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Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF

BACK IN THE OUGHT ’SIXTIES by Francis Edward Abernethy

I (an English teacher whose academic field was Renaissance drama) became a folklorist in the 1960s, and I am going to tell you about a few of those dear souls who stood in loco parentis and showed me the way.

This all started over coffee and moon pie—at five cents apiece, I might add—in the Lamar Tech faculty lounge, in 1959. The subject of the Texas Folklore Society came up, and a colleague told me that

I should join up with that group. And fifty years ago I did. The following Easter, in 1960, I took the Greyhound from Beaumont and went to present a paper at my first meeting in San Antonio.

I was much impressed with the Menger Hotel, but I was much suppressed by the boisterous jollity of that Thursday evening’s TFS gathering at Casa Rio, when I lately arrived. After dinner, people sang. I sat in the last tier, hugging the shadows. Members were in full cry when I crept out and went back to the hotel to go over my paper for the fiftieth time.

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Medium 9781574412567

IV. Superstitions, Strange Stories, and Voices from the “Other Side”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781574412567

"Chipita Rodriguez: The Only Woman Hanged in Texas During the Civil War”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF



I was introduced to Chipita Rodriguez when I took a Texas history course in college several years ago. Our assignment was to pick from a list of subjects on which we would like to do a book report.

Being a little bit of a history buff, and a songwriter and poet,

Chipita’s story fit my interests very well. I read various books and articles, and did well on the report. But all during my research for the report, I kept thinking the story could be taken to another level. Hence, the song came about. I performed it for a local junior high class, and one student told about a relative’s land that borders the property that Chipita’s ghost walks on. He said her ghost has even been seen in recent years. It seems that on nights when the sky is clear and the moon is full, you can hear her moaning and see her walking along the bank of the river, with the rope still hanging from her neck.

History books tell us that Chipita Rodriguez spent her early years in Mexico with her family and later, only her father. Chipita and her father, Pedro, fled Mexico when the Texas Revolution prompted Santa Anna to pledge attacks against the revolting Texians and settlers such as the Rodriguezes.

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Medium 9781574412383

“Traveling Texan”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF

TRAVELING TEXAN by Archie P. McDonald

People just can’t stay put. As much as we love hometowns, or

Texas, or America, curiosity and horizons summon us to adventures beyond the seas. Texans, no less than Connecticut Yankees, wander the world with itchy feet and wide eyes at the wonder of it all.

I joined the caravan late. Apart from occasional excursions across the Rio Grande, I was dangerously close to the epitaph I read in an old novel a half century ago: “Here is my butt, the very watermark of all my sails.” Title and author escape me now, so this is as much attribution as I can muster for a line I wish I had written.

Then, in 1986, Ab and Hazel Abernethy tolerated my tagging along with them to Australia for three weeks on a folklore exchange. Ask Ab about our assignment to entertain the inebriated crew of the USS Joseph Kennedy, in port at American River on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, or the controversies that come with comparison of Queensland versus South Australia beer.

The passport acquired for visiting Australia got another stamp in 1990, when the fellow slated to escort fifteen high schoolers on a three-week summer trip to Germany had to withdraw. “Have passport and will travel,” says I, when the chairman of the exchange committee asked me to take over. The deal involved round-trip airfare and home stay with Rotarians in three cities.

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"Most People in Texas Don’t Die”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF

MOST PEOPLE IN TEXAS DON’T DIE by Mildred Boren Sentell

What was once a passing interest in newspaper obituaries has over the years become, for me, an abiding interest. I have observed that the obituaries, while reflecting passing tastes, more and more often concern younger and younger persons, many my age or even younger.

In almost all write ups of deaths, I find a reluctance—even a refusal—to employ the word “die” in referring to one’s transition from this vale of tears to whatever state of being comes next. In the

Lubbock Avalanche Journal, roughly two-thirds of deceased persons

“pass away,” “pass,” or “pass on,” or utilize some other means of transition; the remaining quarter to third of them (mostly Presbyterians and Catholics) may die. This is true in general for other newspapers around the state, unless one’s demise occurs in San Antonio, where no one dies; everyone, according to the paper, passes on. Perhaps even better, if one is to avoid actually dying, would be to meet one’s maker in Crane, Texas, where one Mr. Arnett, according to his obituary in The Crane News, “did not die; he just quit living.”

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