Sinking Sand/Solid Rock – Harlingen # 5


In Texas – and I turned six in August.  Harlingen was right up next to the Rio Grande River near the Gulf of Mexico.  All kinds of Mexican people came over.  They didn’t mow lawns back then.  People mowed their own lawn.  Some of the Mexicans swam across the Rio Grande to pick oranges.  They were called wetbacks.  I think that name was used by our government at first about Mexicans who wouldn’t go through the gate from Matamoros.  They swam across ‘cause they didn’t want anyone to know where they were.

Shortly after we got there, Pa Pryor died up in Waco.  I think about July of 1943.  They called him Pink.  He was a rough tough guy, but somewhat small.  He had been a heavy drinker and wasn’t noted for having a lot of patience.  One day when Daddy and Uncle Claude were little boys somewhere around Center or Abbott, Texas (Daddy was born in Center), Pa got drunk, told the boys to do something and when they didn’t do it right away, he took the shotgun and told them he was gonna kill ‘em.  They started to run into the corn field and Pa shot toward their backs, but right before he pulled the trigger they fell and the top of the corn stalks were shot off.  The rest is history I guess.  Pa became a Christian and when I was just 5 years old, right before I turned 6 in August, I sneaked into his room in Waco, and there he was on his knees.  He died that way.

School started in Harlingen.  I had never been to school.  They didn’t have kindergarten back in those days.  Mamas were supposed to teach their kids colors and numbers and things like that before the first grade.  That’s why Mama bought me a chemistry set in Louisiana, a map puzzle of the United States and spent time with me learning colors and numbers.  So I was enrolled in school.  First grade.

Kids made fun of me cuz I had a “thing” in my nose.  I didn’t know what it meant to be made fun of and I sure didn’t know what a deviated septum was.  It didn’t matter.  I was a kid and I was so happy at home.  Mama played the piano at church and Daddy preached. Tony was out back and I saddled him up myself and rode him all the time.  The Resaca was close by and asparagus grew all along the banks of the Resaca and the Rio Grande.  I was thrilled to pick it and bring it to my mama.   My folks didn’t worry much about me riding around on Tony because kids weren’t kidnapped back then. Continue reading “Sinking Sand/Solid Rock – Harlingen # 5”