My attempt to share stories for each letter of the alphabet featuring our life in Austin B.C. (Before Children) 1975-1985. The 70s were a long time ago. 26 stories might be a stretch for my brain, but I have made it to H – as has the Sepia Saturday prompt photo for this week
How We Got Here
When we graduated from Baylor in 1975, I was working at Sears in the Women’s Department and my husband was still making better bucks as a waiter. It was time to put our degrees to use – mine in Social Work and his in Psychology. My husband left Baylor his junior year, I think it was, and transferred to the University of Texas at Austin. He returned to Baylor to finish up because those drives back and forth on I-35 to see me had become really tiresome. But once he had experienced living in Austin, he wanted to move here.
We don’t have many memories about the whole process. One morning in late summer, we made that drive south on I-35 to look for jobs. We had written resumes and may have sent them to a few places. And once we were in town, we bought a newspaper to check the classified ads and make a few calls. All I know for sure is that we went to the offices of the Mary Lee Foundation and were interviewed. We may have called ahead or maybe we just dropped in. We went as a duo, not sure how that would work. The director interviewed us and told us there was one position open at the Live Oak campus, a residential program for children. The job involved supervision of the children in one of the dormitories. Then he told us to decide who got the job because he was willing to hire either one of us. That was unexpected.
My husband and I talked about it and l suggested he take the job. I knew I wanted to apply to graduate school in Social Work and he wasn’t as sure. Also, I wasn’t sure this was the job for me. And I was probably right.
Before we had any children in elementary school, the director’s wife had been a counselor at the school our children later attended. And years later, the wife of the Psychologist who worked at Mary Lee was our son’s first grade teacher. Small world. Small Austin.
The prompt photo prompted me to think about our actual move to Austin – what we brought with us and what remains.
We moved to Austin in September. We didn’t own much, moving from a small furnished duplex into a small furnished apartment. We don’t remember anything about the move. Since we didn’t have much furniture, we could have moved most things in our cars, but a mattress?
I guess since we don’t remember anything, it was uneventful. No catastrophes, anyway.
A few photos hint at some things we carried with us.
A potted palm, a big animal print pillow I made, and a plaster panda my husband painted. There was a smaller pillow I made, a kind of jungle animal print. Also a poster, but I can’t tell what it is. We still have the panda, but not the pillows.
A bookshelf my dad(Jim) made for me when I was in college. It is standing to the left of the desk where I am using the computer as I write this. And those family photos hang in our home today.We still have some of those books. I still own that cable knit sweater!
Another Christmas, a slightly different wall arrangement. We brought the filled type tray with us and still have it, although it is not hanging. And I’m pretty sure we brought the plaster etc that we spray painted gold. That is long gone. The family photo hangs upstairs now and we still have the framed sheet music that I think we carried with us during that move?
My husband started painting plaster figures when he was in high school. First came model cars and model monsters, then came plaster monsters and other things. The ones we carried with us, he painted during college. Besides the panda in the first photo, he painted Charlie Chaplin and two of the Marx brothers. We still have them. I pulled them out of the
junk room “attic” during one of my recent cancers, thinking they would be fun to see on top of the kitchen cabinets. I needed something fun to look at.
Of course we carried our TV, our stereo and albums and 8 track tapes. My guitar and sewing machine. Our clothes.
I had to replace the sewing machine, but still have my guitar. The stereo was replaced long ago. I still have this 8 track – one of the first gifts my husband gave to me while we were dating.
Listening to the album brings back memories.
We were still newlyweds when we moved to Austin, so we had our new set of stoneware dishes and pewter goblets and set of pots and pans. Pyrex. Corningware … All still here and in use. Well, there has been some breakage.
We also carried the odds and ends of kitchen things that our moms let each of us take when we first moved into our own apartments. A couple of pieces of my mom’s older Pyrex casserole dishes, some odd pieces of silverware, a couple of kitchen knives, a cheese grater. We had a metal colander that we used for forty-five years. I was cleaning the veggies from our CSA box a few months ago and noticed that a hole had worn through the bottom and I threw it away. My husband claims it was his inheritance from his great-grandmother.
It’s funny writing these remembrances from so long ago. I don’t remember a lot of details and it is interesting to note what I remember and what I don’t remember. And photos. Today I pull out my phone and take a picture of anything and everything. Not so back then. It required a camera and film and waiting. We just don’t have that many photographs of the ordinary. Some, but not many. And my husband was the photographer in the family, so most of the photos are of me. Not a fair representation of our life.
A few remaining belongings, some physical and some only vague memories, are my contribution to Sepia Saturday this week.
Please visit other participants here. They are a creative bunch.
Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. If you want to play along, sign up to the link, try to visit as many of the other participants as possible, and have fun.