Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Best of 2010 - Irving, My Hometown

The Mustangs of Las Colinas
Back on July 28, I wrote a post about something I was very familiar with - my hometown of Irving, Texas. Although I hadn't been home in a million years, I still had memories of my childhood and high school years as fresh as the day they were made. A lot of my readers, who happened to friends as well, enjoyed the ride back in time also. I got some good feedback in the comment section of the post and a ton of feedback on Facebook with other people's memories of Irving.

Here is that post, reprinted in its entirety.

I know many of my friends back in Texas will relate to this post. So many of them, like me, grew up or lived in Irving long enough to call it "my hometown". I moved to Irving the summer before my 10th birthday in 1966, and the population of Irving was, if I recall correctly, about 40,000. Now over 200,000 live in the City. Wow! My little town has grown up! Irving was founded in 1903 by J.O. "Otto" Schultz and Otis Brown (who was later mayor of Irving) and is believed to be named after author Washington Irving who was a favorite of Mrs. Brown. I haven't been to Irving in at least nine years, therefore I can only guess how much it's changed during that time. However, I do remember how Irving was when I was a little boy riding my Schwinn 5-Speed Stick Shift bike (even then the chicks dug a cool set of wheels :) ) literally all over town - from near Wakefield's Grocery and Mr. Wood's Barber Shop on Shady Grove all the way to the 183 Apartments where my Dad lived. As a kid , that was as cool as riding a Harley, pure freedom. Here are some other things that come to mind when reliving the '60's in my hometown, in no particular order...
  • Cliff's Donuts (and later next door Cliff's Pizza). Mr. Shasteen was a very nice man who on occasion let a group of young men of drinking age have all night get-togethers with FREE pizza ! Almost 40 years too late...thanks, Mr. Shasteen. Oh, yeah...Cliff's Donuts were a Sunday morning tradition for Sunday School at the Baptist Church just up the street on Story Road.
  • Denny's on Hwy.183...I spent many after partying hours eating chili there with Tommy Thompson and Mark Hardesty. Tommy's now dead (RIP BROTHER) and last I heard, Mark is a long-time guest of the State.
  • The 183 Drive-In - Where The Duke his own self, John Wayne stood on top of the concession stand with rifles a-blazin' for the World Premier of True Grit, in which Wayne won an Oscar for his role as Rooster Cogburn.
  • Texas Stadium - not only for all the Cowboys' games I attended there with Randy Randle, but for the thousands of fellow Nimitz High graduates who walked the stage passing from schoolkid to welcome-to-the real world young people.
  • Dar Roedel and Linda Staggs - These two ladies were more than teachers or counselors, they were friends and second Moms to an untold number of kids, me included. I love them dearly and will never forget the impact they had on my life. 
  • Friends - too many to mention, because there were/are so many of you. From waaaaaay back : Keith Story and Mark Warren. I have known those guys for over 40 years and I'll never forget them. Randy Randle, Marvin, Dee Dee, Dewayne, John and Marty. They treated me like one of their family and to this day, I consider them my family. Tommy Thompson...maybe the best friend I ever had, and that's saying something. I loved Tommy like a brother and wish I could have just one more beer with him. I hope I was half the friend to him that he was to me. Mark Hardesty... Mark was, shall we say, "rough around the edges", but he was a great friend. I would say more, but I'm not sure the Statute of Limitations has run out. All the friends I have re-connected with through Facebook. I love you guys and I can only say "It was fun" or "I'm sorry". You decide which camp you are in. :)
I could carry on for hours, but that will be for another time, perhaps. What are your memories of Irving? Or your hometown? Tell us in the comments, we'd love to know

A Look Back at September's Best Posts

Things Got Rollin' in September
September found Three States Plus One really getting a solid foot hold in the blogosphere. It seemed like all of the sudden we went from being virtually unknown, which we were, to getting readers from all over the world. We started off well in Texas and Maine, but that was to be expected, because I have many friends and family members in those two states, and, just to be supportive, they'd have read the Uncertain, Texas phone book if I posted it. Silly people. But, I digress. From my point of view as a Blog Owner/Administartor, each time I looked at the Flag Counter that appears on each page of the blog and discovered a new country's flag added to the roster, I began to believe a little more in what I was doing...that people, complete strangers in most cases, actually found value in what I was writing. That said, I am not a writer. I am a more verbal kind of guy. Hell, for over 15 years I was a radio DJ. Listeners depended on my verbal skills in order to digest the information I was feeding them. If you could listen to what I write, I think it would be a lot more effective in getting across the tone and inflection of what I write. Those of you who know me understand what am talking about.

Here's a list of a few of the most popular posts from September:
  • Hungry Maine for Texas Vittles - This was our first "blockbuster" post, receiving over 100 page views. This was a big deal for me. It was validation that this blog thing might work out if I stuck with it long enough. 
  • Special Edition - 9/11 - This post was HUGE for me. It was the first time I really went off on any given subject. Dirty words and all, this was a smash. I find it a bit ironic that soon after I posted this one, I began to get a lot of attention from Muslim countries. Go figure. Asswipes.
  • An Almost Clean Getaway - I remember when I wrote this post I was in a hurry to make an appointment or something. Anyway, I found something real fast and scribbled down a post and didn't think twice about it. It was basically a space-filler at the time. But it ended up being one of the most popular posts of the month! Don't ask me why. But thanks!
That's a good start to our look back at the first six months of Three States Plus One. I'll be back in a little while with more bullshit award-worthy literary brilliance and insightful observation. :)

Our First Six Months - A Look Back

Blog Archives Stored Here
It's hard to believe that this blog is now six months old. During that time we have experienced what I suspect that any new blog, or even many more established blogs, experience. The ebb and flow, ups and downs, highs and lows... you get the picture. Since it's the end of the year, I thought it might be kind of neat to look back at some of the most popular topics we covered, as well as some of my personal favorites from the past six months.

I would also like to get your input as to what you thought were the bests posts of the last six months. Maybe you bookmarked a post or sent one to a friend (who will never forgive you for doing that) that you think should be highlighted (lowlighted?). Just drop me a note in the comment section or shoot me an email at threestatesplusone AT gmail DOT com with your suggestion and we'll definitely give it another posting.

I will now don my Hazmat suit and be off to peer into the hermetically sealed Budweiser box that houses the archives to Three States Plus One in a quest to find the worst best of 2010.

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All Original Material © Toby Shoemaker