Page 1 of the itinerary of my first visit to San Antonio. I was one of four high school students from St. Louis
who were on a recruiting trip to then Incarnate Word College.

Surely, in another life, I lived in San Antonio. From the moment I arrived in this beautiful city, I felt at home. The Air Force brought me here in 1993 and I moved away (kicking and screaming) in 2000. I returned in 2005, and now I'm home for good. I can't imagine living anywhere else.

But not all my friends realize that I first came to San Antonio long before I wore the Air Force uniform.

…when I was 16 years old and working at McDonald’s.

…when I thought I would be a nurse when I grew up.

…when I had no inkling of joining the Air Force, much less the military.

I was a junior at Bishop DuBourg High School in south St. Louis. I don’t remember how I met Sharron Stephens, who was assistant director of admissions at then Incarnate Word College. But somehow I did, and was invited to take part in a recruiting trip to the college. And somehow I managed to talk my parents into letting me go.

My dad and I on June 9, 1974. Our Texas-bound group met in the parking lot at West County
Shopping Center in St. Louis. My hometown friends will understand when I say
that we met "under the bird."

Me with my mom and my brothers, Roland and Norman. They were really rocking
those pants. Be sure and tell them next time you see them.

And so that’s how I found myself on a trip to San Antonio with three other St. Louis-area high school students. It was June 1974 and I was about a month away from turning 17, so of course I knew everything.

Judging by the itinerary, we had a busy schedule. I remember bits and pieces of the trip.

The sky ride gondolas over the Japanese Tea Garden.  I apologize for the blurriness of the
photo -- that's what happens when use a camera with 126 cassette film.
The grease-stained menu from Little Hipp's. I made a scrapbook of my visit to San Antonio in 1974. It
also includes a grease-stained napkin from Casa Rio and Jim's.

…riding a gondola high above Brackenridge Park near the Sunken Garden Theater.

…loving the shypoke eggs at Little Hipp’s.

…shopping at Market Square.

...marveling at how small the Alamo really was.

…and of course, falling in love with Incarnate Word College. The campus was gorgeous and the whole idea of going away to college was so romantic … and so out of the question. I knew my old-fashioned parents would never consider letting me move all the way to Texas, and they certainly couldn’t afford to send me to a private university. Attending a Catholic high school had been a sacrifice on their part, so I knew better than to ask about college.

And so I returned to St. Louis, never imagining I would return to San Antonio about a year and a half later … not to attend college, but to go through Air Force basic training.

My Air Force career took me many places – some wonderful, some not so great, but all good experiences that made me the person I am today: the Philippines, Ohio, Alaska, Illinois, Colorado, New York, Turkey and then … saving the best for last … San Antonio.

And you know what? I finally did get that diploma from the school that tried to recruit me in 1974. It was 1999, and now known as the University of the Incarnate Word. I graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Arts and Sciences. It took me a while, but it was worth it. And besides, Uncle Sam paid for it with the G.I. Bill so I could hardly pass that up.

The folks at Incarnate Word made sure we got a full dose of San Antonio
culture and history.

The cover of the phone book that was in my dorm room at Incarnate Word -- ripping the cover
off a phone book isn't the same thing as ripping the tag off a mattress, is it?
If it's a crime, I'm sure there's a statute of limitations.

I live fairly close to Incarnate Word now. I pass by the school every time I go to Sam’s Burger Joint and Music Hall to take photos of live music, which if you read my other posts, you’ll realize I drive by the school A LOT.

Life’s funny that way. I’ve traveled down some twisting, turning roads, made some U-turns, and didn’t always stop and ask for directions. But somehow, I ended up where I belong.


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