This is Living Stories, featuring voices from the collections of the Baylor University Institute for Oral History. I'm Louis Mazé.
Spring is a glorious, refreshing time of the year when we break out the short sleeves, start spending more time outdoors, and look forward to the end of the school year.
Loyd Robb, retired Salvation Army colonel, reminisces about a game he played during his youth in Dallas:
"Trinity River overflowed every spring at that time. And you had the viaduct that went over the Trinity River bottom, they called it. It was quite an ornate bridge, as I remember. It had these curved sections, you know, that came up like an inverted u. And when the water was flooding, we used to love to stand out there and watch the debris go down the river. On one side of the bridge we'd watch a big piece of a trunk of a tree come, and then we'd run over to watch it come out the other side and—and try to time it of how long it would be. Sometimes it didn't come out, so we—(laughs) we wondered what happened to it."
Eb Morrow recalls a springtime tradition he taught in the 1950s, beginning at South Waco Elementary:
"I asked Weldon Teague, our principal, I said, ‘What class does the—does the maypole?' He said, ‘Oh, we used to do that, but we stopped.' I said, ‘We're going to start it again.' So the whole time that I taught, the two—two years down there and the three years at Provident Heights, we did the maypole dance. And, I mean, you know, it was just—it was just part of growing up, and the children remember it. And then if they didn't move—if they didn't move fast enough, I had a yardstick in my hand. I'd pop them on the legs, (laughs) and they would get up and move. Yeah, ‘Pick up your legs. Pick up your feet.' And I remembered that from old Mr. Arbuckle. (laughs) So it was a lot of fun to remember things like that."
Orlando Arbuckle had been the principal at Columbus Avenue Elementary, where Morrow attended second grade.
Baylor graduate Mary Sendón, whose husband Andrés taught at Baylor for more than 50 years, recalls May Day, which was the precursor to Diadeloso:
"And the big thing on May Day was that the senior class played the faculty in baseball. Well, somehow my husband always got to be the captain of the baseball team, and he had to pick all of the men. But he'd get so mad at some of them who didn't want to participate, didn't want to participate. So he made them get uniforms. You put on baseball uniforms and everything. And I have a picture; I'm going to find that picture and show it to you. It's Dr. C. D. Johnson, Dr. Bragg, and several of the men were sitting on the bench waiting to be called and Sendón is out in the field pitching. And somebody else was at the other end of the field, and there was old John Strecker with his bucket of water. He was the water boy.
"When the game was over, they made all of the participants come up and take a bow. And they had funny names for all of the players, you know. They had—had them nicknamed crazy names. And then they'd have a donkey out there, and the president had to ride the donkey. Miss Stretch used to ride it all the time. She was in education, but she didn't care."
In Texas, some years it feels like Mother Nature doesn't get the memo and skips the springtime weather altogether, but we celebrate the season nonetheless. Texans know to treasure and take advantage of spring temperatures when we get them.
Living Stories is heard every Tuesday on 103 point 3 FM Waco, NPR. For full transcripts of the interviews featured in this segment, or for more information about the Institute for Oral History, visit baylor.edu/livingstories.
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