128 Slices
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Medium 9781603442015

Leaving a Water Legacy for Texas

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Ann Thomas Hamilton

THE color of the water was like fresh-brewed orange pekoe tea—clear dark amber. The river was originally named Lumbee, from an Indian word meaning “black water.” Upon submerging my wiry little white body into the slow-moving current, my skin instantly took on a brown tone—the same color as that of the Lumbee Indians who long ago inhabited North Carolina’s Inner Banks region. One of my fondest childhood memories was of swimming in the river with my sister and cousins during warm summer days when we visited our grandparents in Lumberton in eastern North Carolina. Lumberton, the town where my mother was born, was founded in 1789 and named after the river. I truly believe my love affair with the mystery of naturally flowing water came from those sublime summers in that river some sixty years ago.

Because Lumberton was near the Carolina coast, the family would also visit a beach near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the site of the first airplane flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright. Of course, this historic site did not mean much to a little girl who loved the water. I just leaped into the Atlantic Ocean with great abandon without any understanding that the water from the Lumber River on the Inner Banks permeated downstream through the rich coastal marshes and wetlands before becoming a part of this vast ocean on the Outer Banks. It was the crashing waves, the sand, the salt filling my nostrils, eyes, and mouth that captured me as I floated tirelessly day after day in the invigorating surf.

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Medium 9781574416565

Photographs

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

WALKING INTO THIS ARCHIVE is to walk among the dead. Many I knew and many I am just getting to know through their words and faces, but now I am one of the last remaining survivors in this Borgesian library of images. It was fiendishly comical when I noticed the irony of what has taken place: Middle class transubstantiation. Instead of bread and wine turning into the body and blood of Christ, four generations of my forebears’ bodies and blood have turned into paper and silver.

For me, photography is about death. It didn't used to be, but I'm sixty-four and everybody in the room is dead and I can't remember why I was so obsessed with saving their lives in two-dimensional facsimile. Perhaps all these years I have been trying to nail down what Ian McEwen refers to as our brief spark of consciousness.

It was never about the money; I could have done better mowing lawns. There was always this urgency about it: save all historic buildings, remember all the faces, stand on all the street corners, save everybody's toilet, share my experience with posterity, I was alive goddammit.

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Medium 9780253019561

16 Relations between US Soldiers and German Civilians

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Careful there, soldier, that is fraternizing with the enemy, which isn’t legal. Rumor has it, though, that all but a few of the MPs have left for the new area at Gotha, so you’re quite safe. Then, too, your spot is such that trouble can be spotted quite a distance away.

Gardelegen, Ger—28 May ’45

GI hands a morsel of food out to eager child. In many places they haunt mess-gear laundries, carrying a can for food and one for coffee. The fellows soon get used to pouring the leftover coffee from their cups into the container held out and allowing the food in their mess gear to be picked over before dumping into garbage cans.

Regensberg, Ger—mid-Sept ’45

Children everywhere it seems, and many of them. Fellows like them and find most are intelligent and surprisingly healthy.

Regensberg, Ger—mid-Sept ’45

GIs leaving German Church after their Service walk between a double line of children waiting to go in for their Sunday School. Carrying a weapon to church was a strange experience.

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Medium 9780892726301

chapter fourteen GRACEFUL WHITETAILS

Silliker, Bill Down East Books ePub

Several coyotes howled close by the campground in the predawn that late-summer morning. From the direction of their calls, I had to guess that there were at least three of them. You can never be sure about coyotes, though; they seem to throw their voices, as a ventriloquist does, so counting them by their calls is always a gamble.

I wonder if the deer know that.

The intensity and the locations of the calls on this morning suggested that a number of coyotes lurked in the nearby woods. And so it seemed unlikely that any self-respecting prey species would show itself in the field by the campground.

That was too bad. The field at Nesowadnehunk Campground, in Baxter State Park, often offers a great opportunity to watch and photograph white-tailed deer that have little fear of humans. These deer seem to understand that the folks they meet here are

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Medium 9780892728060

Can you tell where this museum is located?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

If this romantic scene has you imagining an earlier time, picturing bonnets and buckboards, you’re on the right track. Every October the centuries melt away at this small village in the central part of the state and people cross this covered bridge into the 1790s. Men and women in period dress demonstrate what it would have been like to live a pioneer life in the North Woods, working at a water-powered sawmill or a blacksmith shop, spinning or weaving, traveling by buggy and bateaux, and feasting on bean-hole beans. Even the children are busy, dipping candles, making cedar shakes, and peeling potatoes. With the bridge, the mill, log cabins, trapper camps, and nature trails through the woodlands all around, it’s not a bad way to spend the first weekend in October. The museum here is no stranger to living history, dedicated as it is to telling the story of the long-ago lumbering life of the Maine woods. Every autumn it hosts this colorful event, transforming this community of 1,242 into Township Four, the place it used to be. Have you ever stepped across this bridge and back in time? Turn to page 100 if you can identify the museum or the community it is located in.

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Medium 9781603442015

Texas Water Politics Forty Years of Going with the Flow

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Ken Kramer

EVEN after forty years I can still visualize it. The “it” is the cover of the first issue of the biweekly Texas Observer I had ever seen. The year was 1969, and I had just embarked on my first graduate school experience—starting work on a master’s degree in political science at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches in East Texas. The professor in one of my classes had offered his students the opportunity to participate in a class subscription to the Observer, a liberal journal of opinion that provided exceptional coverage of Texas politics and government (and still does). Although I was a Republican at the time, I was extremely interested in politics, and, political philosophy aside, the Observer was touted as a good source of information about the state’s political comings and goings; so I signed up to receive one of the copies twice a month.

As it turns out, that was a momentous decision in my life—although not perhaps recognizable as such at the time. The first issue of the Observer I saw was devoted in its entirety to something called the “Texas Water Plan”—about which I knew nothing although I was already interested in environmental issues. The cover, which struck me so profoundly, showed a cartoon of several leading state officials, including then former governor John Connally and then governor Preston Smith, waterskiing or otherwise frolicking in or around some body of water. These folks were promoting this thing called the Texas Water Plan.

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Medium 9781603442015

Where the First Raindrop Falls

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

David K. Langford

BEFORE Lyndon B. Johnson was a politician, he was a child of the land. Growing up in the Texas Hill Country amid grazing sheep, cattle, and sparkling, clear springs, he inherently understood the relationship among sky, land, and water. Like most Texans, LBJ felt a strong kinship to the land because, since the days of the Republic, our lives and our livelihoods have been shaped by the diverse landscape that characterizes our home.

Although the former president was not part of my biological family, he was part of a large extended family of clannish, pioneering souls determined to eke a living from the Hill Country’s rock-strewn terrain. We were not kin by blood, but we were bound by shared experiences.

My biological family is like the ancient live oaks that dot the Texas Hill Country. For as long as there are memories, we have sunk our roots into the shallow soil and battled to survive in a place whose beauty belies its harshness.

Seven generations of my family have called Gillespie County and Kendall County home. From the beginning, my family has had a love affair, for lack of a better phrase, with water. The Hill Country can be unforgiving when you’re trying to coax a living from the soil. Water was the one thing that made the land hospitable—and offered the promise of a future.

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2 Fast Evacuation of Wounded—An Experiment

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

An experiment in the rapid evacuation of wounded men by glider. A C-47 tows the glider in and drops it, later snatching it into the air again by means of the ground pickup loop shown here. This method is particularly fit for use near the front where landing fields large enough for the plane are not available. The glider can land and be picked up from a tiny strip suitable for the little L-4 liaison plane used by the Artillery.

Near Unkel, Ger—22 March ’45

The glider has been adapted to hold twelve stretcher patients and three attendants or walking patients. This glider was built as a cargo glider and used in airborne landing operations. It this time brought in bundles of medical supplies and will take out a full load of wounded.

The walking wounded on the right is a German. Men submitting to use in this experiment were either volunteer GIs or Germans, with or without their consent.

Near Unkel, Ger—22 March ’45

Hold your breath—the C-47 is swooping in to snatch that loop of nylon rope, a tricky job at 130 miles per hour. But he does it and the surprising part is that people in the glider feel only a sensation like that of a car starting with a fast pickup speed. Of course the rope had some elasticity, but the real reason for the non-jerk takeoff is a special cushioning mechanism in the C-47.

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Can you identify this inspirational isle?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

With a single glance you can understand the romantic appeal of this place: a lovely Victorian house on a tiny windswept isle, lorded over by highlands, surrounded by the Atlantic. This beauty is what attracted a virtual parade of writers to this island on the Down East coast. If ever there has been a lighthouse that was home to more authors, poets, and playwrights than the one pictured — suffice to say, we can’t find it. The first scribe to land here was likely Bernice Richmond, who bought the island after the Coast Guard deactivated this light, used to protect a chilly harbor, in the 1930s. Next up in the 1950s was children’s book author René Prud’hommeaux, author of Hidden Lights, The Port of Missing Men, and The Sunken Forest. She was followed by playwright Gerald Kean. And most recently it was owned by William C. Holden III, a retired banker who wrote several novels while living here. In Our Island Lighthouse, Bernice Richmond describes the allure: “It is hard for people living on the mainland to understand the contentment found on an island… I couldn’t put into words… how terribly important it was to sleep on the island with sea sounds encircling me. I couldn’t explain how I looked forward each morning to that first rush of salty air through my kitchen door.… ” If you can identify this inspirational isle turn to page 100.

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Medium 9781603442015

Hooked on Rivers

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Myron J. Hess

I LOVE being outdoors. Those rare times when I am able to step back from the frenzied pace of everyday life and feel in rhythm with nature give me an incredible sense of peace, of calmness. And, if you throw in a flowing river or stream, I can get close to achieving a state of nirvana. The love of nature came early. The appreciation of the special role of flowing streams developed a bit later.

As the youngest of seven children growing up in Cooke County in rural North Texas near the Oklahoma border at a time when TV watching was still an occasional event and computer games were science fiction material, I spent the bulk of my early childhood outside. When my siblings were home, I followed them around as much as they would let me. When they had all started school and I was still at home, the yard became my preschool and kindergarten classroom. Fortunately for me, farmyards can be incredibly interesting places: chickens and ducks to observe, ground squirrels and lizards to stalk, insects and toads to catch, and bird and mouse nests to discover. I think my dad was relieved to see me start school so he didn’t have to spend so much of his time answering my questions about what I had found or seen, and he could get back to farming full time.

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6 Civilians during the War

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

An old shepherd leads his sheep out to pasture while GIs watch the show.

Blankenheim, Ger—25 April ’45

T/3 Jack Kitzero had a little after-dinner sport with a German youngster. She and a handful of others were eager to play and got a particular kick out of my helmet and liner. They scrambled for the chance to swing between our arms as we headed back to the billets.

Blankenheim, Ger—25 April ’45

Old duffer sits and puffs contentedly on his pipe. He speaks to us of a brother he has in the States.

Marktleuthen, Ger—28 April ’45

Main street of this city—its only straight stretch. It’s 2:30 in the afternoon and the military curfew keeps all civilians off the street. A “Dog’s Life” is not so bad in this case.

Marktleuthen, Ger—29 April ’45

The street has quickly come alive now. Everybody’s busy shopping and visiting while their time lasts. Curfew rules allow them onto the streets only from 8 to 9 in the morning and 4 to 5 in the afternoon.

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Do you know where to find this coastal park?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

This little lighthouse looks out across the “finest bay in North America,” if we’re to believe the governor of Massachusetts in 1759. Stand on the shore here, with your eyes wide to the bay — said to have an island for every day of the year — and it’s hard to argue with the old man who ordered a fort built on this site to protect these important waters from the French and Indians. It was a wise move, since the major river that runs through the region was a fault line of sorts between the English to the west and the French Down East. The same year the fort was being constructed here, Quebec fell to the English, and the French were effectively given the boot from the region. During the Revolutionary War, British troops snuck into the fort in 1775 to remove its guns. Fast forward to the 1880s, and this was a very fashionable spot to be, red coat or no — that’s when a hotel was built here in 1872 with the hopes of making the point a rival to bustling Bar Harbor. Well-heeled Bostonians made the trip up by steamboat and stayed in the enormous place, luxuriating amid its running water, gas lights, stables, bowling alley, and dancing pavilions. Unfortunately for the resort, the tony types never found the finest bay in North America as much to their liking as the bays and mountains of Mount Desert. Rather than become a fancy national park visited by millions, this spot turned into a 120-acre state park that all too often gets lost in the great waves of summer tourists that sweep over the region. The square sentinel does its best to attract visitors, but they largely speed by. Those who do visit here know there’s some nice fishing to be done on the park’s pier, and that there is some exceptional cross-country skiing when the snow’s right. Whatever the time of year, the scenery is stunning. Turn to page 98 to see its location.

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17 Where Are the German PWs?

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Huge PW enclosure. Some 2,600 are being held here. Their two meals a day come from a supply of regular German Army rations captured in a nearby warehouse.

On Leipzig-Frankfurt Autobahn—16 May ’45

GIs make civilian prisoners clear them a ballfield. The Germans and Poles were caught stealing cigarettes and other rations. MG had them locked up till this better use was found for their time.

Neuhaldensleben, Ger—21 May ’45

“MG” means Military Government.

German PWs sweep the street in front of the new 102 Inf Div CP. The modern building was a German Finanzamt or Fiscal Office.

Gotha, Ger—2 June ’45

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Have you ever visited this part of the park?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Let’s make it clear before you even get started that your answer is incorrect. Katahdin, you’re saying, plain as blueberry pie. And yes, that is the state’s highest peak, the Mountain of the People of Maine, the Greatest Mountain, terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The question, however, is this: What is the beautiful basin that affords this jaw-dropping view? A small pond now within the bounds of Baxter State Park, this place was the site of a turn-of-the-century sporting camp, and a dozen cabins still sit along the shore here. From the porches of several of these, you can look out at the long ridge of Barren Mountain, the rounded crown of the Owl, the deep cut of Witherle Ravine, and Katahdin’s magnificent Hunt Spur. Beautiful as the spot is, it hasn’t always been serene. Controversy has swirled around the pond in recent years, and the place was much in the news. That’s all quieted of late, and today the waters are placid once again. Have you ever visited this part of the park? Turn to page 98 to learn more about this stunning spot.

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Do you know what this structure is known for?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Since its construction in 1868, this midcoast mill has been many things to many people. Ask passersby and they’ll likely mention that the island manufactory once churned out massive quantities of paper. In its heyday around the turn of the twentieth century, the company housed here exported newsprint, book, and school papers as far away as Chile and Australia, and legend has it that the mill holds a world record for paper output. At the height of its production, it could provide a small daily newspaper with six years’ worth of paper in a single day. The mill’s more recent history has been just as memorable. Many will recall that the compound was awash with floodwaters in 1936 and 1987; one of the state’s most industrious rivers runs around the mill’s rocky spit on three sides — four in spring — and the river has been known to bloat with runoff from melting snow and heavy rains. The green bridge out front has given commuters passing through this bedroom community of nine thousand plenty of time to familiarize themselves with the mill. Traffic across the span is often dense, bottlenecked by congestion on the busy main street across the river; and all the new businesses located in this area let out. It wasn’t always so. When the buildings were first erected, Main Street went purposefully between them, and its pace was far more sedate — except during one of the state’s largest agricultural fairs. But that only came once a year. Turn to page 100 to find out more about this industrious spot.

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