Prologue to I’ll Call It Like I See It Revisited

The house that occupied the address at 1021 Timber Lane was an unremarkable story-and-a-half red brick structure with a bay window on the lower floor that jutted out toward the narrow concrete walkway leading from the front door to the driveway of the two-car garage facing the street. The first time I saw it in 1964, however, it reminded me of pictures I’d seen of English Tudor country homes with its dormered roof and cedar shutters, and I couldn’t imagine how it came to rest on a cement slab in Rosenberg, Texas. My schoolteacher parents took me to see the house initially when I came home to visit them for Christmas break of my freshman year at The University of Texas in Austin before they purchased the place the following spring. They were like happy, almost giddy children with a new toy and while I shared their excitement of finally having a home that belonged to our immediate family after eighteen years of rental houses and living with my mother’s mother, I was more interested in college life and the girls in Blanton Dormitory at school than I was in a house in a town I had never lived in.

            The women whose lives intersected with mine in that house on Timber Lane deeply impacted the person I am almost fifty years later. My grandmothers, my dad’s sister, my girlfriends, my mother, and her best friend who took care of our home and family through the Timber Lane years and beyond – all of these women walked the rooms of that house with me at some point in the time my parents called it home, and all of them loved me and supported me to the best of their abilities even though I was an absentee family member for over forty years except for random brief visits. Life is about choices, and I chose to leave the safety net of this house on the concrete slab and the family it owned to seek my happiness in other houses with other women in faraway places.

            I live in two houses in two states today and label myself a bi-state-ual. One of the houses is in Texas again where I care for my aging mother who has Alzheimer’s disease and barely recognizes me now. The other is a thousand miles away in South Carolina where I’ve lived my entire adult life. Recently I’ve realized we never really own our homes even though we hold a title to them. We’re really passing through on a journey from here to there. I haven’t quite made it to “there” yet, but I’m getting closer… and have earned the right to call it like I see it.

The Prologue to my book I’ll Call It Like I See It published in 2012 intimated that the upheaval in my life wasn’t limited to expected college adjustments during the  summer of 1964. I graduated from high school on a Friday; my parents drove me from Brazoria to Austin for summer school the following week. Neither of them said one word to me on that three-hour drive about my dad’s accepting a position in school administration at Lamar CISD in Rosenberg, a Houston suburb forty-three miles north of Brazoria. I learned of the move two weeks later when I called them to say I had a ride home from UT with a friend from high school, only to be told by my dad oh by the way, we don’t live in Brazoria anymore. We’ve moved to Rosenberg. We’ll pick you up in nearby Needville. Wow. So much for open family channels of communication.

I started college – they moved to another rental house in a different town in the same breath. I was shocked and felt deceived, selfishly wondering how I would keep in contact with my friends from the five years we lived in Brazoria. I realized in the coming days that would be impossible – Rosenberg wasn’t home, and my friends had moved on, too, to different colleges or jobs or marriages or joining the military or staying at home with parents. When I saw our new place that first weekend I came “home,” the move didn’t strike me as upwardly mobile. Six months later, however, during my first Christmas break I understood what changing positions must have meant to both my dad and my mother financially. They had achieved the American dream after nineteen years of marriage. Finally, two people who had devoted their lives to public schools were able to have that elusive title to their own house.

I gradually got over myself and learned to like the Timber Lane house through the years, but it never felt like home to me. Instead, I subconsciously transferred those feelings of “home” from a house with my parents in an unfamiliar town to familiar houses I knew in Richards where I grew up, the place where my grandparents remained…they were my unchanging anchors when my world felt like a carousel ride where the ticket price changed before the music stopped.


I’ve had fun “revisiting” my earlier works – I hope you’re enjoying the virtual books tour.

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 family life, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Prologue to I’ll Call It Like I See It Revisited

  1. Lovely memories of the house on Timber Lane and the women who impacted the author’s life. A reminder that our homes are only temporary stops on our journey through life.
    founder of balance thy life

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wayside Artist says:

    We “Ease On Down the Road” every so many years don’t we, Sheila? Thanks for taking us from here to there along with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I so enjoy your story, and your writing style…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Luanne says:

    Have you ever figured out why they didn’t tell you about the move long before they were forced to let you know?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure I let them know how I felt, but I don’t remember what they said. They probably weren’t up for my protests when they were trying to negotiate their own feelings of becoming an empty nester? I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne says:

        Haha, that sounds familiar. They anticipated how you MIGHT respond and tried to make it easier on themselves ;). But I imagine that was a big deal to lose your daily presence in their lives!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly, Luanne, I’m sure my folks couldn’t imagine my not being there with them, but they had each other to deal with it.
        The person I think about most in these days is my grandmother who struggled for years with depression after we moved away from her home when I was 13. She had no one except a son who was totally dependent on her for physical reasons. Anyway, I feel for her so deeply today.


  5. It is strange when parents move. Mine didn’t until very late and that was after the death of my father. A few miles down the road and friends are still around. Didn’t seem to matter to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.