Growing Up & Loathing It

I like to write, but I do so from a different approach, I think.

I sit down in front of my computer (named Darren– a misspelled tribute to Bobby, the cool, hep-cat 60’s crooner, as opposed to Dick York) , turn it on and stare at it as it glares back at me.   Oh, how I do hate the tyranny of the blank screen.

Nevertheless, this is a daily ritual.   I never know what I’m going to write about and I think this lack of preparation bothers Darren.

In fact, I know it does.  Because Darren intentionally mispaills words and desropts sintax.   I assure yoo that it aren’t goht nuthang to do wit my aibiliteez as a righter.  It coitanly aLL goes in korrektlee.


I’ve had an interesting life–I think.   Normal, by most standards–I think and often, that serves as fodder for my blogposts.

I’m the youngest of three girls.  Father now retired, was a successful car dealer and my mother, for the most part, spent most of her time toiling in the fields of Amana, Kenmore and Maytag drudgery.

She was a hausfrau; which of course, is German for “martyr”.

Growing up in small town South Central Texas was interesting, too.  When I was a kid, we only had three networks–four if you include PBS, which back then, we rarely did–and this was when stations weren’t 24 hour stations.  Once you heard the national anthem at midnight, that was it,  until the early morning inspirational show,  ”Lamp Unto My Feet” started the next broadcast day.

Variety was not the spice of life back then.   There were two small grocery stores in my hometown and they carried the same things; one library,  two pharmacies and one clothing store, three car dealerships and a bank and a savings and loan.   I don’t remember their being more than a couple of restaurants.   Chains stayed away, save for the Dairy Queen which didn’t arrive until early 1973.

My father thought this meant real progress.  See, he and my mother were high school sweethearts, both born and raised in that little berg.  Not that they were “hayseeds” or anything like that, but they liked small town life.  It was safe and secure and familiar.   They also liked seeing progress.   For my father, this fast food chain represented that.

So, in order to give Dairy Queen a reason to reign supreme over her small town subjects, my father insisted that we eat there regularly.   Hamburgers one day…chili dogs the next…a steak finger basket later in the week.

A dipped cone for dessert.

So, in between lunch and dinner at DQ, we lived the nice, quiet life of a small town family.   I had an OK relationship with my parents, but there were things we just didn’t talk about.   Was it avoidance?  I’m not sure, but it forced me to learn about life on my own.  And I did.  TV helped, so did my friends; there was the “Weekly Reader” and of course, Walter Cronkite.  I’d come home from school each afternoon, do my homework and finish up just as old Walt was announcing the number of B-52’s lost over Hanoi that day.


My father was very supportive of that conflict.   In his opinion we were there for a “damn good reason”.  He also loved Nixon, considered LBJ to be a polecat  and thought there was a Communist lurking behind every trench coat.   He’s mellowed some in his old age, but for a while there, he was, in some ways, Archie Bunker with a college degree.

For example, in High School, I went out with a Vietnamese boy named Trahn.   Great guy, first generation American, born and raised in the states.  Still, all my father could see was that he wasn’t Occidental in appearance.   Daddy knew his name, but insisted on calling him “Charlie”.

I didn’t understand what that meant until much later in life.

My mother?   She was better–more tolerant of the things my father couldn’t deal with, but rather strict and all about propriety.  We were forbidden to call boys––ever.  We couldn’t accept phone calls after 9pm and NO dating until age 16.

And for some reason, she and I never had “the talk”.   I don’t know how I learned about the birds and the bees, but I did.  Perhaps it was that educational film the school nurse showed just the girls back in fifth grade.

The made-for-prepubescent females, school flick, “Growing Up and Liking It” addressed all the issues.  We learned about our impending monthlies and all the feminine hygiene products that end in an “X”.    We also learned that it was OK to bathe and ride a bike when in the throws of our  menses but we should stop short of swimming.

You see, “Growing Up and Liking It” was produced in the late 50’s.

I saw the film, took my new found knowledge home, fully prepared to “grow up” and “like it” someday, but I never told mother about the fact that I’d ever seen the film.   That I knew a thing about the punctuation of my own pudendum (periods), nor did she ever broach the subject.

Years later, I asked my mother why we never had “the talk”.   She replied, “OK Laurie.  Better late than never.  What does my adult daughter want to know”.

I asked, “After all these years, would you please tell me about the facts of life?”.

Her response?   “It was an NBC sitcom which starred a black chick named Tootie”.

Well, that explained cramps.



  1. Playboy adviser? You were lucky, I was educated by Penthouse forum which ruined me for life.

    “Dear Forum, I never knew how erotic colostmy bags were til I met Cindy….”

    How am I supposed to recover from that?

    ciao bella

  2. The Dairy Queen you mention wasn’t there when I left KC in 1971. There was some knock-off something “creme” across the highway, but I can’t remember the name now. You are right — no restaurants in town. One had to go to Kenedy for fancy eatin.

  3. BB….you remember the “Dairy Whip”. I can’t remember when that was bought out and converted into a Mexican restaurant but it was NEVER the caliber of “D&D”.

    The Diary Queen arrived in January of 1972. Big doin’s for Karnes City. And yeah, of you had someone come to town and you wanted to attempt to impress them to any degree, you took them to Barth’s in Kenedy.

    Karol and I ate there about four years ago. That was the first time for me since before I graduated in ’77. It was hardly what I remembered.

    I’ve been meaning to inquire as to your welfare since Hurricane Ike’s big Houston blow job, but I seem to remember you live in Memorial and save for a scant number of fences and maybe a few broken pine limbs, that area was, for the most part, spared.

    I drove to Kemah two weeks after the storm (I used to live in Bal Harbour across from NASA) and wanted to check out the area. The marina at Ball Harbor no longer exists–the boats that were there don’t either. Kemah, along the waterfront especially, was virtually wiped off the face of the Earth. Just foundations left in many places.

    Quite sad.

  4. Ok, Nice59. Only Karnes Countians would know about the fried chicken at Green Diamond. And don’t forget about the homeade rolls and delicious all you can eat fish on Fridays.

  5. I had forgotten about Louie’s. It was an ice house that had some tables inside. We never ate inside, but we would pick up burgers — five for a dollar.

  6. I was going to comment about your post Laurie but I think I’ll just keep hitting the refresh button to see where this goes.

  7. Oh, I remember the PM/NTR flame war like it was yesterday! How entertaining it was.

    What I had to say really wasn’t important. I just wanted to tell how much I like hearing about your past and how and where you, Karol and Kathy grew up. I like it a lot.

  8. we lived in portland for a couple of years, in a mobile home park. that was horrible but corpus was where my husband’s first office was. we moved there right out of law school. our first two daughters were raised at north beach.

  9. I lived in Portland too. We moved across the bay when I was in the fifth grade. I stayed there until just after I graduated from GP (remember that?)

    Was that mobile home park sort of across Wildcat drive from the high school?

    Wow, North beach. It sounds so, so good to here of these places. I’m still homesick.

  10. yes, that’s the one. we drove through there a couple of years ago and there’s one trailer i recognized after all these years-27 to be exact. it’s still being lived in. that little town has grown twice it’s size since then. my son’s girlfriend is from ingleside. more homesick?

  11. I rarely went into Ingleside but hearing the name does add to the homesickness. We lived right on the bay and I actually worked on a boat on the bay so what I remember most about it is seeing the town from across the water.

  12. I was born in Corpus in ’64. We moved to Casper, Wyoming in ’73. We were back in Corpus the very next year for obvious reasons (it was hell for us). We moved over to Portland either ’74 or ’75 and I stayed there after high school until about ’86. I moved back to Corpus by myself but left for Houston in ’89.

  13. Cash Cow,

    Seriously, what’s wrong with you? Do you possess not one iota of filters? Do you suffer from Asperger’s Disease? Do you have literary comment based Tourette’s Syndrome?

    Huh? Crisco, do ya? Huh?

  14. Catskills,

    You’re shit is weak sauce. What’s wrong? Tired? Took a massive leak and lost IQ points?

    You worry me, Criss Cross. You act like a man that’s falling in love or some shit. I don’t have a clue as to what it is, but something is obviously depleting your wit and wit, my darling, is a term I use loosely.

    Get some rest and come back when you’re a more suitable adversary for La Kendrick.

    El Kay

  15. Assuming that you are a man, you’re perfectly oufitted by God and nature to make you’re own pudding. Sure it’ll be thin and smell a might like Clorox, but you can do it, Cisco.

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