BIRTHDAY PARTY BUST:

In 1969 I was still at Cathedral, actually had went to Cathedral from 1st thru 6th grade, would have went there 7th, 8th, but they cancelled those two due to declining enrollment. I didn't get invited to too many birthday parties but when I did, I would go. By 5th grade some of the guys were "going around" with girls. For those of who who were not around then, going around meant you got to hang with that girl, so was off the market, could sit at lunch in basement of Cathedral with her, even hold hand & help with homework. Or walk her to bus stop as I found out one day. Sigh.

A nice girl named Rosemary Flores was going to have a birthday party and I got a invitation from her! Wow! So that Friday after poppa got paid from the AMC Dealership he worked at downtown, he came home, check was cashed, gave the $156 to momma, and off we go, first to fancy new McDonalds on Staples just east of Everhart & Oldstown, Gollihar, and ate (usually in Rambler

wagon) 4 Filet O Fish sandwiches (Catholic thing on Fridays) 4 fries and 4 ice cold sodas, then off to Woolco a few streets back. Momma bought something fancy for $5 for Rosemary. She would not show it to me as probably something girlie. Wrapped it nicely as mom used to giftwrap at Lichtenstein's and everyone marveled at her creations & sheer talent over there decades before I was born, but heard about it. So really nicely wrapped gift from Woolco!

A week later dad dropped me off at the cool looking brick house with steps pretty sure it was on Comanche not Lipan, could be wrong here, as saw it one time, and 50+ years ago. I do remember Sacred Heart was down the block, why she go to Cathedral when Sacred Heart right there? Anyways, I was cleaned up, looking spiffy, not that anyone says spiffy anymore, and knocked at door with my wrapped gift.

The door opened and Rosemary answered and said "Hi William, what are you doing here?" I looked inside and sitting on floor were a number of cool girls sitting on floor front room: Esther Canas, Elia Martinez, Cindy Zarate, Elsa Del Toro (who I had been promised to at birth) and another girl, might have been Patsy Alverez, all classmates. Wow, I thought by end of night, I will be "going with" one of them!

But.... Rosemary said "William, didn't anyone tell you the birthday party was cancelled?" Uh, no. So I told her thank you for inviting me and slowly trudged back home. Maybe a mile I guess. Walked past the dogs that bite the hurricane fence, man, those guys mean, and what it they ate thru fence, would they chase me or eat me? Walked across the Lipan, not Comanche overpass on crosstown and stood there bummed out, and spit on passing cars.

I didn't have any Missouri Pacific rocks to throw at them or would have. No don't write me "deer meesteer etty!" now it was 50 something years ago.

Walked down Lipan the back way and turned on Coke street, then stopped at The Big Ditch there and caught some minnows, but let them go. Good, squiggly minnows, easy to trap and put in cup you found with some greenish, brackish water there.

Sigh, down Mestina past the rows of shotgun houses. More dogs barking at me but on chains, everyone has dogs on chains in this area in 1960s. Past Bekins Moving & Storage, down Doss, across Leopard & well, home. I might have been walking to Houston, time stood still as trudged along. No money, and well, no phone at home so could not call anyone to pick me up. And I was supposed to me full of cake and sodas anyways.

Momma asked me what I was doing home early, I told her 'birthday party was cancelled, no one told me'. The next day at Cathedral I figured would be the laughing stock of class, but no, Elsa came up to me and said "William, sorry no one told you Rosemary's party cancelled" and I had a Charlie Brown with little red headed girl moment, and everything was ok. Elsa....had talked to me. In front of other classmates! They didn't need to know about what either. I could tell Humberto Ramos, or Danny Castro or Aramdo Leal "Elsa talked to me, face to face" and was on cloud nine for 40 seconds. Well, not all ok, she was 'going with' someone ha ha. Later Rosemary apologized. I didn't ask her what gift was either, and my momma took that secret to grave with her sadly.

I would have liked to known what it was simply because $5 in 1969 was good chunk of change. 5th grade. Hmm. A pack of Hot Wheels cars? Baseball glove?

Earrings? Who knows. As for the William thing, my real name is William and only mom and nuns called me that with they got pissed off. Ok, court and jailers called me that later, mortgage company too. But no, everything else is Eddie, even credit cards, a short from my middle name Edward. Hope those girls all doing well and if I ever hear again from Rosemary, would like to know what all was in that gift box from last century.

PHOTOS: Photo #1. Looking east down Comanche towards Sacred Heart, Rosemary's house would be on the left. Didn't want to put actual house photo in case she reads this and gets mad and momma gave her a Taser to taze my ass later in life for putting her family's home on internet! don't Taze Me Bro!

cc-birthday-party-1.jpg (142232 bytes)

Photo #2. Woolco. Momma bought the gift there. So $5 in 1969, not sure what that equates to now as not math major. But when poppa made $156 a week at Rambler AMC dealership that is chunk of dinero back then. Note Rambler just to left of Chevrolet Corvair in photo, and Red Grille in background in store, wow, wonderful food!

cc-birthday-party-2.jpg (77086 bytes)

Photo #3. Well, looks like Stevie Wonder & Ray Charles dressed me but in 1960s this was the IN thing. Pink & Green like 1950s tiles in homes. Or car paint jobs. You have to remember none of this stuff was bought, it was hand me downs too. Maybe rosemary opened door and saw I was "dressed up" in pink & green and though "there is no way anyone coming in my house in pink & green!!" Ha ha. Well, the minnows didn't mind later.

cc-birthday-party-3.jpg (68653 bytes)

Photo #4. Lipan street bridge overlooking Crosstown where it merges with I-37. Good place to spit from in 1969, cars think it is seagull, always blame seagulls. On right is Brownlee exist with THE BIG HOUSE I always though would make a great bar, on right, Corpus Christi Police Station with big tower farther back. On left the blue building is Unknown Gas Station, but now a Detail place, refineries in distance, our old house would have been extreme left in photo Doss & Antelope. For 9 year old million miles away.

cc-birthday-party-4.jpg (128472 bytes)

Photo #5. The Big Ditch here at Coke street between Lipan & Leopard, but actually runs under Lipan a little farther back then even farther to Comanche (?) I believe open. If you are adventurous stop by here one day and catch some minnows. Easy to get down either side of cement in the viaduct. It disappears back past the old red truck, and God only knows where it goes from there underground, Corpus Christi Mystery. At one time, a baby shark was caught in here when flooding occurred. And this area is DEEP have seen these little houses next to it with water in them.

cc-birthday-party-5.jpg (210729 bytes)

Photo #6. I do not know if Comanche or Lipan street bridges will survive the rebuilding of the whole area with new harbor bridge and crosstown interchange. So here is a look north from Comanche street bridge. When you exist Brownlee on right, many people still going 50-60+ miles a hour and you come over hill there is stop light of Leopard, damn, saw a LOT of wrecks thru years there. Police tower "calling all cars, calling all cars!" is seen on right. While is only a few football fields from Lipan overpass, Lipan had a lot more traffic than Comanche. to a kid walking home though it is several miles apart.

cc-birthday-party-6.jpg (216063 bytes)