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GROWING UP IN THAT CITY BY THE BAY GOTCHA GIRLS -PART II

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I wasn’t born in Texas but . . . “I got here as fast as I could!”  In the spring of 1959, when my dad informed us that his job was taking us to Texas City, Texas, of
all places, many images flashed through our heads–mostly of those that we had seen in the recent movie Giant. We pictured such things as oil wells, cowboys, rolling tumbleweed and expansive cattle ranches. However, we soon discovered that this was not the case. Yes, we did experience somewhat of a culture shock,
coming from Iowa, though, namely the thick southern drawl and Texas expressions, the stifling Gulf Coast humidity, the putrid smells from the
industrial plants in Texas City, and the segregation of public facilities.
It wasn’t long until we adapted to our new life style. Our neighborhood on Sunset Lane was lovely and our neighbors even better—Tom and Kitty Mackey and their family, Bill and Evelyn Wimberley and their daughters Cheryl and Vicki, to name a few. My sister Linda and I even began using some of the local vocabulary and expressions. For example, y’all instead of you guys, Coke or Pepsi instead of pop, and Yes, ma’am and Yes, sir instead of a simple Yes or No all became a regular
part of our vernacular. We enrolled in Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School—I in the eighth grade and Linda in the seventh. Our sister Sharon, a senior, decided to graduate with her class in Iowa.  Soon I began to develop my own group of friends. My class was filled with some interesting and colorful characters such as Mike Peveto, Richard Daigle, Mary Lynne Lopez and Pam Whitehead.
Many of us have remained friends through junior high, high school, and on into adulthood.  Pam Whitehead and I became best friends. One of my favorite recollections during my Fatima days was spending a Saturday night at Pam’s, and on Sunday morning attending church at St. Mary’s with her family. The best part was after Mass when we would stop at Mainland Drug and enjoy a juicy cheeseburger, fries and a frosty chocolate malt with her uncle and family.
After one year at Fatima, it was time to move on to junior high where my circle of friends continued to grow along with my love for Texas/Texas City. Some of our favorite junior high activities consisted of attending football games, going to the Teen Club, and having sleepovers. Blocker presented another year of changes for me. It was my first -time to attend public school and to be taught by lay teachers instead of nuns and priests.  Within a few days, I fell right into the routine of changing classes and teachers each period. I was even lucky enough to be voted the first female Ninth Grade Class President of Blocker Junior High. Some of
my most notable teachers at Blocker were Mrs. Schaefer, Mrs. Mabry, Mrs. Blocker, and Mr. Eyre who gave me the excellent foundation I needed for high school.  In the fall of 1961, we became sophomores at Texas City High School where we were joined by that other school from across town to become the Fighting Stingarees.  Needless to say, my circle of friends grew even larger. Little did we realize that many challenges were in store for us—Hurricane Carla and the aftermath, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and integration our senior year, to name a few. I loved each and every day and year of high school.

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