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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Some Sugar Land Stories

Here are some more luncheon stories about life in old Sugar Land.

[At one point they talked about everyone knowing everyone else's business.]

Dot Hightower: "One day Dugan got a call from Sweat Pea Gandy. He said, 'I was driving through town this afternoon, and I passed Tuta and several girls in your car. Now either your car was on fire, or those girls were smoking. I thought you'd want to know'" (General laughter)

[Conversation turned to the old stores and my mother told this story. My father graduated from A&M in 1950. When my mother refers to the dry goods store, she's talking about the General Merchandise Store that stood in front of the refinery.]

Sally Kelly: "Can I tell you a funny story? (Assent from others) My husband always waited till the last minute to do things. Just before he was going to graduate from A&M I kept telling him he needed a new pair of shoes. He'd say, 'Yeah, I know,' but he wouldn't do anything. We didn't have any money, so his mother said she'd buy him a pair if he'd just go to Houston and get them. Well, he didn't do that either, so on the day before he was to graduate he had to run down to the old dry goods store (General Merchandise Store) to get a pair of shoes.

"When he got back from the store, he told me he knew he was in trouble because Ted Harman had to blow dust off the box of shoes he sold him. (Laughter) It gets worse.

"They had just one pair that would fit him - and they were ORANGE! They must have had them for 30 years. I was furious. (General laughter) He said, 'I can't help it. It's too late to do anything else.'

"Anyway, the day of his graduation was rainy - there were puddles of water standing in the parking lot. We went our way, and he went off to where the graduates were gathering.

"When it came time for him to walk across the stage to get his diploma, we noticed something was wrong. As he walked across the stage there was a sort of kerflopity-flop-kerflopity-flop sound. (Riotous laughter)

"What had happened was that he had walked through water and the soles of his shoes had separated from the uppers. He said he found some rubber bands to put around his shoes to hold them together, but one of them broke as he walked to the podium. (Uproarious laughter)

"I was so mad I said, 'It serves you right.' (Laughter)

"You know, they had nice things in the dry goods store, but they kept items until they sold them. I guess he had only himself to blame."

[They talked about everything. One story would lead to another. The topic of prison escapes triggered the next one, which then led to the last one.]

Betty Jenkins: "I remember one time Leslie and Maxine Wheeler and another couple went to a Rice football game. They went to Charlie White's restaurant before the game. Dr. Wheeler left his car in the parking lot with the keys in it - I guess he thought it was safe.

"Well, they walked across Main Street to the stadium. When they came back after the game their car was missing. A convict who'd escaped in Sugar Land stole their car. You talk about a coincidence!" (General laughter)

Dorothy Hightower: "I remember going to a Rice-Arkansas game with the Bonos. After the game we saw an Arkansas fan looking for his car. He'd got to the game early and parked his car without thinking. After the game the lot was filled with cars, so he was out there yelling, "Heeeerrrrreeeee car! Soooooeeeeeyyyyy car! Car-car-car! (Lots of laughter)

"Joe Bono always had an answer for everything. He went up to the man and said, "You just wait here. Eventually all the other cars will be gone and you'll see yours." (Laughter)