Patricia Smock Bowers

Schwartz Park 1965

Just in case anyone is wondering how it all turned out, in 1965 when I was 12 years old, I decided that I didn’t want to be a boy. I wanted to be a girl.

At Schwartz Park, which was fortunately, right across the street from our house, we had the opportunity to watch a little league game any night of the week. More important than watching the game was the fact that if you kept score you would get free snow-cones and bubble gum or that if you were faster than all the other kids and you were the one to recover a foul ball that had gone over the fence, you got freebees from the snack bar.

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Papa Jacob’s Farm

I know, it’s getting kind of old, me writing all these stories. But, I think, they need to be told. Hopefully, someone will find them enlightening.

I think it is noteworthy how much my Dad liked his father-in-law, George Jacob, Sr.,
Jacob, as his wife, our maternal grandmother called him, was a man’s man, like Dad.
Papa Jacob had a farm in Waller, Tx, which for me and the older children of Rip Smock and our cousins on mother’s side, was a wonderful respite from living in Houston, Tx.

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One More Story About My Dad

The story I have to tell about my Dad, Rip Smock, I think tells it all about how much he liked his children.

We were at Camp Flatrock, our yearly respite from the heat and busy ness of living in Houston, Texas.

As usual Dad took anyone who was interested, and some who were not, fishing.

We were fishing from the bank, somewhere halfway between the camp and the pecan bottom, which was about a mile down river.

I don’t remember doing anything special. We all had cane poles.

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Memories Flooding Back

The unusual thunderstorms and constant rains we are having here this summer bring a torrent of memories flooding back to me, remembrances of another time and another place, deluged with rainwater. We were in the midst of our summer vacation, camping on the Frio River. It was a time my parents, eight brothers and sisters and I looked forward to all year. The trip began like any other, full of fun and excitement and we were enjoying the clear blue waters of this friendly river, when things changed dramatically. This trip was to be a once in a lifetime experience that brought our family closer together and gave us something to reminisce about for seasons to come.

We children frolicked all day in the icy cold waters until our toes turned blue and the sun baked our skin a golden brown. We floated lazily along the river, dreaming of happy lives to come. Our parents relaxed at camp and each evening we had a wonderful barbecued meal (thanks to Dad). At night we built bonfires, gazed at the stars in the unbelievably clear skies, talked of life on Mars, and wondered about the secrets of the universe. When bedtime came, as reluctant as we were to let go of the incredibly wonderful day we had had, we drifted off to sleep with the rhythm of the night sounds humming in our ears. We did not miss our soft beds at home. The security of the darkness and the cool hill country night air made our sleep especially peaceful.

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Hunting Quail or Doves At Grannies Farm

My brothers keep writing stories about their hunting and fishing trips with Dad. They are very heartwarming stories, and well told. I guess, maybe the five girls in the family are a little jealous that they don’t have these types of stories to tell. Well, I have stories to tell as well.

Maybe my story explains the differences between boys and girls. I went hunting once with my Dad and the boys. At that time, I wanted to be a boy. Boys had all the fun!! Girls just stayed in the house and played with dolls. How exciting!

I was six or seven years old and I somehow talked Dad into taking me hunting with him and the boys.

I think my Dad knew that this would be my last hunting trip, but he humored me.

We went to Granny Jacob’s farm bird-hunting. I remember it to be cold and drizzly. We hunted all day. I, being the only girl was not afforded any special accommodations. Meaning, no one ever asked if I might need to use the restroom (which, of course there was not one, only an outhouse). For some reason, we were never near the outhouse and as the day wore on I needed to use the facilities.

Of, course none of the very sensitive and compassionate boys in our family ever suggested that I might have that need. I was very shy and determined to be tough and strong like the boys. Unknown to me, I am sure they had all availed themselves of the nearest bush or tree while I was not looking.

Eventually, I peed my pants, went home, hid my wet pants and never told anyone what happened, until recently. Mother says, Dad really didn’t plan it that way. He was just a man.

I still think he didn’t want me to be a tomboy and he taught me an important lesson. I was a girl, like it or not.

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“Hi, Daddy, How are you doing?” I query.

” Okay, Sugar. Where’s Fred?” he replies. There he stands in his garden, hoe in hand, dressed in his old sleeveless undershirt and baggy khaki pants; he’s oblivious to the fact that one pant leg is rolled up, the other is down, and his tennis shoes don’t match.

“Fred’s in the house saying hello to Mom, but I’m sure he’ll be out in a minute to see how your garden is doing.” I comment. This seems to satisfy him and he goes on hoeing the garden.

I never know what to say to my father, but I make another stab at it. “The tomatoes are beautiful this year. Are you selling any?”

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A Man’s Man

My Dad believed that women needed men to take care of them. I am not arguing with that. When I fell in love and wanted to get married at the tender age of 20, I was so worried that my parents would disapprove of the man I had chosen.

Fred, being 21 years older than me was not the only issue. The fact that he had 5 children, whom were all teenagers, worried me. I was afraid my parents would not approve. And, approval was very important to me.

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