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I had no real memory of any big city when, at age 4, my family moved to Whizbang, Oklahoma, on the prairie. In late '46 or early '47, though I had been born and lived the first three years of my life in Houston, Texas, where my mother had moved during WW II to be with family and to work. My parents were both from Dewey County, Oklahoma and my father found work with Phillips Petroleum after the war.

I believe that it was an advantage for me to have lived my childhood in a rural/small town environment. It allowed me routine contact with nature, soiled as it was in the oil patch. We took vacations to Houston and Brownsville, Texas in the early '50s to visit my mother's family and in both cases my cousins lived within walking distance of the countryside, the piney woods in the case of Houston.

One of those trips I spent time with my Aunt Goldie who had an apartment near downtown Houston. I recall walking through downtown Houston and seeing tall buildings for the first time. My aunt said: "Don't look up, they will think you are from the country." I responded: "But I am from the country, Aunt Goldie." I was 8 and took the train back to Oklahoma alone while my mother stayed in Houston to help care for her mother, who had suffered severe burns a couple of years earlier and who had just been flown down to spend time with another of her daughters.

Later I recall asking my father why he had moved us to the country. He responded: "You will appreciate it when you are older." Was he ever right.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 30th, 2011 at 11:47:14 AM EST
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