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Chapter Seventeen: The Currys

John R. Erickson University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter Seventeen: The Currys


hen I was young, it never occurred to me that my grandparents had anything less than an ideal marriage. Marriage problems, if they ever occurred (and we know they did) were not considered a subject that children or grandchildren needed to hear about. But one night in 1970, when I was twenty-six years old and had a family of my own, Mother and I stayed up late, talking in the living room, and she told me some stories about Buck and Mable that I had never heard before. She said that they were not an ideal match. Like her father, Mable was fastidious, while Buck tended to be sloppy in his habits. Both were strong-willed and neither showed much talent for compromising.

Mable wanted to postpone having children, but Anna Beth came soon and was a breech baby (turned backwards in the womb). Local midwives did all they could and finally sent for a doctor in Midland, more than a hundred miles away. He came in a horse-drawn carriage and said that both mother and child would surely die. Grandmother suffered terribly. Finally exhausted, she fell asleep and her body relaxed enough so that Anna Beth made her entrance into the world. Mable took a long time recovering from her ordeal—a “fallen womb,” Mother called it—and wasn’t anxious to go through it again. But she became pregnant with my Aunt Mary, and the atmosphere inside the Curry house turned frosty. Buck and Mable argued long and loud, and one night in a fit of anger, Mable told Buck she wished she’d never married him. This hurt

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Richard Carr University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781574410723

17 “As Nice As I Could Be”

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press PDF


“As Nice As I Could Be”

“Hank, what on Earth made you believe you could walk away from this?”

—Charles Meyer


The Bell County Sheriff ’s Office is not far from Bloom’s Motel. It just seemed like a long trip late in the afternoon of April 20, as Tim Steglich drove Hank to make a statement. At 5:25 P.M., Tim read Hank his Miranda warning. Tim tried to get in touch with a number of officers but could find no one. He did not want to leave Hank alone so he asked Deputy

Ted Duffield to get in touch with Don Martin and J. W. Thompson of the

Austin Police Department as soon as possible. Getting in touch with APD was the top priority—it was their case. Other officers could be contacted later.

Tim had to make an immediate decision. At the time, Hank was not a suspect or under arrest. Since he was making a voluntary statement, he could have asked for a lawyer at any time. Tim decided to get a brief statement first; he wanted the bottom line on paper—a girl was abducted from a car wash and McDuff did it. And so, Tim began slowly and carefully taking a statement for a case he was not that familiar with. As Hank spoke of kidnapping, rape, torture, and probable capital murder, Tim forced himself into a mode of extraordinary concentration. It was more important to get the statement than allow himself the luxury of normal emotion.1

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4. The Dallas Story: Establishing the District and Hiring the President

Kathleen Krebs Whitson University of North Texas Press PDF








The Dallas Story

Establishing the District and Hiring the President

here were early attempts at establishing the junior college in the Dallas area, but those built in the late 1800s did not survive. The junior college movement did not reach fruition in Dallas until the mid-1960s when two-year colleges were being opened nationally on the average of one per week.1 Efforts toward the establishment of a junior college for the Dallas area had been underway in one form or another for a decade. The delays hinged on two main issues: whether the college should serve just the city or the entire county, and whether it should be associated with a public school district or should be a separate entity.2

The first aborted attempt began in 1956 when the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) appointed a Junior College Committee, and commissioned C. C. Colvert from the University of Texas to conduct a feasibility study. That study would include an indication of the interest on the part of the Dallas citizenry in having a junior college. In July of 1958, DISD superintendent, W. T. White withdrew the plans. There was concern that the establishment of a desegregated city college would have implications for public grades of kindergarten through the twelfth.3 The Dallas school district

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8. Blues Revival in the ’60s: Comeback Again

Dean Alger University of North Texas Press ePub


Blues Revival in the ’60s: Comeback Again


Lonnie Johnson’s situation in the later 1950s was well described in liner notes to his first comeback album in 1960: “Lonnie’s slip into obscurity was so complete this time that many persons thought he was dead.” Alternatively, one writer claimed he had seen Lonnie down and out in Chicago in 1958. Indeed, Lonnie commented, “I’ve been dead four or five times. But I always came back. . . . I always knew that someday, somehow, somebody would find me.”1

In late 1959 Lonnie was working as a janitor in the Ben Franklin Hotel in Philadelphia. Chris Albertson (who had come to the U.S. from Denmark not too long before) “rediscovered” him, which led to what amounted to his third comeback. Albertson subsequently became a respected jazz record producer and author of the definitive biography of Bessie Smith. At the time, however, he was a DJ at jazz radio station WHAT in Philadelphia. (In an interview, Chris said, “The woman who owned the station was rather strange. The FM station was all White [music] and the AM station was all Black. And she had a white dog named FM and a black dog named AM.”2) In my interview with Albertson, I asked him how the rediscovery happened:

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