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