In celebration of July 4th and the wonderful friends we made in the two years that we lived in Houston, I am repeating my memories of some of our adventures. We look on that time with great happiness and are still in touch with our friends from 30 years ago today. This picture is some of the gang with David at the end of the table on the left. Every weekend was an excuse for a party…..
It was amazing how quickly we settled in to life in America. We were determined to make the most of our time there and whenever feasible I would join David for a long weekend in one of his various ports of call. He was on the road most weeks and on the Friday afternoon I would drive to the airport and get a flight to Los Angeles, Washington, Seattle or Boston and we would then spend two days exploring the area and sampling local delicacies. We went to Disney World and on a paddle steamer in New Orleans and sampled the music and the gumbo in small hole in the wall cafes.
My parents, both just into their 70s, wanted to come and see us from the UK. Once we were past the worst of the heat and the hurricane season, they arrived for three weeks a few days before our 5th wedding anniversary. Despite the long flight they were ready and raring to go the next morning and during the week I would drive to various tourist attractions within 100 miles or so in my new car; a metallic pewter Ford Topaz with air conditioning and all mod cons.
At the weekends David would join us and we were lucky enough to have one of the Texas Renaissance Fairs on within driving distance and here is a picture with the three of us tucking into Turkey drumsticks… My father has his hands full as David was taking the photo.
Our fifth anniversary was celebrated in usual Chancellor Apartments style with a party at our place. We asked the neighbours above, below and on each side so that noise would not be an issue and my parents, who had really got into the swing of things, were treated like royalty by our friends. My father who did not normally drink very much was much taken with a new rum drink we had introduced him to… I had never seen him even the slightest bit tipsy in my entire life until that visit!
As the party wound down, David and two other mad friends decided to go for a run to burn off the alcohol whilst some of us retired to the hot tub directly in front of our apartment block. It was quite cool at nights in November and we enjoyed the soak and chat for about five minutes as we sat on the wooden slats surrounding the tub. That is until I felt excruciating bites on my legs. I stood up and went into the hot water to brush off whatever was biting me but it only drove the insects further up my body stinging as they went.
I have always reacted badly to wasp and bee stings but could usually cope with one or two. But this was multiple bites and I started to go into anaphylactic shock. Luckily David and our other friends had just arrived back from their run and headed our way to get into the hot tub. By this time I was finding it hard to breathe. One of our neighbours who was in the crowd, lived on the ground floor; without time to call an ambulance, he dashed inside grabbed his keys and they bundled me in a towel into the back seat.
There was an emergency room about three minutes away and on arrival one of the lads dashed inside and grabbed assistance. I don’t remember much of what took place in the next couple of hours but I do recall feeling as though I was looking down on my body; watching as they pumped me full of epinephrine and kept me breathing. Some say it was a near death experience but it might have just been that my mind was overloaded with venom, tequila and adrenaline!! Fire ants and tequila is not a recommended combination even on your 5th Wedding Anniversay.
Thankfully the treatment took effect and they eventually allowed me home the next morning. We walked in the front door to find my parents enjoying breakfast thinking we were having a lie in!
My father was a John Wayne and Western film fan and we had promised to take them to San Antonio on that same day to stay in the Marriott Hotel combined with a visit to the Alamo. We couldn’t disappoint him, and despite their insistence on cancelling the trip, we headed off with David driving and me sleeping solidly for the entire journey. I went to bed early and the next morning, still a little shaky, we headed off to relive one of the most historical moments in Texan history. My father was like a small boy in a sweet shop and was simply in his element. Such a pleasure to see his face light up. Here are my parents resting for five minutes before returning to the hotel for more rum cocktails and fajitas.
Wham and George Michael – Careless Whisper, Madonna – Like a Virgin, Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is, Paul Young – Everytime You Go Away, Huey Lewis and the News – The Power of Love, Whitney Houston- Saving All My Love For You, USA for Africa – We Are The World, Phil Collins – One More Night, The Pointer Sisters – Neutron Dance, Billy Ocean – Suddenly, Tina Turner – Better Be Good To Me and the one that I featured last week, Katrina and the Waves – Walking on Sunshine. This week a track that I still play a great deal.. Starship – We Built This City.
And the films.
Top at the Box Office were Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, Witness, The Color Purple, Rambo -First Blood Part Two and Rocky IV. Cocoon , Commando, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Mask and an all-time favourite of mine and tissue manufacturers; Out of Africa.
Here is Tina Turner with the hit We Don’t Need Another Hero from Mad Max Thunderdome
More of our American memories tomorrow… I hope you will drop in.. thanks Sally