Great horny toads!

yosemitesam

I was in Texas a few weeks ago.

Despite what you’ve heard, they actually do let non-Texans into the state.  But you need a valid U.S. passport.  And a non-Hawaiian birth certificate to prove you were born in a state in the mainland U.S. or Alaska after it was admitted to the Union.  And a notarized statement saying you aren’t part of the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy to take over Texas and turn abandon Walmart’s into resistance detention centers.  With shackles.  OMG…

Some friends warned me not to go.  They were afraid some of the “Texas crazy” would rub off on me.  I’m already full up with AGMA crazy.  I wasn’t worried.

Besides, I used to live in Texas.  Sort of.

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I went to college in Ft. Worth.  Back when it still really lived up to it’s nickname, Cowtown.  The massive stockyards were still in operation and honest-to-goodness cowboys walked the streets.

I went to Texas Christian University as a freshman in 1971.  Yes, I was a proud Horned Frog.  We called ourselves horny toads.  Ribbit.

Pittsburgh, PA, where I grew up, is about 1250 miles away from Ft. Worth.  But it was more like a million miles away from anything I had experienced.  It was like landing on Mars.

“Do not run; we are your friends…”

First of all, people talked with a strange accent and drank Dr. Pepper.  Then there were the folks on campus who wore cowboy hats and boots as part of their normal, everyday clothing.  Nobody understood my charming Pittsburghese, and they served Mexican food in the cafeteria.  And there were lots of girls with big hair who always wore loads of make-up and always dressed up for class.

I fit right in like Bernie Sanders at a Tea Party rally.

But, as often happens when one is cast into the big, wide, alien world from the insulated confines of high school and hometown, like attracted like.  I made friends. Good friends.  Friends who helped me grow from the awkward 17 year old who had never been on a real date (seriously…) to a confident 19 year old who had become quite the dating expert.

Yeah, you heard me – dating expert.

But I left Ft. Worth and my friends in 1973.  Evidently I needed another major dose of culture shock.  And, I was sort of running away.  I ended up in Tucson, Arizona.  But that’s another post…

This trip back was the first time I’d been back to TCU since the 70’s.  I was worried.  I’d only spent two years there, they were two of the most formative years of my life.  Two of the best years of my life.  And in some ways, the worst.  Years of profound self-discovery.  Years of love and loss.  Life changing years.

Listening to music from the early 70’s – songs from artists like Carol King, Carly Simon, Seals & Croft, Harry Nilsson – strikes hard at times, deep in my spirit.  In a place locked up tight a long time ago.  Like skeleton keys, these songs rattle around in the lock. Sometimes they get a little too close to actually engaging the tumblers.  Then I turn the song off.  No need to stir up old ghosts.

So I was worried that visiting my old stomping grounds might actually break through the lock and release the AGMA Kracken.   But it was all good.  Walking in the footsteps of my teenage self was a bit surreal, but fun.  It was a wonderful trip down memory lane, but the sleeping dogs stayed asleep.  Whew.

I came back from Texas no more or less crazy than when I left.  My friends are happy. So much has changed there over the past 40+ years, but so much was still the same.  I guess I’m much changed over the past four decades as well.  But still, in many ways, so much the same.

Mary Hopkins sang back in 1968, “Oh my friend, we’re older but no wiser for in our hearts our dreams are still the same. Those were the days my friend…”

It’s one of the songs I can’t listen to.

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38 thoughts on “Great horny toads!

    • Thank you dahlin’ for the lovely compliment! And for stopping by for another visit!

      I was definitely into the “mellow” sounds for sure. I guess they resonated with my teenage angst! You are right – the memories! So thick you have to brush them away from your face (not original – I heard that in a movie and always like it!)

      Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do believe we are referred to as such 🙂 And our football team is The Mighty…. Planets…. Silly – eh? And most of us are very FRIENDly 🙂 Always good to hear from you AGMA!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Go The Mighty Planets!! What does the mascot look like?

        Mars Attacks is one of my all time favorite movies… It’s just so strange with a huge all star cast. Not about Mars, PA though.

        And ALWAYS good to hear from the Card Designer Extrodinaire!

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL! It’s the planet Mars. We do have a lot of fun with the name. And there is another community about a half an hour away called Moon, so we always say “Where else can you get from Mars to the Moon in a half hour?” 🙂

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      • Actually, my brother used to live in Moon until they moved to Findlay Twp in the 90’s! My niece is a graduate of Moon High School thank you very much… I don’t remember moon themed “stuff” with my niece, but then we lived out of town and had little kids so were sort of out of it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • You tell other people about me??? That is truly mind blowing! Thank you just doesn’t seem to convey my gratitude for such an incredible compliment! But it’s all I’ve got so, thank you!

      I think sometimes people’s “energy” just resonates. I can read a beautifully written piece and not be that taken by it. And then I can read something that isn’t as eloquent or “technically” (grammatically, construction, punctuation, etc) as spot on and it just sings to my heart!

      And energy knows no age barriers so that’s a good thing!

      Thanks again for liking this post and AGMA! Now can you teach me how to cook? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, its the energy. You’re peice about Mother’s Day really hit home for me. I had to share that with my women folk.

        I dunno if I can teach you to cook; I’m learning myself. But we can totally muck up a few recipes together!! The more the merrier. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s what I always say – the more the merrier! We were created to live in community and those of us who embrace that simply love to muck things up together! Much more fun than mucking up alone…

        Thanks for sharing with your women folk! And thanks for hanging out with AGMA and injecting such fun energy!

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  1. I am a native Texan, and have lived here all my life, but I take no offense to your description of our exclusivity. We don’t mean any harm, it’s just the way we were raised. A couple of years ago i visited the Baylor campus after a fifty something year absence. It was a mind boggling adventure. Nothing was the same. I felt such a loss. Great post. Thanks for sharing, and you are welcome to visit us anytime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Please don’t think I was insulting Texas! Well, maybe the Governor and some of the far right wing extreamists just a little… 😉 AGMA’s more of a moderation type of gal.

      FYI, about 50% of the good friends I made were from Texas. And a number of my non-Texan friends ended up settling down in Texas after college. It was just a totally different way of living than I was used to at the time and I KNOW that I seemed strange to some of Texans I met. But I think that’s what college is for – to get you out of your comfort zone and help the caterpillar grow wings!

      I’m sorry that your visit to Baylor was a sad experience… That feeling of loss is gut wrenching. The TCU visit was a bit weird because it was after the semester was over, but before summer session so the campus was eerily deserted. Gave it a forlorn feeling. I much prefer the energy of young scholars with my brick and mortar campus!

      Thanks for the comment and open invite back! My wonderful friend (a Texas native by the way) who joined me on my on the Ft. Worth weekend lives in Austin so I know I’ll be back!

      Like

    • It was pretty crazy! But now that I think about it, I’m kind of proud of myself that I had the courage to do it. I was always painfully shy and introverted in high school – a very average, quiet, C student… I never dated or went to prom or even a high school dance. So when it was time to go to college, I was totally ready to re-invent myself! And I choose Ft. Worth because it was as far away from home as my father would let me go! What a dumb reason… But it worked and I never regretted it and I never got homesick. I think I was ready… 🙂

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    • I think it’s just the “mob” mentality. You pull the plug on Fox News and the neo-con radio talking heads, and people might actually start thinking and reasoning for themselves. I think there’s a HUGE silent majority in Texas that is going to show up at the ballot box one day, with their state issued IDs and stand up to the cray-crays. You know, like the little kid in A Christmas Story who just beats the snot out of the big bully…

      One can only hope that the pendulum might swing a bit more towards the middle!

      I’ll be back. Unless I get put on the “no-Texas-fly” list because of my post.

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  2. I’m from Texas! I kind of wanted to be mad at the beginning, but I love your humor so much i had to laugh along 🙂 Besides, I have to admit we are a little out there. I was sad when the post ended! I wanted to hear what you thought about TCU and Dallas as they stand now. I hope you enjoyed your visit 🙂 Yall come back now ya her!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh – I’m so glad you laughed! No offense was meant… Every state has their share of cray-crays! It’s just that Texas is a BIG state with lots of room in it for them! 🙂

      I would have loved to written more, but I think people don’t want to read anything longer than 700 or so words unless it’s really, really compelling and I have yet to write something like that!

      About TCU – I was surprised because so many buildings I remember from 40+ years ago are still standing and in use. But where the campus had a wide open feel back then, it felt all closed in because of all of the new buildings that have been built. It was between sessions so there weren’t any students there and the campus looked very lonely and empty! I rented a house on one of the streets near campus – Cockrell Ave – the 2nd half of my sophomore year but absolutely couldn’t remember which house it was. That kind of made me sad. But the place I had my very first pitcher of beer at – illegally because the drinking age was 21 in Texas – was still there! It was a dive place and is still a dive place! Actually, the building is abandon and will probably be torn down soon. 😦 I got a picture for posterity. Ft. Worth has grown exponentially and aside from recognizing some street names, it was like I was visiting for the first time. The downtown was nothing like I remembered it.

      It has been long enough that I think the old ghosts have been purged. Now if I can only get thought some of those songs without crying…

      Thanks for liking my post and laughing! And I’ll be back to the great state of Texas soon I’m sure! Never been to San Antonio and think it might be time to visit. Stop by AGMA again sometime!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I find it so interesting when people revisit old homes and towns. The memories are priceless. And I definitely do enjoy reading your blog! Keep up the awesome work!

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      • Oh my, how very kind of you Shelby! I’m not a “natural” writer but I really enjoy AGMA and it makes it so much more fun to know that people enjoy what I scribble down. I guess you don’t really scribble on a keyboard but sometimes it feels like it!

        Interesting things can happen when you time travel backwards… Some really good and some not so good. My first visit back after 15 years to my childhood home that I left very abruptly at age 11 (my mother died and I had to go live with my father in another state) was jarring. It was torn down and there was a small apartment building in it’s place. No fun. I would have liked to have seen it as an adult – everything seemed so huge when I was little but I’m sure it really wasn’t! Now it only lives in my memory – I don’t really even have any pictures of it. But you’re right – the memories are priceless!

        Thanks much for your kind comment and please visit again!

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  3. Great post….and so true about we have changed, but we are still the same. My 95 year old mum isn’t very different than me when it gets right down to it – she sounds like any teenager today when she talks about “stealing a kiss” (except that’s all it was)…back in the day in England.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for the compliment!

      I think I’m still waiting to become a “grown up”! Maybe that’s the secret – there really isn’t such a thing… We’re just all still kids inside aging bodies. I guess the trick is to stay childlike in the “good” ways but carry with you the wisdom & maturity that the years have bestowed on you. So many people let the inevitable disappointments of life make them angry and bitter so that the child inside gets bound and gagged.

      I bet you’re mom has some GREAT stories about stealing kisses! And about WWII that she obviously lived through. Has she shared them with you?

      Thanks again and stop by again for my childlike adult musings! 🙂

      Like

      • Absolutely…she has lots of WW2 stories. She was in England and has lots of memories of the Germans bombing…having to take their dinner down to their bomb shelter. One day she got into trouble for being out and about after curfew (I think she was just trying to find a handsome soldier to walk her home!!!) She ended up marrying a Canadian soldier and came to Canada in 1948 and lived here ever since. Scary times for sure. She also lived through the Depresssion and that combined with rationing during the war has instilled a great respect for all that she has.

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