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16

1971: The year that changed everything

Posted by : Press release | On : March 16, 2012

Does anyone recall strongly the year 1971? It changed our life, made our life fuller, and we shall always remember the almost thirty-years of inhabitance and hope our children always do too.

We changed jobs in June 1971, and headed from west to east, with trees, fishing waters, and best of all, closer to perfect grandparents who would be closer, although in other communities. In 1971, everyone was watching for the new lake, Cedar Creek, to fill. We were aware and wondered what changes would come?

What about 300 percent in school children in three years.

I had been teaching in a community college in Big Spring, drew out my retirement with some relate company to TRS, and my husband became the first junior high principal for the new junior school about to form.

We had a baby, not quite one, two other children, a truckload of furniture, and I drove a Buick Wildcat filled with flowers, ivies, my mom, and my 3-year-old daughter. The air-conditioning went out, Mom held the youngest with his feet in cool water, and he cried all the way back, thus beginning a six-year habit that would take me under. Our plans were that I would be a stay-home mother.

First, there was no place to live. A school secretary had a farmhouse on Gun Barrel Lane for storage, and we found a furnished mobile in town with no air conditioning to use, just floor fans. The children were outside all the time anyway bothering the neighbors, making friends, and finding adventures.

Meanwhile, it seemed my husband’s numerous siblings were many miles from us, but one set of grandparents lived near Dixie Isle, below Eustace, managing land TP&L would one day buy. The lake and fishing streams were near. My males in the family would soon be in Paradise.

Granny and Pawpaw lived alone in a big farmhouse with a fireplace. The youngest son was in Vietnam. Another son and family were in Arabia with an American oil company. Someone was in Grand prairie, two daughters and family were out west, another daughter was around Ft. Worth. Another brother had gone with his family south I think. I’m not too sure. But they all came in one week for the crisis.

Papaw had finally gone to a throat specialist about lumps in his neck. He would be undergoing cancer surgery. The last act he did before surgery was to go out on the balcony and whistle. That be the last time for whistling and other important acts like talking, but Pawpaw was one tough man. He had already survived a rough childhood, made himself quit drinking and attend church, come from two bouts of TB plus one surgery and much more. He never had to worry about being overweight.

The surgery went well, and he came home to heal. Then he had to go back for more throat cutting, and this time nerves were severed. He would be never be able to use a talk box. But he learned to mouth his words to make some understand, and he could stomp his foot!
It was spring, and most every afternoon possible, my husband his his boys climbed into the old Scout and went to Granny and Pawpaw’s with visiting and fishing on the mind. Of course, the boys liked running wild on rough land with two dogs chasing them or they were chasing dogs. Each soon had a BB fun.

It was a long time before my husband told me about his frequent visits to his parents’. He figured his dad suffered some type of depression in a world where he had always been the big talker and storyteller. He was really worried his dad might take his life, a secret my husband kept to himself. He was really worried about his mother, living far out and not well-acquainted with the phone if one was available. He simply felt better with his little visits and knew he had been gone out of the area for ten years at least. Home can be where the parents are, anywhere. Mine were in Trinidad and enjoyed having weekend visits with some of our kids, especially once we had four.

Papaw lived until awakening one morning in another house his children had helped them get and furnish where needed. This house had a semi basement (high windows to see out) and was the last home for both parents, located in Kerens, almost home for all the family, in some part. Papaw woke up one morning, asked the time, and died. He was 80.

And that lake? It filled in beautifully. We at one time had a lot on Dixie Isle, 120 feet on the water, but it had to go. We got over it.

Our eventual home was on Market Street, purchased unseen. Had we known I would return to work, we might have tried to get something nice and quite economical then, but we had a motto: never buy a house you think you could lose.

We live in Trinidad now, on my my paternal grandparents’ farmland as most of Granddaddy’s children sold out for the city–Houston seemed to call their name.

Our home place has been resold several times, bricked now, really made into a beauty. Location was a good asset for the house with pasture between the loop for Highway 175. I’ll always miss the older one with its history of being moved in and added to and all those clunkers parked around it. It looked as though some kind of party was always going on. Was it?

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