Your article about being an Army brat could have been my biography, right down to the unair-conditioned Plymouth station wagon [“Army Brat,” December 2005]! When we lived in Naples, Italy, my dad, who worked for base security, drove us in that Plymouth, which was probably the largest car in Europe in the early sixties. It got more looks than a Ferrari in Dallas. In Italy we saw an outdoor speech by President Kennedy in August of 1963. My dad was never more than ten feet from him the whole time. Somewhere in our attic is a picture showing President Kennedy giving Dad a tie clasp modeled after the PT 109.
Would I trade growing up the way I did with someone who lived in the same town all his life? Maybe. But if I did, I wouldn’t have the memories of walking out on the balcony of our third-floor sixth-grade class in Italy and looking down at the Bay of Naples, with Mount Vesuvius in the background.
Lost and Found
After reading Gary Cartwright’s article on “The Lost City,” I was flooded with the same fond memories of growing up in Arlington [December 2005]. In the sixties, I remember riding my bike down numerous roads, before Interstate 20 was paved, to dirt trails that are now covered by DFW Airport. My best memories of riding my bike are when I would ride down to Grimes Grocery and buy a Pepsi and a candy bar for less than a quarter. On the way home, I would stop by a lady’s house next to Luck Field. She sold eggs from her front-porch refrigerator. I learned a lot from growing up in Arlington: how to play softball, at Woods Chapel Baptist Church; how to negotiate the curves and hills through Village Creek; how to properly stock fruits and vegetables, at Green’s Produce; and how to get to Dallas and Fort Worth without getting on Spur 303.
Although work forced me to move away, I miss the town dearly. When people ask me where I’m from, I still tell them I am from that little town located between Dallas and Fort Worth called Arlington.
T. Lane Adams
Soda Springs, Idaho
Texans Want Him Anyway
I loved Evan Smith’s article in the December 2005 issue [Behind the Lines, “Where I’m Of”]. I was born and reared (my momma told me you raise chickens, but you rear children) in Coleman, where my family owned one of the two local newspapers.
My partner (and brother-in-law) is, and forever will be, a Yankee. He has lived in Coleman for 32 years and is widely accepted by the community. However, he can never be a Texan, simply because he didn’t like the Southwest Conference, hates the Dallas Cowboys, and won’t eat black-eyed peas.
Mr. Smith, on the other hand, likes the Texas Longhorns and knows how to take care of “bidness.” Welcome to the Lone Star State, Mr. Smith. You are plenty Texan to me.
Well, Evan, you almost had me convinced. I figured it would be all right for you to call yourself a Texan until that big faux pas. I’m referring of course to your endorsement of Chewbacca over Anna Nicole Smith. That’s ludicrous. Don’t you understand that Anna Nicole is what Texas is all about? Big hair, big appetite, big … well, just about everything big. Guess you Yankees will never learn.
Richard S. Blackmore
I have two general rules of thumb concerning this issue: First, after you have lived in Texas for at least twenty straight years, you can most likely be considered a Texan (but, as native-born Texans, we can say yea or nay on a case-by-case basis). The second, and more important, rule is, What do you call soft drinks? If you don’t say “Coke,” then you are most definitely not a Texan. Texans do not say “pop,” “soda,” or “cola.” It’s all Coke.
You and your wife: not Texans. Your children: Texans! (They will thank you later.) The litmus test for genuine Texanness is very simple. One question: Where were you born? If the answer is Any Town, Texas, then you’re a Texan.
Ted R. Holland (Texan)