more saltgrass tales (by GP Morris)

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.



Stay tuned.


About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, politics, racism, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to more saltgrass tales (by GP Morris)

  1. cindy knoke says:

    What an entertaining slice of life!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Luanne says:

    Very witty and somewhat mysterious!!! I remember my first real concert haha. Canned Heat.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hope he managed to laugh at it back then!

    Liked by 1 person

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