Tag Archive: high school

Sears Store at VV

Sears Store at VV

[Read part one, part two, part three]  The Friday before the first Monday of senior year, I came back from an evening at Up Your Alley – still close to the coldest beer I’ve ever had – to find that our house was burning down.  The fireman saved a lot of our possessions. But with the fire starting in the garage and attic, it burned straight through my room next to the attic. What I was wearing was pretty much all I had left. By Monday, we were living in an apartment on Noel road near the mall. Our apartment was in the far back upstairs so we could see Alpha from the walkway.

We bought furniture for the apartment at Sears. Over the years, if it had to do with tools, yard equipment, or appliances, and furniture on occasion, we got them at Sears. When I stopped showing up at home to live “for just a little while” for the final, last time, I bought things at other places. But when Cyndy and I and the boys moved into this house eight years ago, we got appliances at Sears. Even after shopping around.

Ten years or so after we bought the furniture at Sears for the apartment, I worked at Sears as a “facilities engineer” in the morning before the sears-automotivestore opened. Besides being a cleanup person – there wasn’t a carpet I didn’t clean on the second floor facing the mall – I had two other part-time jobs. One I don’t really remember. The other was writing a music/entertainment column for the North Richland Hills News, which is long gone now.

Fast forward to last year when our youngest son, J.D., got a job at Sears while he was home from school for Christmas. We hadn’t been to the mall Sears for some time. Buying stuff while J.D. was working there brought back a lot of old memories. Which is a good thing considering its future.

Peace be with you.

mcdonalds-on-montfortA friend from high school, Claudia Noble-Stooksberry, posted in a W.T. White Facebook group. With the Valley View Mall shortly becoming a memory itself, she asked for memories of the mall. It was finished in 1973, before our senior year. As you look at the picture of the McDonalds, ponder this: McDonalds and the Target to the right behind it were the only businesses there. Most of the buildings you see in the picture were not there. The McDonalds was half the size it is now. Across the street from both was a lot of dirt that led to a dirt cliff. On the hill, at the top of the cliff, was Sears. When they put Christmas lights up, you could see them for miles around.

I had jobs since I was six, selling things door to door, delivering newspapers, and so on. But my first “real” job, was at that McDonalds. I had target-on-montfortlong hair then, much like I do now, but it was a little more red then. I had to wear a wig at work. It was the closest I could come to red – cheaply – but it looked on the purple side to me.

One evening some cute girls were sitting on the patio. It no longer has a patio. I felt subconscious in the wig and I knew it made me look a little strange. But with long hair, I was used to people thinking I was strange. Now I just accept the fact that I am, after all, a little strange.

But I was about to punch out at the end of my shift (by punch out, I mean actually putting the card into the top of a clock and having it print the time on the card) and I thought I would impress the girls. I would walk out on the patio, take off the wig with flair, and let my hair roll back out onto my shoulders. And, hopefully, they would think that was cool. I shoved the door onto the patio to draw their attention. I reached up, jerked off the wig – and sent my glasses flying across the patio. A cool moment spoiled.

There would be more cool moments – some spoiled, some not – in the mall when it was built. But first, way back then, the Target was the first “Super Target”?…..

Peace be with you.


Dan and Dirk Cyndy and I were in the folk club when we were in high school. It was where we first became friends, actually. As you would imagine, we played folk music, usually some of the most popular songs at the time. We would play at malls during the holidays and perform in an assembly for the entire school. We also held “coffee house” shows a couple of times a year. They were shows in one of the portable buildings in the evening so parents could attend.

The pictures are from my senior annual and is from one of the coffee houses. I am on the left and Dirk Hardy is on the right. The stage was a riser from the gym or the auditorium. When I thought about writing this post, I knew about the picture of me, but I didn’t remember that Dirk’s picture was next to mine. And this post is as much about him as it is me.

The song I was playing when the picture was taken was Okie from Muskogee, with a couple of alternate phrasings thrown in. The guitar was the one I bought with the insurance after our house burned. I may still have the shirt in a box somewhere. I know I wore it several years after Cyndy and I were married in ‘92.

When Dirk got up to do his song, he sat on the stool you can see to the right of him. He settled in the stool and leaned toward the mic. He started to talk, but, unfortunately, the back legs of the stool slipped off the back of the riser. The stool, Dirk, and his guitar fell off the stage – pretty much in that order.

Dirk was holding his guitar up above him until he figured out how to get up without scratching his guitar. When he got back up on the riser, he opted for standing up. The song he played was Sweet Misery. It happened so perfectly it seemed almost staged – even to me and I was in the show. But I knew Dirk wouldn’t take a chance on scratching his guitar on purpose.

I’ve never forgotten that incident – it is actually the only thing I remember about the evening. Except, of course, for the song I played. But the shows we did with the folk club taught me a few things about live shows.

When you are playing a live show, you have to see it as an adventure. “It’s all part of the show.” And you have to treat it that way. “Go with the flow,” as we used to say. There are always forgotten lyrics, missed licks, and stumbles. But if you act like it was part of the show, few people will remember.

While I said that the shows taught me a few things, I did not say they all sunk in at the time. I played shows for several years in which I would screw up a verse of a song and actually apologize to the audience when the song was over. Fortunately, I didn’t screw up too much, but I kept apologizing, until it finally dawned on me that the audience probably had no idea that I made a mistake.

If you don’t act like you screwed up a song, chances are the audience will never know it. Particularly if they have never heard the song. If they have heard the song, they’ll just think it’s your current spin on it.

Peace be with you.

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