“I Heard That”: A Family Reunion – Texas Style!

by Rochelle Metcalfe on June 23, 2010

HELLO! Back from my FAMILY REUNION in SAN ANTONIO! Wonderful time! Hosted by my second cousin DAWN and her husband MICHAEL HOLLIE – DOWN HOME TEXAS STYLE! About 50 family members that included children, traveled from various parts of the U.S. My son JAY METCALFE drove down from Lubbock, TX. The Sleep Inn and Suites, near Seaworld, was headquarters and near the Hollie’s spacious home.

The Hollie’s planned a terrific jammed packed 3-day weekend agenda. Friday night – greet ‘n meet at the hotel; Saturday morning a private tour bus picked us up to drive to downtown San Antonio for the boat cruise on the famous RIVER WALK. The JEWEL of the City, and part of the San Antonio River, which narrows and meanders through the downtown area, lined with numerous shops, bars, restaurants, major hotels, and condos – breathtaking at night with colorful lighting and flamenco music performed by gaily dressed musicians.

ALSO based along the River Walk is the newly restored AZTEC on the River, the only surviving EXOTIC-THEMED movie palace in Texas. Remember the theater well (see below).

After a lengthy cruise, private lunch at a mexican restaurant – absolutely delicious!!! A choice of sightseeing or shopping; a few of us visited THE ALAMO – the most FAMOUS spot in TEXAS where 189 brave Texans and Tejanos fought and died in the struggle for Texas independence in 1836. The ORIGINAL structure still stand!

Back that evening for the BANQUET held at KELLY AFB, closed since 2001 when the airfield was transferred over to Lakeland AFB, now called PORT SAN ANTONIO and house evacuees. Cousin Dawn is an event planner, and has CLOUT, thus able to secure the beautiful officer’s club, booked by many for special occasions.

Dawn is an AMIGO Program Manager for the Defense Language Institute English Language Center (DLIELC), based at Lackland. A sponsorship program where she manage Americans that “adopt” students from all of our ALLIED countries, who are here in America to learn English (there is a foreign equivalent at the school in Monterey, California).

Amigo (American Members of International Goodwill to Others) sponsors (simply being a friend) provide immeasurable help to international students (and their families) in becoming accustomed to our ways of thinking and acting.

BACK ON TRACK – Lots of down home fun at the Hollie’s spacious home – they can cook! Sunday night – Lakers/Celtics NBA game – Brother Mike fried some righteous CATFISH; and crab legs served all evening, I sipped Margaritas during the entire visit in town! By the way, San Antonio is the home of the NBA SPURS!

Monday get-a-way day for some, but that evening the Hollie family rejoiced in the graduation ceremony of their son MARCEL J. HOLLIE; several family members stayed an extra day. The young man will be entering Texas State University, San Marcos (near Austin) this Fall. .

San Antonio is the 7th largest City in the U.S., and has a strong military presence – for one, LACKLAND AFB. Both Dawn and Michael retired from the AFB base, and stayed on in the city. The reunion was MY SECOND RETURN to the city! Born and raised in ASBURY PARK, N.J., graduated, within a year craved to travel, joined the AIR FORCE. .

My journey in life continued September 5,1955 when I departed from Newark, New Jersey Airport, via TWA, to San Antonio and LACKLAND AFB for basic training (from there communications school at Frances E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming; landed in Northern California at Hamilton AFB, Novato; Honorable Discharge, married an airman, settled in Oakland, then San Francisco. a son, divorced. HERE I REMAIN!

During that time San Antonio WAS SEGREGATED! Remember a tall handsome airman, from the state of Georgia, and I, on PASS, went to check out a movie at the AZTEC Theater on Commerce St. FORCED to sit way up in the rafters!!! Times have changed; as mentioned the theater has been restored, BUT I didn’t know of its history as a EROTIC theme establishment. Would have loved to have seen the theater, but time did not permit!

Before my arrival, requested to visit Lackland. Thanks to the Hollie’s close family friend, whom we call cousin, USAF MAJOR KWANIEE FLOWE, made it possible to walk on base; my son and I took a picture in front of the welcome Lackland AFB sign. I might note, the military eventually forced San Antonio to change their segregated ways! Major Flowe is a Nurse Practitioner and teaches medical personnel at the R. Adams Chowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, MD. The dynamic Major has served a tour of duty in the Middle East, forced like so many mothers with children, to leave her young daughter home with her father.

IN CLOSING…I’m PROUD and love my family; meeting many younger generations since the 2008 Reunion in Norfolk, VA. They are smart, striving to succeed! CLOSE TO HOME – cousin Dawn’s mom, RIA MONROE, Project Manager at APPLE in Cupertino, and realtor PHILLIP & LETICIA SIMMS with sweet daughter TERESA, of San Jose.

Second to the oldest cousin, who was not able to fly out from VA. (retired educator) who, like the family, proud of the picture taken with President BARACK OBAMA. AND an image on the BIRTHDAY CAKE, in pre-celebration of my upcoming 75th birthday in December!

HEY, IT’S NICE TO BE NICE AND TO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE … LOOK FOR ME … I’LL BE THERE …
E-mail Rochelle at iheard@earthlink.net

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