You don't own me
I wanted to settle down like Merle Haggard. But they just wouldn't let me. One of the cooks at Rumour Hazzit was also a part-time hot mopper. He had a curly head of dark hair and was part Hawaiian. We ended up moving in together over on Duval. It was in one of two side-by-side garage apartments at the back of a huge lot. They're still there.
Two things happened with Ted, the first at a big Halloween party they used to throw every year here in town. I was wearing these huge wedge shoes and some guy talked to me and I guess I talked back. Ted didn't like it and shoved me over and caused me to fall off my big shoes. I twisted my ankle pretty badly and had to walk all over UT campus on crutches. Rumour Hazzit had closed and luckily, they let me work the door at the Austex Lounge. All the bands would give me a cut of the door and I was able to make ends meet. Those were the good old days. W.C. Clark, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray and Double Trouble, The Cobras, Kathy and the Kilowatts would all play there. Never a dull moment at the Austex.
One day, I got home from school to find all my papers and school books strewn out in the yard. I'm like, "What?" Ted who was a major pothead and got up smoking dope every single morning said he was sick of me going to school. I had always thought pot calmed you down, but it had an adverse effect on the likes of him. He was so mad. He said, "Listen, I'm heading out to clear my head, but when I get back, I'm gonna kill you." And, I had no reason to doubt him. So, when he pulled out of the drive in his bronze International Harvester, I went to work pulling all my furniture which included a big antique white iron bed and mattresses over to the neighbor's house who agreed to store the stuff for me. I really had the adrenaline pumping, because it only took me 45 minutes to get everything moved. Alone.
This was my first and last experience with a wife beater, but I still wear the shirts. I moved in with a couple girlfriends from my poetry class off Koenig and remember us doing acid that night to celebrate. A couple days later we all went to see the premiere of Coal Miner's Daughter together and life started getting better. Around this time, my sister and I began working at Matt's El Rancho #3 by campus. The tips were pretty good and we were able to move into Mr. Johnny's hair salon where he had an apartment in the back. Martha's bedroom had a birds eye view of the kitchen.
These were the beginning of the good old days. We had a schedule. The union was designed to serve as a 'college independent community center' or a 'living room for students." We made it our own personal living room, that union. We met every day in the TV room downstairs. Our room was the Another World NBC room. It was the unpopular soap opera and we were the only people except for this one chick with long black curly hair who'd sit on the couch and bounce for hours. She had a screw loose, but kind of fit right in. It was Gary Floyd, Toby Mauldin, Dolores Aguirre, Byrd Willey, Roxanne Flowers, Martha and myself. We religiously met and devoured Mac and Rachel, Ada and all the Frames on Another World every day.
It was funny, because even though we never knew each other before we got to Austin, we'd all been fans of the show on our own in our hometowns. Gary watched it in Palestine and Toby, in Clarksville. Roxanne and Byrd in Orange and Do in San Antonio. Martha and I in Beaumont, naturally. The people in the next tv room watched ABC, All My Children and the like. They would scream bloody murder and laugh at all their favorite moments. It was irritating to us, diehard serious AW people. So, Toby would screech out his screech of laughter and screaming to offset their hysterics. Of course, we'd all join in howling. From time to time, someone from their group might peek inside our room to see what the deal was and we'd give them the evil eye stare down.
We spent many of our evenings at UT in the Union, too. They had really cheap beer and we were happy to oblige them. All the Dicks would come. Buxf, Pat, Glen and Gary. Raymond Trevino. The Torn Panties, Do, Roxanne and Byrd. Toby. Chuck and Manolo Lopez. Martha and me. We weren't the only group that came to the Union, either. There was the middle Eastern one that congregated on Belly Dancing Night. The Students Older Than Average had delegated tables set aside with S.O.T.A. Glen Taylor would never miss a chance to tell me to go sit over there with the S.O.T.A.'s. He thought that was hysterical.
There was always something fun there. In warmer months, they had an outdoor movie. One night they screened the T.A.M.I. Show and we all went. Deena and Ray Ray were there and it was especially memorable, because Raymond's all time favorite is Lesley Gore. It was a wonderful night sitting out there under the stars with my friends for life. Gary and Toby, the Torn Panties, my sister, Ray Ray and Deena. Listening to these songs that had shaped our very lives.
Chuck Berry performing "Mabellene"
Marvin Gaye singing "Hitchhike"
The Supremes "Where Did Our Love Go?"
The Rolling Stones "Time is on My Side"
Otis Redding "These Arms of Mine"
Lesley Gore "You Don't Own Me"
I will always have those little moments tucked away in my mind forever. As clear as a song's note and the colors in an old fading Polaroid photo. Me and my friends forever. Drinking and laughing. Enjoying our life. Like it would never end.