growing up, I treasured the friendship of cousins -- especially
Dan and Gloria Lamb.
Conveniently, Gloria and I were the same age, graduating in the
Robert E. Lee class of '52, in Baytown,
and we were close friends, as our mothers were.
But kids will be kids, and at times Gloria and Dan liked to tease
this overly sensitive only kid. When I was about 4 years old, one
such incident concerned a watermelon seed. We three were munching
out on the watermelon in our backyard when I swallowed a seed. "Uh-oh,"
the cousins warned. "A big watermelon is going to grow inside you."
Frantic, I rushed inside the house where our mothers were visiting
and, between sobs, managed to tell what Dan and Gloria said. First,
the mothers suggested I stop crying. Next, I could rest assured
that a watermelon would not grow inside me. Dan and Gloria were
I quit crying then.
Of course, they were just teasing. What are cousins for.
(To this day, however, I'm mighty careful about swallowing a watermelon
A happier memory
revolved around - literally -- a coconut cake when Gloria and I
were in the 8th grade.
We went to the annual Baytown Junior High Festival, where we noticed
people gathering around in a circle for a cake walk. We decided
to join them, walking around and around in the circle until the
All eyes were on the prize, a large, luscious, three-layer coconut
cake. Can't remember whether Gloria or I won the cake, but that
didn't matter. She was spending the night at our house, so we claimed
joint ownership. We walked several blocks from the festival to where
I lived on Maryland Street, carefully carrying the cake. Now, that's
what you call a cake walk!
While I lived in Old Baytown and went to BJH, Gloria was a Goose
Creek girl and attended Horace Mann Junior High. She also went
to Memorial Baptist Church in Goose
Creek and invited me several times to her Sunday school class.
is now part of consolidated Baytown.)
of us will forget the trip to Alto Frio with a church group, staying
in a cabin on the Frio
River, attending the Baptist encampment and enjoying the splendid
But every good trip contains at least one bad moment, and mine was
a close encounter with a scorpion. As we were standing around, visiting
with friends outside our cabin, Laurence Bourge interrupted the
socializing with a sudden command, aimed directly at me. "Do not
move. Be perfectly still."
Before I could say "Huh?" he knocked a scorpion off my skirt.
A rather comical incident -- regarding someone who lacks common
horse sense -- occurred at Garner
State Park. Gloria galloped away on horseback while someone
(guess who) remained motionless on a horse that would not budge.
I hadn't been that still since the scorpion skirmish.
I kept telling the horse to "Giddy-up" but apparently he didn't
know what I was talking about. I finally left the scene - on foot
- and waited for Gloria to return from Happy Trails.
She wanted to know where I had been.
Well, as a matter of fact - nowhere.
© Wanda Orton
Baytown Sun Columnist
9, 2018 column