GP Morris is the son of my father’s brother Ray. He is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin. He has lived in or around Houston, Texas all his life but has a son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter living in Seattle, Washington; a daughter, son-in-law and another granddaughter live in Tyler, Texas. He recently began a journal of stories for his grandchildren and sent several to me.
Houston Music Hall
The family was opening gifts Christmas Eve 1967. #1 gave me a 33 1/3 vinyl record album. Everyone wanted to hear it. I dropped the needle. Everyone in the room looked at each other and fled. The room cleared in less than 30 seconds.
After the New Year I found out the artist on that record was going to play at The Houston Music Hall. I had some mowing money saved up. I told Mom that I wanted to take someone from school. Mom thought it was a good idea.
I met the young lady when she caught a ball that had gone out of bounds while I was on court playing basketball. She passed it back with two hands and a smile on her face. After the game I asked for her number and I called her the next day.
Mom spoke to the young lady’s mom. They coordinated what would be appropriate attire for the concert. Sport coat and tie de rigueur. The young lady’s mother said her daughter would be wearing a dress.
We would need transportation. It was going to be a concert when a parent drop-off was unacceptable. I had an idea. J lived four houses down. She was head cheerleader at high school. She was also my ex-babysitter. She was cool.
J was taking us to the concert in my parent’s car. J told Mom that I was over dressed. Mom said wearing school clothes to The Music Hall was like going to church barefoot. Yes ma’am was J’s response.
J tried to suppress laughter when we went to pick up the young lady. Then she saw the young lady. She was resplendent in skirt and petticoat. I forgot to mention she also wore a corsage Mom insisted was appropriate for the occasion. Tears rolled down J’s cheeks.
Our adventure began when J dropped us off in front of The Music Hall…
This was 1968. Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine was Houston’s bastion of psychedelia. A club where Bubble Puppy, The 13th Floor Elevators, Fever Tree and The Moving Sidewalks headlined. Not exactly the sport coat and tie crowd.
Mom was not wrong. The Houston Music Hall was home to The Houston Symphony. But tonight Love Street’s patrons vacated the haunts of Buffalo Bayou. They were doing their best Haight-Asbury impression downtown. The scent of weed and Hai Karate had replaced cigarettes and Old Spice.
The mothers had inadvertently made my date the star of the show. We were youngest in attendance. My young friend was a muñeca among a mass of the hip hugging jeans sweeping the floor. She illuminated every row we passed as we made our way to the last row. It was a sold-out concert.
We were nonconformists in Music Hall attire attending a concert of aspirational nonconformists. The concert began with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. The Beatles were not on stage.