Wednesday, May 02, 2007


It was great being back in Texas except for the Michigan accent I brought with me. having been born a Texan, it is particularly unsavory to be called a “Yankee Kid”.
The second thing I found out about Texas was that the kids down here were physically about a year ahead of the kids in Detroit. I would no longer be the starting Pitcher or Wide Receiver. And the entire mindset was different. In Detroit for Little League Baseball they gave you a Jersey; in Texas, you got a pro-style uniform, were told to go get cleats, given a playbook covering running and batting signs, and the 12 year old pitchers down here had “good stuff”, meaning an arsenal of fast balls, curve balls, knuckleballs, and sliders and the Coaches were teaching them how and when to use them. I had one pitch and the Coach called it the "Boogerball".I did hang in there at Second base.

In the Seventh grade I played Trombone and Football. I was in Boy Scouts and my best friends were in the same Patrol as me.
The girl across the street was named Jeri and she was what you would call “Mousy” with tawny hair, long and straight and her ears kind of peeked through at the sides and I thought that was foxy. I was in love with her and every time I heard the Archies sing “Sugar Sugar” I thought about her.

My really best friend was Kandi; she was a Tomboy and we spent hours roaming the fields by our house, shooting at Birds with bows and arrows.Her big brother was the star quarterback for the High School and Kandi wished they would let her play football too.
I am pretty sure Kandi could whup just about any of my friends. I knew she could whup me.

My history teacher was named Miss Cantrell and she looked like Peggy Lipton from the “Mod Squad” or maybe Nancy Sinatra and her ears stuck out of her hair just like Jeri’s. She was young and cool and if she weren't a teacher I would imagine that she would be a Hippy except that she dressed real nice and her hair was always brushed...she was Golden.
She was a Yankee; she said she was from Ohio. Thats where Johnny Appleseed was from.
She hung Posters of Musicians I had not heard of before...Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and there was a Band called the Doors I think I had heard of them before and she had a Donovan poster; I knew Donovan from the song he sang about Atlantis. She had another poster for a place in California called Monterrey and she said she had gone there. She also had a Woodstock Poster and everyone knew about Woodstock. I thought that guy Jimi was at Woodstock.

Of course there was one of the ubiquitous ‘Peace Signs” there on her wall and another one that said ‘War is not Healthy for Children and other Living Things...”
She was “Cool” and we all knew it and many was the boy with her on his mind as he fell asleep at night. She was Stardust.
One day Miss Cantrell showed me how to wear my Pullover Wool Cap. I typically wore it like a feedbag, down over my forehead, covering my ears in a fairly shapeless manner. When you take it off, your hair sticks out everywhere from the static electricity. Well, not my hair, because I had a Crew cut.
“Let me show you how to wear that hat” she said.
She rolled the bottom up about halfway, and set it back on my head, where it stylishly allowed my ears and forehead greater visibility and kept me from having to tilt my head back and use the lower eyelid as a Horizon.
“There” she said “That looks Cool!”
“Thanks Miss Cantrell” and I pretty nearly fainted from be in such proximity to her. I wondered how much cooler I must look.

When I got home that afternoon, my Mother took one look at me, crossed her arms and asked
“What happened to your hat?”
‘Miss Cantrell showed me how to wear it so it looks cool.”
She looked down at me with that Mom Face, pursed her lips a little and too sweetly asked
“Does Miss Cantrell have any little boys of her own that need to keep their ears and head warm?”
“No Ma’am, I don’t imagine that she does. She's too cool to be a Mom.”
“Um-Hmm...Well, you tell Miss Cantrell that this is the way little boys wear their hats to keep warm and when she has a little boy she will want him to wear it like this” as she took my hat and unrolled the bottom all the way back down and lovingly snuggled it back down over my ears and forehead, giving me a little pat.
I tilt my head back so I can see and say “OK Mom”

I suppose that was early spring of 1970. That’s the time of year that it gets really cold down here.
A few months later Miss Cantrell was so upset she couldn't teach her class for that day.
It wasn’t about my hat.


Barbara said...

Are you telling me it gets cold enough to wear a wool hat in Texas? I never even owned a hat in Florida.

You are getting to be like Old Lady leaving us hanging when the story gets good. Can't wait to see what happened to Miss Cantrell.

Mother of Invention said...

So what happened? Huh? Did some guy dump her? Did she know someone who got killed?
We're hangin' on a cliff here!

GrizzBabe said...

But Mom! It's better to look good than to feel good.

GEWELS said...

Have you lost your yankee accent yet?
If not, you need go to Tracie at
she's teaching us all Texan.
You'll love it.

steve said...

Barb & Mom:
Miss Cantrell had gone to Kent State and knew many of the people that were involved in the tragedy there in May of 1970.
Grizz- thats why I feel so good most of the time...I look like Hell!!!

My accent kinda goes both ways...its kind of a Midwestern depends on what I am talking about and who I am talking to.
Funny, I was in a store the other day and asked if they had a yellow pages phone book... a guy behind the counter looks up and says "Who is that, I'd know that voice anywhere" he see's me does doesn't recognise me. I'd known him 32 years ago...I said "Hey Sean, have you pissed anybody off lately?"
"I know that voice" he says.
i just laughed and left...I'm gonna go back in a few days and mess with him some more...maybe do some memory xercises.

Mother of Invention said...

Must have been a nightmare for her. No wonder so many peole have flashbacks.

Old Lady said...

It snowed when I lived in Abilene