Pom-poms, signs, funny hats and pins, cheering, chanting, and crying...these party conventions remind me why I'm not a card-carrying member of either one.
In high school I joined over a hundred other girls at Texas Lutheran College for ten days of an intense live-and-breathe lesson in the Texas political process: Girl's State, sponsored by the American Legion Women's Auxiliary (boys go to Boy's State at the University of Texas.) It was a great experience, even though I was a little shy back then, not very ambitious or self-confident, and only aspired to being a council member for my little City 'F'. I even ran unopposed.
But I met some wonderful girls - we swore we'd be friends forever, but then lost touch after high school graduation. I wonder where they are, what they've done with their lives? There was Vicki Brumley from Anahuac - we met at Galveston a couple of times after returning home. And Laurie Engle from Clear Creek - her dad was an astronaut; rich, pretty, talented, friendly and down to earth - she was one of those girls you want to be jealous of, but just can't; my gynecologist was friends with her little brother (discovered during pap smear chit-chat. It's such a small world!) Then Cindy Reid from Dripping Springs, who was a cheerleader, newspaper editor, plus I don't remember what else, and in training for the Junior Olympics in track. I ran with her every afternoon. I was from a big school and couldn't fathom being involved in so many things. I saw her a few years after high school in Gruene. I was there for the weekend with Tom and a group of guys I worked with (and some wives), eating at the Grist Mill. She was our waitress. She was still in college, still a cheerleader - either Southwest Texas or UT, I can't remember which. I was a drop-out - making good money and a homeowner, but still a drop-out. Seeing her was bittersweet...we lived in different worlds.
Those ten days in 1976, however, we were all best friends...sitting together at the sessions, eating, passing notes, campaigning for each other, eating, laughing, talking about boyfriends, eating (Texas Lutheran has, or at least HAD, great food!) We all agreed the conventions were, well, a little silly. I was a member of the Red National party (as opposed to the Blue Republican party) and as such, I was expected to cheer and scream and hoot and holler fanatically for our platform and our gubernatorial candidate. But the platforms were almost identical, and to be honest, the Blue party candidate was the best. So, yes, I voted for her. (Annette Lyons - I wonder what she's doing now?) I've been an independent ever since.
Here we are in the House of Representatives in the State Capitol...Laurie, Vicki, Cindy, and me.
Look familiar? The Red Party Convention... Go RED!!
City 'F' - the Founding Fathers...I'm the last one on the right on the top row, Cindy next to me, Laurie and Vicki in the center sitting down.