Archive for January, 2014

Pep Rally and the Game

January 27, 2014

Let’s hop into the DeLorean again and go to a high school pep rally in Liberty. Let’s set the time ahead about a day November 8, 1959, 2:00 p.m. First, in case you don’t already know this – Texas high school football is a big deal, was in 1959 and still is. On Friday nights, it’s not an option to miss the local team’s battle against their opponent. You load everything up in the truck or station wagon (SUV) and head over to the game. Best to leave early to get a good seat unless you’re in the game as a player, in the band, or a cheerleader. I was in the band that year and played the cornet. I missed out on the glory of the gridiron, but it was fun making out in the back of the bus on away games.

Let’s back up for a minute – I left out an important part of this whole scene, the pep rally. Try to put yourself in a “déjà vu” frame of mind. The DeLorean skids to a stop in front of the old gym in 1959. You’re walking into the gym, and it’s decorated with black and gold banners and a giant inflated Panther mascot that forms a tunnel for the team to run into the gym. The LHS Prancers and the cheerleaders are all decked out and waiting for the festivities to start.

But that was 1959, now it is 2013, and we are LHS alumnae from 50 years ago, this big group of people 60 plus years old over at one end of the gym. The announcer introduces us as the class of 1963, and the crowd cheers. We socialize and take lots of pictures, and sing the Panther fight song. Having finished the festivities, it is time to go back and enjoy some food and drink.

Did I mention that folks from the Pacific Northwest are very picky about their beer? Before I came to Texas, I sent Ed an e-mail and asked him to see what he could find in the way of a craft beer. He found one called Lawnmower brewed by St. Arnold’s Brewery in Houston. It was quite tasty and complimented the chili and other food. Thanks, Ed.

After eating and talking for a couple of hours, we left my friend Ed’s house and drove to the football stadium. The déjà vu feeling is working – bright lights, noise, lots of people, and then the smoke is released, and the Panthers come streaming out onto the field. They are playing Tarkington that night for a playoff spot in the 2013 season finals. I stood in front of all of my 1963 classmates, sitting in the stands cheering for the Panthers, and took a picture. I felt like I was capturing an image from 50 years ago, and the spirit of the moment felt much the same.

Cooking Up Some Texas Chili

Cooking Up Some Texas Chili

The Panthers Take the Field

The Panthers Take the Field

Back to the Future: 1963

January 21, 2014

Liberty High School 50th Reunion: November 7-10, 2013

After I returned home from the LHS reunion, I made a video with some of the pictures that I took. I decided to use “Lord of the Rings” music for the sound track. I chose “Breaking of the Fellowship”, partly because it was about 11 minutes long, which I decided was about right for 74 pictures. Later, in an e-mail I said to one of my classmates that our gathering was more like “Remaking of the Fellowship”. Here’s the story behind the 74 pictures.

On November 7, my United flight touched down at the Houston International Airport (IAH), and I took the shuttle over to pick up my rental car (it was a midsize, so it wasn’t too heavy). It was still early in the evening, even earlier in Oregon where I had departed at noon, and I wanted to drive to Liberty and check in to my motel for the night. The “official” reunion activities didn’t start until the next day in the afternoon. I missed a turn and got temporarily lost on my way out of IAH (should have gotten the GPS), but finally made my way over to Highway 1960, got something to eat and headed on down the road toward Liberty – Canned Heat, On the Road Again, remember that one? It was so strange driving on roads that I hadn’t been on in years (you may hear me say that again) considering it had been literally decades.

I found the motel, checked in, and decided I wanted a beer. I found a convenience store nearby on Highway 90. Praise God, they had a halfway decent beer (even by Oregon standards) – I think it was a Shiner craft beer. So I bought a six-pack. Maybe later I’ll tell you my story about how I conned my old buddy Ed, who was hosting one of the get-togethers, into procuring a really good microbrew for the party. I watched a football game, my old alma mater, University of Houston, then rested my weary head on the pillow for the night and fell asleep.

That night I had a dream. I was sitting in the cockpit of a DeLorean, all silver and gleaming. Although I had not ever had the privilege of climbing inside such a classic machine, I knew it did not have standard equipment – in fact, quite the opposite. On the instrument panel, there were three sets of timing devices, all with a start and end time. I thought what the hell let’s have some fun with this. My start time was November 7, 2013, midnight, and my end time was November 7, 1959. I started the car (powered by Plutonium!), accelerated to 88 mph, and there was a big flash. When the smoke settled, I was sitting in front of my house on Woods Drive in Liberty, Texas wondering what just happened. Someone drove by in a ’57 Chevy Impala with their radio playing really loud, “I love you, girl, I love you Peggy Sue”.

OK, my apologies to my readers for putting in a shameless plug for my favorite movie, “Back to the Future”. It just seemed appropriate.

On my first morning in Liberty after many, many years, I tried finding a Mexican restaurant that my classmates had told me about, Casa di Bono, but got lost and ended up at a McDonald’s. After breakfast,
I drove downtown into the city center and located my friend and ex-classmate, Ed’s law office on Main Street near the Court House and town square. I found out that he was at home getting ready for the reunion that afternoon. While I was downtown, I snapped some pictures of the Liberty that seemed very much the same as half a century earlier – the buildings, the weekly newspaper (The Vindicator), and the Liberty County Court House complete with a prominent sign in red letters on a white background, “Weapons of Any Type Are Prohibited on Courthouse Square 1836”. Veeerrry interesting as Artie Johnson might say. Obviously Liberty is a very old city, and if I remember my history correctly (thanks to Wikipedia), the year 1756 sticks in my head. Originally it was a Spanish settlement, and I remember Liberty had a bicentennial celebration in 1956 while I was living there.

If first impressions are reliable, then my first impression of Liberty, Texas was very good – despite what I said earlier about Liberty having changed a lot, in some ways it hadn’t changed at all. But impressions of the people are more important than the place. I decided to go to Ed’s house early before reunion activities got started. Not sure what I expected after 50 years, but it was interesting how some people had changed a lot and some very little in 50 years. There was a buzz of activity as people prepared for the reunion. I was very impressed by the work that had been done in organizing and preparing for the event. Someone had put together a booklet with pictures and memorabilia about the LHS class of 1963. Everyone had a gift bag with different things, key rings, etc. for the classmates.

A bit later Ed and James started working on the chili for the buffet after the pep rally that afternoon. Doing the chili was a major deal in itself. Many pounds of meat, beans, and onions, which of course had to be chopped, all went into the two, big, gas-fired kettles that were at one end of the trailer in Ed’s carport. They worked for several hours prepping and cooking the chili, which turned out to be great!

50 years, Are You Kidding Me?

50 years, Are You Kidding Me?

It's a Historic Place, Our Hometown

It’s a Historic Place, Our Hometown


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