Saturday, December 1, 2012


Today I read an interesting article in The Daily Beast. It is written well and explains why we hear the same talking points over and over by the republicans who are trying to discredit Ambassador Rice.  Please read it to stay informed of their latest racism attacks against a black woman. 

Monday, November 19, 2012


Remember our Texas Pilgrims This Thanksgiving. HAPPY THANKSGIVING 

This is an excerpt from an essay published in "The Community Messenger" (November, 1998), by Janine Stubbs

     Texas had pilgrims as did  New England.  LaSalle and his Pilgrims from France came to the shores of  Texas after they were blown off course in stormy seas, similar to those who arrived at Plymouth from England. They were also blown off course in stormy seas.  While the New England Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, instead of Virginia, as planned, the Texas Pilgrims landed on the shores of Galveston and then Matagorda Bay, although they were headed for the mouth of the Mississippi River in what is now, Louisiana, where they intended to settle.

     Pilgrims journeyed long distances for religious purposes, similar to LaSalle's Pilgrims and the New England Pilgrims. LaSalle's Pilgrims were brave and gallant from good families who left France with missionary priests. They planned to convert the natives to Catholicism. They gave daily prayers, masses and their high priority was the building of the first Christian place of worship in Texas. It was "made of plaster over mud and covered with skins" inside their fort. The New England Pilgrims we study, unlike the French were more interested in doing away with anything Catholic. They wanted to separate from the  Church of England, they believed was too Catholic. They were known as Separatists.

     While the Texas Pilgrims arrived in Texas on January 1st, 1685 and the New England Pilgrims arrived in November of 1620, Texas Pilgrims could have arrived in November months earlier, had not LaSalle become seriously ill which required a stay-over on an island in the Caribbean.

     The traditional New England dinner we celebrate is similar to what the New England Pilgrims had in their celebration of Thanksgiving. They purportedly ate corn, pumpkins, and other harvest foods, along with turkey and trimmings. Priests, who recorded their arrival in Texas with LaSalle, mention their foods as being, corn, ducks, goats, fish and bustards(a kind of crane.) We know at other stops the French indulged upon crocodiles; perhaps this too could have been part of their menu at Matagorda Bay.

     The Indians the French met in Texas were not as friendly as those the New England Pilgrims met. The New England Indians reportedly helped the Pilgrims from England to survive, while the Indians the French Pilgrims met are given much blame for the demise of the French Settlers and their settlement near Matagorda Bay. Diseases took many French lives and one of LaSalle's men murdered him . But the aggressive Karankawas killed the remainder of the French Pilgrims.

     While we traditionally celebrate Thanksgiving according to the style of the New England Pilgrims, who arrived 65 years before our French Pilgrims, I think we should also remember our French Pilgrims,  who were significant to Texas history. Maybe have a modern day toast with a glass of good wine, if you can't get duck, goat, fish or bustard.  And I think crocodiles are still an endangered species.      

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I'm proud to announce:

"Racism Review,"a scholarly blog,  published my paper about racism during this pre-election time. See "Observing Racism in Texas: The White Frame Again." Click on the following link: Once you reach the website, Racism Review, scroll down to the article, "Observing Racism in Texas............".
Or type in the title, "Observing Racism in Texas........." in the search section of  "Racism Review blog.

Friday, October 19, 2012


   Jennie Fields draws me into her multi-layered historical novel of the Pulitizer Prize

winner Edith Wharton, in "The Age of Desire."  Since my viewing of  Wharton’s,

"The Age of Innocence" (movie) several years ago,  as a sociology teacher, I was

intrigued with her stories set and plotted in the highly stratified society of New York

and Europe,  in the late nineteenth century,  and early twentieth Century. Similarly,

this book can be seen in the same sociological framework, as well as a work of art.

     Fields captures the time period when women normally had little education or

opportunities to succeed in the publishing business and anywhere else for that matter.

Using primary sources of diaries and letters recently discovered, Fields highlights

Wharton’s relationship with her tutor (from her childhood) to her middle-age years,

in which Anna Bahlmann was her in-house secretary/servant and confidante, who

loves Edith, but sometimes disapproves of her friends and the choices she makes. But

Anna was always available and a crutch for Wharton during the most difficult of times.                                                                                                          

     Fields flashes scenes of Wharton’s miserable marriage to a bi-polar husband, in

a marriage she seemed to be unable to do anything about, as many women were at that

time. Women in the Upper- Class seldom had the freedom to select their lifetime

partners. But unlike the life that most women experienced, she lived a luxurious and an

extremely active life, as an intellectual and widely traveled professional woman. To

escape her mundane marital life, Wharton traveled widely, back and forth to Europe.

Particularly, to Paris. She kept company with other intellectuals such as Henry James and

Morton Fullerton. The latter gentleman, the handsome, well-dressed writer Fullerton,

who smelled of lavender, was the one she engaged with in a torrid love affair. He excited

her mind as well as her sexual desires. For, it was Fullerton who brought her to multiple

orgasms, which again, was seldom experienced by women at that time, as well as today.

If you accept the findings of sociological surveys done in recent studies.   Fields

describes the love scenes with her tantalizing use of words that might excite some of the

most prudish women that read it today. Her love scenes between Wharton and her lover,

Fullerton, are indeed filled with descriptions of lurid desire.

      Fields has a magical use of words, not only when describing Wharton’s relationships,

but when she richly describes the Paris scenes and the beautiful homes where Wharton

lived.  In the most eloquent manner, Fields brings us to the scenes as if we were

observing a movie in a tightly woven story.                                        

     I highly recommend Jennie Field’s beautifully written book, The Age of Desire,

to all adults. Especially, to students of history, sociology and Edith Wharton fans.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 7, 2012


My visiting blog writer this week is Ann Kennedy, who writes about her hair. Ann and I are   "cohorts" who have lived through the same era. Our models were movie stars such as Shirley Temple above. Ann and I have a lot in common. For one, we experienced the same problems with our straight hair. Since curly hair was so popular as we grew up, our mothers did everything they could to help our hair look like the movie stars we idolized. It wasn't much fun to have to go through the many attempts to curl our hair during our young lives.
All I can say is we had very straight hair. There are not many pictures that describe our hair because so few girls had straight hair or so it seemed. We were cute like the picture below, but it wasn't enough.

Ann's creative story tells us about the hair products that gave our poor hair such agony. Actually, it's a memoir, using the  Point of View of her hair. I know you will enjoy this, as much as I do.

Ann is my grandson Wally's maternal grandmother who comes from a family of colorful storytellers. Her father was the illustrious Wick Fowler, who was a journalist during World War II, was a friend to Lyndon B. Johnson and cooked his famous Wick Fowler's Two-Alarm Chili numerous times at the White House. Ann and her brother, Gordon Fowler, owned and operated the Wick Fowler Two Alarm Chili Company in Austin for years, until they sold it and retired about twenty years ago. The Terlingua Chili Cook-Off held annually in Terlingua, Texas is a celebration pioneered by Wick Fowler. Ann has many colorful stories that I hope she continues to give us.


           I Was Doused With Chemicals and A Quarter of Me Was Murdered in Cold Blood:
                                            The Story of Ann's Hair

I am Ann's Head of  Hair. Seventy years ago, I was a very light blonde color that was sometimes braided by Ann's mom.  I wanted to stay straight, and did so. I made those braids slide, separate and fall apart as fast as anything. Even as she realized Ann wasn't going to sing and dance and be the world's child star, ol' shirley Temple's curls looked real cute to Ann's mom. I was hoisted into a seat at a beauty shop.  Above me, a giant bowl with electric coils hanging from it looked like trouble. I recited my motto, "stay straight," but

to no avail. By the end of a long day, I had been twisted,  heated, drenched in stinging, smelly chemicals-tortured into curls. Ann's mom was thrilled.  I stayed awake for 3 nights, willing myself to remember my motto. It worked! On the 3rd day,  all those hateful curls went back to my straight self. I won the first of many battles with curly hair.
After about a decade of failures, Ann's mom, grandmother, and aunts came up
with an idea-a pair of thinning shears that would thin out enough of my hair to make it hold a curl. At least a quarter of me  was murdered in cold blood by those shears.

The smug, satisfied look on those motherly faces was more than I could tolerate.
I quickly re-bounded - thicker and straighter than ever. My opponents had been Ann's mom and those people at nasty "beauty shops."

Then along came a horror called "Toni's Home Permanent." Ann's mom fell for
all those successful stories in magazines,  along with glamour shots of famous stars
and models, all with "Toni" curls. Ha! I could beat back a "Toni"in one day.

I liked being dried in front of a fireplace or hanging out of a car window, to dry
in the wind. When I was 16, a hair dryer, a boring old thing, entered my formerly
fun life. I made it blow up in Ann's hand a few years later.

A short time later a mad scientist came up with "hairspray" (cough, cough!). I was hair sprayed nearly to death,  in places from a Neiman- Marcus Salon to a motel room in Terlingua.

I rejuvinated myself at 18 years old. My new home in Galveston meant Mother
Nature was my ally, with her humid, damp ocean breezes. I was at my best that year.                            
My confidence level stayed high throughout the arrival of "hot rollers."Useless
things,  those hot rollers.


For the next 20 years, until I turned 50, I was content. Worn in a simple ponytail, I welcomed just a rubber band and scarf. Sadly, my worst day came at a store called Frost Brothers. Ann and her mom thought they would relegate me back to training camp. They bought a wig to completely cover me up. I fought back like a girl, scratched, itched, and turned up my temperature, made that wig too loose or too tight-anything to make her sorry.

That ridiculous wig went to a teacher and is, even now, being worn by rug-rats in
their silly little school plays. I won, as usual, and was happily turned back in to my
ponytail self.

I have been washed in everything from baby shampoo to Tide Soap to "Mane
and Tail." Been conditioned with concoctions from mayonaise to beer to oil from
nuts grown in New Zealand. I remain, at 73, a rather odd color (tan? gray?blonde?)
but as straight and slick as a No. 2 pencil.

                                                         The (Split) End

Can you relate to Ann's story of her hair? Today straight is in. I know Ann's hair is
much happier, as is mine. Because I too wear my hair in a pony tail most of the time.

Friday, July 27, 2012


                                                                                             Janine Stubbs
                        AUNT MARY’S CHERRY PUDDING
     Great Grandpa Baird was anxious to cultivate many flowers, fruit
trees, nut trees, and whatever else he felt like planting. He designed
gardens around the houses where he and his family had lived over the
years,  but later he wanted more space to create beautiful grounds and
gardens for his friends and family.
      He planned for much more, when he found the right place. He
would experiment with grafting and build a greenhouse and plant cherry
trees everywhere. Cherry trees were his favorite. He loved the beautiful
blooms that burst forth in the springtime.  He popped the newly formed
cherries into his mouth and savored the sweet juices as they
 saturated  the inside of his cheeks.
      It was time to retire. He worked most of his life. When he was a
young man he worked beside his father on the family farm, outside of
Hope, Arkansas.  After he finished high school he went to work for the
Pioneer Telephone Company, laying the first telephone lines all the way to
Oklahoma and Texas, from the far reaches of Arkansas, where he was
born. His father fought in the Civil War, but he fought in no real war.
However, he did fight along with his wife, her war with cancer, as he cared                                                                                                                     
 for her and his four little girls, when younger men than he, were soldiers in
 World War I. 
     Being quite successful in his career as a manager for what eventually
became Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, he saved enough
money to buy a twenty acre farm between Oklahoma City and Lake
Overhoster.  He built a stately house with Grecian columns and a
large basement that covered the entire size of the house.
     He retired in the early 1940’s when this country was involved in
World War II. There were shortages of food and supplies and he wanted
to make sure he could provide enough food for his family that lived
nearby.  The basement provided cool storage for vegetables, fruit,
and canned preserved foods.
     Every Sunday Great Grandpa Baird invited all the relatives to a
big Sunday dinner. It was usually his daughters and their families. The
women would prepare the meals and clean up and the men worked in the
fields, caring for the crops.
     It was a bountiful garden that provided food and beauty for numerous
tables. Fields of daffodils jumped up brilliantly yellow every spring. Red
roses climbed arbors leading into smaller flower gardens with  fish
ponds on three sides of the house.  White lilies floated on

 flat green leaves and peeked out of the ponds' waters.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
     There were rows of nut trees and fruit trees, but the most prolific fruit
trees were Great Grandpa Baird’s favorite, his cherry trees. They
blossomed a spectacular show every spring and took up much of the
garden. When the cherries appeared from the pretty pink flowers there
wasn’t much time for harvest. The guys were prompt in picking them
so as not to lose them to the midday sun.
     There was little refrigeration in the 40’s so my aunts used their creativity
to cook and prepare them in different ways. They canned cherries. They
prepared cherry jams and jellies. They cooked cherry pies, cherry cakes,
cherry short cakes, but the family’s favorite cherry dish was Aunt Mary’s
Cherry Pudding.     
    Many years later, I inherited one of my Grandmother Nellie’s cook
books and when I opened it, I saw tucked inside was a yellowed index
card. On the card was written Aunt Mary’s Cherry Pudding Recipe. 
Aunt Mary’s daughter, Daisy,   sent the recipe to my grandmother in a
letter long ago.
     Sometimes, I take out the old yellowed card and display it on a silver
tray on my kitchen sidebar. When I pass by I reflect back to my aunts
and other relatives who worked so diligently  to provide food for their
loved ones’ tables when it was most needed. And I think of my Great 
Grandpa Baird’s beautiful garden and I cherish Aunt Mary’s Cherry
 Pudding Recipe.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


       Today, I finally had time to read about Justice Roberts' decision to
not rule against the "Obama's Health Care Law." There are many opinions
online as to why this so called conservative Supreme Court Justice acted in
accordance with the Liberal view point. I wanted to read about his
background before I could offer my humble opinion.
      I read about  Robert's brilliance and his ability to surpass other students
at Harvard Law School. Also, I read the accolades from his former
teachers and contemporaries. I read the opinions of Harvard Law professors
on his ruling. They were favorable, as you can read the link to them.
Some say he has had the ability to see both sides of issues and can argue
either side. That is how I attempted to teach my students, to know both sides
of important issues and argue either one. Sometimes, it was difficult for them.
     Justice Roberts has had a respect for institutions, like Harvard, the Catholic
Church, and the Supreme Court. It has been said that his early thirst
for knowledge was rooted in his Catholic education. Early, he attended
his parish elementary school and later he was privileged to attend a
a Catholic prep high school, where he studied Latin for four years.
You can read this from "The New York Times" when he was first appointed:
     I believe that with my reading of a few sources,  it is hard to classify
Roberts as a conservative,  as we might define conservatives  today.
I think his decision to rule as he did this week was "rooted" in his personal
history.  Because, he is extremely smart and was able
to use his intelligence and knowledge of law to analyze the question of The
Health Care Law in depth, he  could see the questions of the law from
both sides. But, he had to finally choose only one side and  he had to make
what he knew was the correct decision.
    In addition to this excellent achievement in law and knowledge to interpret it,
it was probably his early education with the Catholic teachings of Latin and
Social Justice that he drew from.  Because of this valuable education,
he understands what it means to believe in the common good for society.
     In summary, when the chips were down, his moral background along with his
intelligence and knowledge of the law provided him with the courage to do
what he believed was the right thing.



Saturday, June 23, 2012

Yea, La Tolteca e-Zine Published My Essay

I went to a one day Memoir workshop a few years ago. Ana Castillo is the writer
who hosted it. I had heard her speak at University of Houston in Victoria months
earlier and was impressed with her writing style. This past year, Ana began publishing
her La Tolteca e-Zine. She invited her students who had attended her workshops
to submit their work. I submitted one of my essays on my teaching experience
at the state prison. Imagine my surprise, when La Tolteca arrived in my email today
and there was my story,
"My  Captured  Audience,  Teaching College Credit Sociology in a Prison".- Janine Stubbs.

Ana has been an inspiration to me and I invite you to read my story in her e-Zine
publication. I feel honored to be part of this attractive publication. It's free. So, that
is an added bonus. There is also a memoriam to Carlos Fuentes, who passed last month.
I love his books. Check out Ana's books, especially if you are interested in Hispanic
culture and the Southwest. Have a good read today.
Click on :

A Few of Ana's Books:

Novel of the Mexican Revolution
The Guardians: A Novel
So Far From God: A Novel

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I have told the story about my brother-in-law's near death experience with a massive

 heart attack on my last blog. It was called "THEY PACKED HIM IN ICE".

This was a procedure of packing him in ice.  It was done after they delivered him to the hospital

and after he received emergency care and then surgery that placed stints in his main

artery to his heart.  The packing of ice prevented possible brain damage.

 Laurie,  my sister, was first on the scene and she was the primary one who saved him

by giving him compressions on his heart. She had seen it done on TV  and

remembered how it is done. She began the compressions, shortly after she

arrived on the scene when she saw he wasn't breathing.  Thank God she knew

what to do because there are only a  few minutes after a heart attack patient

becomes unconscious or comatose  to do something about it.

     I thought it would be important to show you what she did. I found instructions

 on Youtube. So, I'm providing a link for you to watch the young woman perform

the compressions, as my sister, Laurie did. If you haven't read my story,

 please scroll down and read the rest of the

advice and information on this subject.

     Be prepared. You never know when this information may come in handy.

It could mean the difference of life and death, as it was to my brother-in-law, Kenny.

Please click on the link to youtube ,&l



Saturday, May 5, 2012


    “They packed him in ice? My God, why?’ That was my response to my sister when she called me a few weeks ago from Richmond, Virginia. She told me that her husband Kenny had a massive heart attack. He is a tall strong guy who is 59 years old and was thinking of retiring early. On that particular day, Kenny was singularly, tearing down a wall of their house and breaking up tile, with all his might. The plan was to remodel the house and place it on the market and then to downsize to a smaller house for their eventual retirement. He placed a lot of effort on this job, as he admitted when he called my sister on the phone.

     My sister, Laurie was on her way home from work, only a few minutes from the house. When she answered her cell phone, Kenny said, “I must have overdone it. I feel chest pains and hurt all over.”

     Laurie said, “Are you nauseated?”

     Her husband of many years said, “No, but I have really bad indigestion.”

     Laurie said, “Oh no. Call 911 right now and I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

     Laurie was aware of the symptoms of a heart attack and knew that indigestion
was one of them. She knew she was racing against time that day as she neared
the house. She prayed that her fears were unfounded.She ran to the front door and entered the living room where Kenny was sitting in his chair. His head was leaning to its side. She spoke to him and he didn’t respond. She leaned down and listened for his breathing and there was none. She knew her worst fears were real. She began pushing on his chest. When she realized that was not going to work she grabbed a hold of his feet and pulled him off his chair, as fast and forcefully as she could. At the time,she was afraid she hurt his head, but she knew she had to do all she could remember to save him. She had seen emergency people 30 years before attempt to resuscitate a man. She saw them use CPR fruitlessly. But more recently, she saw on  TV where compressions were  recommended when there was an untrained person present in the company of the heart attack victim. She said she learned to place one hand over the other and push down on his chest in a one two push rhythm. And that is what she proceeded to do. She said she blew her breath in his mouth a couple of times, but there was no response, so she continued with the compressions.
     Shortly after she had been working on her husband’s chest the EMS arrived at
he door. She screamed out, “Hurry, hurry.”

     When the paramedics came in the living room, one of the guys dropped his
mouth wide open in surprise. He said she was doing a good job and asked her
if she could continue with what she was doing while he set up. She continued the
compressions until they took over. They took him to two hospitals, while Laurie
frantically went looking for him. When the emergency people found the right
hospital, they waited for the cardiologist to  arrive. They told my sister her
husband was gravely ill. After a quick surgery placing stints in his main artery,
they took him to ICU and packed his body in ice to bring down his temperature
to 90 degrees. They kept him on ice 24 hours. Then they removed the ice.

     The whole family was surprised that he was being treated in such a fashion.
Needless to say I was, as well. So, I googled and researched the ice packing of heart patients. One of the first articles to pop up was Jeffrey Dobkin’s, “A Technique For Delaying Brain Death in Heart Attack Victims”, Please check it out, you never know when this can make the difference in life and death.

very interesting.
     Quickly, I will tell you that this is a procedure that can be done to delay the
irreversible brain damage thought to occur when no oxygen reaches the brain
for four minutes. He also discusses that in case of emergency, when there is no
other immediate remedy and you live in the country and you have a heart attack
or someone else does, another one present can wrap the heart victim in plastic
grocery bags filled with ice from your freezer. Or merely wrapping one’s face
with the ice to cool the body can bring the body temperature down to mimic
hypothermia. The odds of someone surviving after becoming comatose are
not good: 75 % are never revived or die shortly after.

     The wrapping of ice for crucial cases started in Australia. And apparently it
is being used up east in Virginia. I can’t help wondering if the procedure is
used in Texas yet.

    At any rate, I’m delighted to tell you that four weeks later, my brother-in-law is
up walking and talking and the only effect he feels from the coronary is some
short term memory loss which is being treated. The doctor told him he could play
golf again, but to let someone else do the carpentry work.

     Thank the universe and God that my sister knew what to do to save his life
and the progressive doctors up east were smart enough to pack him in ice.


Thursday, May 3, 2012


                                    MY SURPRISE INTRUDER IN MEAN DALLAS          
                                                       (PART FOUR)

     Two kind and patient police detectives delivered the two toddlers and me to the
downtown police station in Dallas. They held the childrens' hands and directed us to the
room, next to  where the lineup was to take place. They gave them books and toys to play
with and we told them I needed to go into the next room to see some people, but I would
be right back. They seemed content to stay and play.
     I went into a room that was dimly lit with an elevated stage with lights. There were
numbers printed on the wall above the stage with arrows that pointed down. There were
numerous chairs situated to accommodate people to see the show. I was apprehensive to
be in the same room with  the intruder. I told them I was sure I could identify him if he
was there. But I was concerned that he would see me. They assured me that there was no
way he would be able to see me because the room was set up so that the lights  on the
men  would highlight them, but hide me because I would be in an almost dark area. They
also explained that five of the guys were people I was not familiar with. Usually, they
chose the phony guys from around the station, with officers included. So, they knew if I
did not choose the perpetrator whom they arrested for the crime, and instead I chose
someone else, more than likely they had the wrong guy.
     I walked into the dark room and looked up at the empty stage. After a few
minutes, in walked six men. Each of them lined up under a number. As a group, they
were dressed similarly. They wore short sleeve casual shirts and dark trousers. As I
scanned the group I was careful to study the face of each and every one of them.
Then I went back over them again with my eyes to make sure. I don’t remember
which number he was standing under, but I picked him out of the crowd, just the
     As it turned out, they told me that I indeed chose the man who was the only
one, not a member of the staff. They said they felt good about it, but the next
thing they had to do was to call in the other woman who had the similar
experience. I don’t know if she followed me that day or if she came in
the next day. But the police called me after a couple of days and told me
they had their man. Not only did the other woman select the same man in the
lineup as I did, but the man made a confession. He also confessed to other crimes.
He admitted to raping one woman and committing indecent exposure on at least
two times. After hearing that, I felt lucky that my surprise intruder did not commit
any of those  crimes with me. The detectives who called me said that the DA’s office
would be getting in touch with me later. They told me they would need my statement
that verified that I had identified the intruder that walked in my home and threatened
me several months earlier.
     In October, when the Oklahoma University and Texas University game was
planned, the DA’s office called and said they needed me to come to the Dallas County
Court House to make my statement in which I had identified the surprise intruder.
 It was to be on Friday before the Saturday game. My parents were coming to town from
Oklahoma City, to see the big game the next day. They told me they would accompany
 me to the Court House. When we got there many people were waiting for trials,
depositions and whatever business they had related to crime. It was a very busy
place and difficult to find our way around and to get  information. There were obvious 
criminals in chains and witnesses and they all seemed to be treated alike. The bureaucratic
 workers treated us all like criminals. They were rude and appeared disinterested 
in guiding us anywhere. Eventually,  I found my place to do what I had gone there 
to do. I was certainly glad to finish and get away from there.
     Somehow I heard later that the intruder was convicted and sent to prison.
But afterwards, I thought I saw him from one time to another. Once, I did call the
police station and ask someone if the intruder had been released
from prison and whomever I talked to said, “No, he hasn’t and he won’t be out
for sometime.” Perhaps that is a typical response from a victim, always looking
over her shoulder.  I can imagine  how bad it is for a victim who was really
 hurt. It has to be a terrible feeling. I was indeed blessed that I wasn’t
     We only stayed in Dallas a few more months. We never felt comfortable there.
Five years later when President Kennedy was shot, my husband said, “I bet his killer
is from South Dallas, or Oak Cliff. Sure enough he was and that is where he was
     After all these years, I’ll never forget the day I had a surprise intruder in “mean
Dallas.” And I’ll always know I was lucky to be unharmed. And we were all lucky
that the police were concerned enough to find the criminal and take him off the streets.

Monday, April 23, 2012


     The next week, after I was surprised by the intruder in south Dallas, the police office

 called and  told me they wanted me to come downtown to the main police station to

 look through their collection of mug shots.  My husband took off work

and drove me to the station. The police in charge of my case were very cordial and

brought out several books of photos. I went through them and said, "I will certainly

recognize the man when I see him because it was such a shock to look at a strange

face when I first awoke that morning."

     After looking through numerous collections of criminals' photos , I did not see

anyone that resembled the man who walked into my bedroom the week before.
      " If you can't see him in these photos, we would  like for you to give

 the description to the best of your ability to one of our men,  who is an artist," said the

 policeman in charge.

     "Sure," I said.  "I will do the best that I can."

     The artist started drawing an outline of a head. He said, "Did he have a receding

hairline or was his head full of hair that was combed back or was it real short?"

     I told him his hair did recede a little and it was not dark but light brown in color.

I couldn't say what color his eyes were.

    The artist asked me about his clothes and I told him his shirt and pants matched in

gray color like a service man would wear. That is, a serviceman who worked on

appliances or for a utilities service.

     When the artist finished the "composite picture", as they referred to it, it looked

somewhat the way I remembered seeing him. The policeman in charge of my

 investigation said that this would help in finding the intruder and you never know

what kind of crime he could be involved in and they wanted to find him. However,

 they said the picture may not look as he looks now because there was always

the possibility that he would grow a beard and let his hair grow longer. In that

case, it would be more difficult to identify him with my description.

     As we left the police station, I told my husband that I couldn't believe that

 the police spent so much time on my case where something that could have

been bad turned out to be not too significant. It was significant to me, but I

would have thought that the police in a city as big as Dallas wouldn't be as

concerned with my case.  My husband said that obviously Dallas was trying

to clean up the crime that the city had been so well known for so many years.

     The next month my husband found us a nice two bedroom brick duplex

 across town. He said his boss's daughter lived in the neighborhood and it

was clean and better than the neighborhood we first moved to. The duplex

was right off the North Central Expressway and convenient to my husband's work.

We moved in and looked forward to entertaining company for dinners and out

of town guests. There was also a nice sidewalk that circled the neighborhood.

I was able to push Susi in her stroller and walk around the neighborhood.

     It was good to feel safe again and not  have to worry about the crime that

 existed so frequently in the south part of Dallas, Oak Cliff.

     One week Faye and Duckett visited us from our hometown of Cuero.

They came to Dallas to an Oldsmobile show and  meeting. They brought their

little boy Corey, who was Susi's age to visit us. Corey and Susi had fun playing

in the backyard. When Corey's parents were gone to the meeting, I got a call

from a detective at the Police Station. He asked if I could come downtown

to a lineup.

      It so happened that another young woman had a similar experience to mine. When

she described her intruder, his appearance was near that which I described. They

staked out her house which was across town from where I saw the man. But a week

later they saw a man drive down her street real slow and they followed him and picked

him up. They told me that he would be in a lineup with several other men, that afternoon.

        "I can't possibly come down there because I'm taking care of two toddler children

and I have nowhere to leave them," I said.

     "Don't worry," the detective said, "I will bring another detective with me and we

will pick up you and the kids and drive you to the station."

     "In that case," I said, "I guess I can come."

     When the detectives picked the children and me up they told me that the detectives

that were staking out the other young woman's house had a sketch that the artist had

 drawn from my description, and her description. And the man looked like the sketch.
     That's amazing, to think they would still pursue my case and the other case that was


     I thought to myself. These guys are really trying to clean up the crime in this city.

CONTINUED ON POST FOUR, NEXT WEEK. Who do I see in the lineup?

Sunday, April 15, 2012


     One morning my husband decided to leave the car and take the bus to work. His office

was in the Adolphus Tower, downtown Dallas. He told me to stay in bed and he would

call me later. He walked out of the house and down the block to the corner to wait for the

 bus. Shortly afterwards, I don't know what made me awaken, but I did. When I looked up

 a white man was standing over my bed with a wrench in his hand. He was dressed in a

gray shirt with gray pants. He was of medium stature and had an unshaven face.
       I pulled the sheet up as high as I could over my scantily dressed body and whispered,

 "What do you want?"
     People next door were backing out of their driveway and they were as close as

one room away. But I could not have screamed  if I had to. I was almost voiceless.
     At that moment, our daughter began to stir in her bed, next to ours. When she looked

 up she began to whimper and looked like she would cry. The intruder looked at her and

 then looked at me and said, "Don't call the police or I'll be back."
     He then turned around and ran out of the bedroom and through the apartment and out

the front door. I was angry, and scared, but in a crazy moment decided to give chase to the

surprising intruder. I wrapped the sheet around my body and ran to the front door. When

I opened the front door, I saw him fleeing to a car, parked in front, two houses down. I

wanted to chase after him and get the license plate number of his car, but because I was

 not dressed in appropriate attire, with my sheet wrapped around me, I decided not

to give chase. Instead, I screamed at a couple across the street, who apparently were

leaving for work or somewhere.
      "Can you get that man's car license number?"
     They looked up at me and down toward the fleeing man who was opening his car

 door and shook their heads no. There was no attempt to see what was wrong or to inquire

about my well being. They simply stared at me and got into their car and slowly

 drove away. Welcome to Dallas, I thought.
     I  securely locked  the front door, went back to the bedroom and dressed and  then went

 back and opened the front door again and no one was in sight. At this point our daughter

Susi was crying and needed attention. But so did I. I was pretty well shaken, but didn't

 know what to do. My husband had not been gone that long and I knew it would take

him awhile to get to his office. The only person I knew to call was my mother's good

 friend, Katherine, who lived across town in University Park.

     Aunt Katherine, as I called her, told me to stay put and she would send her husband

 Fred over to stay with me and he would call the police and give them our address.

In about 30 minutes Fred arrived to stay with me. Shortly afterwards a police detective

 arrived and took notes on what had happened and wrote down the description of the

man and his car that he drove away in.

     I told Fred that I would probably never hear from the police again. I didn't have much

 information on my intruder and I was  lucky he hadn't harmed me or our daughter.

     Later that  afternoon when my husband came home he said he would notify the

landlord and tell him we were going to break our lease and move elsewhere. He said we

didn't need to risk having the surprise intruder return.
     "Yea, I said. "That's a good idea. But the big problem is explaining to my mother

why you didn't lock the door when you left the house this morning."


Thursday, April 5, 2012


It was 1958 when my husband, daughter, and I moved to Dallas, and  my mother

said,"Lock your doors,  you are moving to the big city of Dallas, where there is

much meanness."

The meanness she referred to was the highly visible and talked about crime in

Dallas that was publicized in newspapers, radio, and TV all over Texas for years.

Gangsters discovered Dallas in the post war eras. There were nighttime

assassinations and assassination attempts around the city, illegal liquor sales,

uncontrollable gambling, and hundreds of prostitutes that lingered  in the city

 over several decades. Some say it really took hold when the Dallas city council

voted in favor of an "open city" that included these vices in their preparation

for the Texas Centennial that was held in Dallas in 1936.

By the end of the 1950's, earnest attempts to stem crime changed the

criminal climate and the big city's image, somewhat. My husband assured

my mother we would be safe.

My husband's colleague in his new job drove us around Dallas and

was quick to point out areas where crime occurred with more frequency.

One location, he pointed to was Candy Barr's residence. She

was an infamous burlesque star and friend to gangsters. She was employed

at Jack Ruby's club and many people flocked to see and  film her for her

gorgeous, natural beauty, especially in its natural state. She had been arrested

numerous times. Our  driver told us it wasn't unusual to have shootings

occur in her neighborhood. Her pictures are still popular on the internet today.

Later, we found out that my husband's colleague who drove us around

Dallas was not without a criminal background, as well. He had several  aliases

and different  wives under each name. However, he soon left the company

after we arrived. The very  famous oil company family who employed my

husband and his colleague did a good job of keeping the criminal

information under wraps.

Through my studies, I have since discovered that one reason Dallas

started cleaning up her act  was because "The Greater Dallas Crime

Commission" was organized earlier, in 1952. It was organized to help bring

some stability to the city and rid it of crime.

Also, when we arrived in Dallas, the famous District Attorney,

Henry Wade had been in office eight years and would continue to hold

office twenty-eight years more. He would eventually try and successfully

convict Jack Ruby in 1964 for assassinating  Lee Harvey Oswald who was

accused of assassinating President Kennedy, in Dallas, in 1963.

But interestingly Wade did not always win his cases. He would eventually

lose his case in "Roe vs. Wade, " which culminated in the Supreme Court's

Abortion Landmark case, in 1973, which made abortion legal. But no one

seemed to blame him because he was strict on law and order. But possibly too

quick on judgment as numerous cases have since been overturned using DNA

tests, that were not available then.

We found an affordable duplex that summer after my husband finished

college at UT Austin. It was in South Dallas, Oak Cliff. We bought the minimal

amount of second-hand furniture and set up house-keeping. We had one

bedroom, so we placed our daughter's baby bed near ours. She was still

in diapers and barely walking. We only had one air conditioner and placed it

in the living room. We opened the bedroom door and placed a fan near our

beds and it kept us relatively cool in the evening. We solved the problem

by sleeping simply,  in fewer clothes.  CONTINUED NEXT POST. SEE


Monday, April 2, 2012

“Unaddressed Racism” : Alice Walker on Travyon Martin’s Killing

During confusing times like this, we need to turn to those who have the most wisdom. This is a short discussion on the killing of Travyon Martin by the famous Pulitzer Prize winner, AliceWalker. The interview is a little long, but her discussion of the killing only lasts a few minutes and it's worth it.
Please check it out.

“Unaddressed Racism” : Alice Walker on Travyon Martin’s Killing

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


     Woweeeeeeee. An empty nest! We have finally arrived, I told myself one day. It had been three months. All three kids were on their own. Well, at least they were out of the house. I didn't have stinking tennis shoes laying around, beds unmade, tons of laundry, and dirty dishes everywhere. I recently finished my graduate studies, as far as I decided to go, with my Masters of Arts Degree. And I was waiting employment in a new college prep, private high school that was being built up the road, in Barton Creek Estates. I interviewed first, was hired by the new principal and was able to help lay the ground work and get it organized. It was an exciting time for me.
     In my recent studies at U.T. we read about the empty nest syndrome in the Marriage and Family Class. At the time the popular myth was that women often had depressions or nervous breakdowns when their last child left home. Supposedly, women with no children at home to care for felt worthless, lonely, and unneeded for the maternal life they felt they were totally created  for. Poof! In our sociology studies we found that the majority of women were quite satisfied, if not downright happy to finally be on their own with only their husbands to seek comfort with. Some found this time to start a new life and career.  In our studies we also found that women often were at their peek, for intimacy and affection when this time arrived. So, how could my husband and I celebrate our new discovered time together?
     I know, I said one day, "The Green Garden Patio Shop is having a sale on hot tubs. We can cut a hole in our deck and drop it in, right out of our patio door from our bedroom." I pictured the moonlight nights in our quiet time, snuggled up together, whipped around by swirling water  in our whirlpool tub.
     Husband said, "That will cost several thousands dollars."
     "But Honey, think about the sore back you have when you come in from work. You'll get physical therapy from the water and it will help relieve your pain." Finally, I hit a sensitive nerve that he related to.
     With a smile on his face he said, "I'll look into getting a remodeling house loan. We need to fix up the house some with paint, new carpet, and our air conditioning needs to be replaced, so we can throw in a hot tub, as well."
     "Yea, I said. My bones seem to ache more and I think it will be good for both of us. I've heard some people say you can get your doctor to write a prescription for a hot tub for physical therapy and you won't need to pay taxes on it."
     "Well, I don't know about that. But we'll look into it."
     Three weeks later the hot tub arrived. The delivery men dropped it in the deck and it sat right outside the bedroom's sliding glass door. Neato. We turned it on, jumped into our swimming suits and slid into the tub.
     "Ouchee," I said. "This is too hot."
     "Nonsense", my husband replied, "This is perfect". With a smile on his face, he leaned back, closed his eyes and disappeared in a dreaming trance and a look of delight on his face. I knew right away this was his idea of having a good time.
     "I can't stand this heat," I shot back at him.
      I had to admit to myself that lately I had sudden bursts of heating spells and this didn't feel good at all. And I possibly was having one then. It just wasn't what I imagined. My body temperature had been changing lately. Someone said it could be peri something.  But I thought it was stress from the guilt that I felt for not missing all my children in their nest.
     Husband said, "You'll get use to it. I'll turn down the thermostat or for that matter, I'll turn off the heat and it will stay hot for awhile and then cool down for you."
     "Good, that will work," I answered. We had learned to compromise over the years. And it made for a happier marriage.I began to again visualize romantic evenings with just us.
     The telephone rang and it was Dwayne. He told us he had received a new bottle of wine and wanted to bring his wife and come test our hot tub.
     "I've heard that people have hot tub parties," I said, after I hung up.
     "I'm not up to that kind of partying. But I know Dwayne and his wife are clean and I don't have a problem with them. I don't mind if they join us." hubby answered.
     Thirty minutes later our friends joined us in the tub. We laughed and finished the bottle of wine and started in on the second. I turned up the stereo in the living room and opened the door. The phone rang. Junior was in the neighborhood and he wanted to stop by with his new girlfriend and see our new hot tub.
     A few minutes later Walter Jr. came  in with Caty. She was a well dressed French student who was studying at St. Edwards.
     Walter Junior says, "Caty, have you ever been in a hot tub?"
     And she answered negatively.
     "Oh good," Walter said, "We'll be over tomorrow evening after school and try it out."
     As our guests were leaving, the phone rang. It was Susi, our oldest child. She said she lost her job and asked if she and Ashley, her dog could come stay in our extra bedroom until she found another job. 
     Suddenly, I sobered up after my three glasses of wine and realized that my "empty nest" was not going to stay empty long. I could see days ahead when I would be entertaining visitors more often. And more than likely it would be family, as well as friends.
     At the end of the evening my husband said, "I thought I would drain the tub and refill it in the morning, but now I've decided to wait until after the kids use the tub tomorrow night."
     "Good idea," I said.
      I wondered then and wondered many times later if mothers ever have "empty nests." But I knew for certain that they eventually have hot flashes and if they are lucky they have a hot tub to retreat to and they can always turn off the heater.

Friday, March 16, 2012


One of the most popular people in south Texas when I was a teenager was our county sheriff. He was a friend to teenagers and watched  over them and their parents. As I discovered later,  the disadvantaged in the community were thankful for his protection, as well.  His deeds often went untold until years later when his name came up and people told their stories about him. Here is one of the stories, I would like to tell you about Sheriff Big Ray, in my poetic version. 

He was six foot two from his boots to his eyes of baby blue. Or six foot five and weighed a hundred  and ninety five. In his high brim hat and tall heeled western boots he looked eight foot tall. He postured high over everyone in a room and wielded heavy strength with his favorite weapons, his four and a half foot arms. He grabbed outlaws and trouble makers by their necks and stretched them away from his body while they kicked and thrashed, but never reached him. Their resistance halted when their faces turned blue. Seldom did he use his 45 caliber six shooter he carried close to his waist. Despite his stature, he was a true gentle giant and avoided confrontation.

Ladies loved Big Ray and fell under his charms. He tilted his hat and opened car doors, pulled out their chairs and kissed their cheeks. He wore a constant smile and told funny jokes. He trusted women, as he did most men.

 He accompanied  men home, when they were in no shape to drive or found in naughty places. Never telling on them when there weren't any traces. Sheriff Ray empathized with the underprivileged and race played no role. He testified for black and brown men alike, when he knew they were innocent.

He disliked lying faces and didn't frequent churches. The hypocrites, he recognized with little patience. He heard the Amens, they shouted, with their phony voices. He was not one of them.

Mr. Sanches told the story of when he was a teenager and worked in a local diner one summer and Sheriff Ray helped him collect unpaid wages that were due him. He worked for the cranky Mr. Jansen, who owned Pap's Place. The owner's reputation was also one that was on the stingy side. On plate lunches he served only one slice of bread and one better not ask for another or he/she might raise the wrath of the grumpy owner. When kids got too loud and made noise, it was just like him to yell at them to leave.

At the end of the summer when it was time for school to begin, the young Mr. Sanches had to leave his job at the diner and return to Cuero High School. The owner of the diner would not pay him for his last week of wages. Sanches  was counting on that money to help him prepare for his school needs.

One day, the young man approached Sheriff Ray and told him his dilemma. Sheriff Ray said, "Okay, lets go see him and pay him a visit."

The two of them got into the Sheriff's car, drove down Main street and pulled up in front of the diner and walked in. Sheriff Ray confronted the diner owner about his refusal to pay the young man. When the diner owner did not seem to be cooperating, the Sheriff slammed his fist on the counter and shouted, "I  told you to pay this young man his wages."

At that point, the stubborn owner went to the cash register, pulled out the cash and threw it on the floor and said, "Here."

Sheriff Ray screamed at Jansen and said, "Pick it up."

Sanches said he picked it up himself, and ran out of the diner as fast as could before the altercation escalated any further.

"He was some Sheriff'', said Sanches.

And I agree he was some sheriff and I was proud that I knew him.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A NEW BEGINNING": 

Janine, I love your blog. They are most interesting and it is wonderful to know these stories. Thank you for writing them.