1920 is most remembered as the year women got the vote, and perhaps these very women DID vote that year. However, this was a day of leisure, a pleasant afternoon of watching boats shuttle visitors to and from the San Jacinto battlegrounds in Houston. Most Texans know the battle happened in 1836, the year Texas won its independence from Mexico, in a fight that lasted 18 minutes and wound up with Santa Anna getting his boo-tay handed to him by Sam Houston.
And while this image seems so very long ago, and none of us was alive, let’s remember that John McCain’s mom was already EIGHT years old when this photo was taken, tackling third grade and cursive. Just throwing that out there for some perspective. And she’s STILL alive.
While most of us may not remember the taste of joy and victory, time was when a whole country could come together to support an accomplishment, like this August 16, 1969 parade on Houston’s Main Street for Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. While Armstrong has since passed, Aldrin and Collins turn 90 this year.
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII love a parade… ♫♪♪
It’s a darn good thing I know how to cook, since I’ve had to cook 98% of our meals over these past nine weeks. My first thoughts in the morning are, “Take Bayer aspirin, give dog his pill, make coffee, thaw meat.” Meal prep is, as Willie Nelson sang, always on my mind. Manana in Texas means bars, yes, BARS, will open. Restaurants have already been plugging away at 25%, at least those that have not yet folded. A handful of iconic Austin restaurants operating for over 30 years each, have died a COVID death. Tomorrow, restaurants can allow 50% occupancy. And no, they will not shove blow-up sex dolls in booths to establish social distancing like a certain establishment in South Carolina did…
Austin is known for keeping it weird, but that’s hella weird. Crazy weird. And yet, when I think of the flaky dim bulb brains of many hostesses I’ve known, it’s probably helpful, so they wouldn’t seat those tables. Nice touch with the bowls and forks.
November 21, 1963
Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas
Jackie and Jack, Lady Bird and LBJ attending a LULAC (League of United Latin-American Citizens ) function
Anyone else feel awkward when the mariachi band comes by? You smile and nod when they sidle up beside your table, but of course you can’t sing along. You don’t want to eat while they’re playing, or resume conversation with your guests because that would be rude, so you smile and wait it out. Should you tip? How would you even tip when their hands are full? I’m trying to eat Combo #4. Please move along. I’ll enjoy it more when you’re 10 feet away.
Today we continue in our appreciation for the medical field, who has been streeeeetched to their limits during these past several weeks, and will probably all be suffering from PTSD for the rest of their lives. But back in July of 1970, high-haired Connie Wharton and Jean Davis were keeping it casual and lowkey while lifting newborns out of stork/kitten/kangaroo boxes at Jefferson Davis Hospital, the first publicly-owned Houston hospital to accept low-income patients.
Fun fact Friday: the hospital was largely abandoned in the 80s, thought to be full of ghosts, named a city landmark, and then
destroyed renovated into artist lofts for the rich and crafty. Plus, everyone knows buildings cannot be named after a former president of the Confederate States; we’re too busy erasing history to make everything PC.
This next image shows nurses and patients at Houston’s St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in the Fifth Ward in March of 1959. Nobody likes to be barefoot, donning a hospital gown, but some encouragement, attention, and a fire truck can go a long way toward healing.
Our final Houston-based medical subject is Dr. Katharine Hsu, a pediatric doctor who came to America from China in 1948. She served as Chief Resident Physician in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital in Shanghai, but when the Japanese invaded the city in l94l, she fled through enemy lines and joined her husband at Chung Cheng Medical College as Head of Pediatrics. Here she takes vitals of a shirtless youngster in July of 1953 at–you guessed it–Jefferson Davis Hospital.
Fun Fact Friday: After tuberculosis took the lives of her brother and sister, she made it her goal to stop the spread. She established a one-room, one-nurse pediatric TB facility which later expanded into the Children’s TB Clinic and Hospital, where she worked from 1953 to 1969.
Per her obituary in 2007, she died at the age of 93.
When the use of the drug Isoniazid proved beneficial in treating TB patients, Katharine envisioned using it as a preventive against the disease. Since her extensive testing and studies proved overwhelmingly successful, the preventive treatment was adopted worldwide…The International Biographical Center of Cambridge named her International Woman of the Year in l996-l997 for her contributions to medicine, research, and education.
Today we salute the men and women in past and present medical fields, doing their best to keep the rest of us alive, with all the skills to treat and diagnose when we are helpless and vulnerable.
Henry L. Hohl Elementary, April 1955: The first Houston-area students await the newly available Salk vaccine.
Needles aren’t fun, but they’re even less fun while wearing formalwear, like this group below.
Just like little Casey Carl Vaughn above, I, too, received an injection of the vaccine as a youngster. I imagine that’s also why you don’t have polio. Unless you do.
Below you’ll see a free clinic offered by the Houston health department in May of 1961. Residents lined up at the Minimax Store, where volunteers doled out 50,000 inoculations in one week. Ain’t nobody got time for paralysis.
Albert Sabin provided a cheaper alternative to Salk’s vaccine, by adding drops of vaccine to sugar cubes. No injection necessary.
This Houston nurse followed suit in 1962, adding drops of vaccine to sugar cubes.
But it was too little, too late for these polio-afflicted children in Philadelphia, shown way back in 1950 at a meeting with the chairman of the city’s March of Dimes organization. (Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries). Sometimes timing is everything.
This could never happen now; they don’t teach cursive in schools any more. But back in the 1920s, Harry Kahne–“The Man with the Multiple Mind”–showed off his penmanship while dangling from the Majestic Theatre in Houston. Crowds gathered to witness the blood rush to his head as he scribbled patriotic lyrics. Don’t worry; he didn’t die until decades later in 1955.
So much of this pre-Depression image is foreign to me. I’ve never worn a swimming cap in public. Actually, the woman near the eyeglasses display is wearing a cloche hat, designed to let the public know that her hair was bobbed in Flapper style and she was au courant. I bet she could Charleston in that dress like nobody’s business.
I’ve also never had my shoes shined. Up top, it advertises the service as free. Surely you’d have to be buying some of those Goodrich rubber heels to get the deal. And you’d need to tip.
“Pressing while you wait”–never done that, either. I’ll come back later, thanks. And along the far right side, it reads “Heyers Prickly Heat Powder.”
Have you ever applied prickly heat powder to your rash? Gotten your shoes shined? Bobbed your hair? Used Flapper terms like “bee’s knees” and “cat’s pajamas”? Lived through the summer of 1929, believing all was well, only to have the stock market crash three months later?
The small-hatted, accordion-squeezing Dave traveled all the way from Tulsa, Oklahoma to perform at Houston’s Weber’s Pleasure & Beer Garden in October 1933.