Monday, October 26, 2015

Moving to Austin

Traveling in our 1963-1/2 Ford Galaxie 500 and Judy's parents' 1960 Plymouth Fury, we headed for Austin on August 2, 1966.  Near the little town of Jarrell, famous now for the 1997 tornado, one of the fan belts came off the Plymouth.  We didn't have phones or even a CB radio in those days, but when Judy pulled off the highway, I knew something was wrong.  I even thought I knew what was wrong, since the Plymouth had a habit of losing fan belts.  Luckily there was a small garage just off the service road, and the man there was happy to help us get back the Interstate again.  We arrived Austin without further mishap.

Once we were there, we drove to our apartment.  It was in a brand-new building, and we were glad we wouldn't have to clean it the way we did the one in Denton.  Little did we know.

Let me pause here to repeat a story (slightly edited) that I told last year about how we got the apartment.  One weekend we drove to Austin and met a friend of ours, a very strait-laced guy, who was going to help us look for a place to live.  As we'd done in Denton, we got a paper and checked the classified ads.  There were several possibilities.  At the first place we looked, the apartment manager was a young woman, probably even younger than we were.  She took us into a one-bedroom apartment about which I remember nothing at all except for the bedroom, and the reason I remember that is because of what the young woman said when she took us into it.  She said, "It's a queen-size bed, and I'm sure it's big enough for all three of you."

For me, that moment marked the official beginning of that era known as "the '60s."  I knew for sure that I'd come a long way from my little old hometown, and even a long way from North Texas State.  I thought our friend was going to faint.  I still remember how red his face was.  I was laughing, and I think Judy was, too.  We didn't rent that apartment, but I'll always remember that little episode fondly. 

Now back to 104 East 32nd Street, the new apartment (it's still there and still looks the same; our apartment was the one on the top right).  We parked and went upstairs.  It was late, after dark, because of the delay in Jarrell.  We already had a key, so we opened the door and went in.

Surprise, surprise, surprise! as Gomer Pyle would say.  The apartment owner had forgotten when we were arriving, and he was letting some friends of his stay there.  We opened the door and walked right in on them.  There was much confusion and then much apologizing and then the owner was called.  More apologizing.  I think another rent reduction was involved, but not much of one, and that was a disappointment because the cost had jumped from $85 a month that we'd paid in Denton to $135 a month.  Austin was an expensive place.  Once again Judy had been the decider.   She thought this place was just what we needed, but her pleasure in it was tempered considerably by the fact that it was occupied.  

We got the squatters cleared out.  They'd been there only since the afternoon, so everything was in pretty good order.  We didn't have time to unload the cars, but we didn't have to go to a motel.  That was good news for us.

We didn't take many pictures in that apartment, but here's one from Christmas 1966 or '67.  I don't know why I'm wearing a suit, but I do know that the lamp on the dresser is on my nightstand now and that I still use it every night.  My father made it.

We got settled in within a few days, and then it was time for me to check in at the English Department and for Judy to get another job.


Jeff Meyerson said...

Love the threesome story.

Texas leads the way!

Unknown said...

I'm starting to really look forward to these, Bill.

Don Coffin said...

That's two great stories in one--the "threesome" comment [which I find particularly delicious for Texas (even Austin)] and the occupied apartment story. I don't think ,y story about the guy who used the apartment my first wife and I were moving into as a dog-grooming business spot matches that.

Graham Powell said...

Wow. Keep Austin Weird indeed.

Anonymous said...

Keep these coming. Really, really enjoy them. Thanks.


George said...

Love these stories! You and Judy had some interesting adventures!

Rick Robinson said...

At first glacé at the picture, my mind thought "Stan Freeberg" but I knew it (oops, song tie-in here) it had to be you. Another great story. Keep them coming!

Rick Robinson said...

Yes I got autocorrected again. That should have been "at first glance" of course.