Jul 25, 2016

Changing Traffic Patterns

Pin ItWe used to travel Zarzarmora Street to go to Grandma's. Later, they built freeways, and the downtown area where they didn't have freeway yet had traffic lights. They were set for a certain speed so if you went down at that speed, they would all be green. Bobby Joe and I would say, "Pop, pop, pop," and watch the lights change as we went through the area. 

The first freeway across San Antonio was Highway 87 that goes up to Fredericksburg to the north and Laredo on the other end. They built the north and south sections on each side of downtown first and left the middle in downtown to be built later. That was the section that had the traffic lights. We called the freeway the 'speedway'.

Way back when, there were horse-drawn wagons in the traffic. As time went by, there were fewer and fewer of them until there was a time when there were no horses.

One Christmas when I was in about sixth grade, I decided to learn to ride a bicycle. Mama went to work in the sewing factory to get Bobby Joe and me each a bicycle. Mine was a 24-inch bicycle, and it is the only bicycle I ever had. I dreamed about getting that bicycle until I actually had it.

I rode around the neighborhood on all the gravel streets, and to the store. It was a little store called Duran's where we got bread and milk. I rode some around the school and to the five-and-dime called Winn's. Their slogan was, "Save a trip to town, shop at Winn's!" They had stores in all the shopping centers in the suburbs. Later on, I worked for them.

San Antonio always had good bus service. One day it was 80 degrees or higher out on the Fairgrounds at the stockshow, but that night it was freezing, so ice formed on the power lines. Mama sent me to school on the bus that afternoon.

We rode the bus downtown, and when I was older, I rode it to the junior college, which was San Antonio College, called SAC. When I got off the bus, I walked across San Pedro Park to the college. Later, when Bobby Joe went to SAC, he couldn't find the car once he had parked it there.

When I went to San Marcos to university, one of the professors used to come in on the train. If you wanted to see who was coming to school, you would go to the train station. Later, people went on the Greyhound bus or the Continental bus. That's how I went to school a lot. Even later, people came in their own cars.

Jul 22, 2016

Games People Played: A Typical Day

Pin It In the mornings, we played with Sharon and Jimmy Fanscki, who lived three doors down from us. One summer we had stilts. We walked back and forth from our house to theirs on stilts. Daddy made my stilts the same height as the porch so I could just walk off onto them.

When we moved over to Grandma's house we played Pitching Washers, Daddy and I against Bobby Joe and Mama. We played in the driveway. You had a hole and stood 'just so far' from it and pitched washers and tried to get them in the hole. We played every evening after supper. 

After lunch we had a siesta and then played outside between the houses in the shade. One day when my school friends came over, we did gymnastics on the quilt between the houses. 

Bobby Joe and Ray Berry, who lived next door and was a few years older than Bobby Joe, made a movie with a camera. They took still shots of westerns and used ketchup as the blood, but the pictures were black and white so they didn't turn out like they expected and they were disappointed.

One morning, Bobby Joe and I had a circus. Our Mama was our most important guest. We had a clown and Bobby Joe did tricks. Bobby Joe thought he was going to get rich selling tickets. Mama was the only paying customer, along with possibly three or four kids. Needless to say, we didn't get rich!

Daddy talked about playing Mumblety Peg when he was young. It was a game boys used to play with pocket knives. It was where they went through a whole series of things, like we did with jacks. I think Daddy thought he must have grown up in the best time to grow up in rural Bandera County. 

Sometimes after supper we got out the croquet set. Some evenings Mama and Daddy would play, along with whatever kids were there. Daddy was notorious for almost winning and then using his club to hit people's balls all over the yard. 

At night we had a street light in front of our house that made our house and the one across the street the gathering place. We played games like Colored Eggs (see previous post about that game) and Button, Button, Who Got the Button? as well as Hide and Seek, and Freeze Tag. In Hide and Seek, we counted by fives to a hundred. I always thought counting by ones was the easy way out. 

Moms would call their kids home to bed, and we often listened to the San Antonio Missions, minor league baseball's Texas league, on the radio. Jim Wiggins was the announcer. Their phenomenal shortstop Brooks Robinson played for them during this time. More about that in this blog post.

Later, we had bicycles and roller skates, and went roller skating downtown at the roller rink and to the movies. We rode the bus for a nickel and went to the movie for nine cents, so for a quarter you could get a Coke and popcorn and everything.