and World History, as well as city and church histories. I hope to someday write another book on the history of a certain place I have in mind. My current book, although it was a fiction, was kind of a history of my life in high school, and if I ever get around to it, my next book will be based on my life in college. This blog currently is covering “Things I Should’ve Put In The Book, But Didn’t”, and I’m basically looking back on my childhood experiences in Longview. I’m doing this because 1. I am not getting any younger and my memory is starting to fade a wee bit; 2. I want to leave a record for my grandkids (and future relatives) of my life’s experiences; 3. I want to share some things which may help someone in something they’re going through, plus I want to make some of my friends and classmates laugh and remember similar things; 4. And last but not least, I might make a book out of this someday.

So after that lengthy intro, on to Episode 2- (I don’t call them chapters; I call them episodes-)

Episode 2: East Ward Elementary School

I very nearly didn’t attend East Ward, due to my age at the time.

If the administration had had their way, I would’ve graduated in 1987, instead of 1986.

There was a certain rule back then that, in order to be in the first grade, you had to be six years old on September 1st. If you wasn’t, then you was held back. I started school in New Mexico, who had no such ridiculous age rule. So, when I got ready to start the first grade, I was 5 years old. I already knew how to read, write decently, and could count and write my numbers up to, oh probably 10,000 or something; I’m not bragging, I was pretty advanced for my age. However, when my mom went to enroll me, they (the school) weren’t going to take me. I don’t know how I ended up going anyway, but I think it had something to do with me lying about when my birthday was. (I don’t remember- Lol) I think I was told to say my birthday was September 1st, and that I was turning 6 on that day. It’s not and I wasn’t, of course. The very first day of school, I went into my first grade classroom being just 5 years old.

Well, not quite. Then a problem popped up where all of a sudden, they figured, Well, he lives in an area where we plan to bus kids to a different school. Huh? To explain, they wanted to send all of the kids who lived on Young Street west of 16th Street, to a school called Mozelle Johnston Elementary. Yes, technically, I was supposed to go to a school I had never heard of waaaay on the northside of town and a school where we (my mom and I) had no idea where it was located. When my mom found out where it was located, which was way out there by Judson Middle School OUTSIDE the Longview city limits, she was like, No way, Jose- And so, through what I suppose was lying about my address, too, I didn’t go to Mozelle Johnston and meet my future classmates at Judson five years early; I went on to East Ward. (Maybe my daddy being in the service had something to do with me staying where I was at. I don’t know.) So every morning, I watched my neighbor, who was also in the first grade, come outside around 6:50am and catch a bus to Mozelle. I never did think why him and not me, and to be honest, I didn’t actually care all that much. I was going to a new school regardless of whether or not it was East Ward or Mozelle.

What do I remember about the first day of school? The very first thing I remember was the smell of the classroom. It smelled like lunchboxes with fresh salami sandwiches and fruit, my teacher’s perfume, and like pencils and Big Chief tablets. I remember seeing the different centers, for instance library and grocery store centers, and all the different books we would read during the year. Pug. Zip, Pop, Go! Blue Dilly Dilly. Mustard Seed Magic. I loved to read, and I couldn’t wait to read those books. I remember meeting my teacher, Ms. Eckhardt, who from first appearance, looked to be a really nice, pretty, and friendly teacher. And of course I remember my first grade classmates (some of them anyway) and meeting them for the first time- Jennifer Anderson, a true friend for a long, long time; John Young, my buddy and another true blue friend; Kevelyn Peoples, someone I will never forget; and Deyavor Harnage, who was as pretty as she was smart, and who’d be my main competition when it came to who was making the best grades.

Deyavor and I got along like the way most little boys and little girls got along back then: we mostly argued about who was smarter, and we’d try to outdo the other in certain things. But for the most part, we got along pretty good. (At least, we didn’t fight one another.) Jennifer and I got along really well; our mothers became really good friends back then, so we’d visit often. John was my buddy in catching bugs and stuff like that, and I think Kevelyn tried to catch me a few times back then- I remember her chasing me around a lot.

However, the person who was what would be called today, my bestie, was someone I haven’t seen since the end of the 2nd grade. This person was the FIRST first grade classmate who spoke to me on the first day of school, this person would sit next to me on the first day of school and continue to do so everyday the next couple of years, and this person and I would do everything together in the first grade, from artwork to singing to playing during recess to actually holding hands at different times when we were walking to different activities. I wouldn’t even hold Deyavor’s hand back then, so this was different, in more ways than one. Her name was Joanna. Joanna Rodgers. And she was white. And she was my best friend in the first grade and in the whole wide world back then.

Next: Joanna


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The three water towers in Longview back in the day

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Starting Now- Things I Should Have Put In the Book, But Didn't

I am starting a new series called "Things I Should Have Put In the Book, But Didn't"

This series will focus on things that happened in my childhood during my time in Longview, that for some reason or another, I did not mention in my book. 

So I decided to do it here. 
And no names will be changed to protect the innocent- :-)

(Basically I'm doing this because I don't feel like drawing right now-)

Without further ado, here we go:

Stuff I Should’ve Put In the Book, But Didn’t-

Episode 1: Moving to Longview For The Second Time

My family and I moved (back) to Longview in 1974. I remember the trip going from Alamogordo, New Mexico all the way through eastern New Mexico and northern Texas. I didn’t have any feelings of happiness or sadness; I don’t think it had dawned upon me what we were doing exactly. Therefore, I had no idea I would never see New Mexico again for another 30+ years. I didn’t know I was leaving my friends behind, never to see them again. I didn’t know I would never go through the mountains again for a long time. The same mountains I hated when I was really small, but grew to admire and love viewing them. All I knew at the time was, We are going on another trip to Longview, Marshall, and possibly Tyler. In the past, we had taken trips like this during holidays and the summer, and since it was June, this one didn’t feel any different. So, as we went through Abilene, Fort Worth, Dallas, and on down Interstate 20 all the way into East Texas, I didn’t feel anxious or anything; I was just looking to see what would happen next.

My grandparents on my daddy’s side still lived in Tyler at the time, but I think they may have moved to Marshall shortly after we moved or a little before. My grandmother on my mom’s side was living in Marshall on Key Street (I remember that because it was easy to spell and read), and I’m positive we went there first and stayed until the moving truck brought our things to wherever we were going to live. I liked my grandmother’s house at the time; I remember I liked it because there was a giant hole in the front yard that my mom told me to stay away from, and I’d imagine that all kind of people lived down that hole. My grandmother would move into a different house on a different street in Marshall after we settled in Longview, and although the house was bigger and a little nicer, it reminded me of a haunted house more than anything with humongous spider webs and bigger rooms which looked like anyone and anything could’ve been hiding in them. (I usually went no further than the living room and the first bedroom.)

I can remember Daddy, Momma, Poinsettia, and I riding around looking for a house to live in Longview. Even though they were from Marshall, they did not want to live there, which was kinda interesting later on as I grew older and thought about it. Longview in 1974 was TOTALLY different compared to the Longview of today. Everything was downtown. There wasn’t anything on the Northside. There was no mall, no high school, or any shopping centers on the loop back then. The loop was mostly just 2 lanes, some of it might have been 4, but it was very seldom I got to go on that side of town. Again, everything was in South Longview. All of your department stores, Dillard’s, Sears, JC Penney’s, Anthony’s, Perry’s, and Montgomery Ward, were located downtown, mostly on Tyler Street. There were grocery stores and neighborhood churches on all the main streets: On Mobberly, there was Brookshire’s and Krogers; On Green Street, there was Safeway; and on High Street, there was Brookshire’s. There wasn’t any dollar stores back then; The places to go to if you was a kid like me were Gibson’s, T.G.& Y., and soon to be our favorite, M.E. Moses. With everything being on the southside, there really wasn’t any reason for us to go on the northside. I wouldn’t know of Judson Road and McCann Road until later on; North 4th Street was basically a neighborhhod street which ended at Hollybrook back then; Gilmer Road and Pine Tree Road seemed to be in another town altogether. Airline Road was a dirt road. The only McDonald’s in Longview was on Highway 80. There were hundreds of Dairy Queens, a couple of Whataburger’s, and no Wendy’s or Sonics. Longview High School was in downtown on Whaley Street. There were three water tanks in the middle of Longview, one big one and two small ones (and another off S. 16th Street, the future MLK Jr. Boulevard). Highway 259 used to come from Kilgore through the center of town and on down Judson Road. Then it came down east Highway 80 all the way to N. Eastman Road, then would continue north on that thoroughfare.

In other words, Longview was just beginning to grow. I don’t recall if we looked at too many houses, and I think we may have looked at just a very few, if that. All I remember is we came down Young Street and stopped at a yellow house which was empty. My parents talked to a man outside the house, and the next thing I know, I was told this was where we were going to be living. Being five at the time, I was naturally excited about the move (now I realized what we were doing) and couldn’t wait for the truck to bring our stuff. My excitement died somewhat when I realized Daddy would not be staying with us; He would be stationed in Hawaii and would only come home when he was granted a leave by the Air Force. Daddy had been gone before, to Vietnam and Thailand, I believe, but I was too little to realize he was gone back then. Now I realized it, and although Poinsettia was 2 going on 3 at the time, she realized it, too, and she let herself be heard what she thought about that, as she would cry and scream nonstop everytime Daddy had to go back to Hawaii. (Yes, by this time, she was definitely a “daddy’s girl”.)

The house on Young Street wasn’t all that bad; it was ok and comfortable, and my sister and I shared a room with a window unit. In time, the truck brought our things and the yellow house on Young Street became our home for the next couple of years.


Next: East Ward Elementary School

Monday, September 18, 2017

Announcements and Updates - September 18, 2017

Hello One and All!

I know it's been a long time since I posted anything to my Lobos, Blue Devils, and Mustangs Blog, so here I am again- The last time I posted was on Christmas, and not only was my family and I getting ready to celebrate Christmas, but we were also in the process of packing up our belongings and getting ready to move. We moved to Tatum on the last day of 2016, and since then, we've been getting things organized and set-up. We had a tornado come through the place at the end of May, so that kind of put us behind as far as things working properly and getting the place cleaned up afterwards.

However, we've finally made some headway, and I'm finally able to get some things going and accomplished as far as my webpage and blogs go. I am just about ready to focus on getting my book out to those who haven't seen or read it, and I'm about to really focus on advertising it more here in my blogs in the near future.

I will start back and continue the LBDM comic strips (I have some I haven't posted yet) which are based on the chapters in my book, and I will also advertise and provide links, videos, and pictures of some of my friends' accomplishments, webpages, channels, etc. for all to click on and view also. And I encourage everyone to do so- On your right, you will see Tonika Yvonne Wheeler-Earl, who is a cancer survivor, and her story is very inspirational and enlightening. I very highly urge one and all to click her picture and go to her website and youtube channel and view her videos, which are very motivational!

Ok, here's the 1st ever LBDM comic strip re-introduction- Enjoy!