Big Bubbles & Packing Beetle

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Big Bubbles & Packing Beetle

After collecting the keys to our apartment, Frank and I headed to CollegeView Apartments in search of our new home.

These apartments sat across the road from the College Campus, thus how they got their name.  The buildings were two-story old Army barracks converted into eight apartment units.

On the front of the building, there were two separate entrances.  Each entrance had a two-step small concrete porch that led to a screen door.  When you entered through the screen door, there was a small entryway and on either side of this entryway was a door.  Each of these two doors was the front door of an apartment.

Facing the screen door in the entryway was a staircase leading to the next story where there was another landing with two more doors on either side of it which were front doors to two more apartments.   The entrance on the other side of the front of the apartment building was an exact repeat of this description.

CollegeView Apartment in 1973 College Station, Texas

CollegeView Apartments in College Station, Texas

Frank and I lucked out and received the keys to a downstairs apartment on the left side front of the building.  Our front door was on the right of the entry hall which meant we were in an interior apartment.  We would not have to haul our furniture up the stairs. There was only one obvious disadvantage to our apartment, and that was the ninety-degree turn that had to made to get furniture through the screen door then into the front door of our apartment.  Not to mention how small the entryway was before the stairs started upward to the next landing.

Our couch was unique in the fact that it was a couch that made a bed, but not like the ones that have a pullout bed.  Instead, it was a folding couch.  To make it into a bed you would grab hold of the seat then pull it upward as the back of it slid down looking like the seat.  Next, you would give a little push on the lifted seat until hearing a clicking sound then the actual seat of the couch would lay back down flat again. Thinking that description of how that couch worked is as clear as mud, but I gave it my best shot.

When we got ready to move the couch and mattresses into the apartment, it took some engineering to get them through the screen door then inside the front door, accomplished only through the help of two of my brothers.  That couch decided to open up, slide around trying to make a bed while the box spring mattress drug against the top of the door frame.  Lots of strong words were said that day by all trying to help us move our stuff into our apartment.

The apartment was small, but for $40.00 a month it was just the right price for us. There was a small living room/dining room with an opening at the back of the room leading into the kitchen.  The kitchen was more like a hall with the sink cabinet unit, above sink cabinets, and apartment stove on one side with the refrigerator on the opposite side.  When the refrigerator door was open it, nearly touched the sink cabinet unit on the other side of the room (hall).

We had two bedrooms with a small doorless cubbyhole between them. The bedroom doors faced each other.  Across from this cubbyhole was another small cubbyhole just big enough for our washing machine to fit in.  The door which led to the bathroom was next to the back side wall of the washer cubbyhole.  The largest bedroom could hold a queen sized bed, but one side had to be pushed against the wall, leaving space in the room for a small dresser.

We did not have air conditioning, a dishwasher or dryer, but we did have our own washing machine.  There were several huge clotheslines in the backyard of the building, but since there were no backdoors on the building, I would be washing our clothes, putting them into a basket, going out the front door, and walking around to the back of the building to hang them on the clothesline to dry.  There would not be anymore more sailing the clothes down the stairs, just a little basket-hauling-exercising-walking around to the back of the building.

The inside of the walls of the apartment had been painted white.  Even the metal three-sided shower in the bathroom was painted white and looked brand new.  The shower did not have a door on it, but with a spring-loaded shower rod, a shower curtain could be hung on the opening to the shower. We did not have a bathtub, so I was glad we had a washing machine, even though I would miss “Boogie Shoe” washing our laundry.  Of course, I would take the radio with me to hang out the clothes on the clothesline and dance the whole time.

All of the floors in the apartment were tile, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were all tiled with the same color and type of tile that was in our homes in Okinawa.  I could not wait to strip those floors with lye water then make them shine.

Finally, after many hours of moving in our belongs into the new apartment then unpacking, we were ready to go get something to eat.  Frank and I drove to a burger place and got hamburgers, fries, and some drinks then drove home to eat them in our new home.  After we finished eating, the next thing on our list was to shower then go to bed.  The next story is about how that worked out.

 “Bubbles”

Frank had come up with a well thought out plan since the day we married which he called “Christening the House”.  He thought that every new home needed christening, as soon as possible.  Of course, Frank never ever forgot about this no matter how long, and hard the move in was. Although not disagreeing with him at all, I thought after a long day of driving, moving in, lifting heavy things, and unpacking that it might be okay to wait a day or two. Anyway back to the story.

My sweet husband looked at me after we had finished eating then told me that I looked very tired and he thought that I should take the first shower in our new home.  Being exactly that tired, I did not even argue with him about it but went straight to the bedroom, got a change of clothes, and headed to the shower.  On the way, Mr. Dimples did ask me if I needed any help in the shower but I assured him with a smile that I could handle it all by myself and all would be fine.

Earlier in the afternoon, I hung up the shower curtain, and a shower caddy on the shower head then put the soap and shampoo in it. While doing that, I noticed how awesome the white paint looked on the inside of the shower.  It was clean and had a slickness to it.

Since we did not have an exhaust fan in the bathroom, I slightly opened the small window in the bathroom to let out some of the steam from the shower then I turned on the water in the shower, undressed, and entered the shower. The hot water felt really awesome as I put my head under the water to wet my hair then applied some shampoo to it.  I stood there with my eyes closed while scrubbing my hair then rinsing it under the warm water before repeating the whole process one more time and then opening my eyes.

After opening my eyes and looking straight ahead through the steam cloud hovering in the shower,  I was dumbfounded by what I saw there.  Bubbles!  Large bubbles were coming out of the shower wall towards me!  Quickly, I opened the shower curtain then screamed for Frank to come into the bathroom.

After some rustling sounds, he came running into the bathroom, pulled back the shower curtain wearing only a big smile on his dimpled-face asking, “Nancy, did you decide you need me to wash your back?”

Laughing and pointing to the walls, I told him, “Really Dimples?  We have bubbles!  Big bubbles!”

These bubbles were amazing!  If you pushed on one of them, it would go down, and another one would pop up close by!  The paint on the shower was, evidently the same as what the walls in the apartment had been painted with and, the shower had not been cleaned or primed for paint before being painted.

Of course, Frank’s next words were, “Nancy Lou, you wanna pop ’em together?”

As I looked at his beautiful smile with those dimples,  I knew that was exactly what we were going to do.  No bubble would be left unpopped!  Let’s just say, lots of laughing and lots of bubbles popped.

The shower was actually a big mess, and we would have to peel many paint layers off of the shower walls before sanding them,  cleaning them with bleach before we could paint it with real metal paint.

 

Frank and I settled into our new apartment when he registered for school.  He and I were both looking for jobs.  Of course, I was back to practicing my typing trying to get a job on the school campus.  The jobs required that I should be able to type at least fifty words per minute, and we all know from the past how great my typing was.  Of course, Frank would not even consider the possibility of me working in any jobs having to do with waitressing, grocery stores, convenience stores, etc.

After a short time, Frank got a job at a Utotem convenience store near our apartment.  They would work his schedule around his college courses, but I was still trying to pass the typing test.  Two of my brothers were also attending school at Texas A&M and lived in the CollegeView Apartments with their wives.

Grady’s wife, Tish, worked on the campus and when Jimmy’s wife, Connie, got a job on campus then needed someone to babysit my niece, I decided to do that for the Fall semester.   Frank and I adored our niece.  She was nearly a year old and just precious.

It was the Fall Semester at Texas A&M University, and football was in full swing.  Frank and I attended yell practices, the bonfire, and all of the home football games.  Frank had a student pass which was part of his tuition which would get him into the football games, and he could also buy one cheap date ticket for me.

If the Aggies played away from College Station, we would get together with my brothers and sisters-in-law at one of our apartments, eat snacks and listen to the game on the radio.  Listening to the Aggie game on the radio was always so much fun which included a bunch of hollering and Whooping when the Aggies played well or scored a touchdown.  Oh, I don’t want to forget the Greatest part of an Aggie football game, when the Aggies score you kiss your date, hubby, or wife.

The yell practices were always held at midnight, thus the name “Midnight Yell Practice”.   We did some fun things getting to these practices.

 “Packing Beetle”

Well, as you already know Frank and I were the owners of a 1970 Super Beetle.  This Volkswagon was designed to carry five people sort of comfortably.  Truthfully, it would really depend on the size of the people.

The Super Beetle had bucket seats in the front and a bench seat in the back.  Behind this bench seat was a small compartment which ran the length of the width of the bench for storage.  Whew, that was quite a sentence full.  Anyway back to the story.

It was raining this particular Friday night.  Normally we would all walk together to the Midnight Yell Practice since our apartment buildings were just across the street from the campus.  Not wanting to get wet on the walk to the yell practice, we decided to all pile into the Super Beetle to drive to the stadium.  There were ten of us but through a little ingenuity and cramming, we managed to get everyone inside the car.

One small person crammed into the space behind the bench backseat, three people sat on the bench seat with three people in their laps, the passenger front bucket seat had one person sitting with another in their lap, and Mr. Dimples sat alone in the driver’s seat to drive the Super Beetle.

You might wonder why we did not take two cars are a bigger car, well that was because of the small amount of parking on the campus at the time.  The Super Beetle was little, so we could get into small unusual places to park.

After we were all crammed in the car, Frank shut the passenger door then ran around the front of the car to get in to drive.  He laughed the whole way.  Now we were like sardines in a can with everyone Whooping and laughing.  When Frank started the Super Beetle, I really was not sure, as he put it into drive if it would actually be able to pull forward with all of the weight inside it, but it did.

It was so noisy inside the car that I am sure you could hear us coming for blocks.  Frank told us,  “You all  duck down if you see a policeman,  I can’t afford to get a ticket.”

Well now, this caused more laughter, and then everyone started trying to duck down every time we saw a car.  We all even leaned into the turns like we were riding on a roller coaster.

Finally, we made it to the stadium, and Frank found a parking spot.  I think it quite possibly was on a sidewalk, but I’ll never tell.  Frank got out of the car, laid down his seat, then came around to the passenger door, opened the door, so those two more people could get out then laid that seat down.  Next, the three people in laps of those sitting on the bench backseat got out of the vehicle which allowed the bench seat sitters to exit.

Only one more person was still in the Super Beetle, and he was in the space behind the bench backseat.   Frank was laughing as he pulled the lever on that backseat and the guy crammed in there rolled out.  Pretty sure that guy was my bother, Grady.

When we all got to the stadium and took our place in the crowd of Aggies there, we were probably the loudest Aggies there that night, but who could actually tell, all Aggies are loud at Midnight Yell Practice.

Hullabaloo caneck caneck! Farmers Fight!  We are the Aggies the Aggies are We!  Whoop!

<<<<< Book One  | Next Chapter >>>>

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Great post, as usual, Nancy. The barracks turned into apartments reminded me of the residence I lived in when I was in nurses’ training. Winston Hall was originally a temporary army barracks but still in use in the 60s. Not very temporary. I spent my first six months of training living there until they finished building the new residence building attached to the hospital by a walkway. And being stuffed into a Beetle reminded me of a time many years ago when Mike and Davina, part of our youth group, had a Beetle. They would take the kids home, and I remember one night there would have been at least as many as you had in your car. Maybe a couple more. Those were the days. 🙂

    • Yes, they were fun times. We had a blast at College Station. Of course, just like when we were in the service, everyone around us was in the same financial state. Looking back, it was very simple times.
      Thank you for your comment Diane.
      God Bless You.
      Love,
      Nancy

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