Major Robert Simpson Neighbors – A True Texan

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the tall tales. Those malleable stories build the pedestals, materialize the laurels, and fabricate the “facts” of the state’s iconic founding fathers – individuals whose sacrifices and servitude reward their memories with stained-glass images and names on universities.
These rough and tough Texans’, who lost and won, stole and gave, gained independence, then gave it away, histories are as dynamic as the shifting sands of Monahans.
Okay – I will stop.
Texas is fantastic, and the history is just great. I would not change a thing unless that thing would make history more extraordinary and the state that much more wonderful.
Sorry – I will stop.
Not all Texas history heroes have to have their stories inflated. One such fellow is Major Robert Simpson Neighbors. Neighbors was an Indian Agent, a significant player in the relocation of Kiowa and Comanche throughout Texas. Neighbors believed in going out into Commancharia and making connections with each tribe. This proximity allows a personal relationship with the tribes. Unfortunately, his modus Operandi caused many Anglo settles grief – as they felt his connection to the “savage” tribes inappropriate. Nevertheless, he continued to do his duty with fidelity and respect.
Neighbors ultimately helped create a reservation along the Brazos River just south of present-day Newcastle, Texas. This location was also a stone’s throw from Fort Belknap. Unfortunately, this was not a good location for the reservation.
The settlers’ outcries of Indian depredations rang out across the prairie, echoing off the hills. The heated exchanges between the groups exploded into violence. Something had to change. In attempting to do what was right, Major Neighbors organized the tribes and delivered them from Texas to an Oklahoma reservation.
Undefeated, Neighbors returned to Texas with the expectation to keep serving with consistent fairness. Instead, a bullet awaited him on his return to Fort Belknap. The shooter disagreed with Neighbor’s ideas.
Then, this true Texan was taken to the town cemetery and buried without much honor. Major Robert Simpson Neighbors rests in an unkempt cemetery in a cow pasture. An individual whose history is not inflated or fabricated. A Texan who sacrificed his life in an attempt to maintain peace.

The road – to the gate – through the cow pasture – to his grave.
Restored 1960
Major Neighbors’ Stone – leaning against his raised grave?

The Calling – part 3


An image that has haunted me now has a name – she is real – she lived. Her name is Virginia Moore.
Curiously, I have amassed numerous images of Virginia, unlike my photo; each depicts her full of life, wearing a bright smile – exhibiting an exuberant, brilliant demeanor. I shuffle pictures collected from online sites interpreting and inferring meaning from her random sentiments scribbled in the margins.

My emotions overwhelmed- as I continue to locate more artifacts.

Peculiarly, I have acquired her scrapbook; while cannibalized by collectors and resellers of antiquity, it still holds significant information, such as letterhead, greeting cards, and casual correspondence with friends.
How has this offering so conveniently found its way to me – effortlessly?

Our silent interchanges become frequent – unbalanced yet pleasurable.
Although I grow more confused as her images send mixed signals. She introduced herself to me in anguish, calling to me for help. Now she laughs and taunts my bid to do her well.

My questions have not been answered with the knowledge of her name or the acquisition of her personal items – my interest only intensifies.
I know she was a nurse, an RN from Missouri; her license number was 14675.

I know she answered the call of the Cadet Nurses during World War II. I know she traveled from New Orleans, LA, to San Francisco, Ca, on December 16, 1943, via a Pullman car to work at the Marine Hospital. I know she frequented the numerous nightspots in Union Square. I know the names of her friends; Verda, George, Doris, and her niece Sally.

I know her uniform. Gray wool flannel with silver buttons – red shoulder epaulets and insignia displaying the United States Public Health Service. I see the color of her lips, “Rocket Red,” the unique shade the Lentheric Cosmetic Company created to match the bright red trim on the Nurse Corps’ uniforms.

I know her smile, and I perceive her energy. I know her crassness. I know her writing. I know her slang. I know her eyes.

Why were your eyes down when I first met you?

Why have you exposed so much to me?
This obsession has gone too far – I have become a steward of an impossible cause – a situation that cannot be corrected. What is this effort attempting to accomplish? There is nothing to gain. It is probably just all a creation of my own unstable mind.

While her image lingers in my thoughts, I decide to bid farewell. Accept that an unexplained photograph can continue to exist as just that – unexplained.
Virginia will now be just a part of me. A piece of my history, a temporary focus of interest, that, for a moment, entwined too deeply in my thoughts.

I view her as a hobby, a random interest to explore. My heart breaks at this realization. I have removed the pursuit’s emotion and replaced it with a mundane inquiry. She has become a failed conquest.
She is a still-life memory.

Weeks turn to months, she lingers in my mind – I randomly search for clues while lying to myself I have put her to rest.

When life allows, I pursue more information about this elusive woman I know so much about -working through a vast array of mismatched puzzle pieces searching in vain to find connections – in my collection of photos and letters, cocktail napkins, and newspaper clippings.

Without surprise, each pursuit ends the same, nothing of Miss Virginia Moore after 1944.

I feel more of a calling than ever –

I should have never found the photo, I should have never entered the junk store, I should have never even been in that town two years ago. I should have never known her name; I should have never been able to collect so much information about this woman.
Why is this happening?
Is it all just a fabrication of imagination?
The photos are tangible – she did exist?
Was it all random, or is there meaning?

What is the calling?

I examine the San Fransisco Chronicle Virginia had folded in her scrapbook.

Tuesday, June 6, 1944.
The colossal headline “INVASION!” – Allies Pouring Into Northern France.
I imagine her expression, the excitement flowing through her as she held the paper, the paper I now hold, the turning tide as the allies push toward Berlin.

I long to share her emotions as my eyes read the same print on the same paper. I attempt to tune into her emotions- my senses ignorant to her reality – unable to relate – fall short of a reunion with Virginia.

I place the paper on the table, and it comes to me – the newspaper – my answers could be in the newspaper.
I hurriedly begin searching through the San Francisco Chronicles’ online archives.
Searching – Virginia Moore. A slew of Moores and Virginia produce thousands of hits.
Narrowing the search with quotations -“Virginia Moore” – narrowed but still thousand of random words, too many to examine – I scroll down and quickly lose focus – a feeble attempt.

Driven by an emotional passion I search – hours pass. I sense the end.

My emotions swell as I find my answer; how long have I wondered?

My eyes scan the few sentences dedicated to Miss Virginia Moore from the August 15th, 1944 edition.

Miss Virginia Moore was found dead in the stairwell of the Drake Hotel Tuesday night. An autopsy found substantial amounts of Luminal in her system. Miss Moore’s death has been classified as suicide.

I stare through the screen – fonts melt into long horizontal streaks.

Did Virginia Moore call to me, or were our conversations fabricated from my own imagination?
A feeble attempt to produce shallow valor.
To weave a personal hero’s quest?
To create purpose?

I stole her life.

My punishment is to be haunted by the spirit of a woman who is now deeply ingrained into my being.
I open my photo from the Perisian Room with trembling fingers and examine the mood of the photo I know so well.
If your eyes were not down –

I would not now envision your final moments with such horror.

Disgusted – I close the cover and attempt to harness my emotion – running my finger over the image I realize that the Perisian Room was in the Drake Hotel.

Quickly pulling the photo from the sleeve I flip it to the back – the printed date’s ink, aged, faintly expresses – August 12, 1944.

The Calling – part two


Months pass, and the photo, sits on the shelf. Sometimes I find it beneath random papers, books, or magazines – I quickly remedy the situation – rewarding myself with a momentary study of the photo.
Her eyes – still down.
His demeanor – arrogant as always.

I create stories in my mind to explain the couple’s situation. Initially, a random pastime – playfully interacting with the photo creating harmless discourse – a practice I would regret. My interest manifests into juvenile infatuation – driven by far more than the usual suspects of this type of emotional compulsion – aware only intangible outcomes can only be found. Her voice I will not hear, her story I will not know, her hand I will not hold – what will be the illusive end to this calling?
I suppose obsession should be avoided – the downward spiral hyper-emotion can bring is nauseating – heartbreaking. If only my questions could be answered – with my curiosity satisfied, I know I could move on.

Why were her eyes down?
Her head tilted away from this hero? His ego tacked to his chest.
What is her name?
In dreams, convoluted thoughts mix with her position, exhaustive sleep where I am shaken from slumber with cognizance of her distress.

I feel her restless spirit lingering. I am sickened with his arrogance juxtaposed to her melancholy.

I have relocated the photo to my mantle, along with other proud pieces and personal prizes. I welcome inquiry – sharing the photo with others.

Their lack of engagement is frustrating.

Their indifference is offensive.
How do they not see?
How do they not hear her calling?

Who are these two that have cemented their moment into my every thought?

I have no names or dates, only a souvenir photo from the Persian Room. A soldier in a uniform with an Arrol Flinn mustache, a female, forcing a smile through a heart of anguish.

I know the location – San Francisco.

Date mid -1940’s.

Overtaken by transcendent energy I search online photos and websites, incorporating keywords in as many random orders as possible – quotations and commas in various locations – “World War 2 photo”, “Persian Room,” “Persian Room World War II,” “”Persian Room”, San Francisco,”” and every combination – finding links to websites dedicated to war, cocktails, nightlife, and San Francisco.

I discover.

The Persian Room was one of many establishments that populated San Francisco’s Union Square during the 1940s, one of many night-spots offering music and mood that could temporarily transport an individual from realizations of world war to the escapism of gayety.

Clubs such as the “Smartly Sophisticated” -Lido, or the “Aristocrat of San Francisco” – Bal Tabarin.

Techau Cocktails on Powell Street at the streetcar turntable.

Others such as –

Ernie’s “In the heart of San Francisco’s Bohemia”, and Charlie Low’s “Forbidden City”, each luring patrons into a unique world of nightlife and each offering souvenir photos.

My mind is a jumbled mess – losing focus. I revisit the photograph. I long for her to look up.

Although, if her look was anything other than frozen suffering, I would have not found it intriguing. I would not be here, and she would not be here with me. There would be no questions to answer – no calling.
Has this fascination pushed me too far into a situation? My thoughts focus on – a still-life photo of unknown individuals – who have taken over my life, my thoughts. Her image has created fissures in my current relationships, real-life relationships.

Each passing day, I lose connection with reality – to pursue the answers to questions that those in my current reality believe to be contrived.
If I cast my eyes toward the corner of the room, I find her image lingering in the shadow – if I close my eyes, I see her in the darkness – my mind is a-washed by the image – I relent this is no purpose – this is possession.

I turn to the cover of the souvenir photo, running my finger over the embossed expression of the establishment. My finger rises and falls over the image’s texture — did she hold this photo in her hand? I visualize the situation -listening intently through the years to hear her voice -see her response- understand her emotion- – she must have been disappointed in the photo.

Why was it kept?
Why was it purchased?
Why are her eyes down?
Why is she glowing?
I ponder with amazement how unique this item is to survive so many years, to end up in a desolate town buried in a box of rubbish.

To finds its way to me.

How unique?

With sudden realization, I search “San Fransisco Souvenir Photo World War 2” – finding its survival not that unique after all.

New searches uncover page after page of photos of soldiers with females grouped around cocktail tables scattered with lowballs and ashtrays. Casual embraces, temporary friendships. Frozen moments of joy while the world was torn apart by war. High-back horseshoe booths packed with the nation’s expendable youth, soon to be deployed to the Pacific Theatre many to perish on the stage of the war – the opposing fold littered with a faint scribble. Meaningful words that for that moment held a world of emotion, now faded, meaning lost to time.

I discover many souvenir photos from the same time as my photo. Filled with the same type of couples as my couple. Hundreds of images survived, just like my photo from the Persian Room but non as exciting or captivating as mine. No frozen faces calling out for help, no damsels in distress.

I open a photo from the Techau Cocktail lounge, 247 Powell Street, San Francisco – the cover depicting an Artdeco facade, streetcar, fonts of red and blue against an off-white background, and the photo inside –

a deluge of emotion runs through me. A rush akin to the most significant celebrations of life as my eyes scans the photo. The faces of one male and three females. Each deeply engaged within the moment- a familiar face – top left – partially hidden. The same chin and cheeks, nose and mouth, eyebrows and eyes – only this time – looking up.

I stare in awe before quickly comparing my photo to this new discovery. The resemblance is uncanny, and I quickly accept the two as one.
I have found her – and now I know her name.

Francis Bacon's "Of Riches" Episode Eleven Lost Essays

Sir Francis Bacon's thoughts about wealth. 
  1. Francis Bacon's "Of Riches" Episode Eleven
  2. Woodrow Wilson's "A New Freedom" episode ten
  3. Theodore Roosevelt's "The Strenuous Life" – Episode Nine
  4. Nikolai Gogol's "Diary Of A Madman" – Episode Eight
  5. John Kindrick Bang's "My Silent Servants" Episode Seven

Pass STAAR with only Five Correct Answers

Spring is quickly approaching, and Texas public schools are gearing up for the STAAR. The anxiety-building state assessment, loved by students, parents, administrators, and teachers, well, maybe not. The STAAR does not need to be feared or hated; it is a playable exam that any student can pass only knowing the correct response to five questions.

Keep reading if you would like to understand how.

The following “plan to pass” was developed with the collaboration of a group of my cohorts. I want to communicate what we found while compiling released STAAR data from the state of Texas.
This plan is designed to improve the scores of students and have a 100 percent passing rate.
This plan was devised for 5th-grade math students in a Texas public school. Please do your research and do what is best for your students.

Fifth-grade math success plan and how to get 100 percent passing

Historically, a student must answer seventeen questions correctly on the STAAR fifth grade math test to pass.
Except for the grid questions, the majority of problems are multiple-choice. I will refer to these as A, B, C, or D, to keep confusion to a minimum for non-educator readers. Each year the correct answers are distributed among A, B, C, or D, consistently.

We found that “A” is the right choice 12 to 14 times, “B” is correct 12 to 14 times, with “C” and “D” following suit. So, if a student were to answer only “A,” he or she would have 12 to 14 answers correct.

Teachers are aware that this could show a vast improvement for some students who historically are sub-ten correct answers. This improvement would be celebrated but would fall short of the goal of having 100 percent passing being 17 correct is the magic passing number.
Teachers know what is assessed on the STAAR test and what the questions look like. We can use this knowledge to help “play” the test to get to 100 percent passing.

It is all about the TEKS’ verbs.

The STAAR will assess TEKS with the “simple” verbs. These TEKS require the student to perform simple one-step tasks like identifying. These quick questions, coupled with the consistent distribution of correct answers among “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” are the key to 100 percent student success.
All students, I believe, through rote memory and conditioning, can find success on these questions that consist of concrete knowledge and recall.

We found five to seven questions we considered “easy verb” questions each year while examining the released tests.

Playing the STAAR.

When a student receives the STAAR assessment, he or she will answer the easy verb questions first. The student will be able to identify these due to the conditioning and the familiarity of working with released questions focused on the same TEK during class.
The student will only answer the questions he is 100% confident of the answer. There must not be any guessing.
Once at the end of the exam, the student should have at least five to eight questions answered. Again, these concrete knowledge questions are the keys to passing.
With these questions answered, the student will close the test booklet. The student will now examine the bubble sheet, aka answer document. Once the student determines where the majority of his or her correct answer are on the bubble sheet, he or she is ready for the last step to passing the STAAR.

Last step to success.

Let us imagine that the student is 100 percent sure of six of his answers. Let us assume that these correct answers fell on the “B,” “C,” and “D” column of the answer document.
With our knowledge that historically “A” is the right answer twelve to fourteen times, if the student bubbles straight down “A,” excluding his right answers, he will pass the STAAR with 18 to 20 correct.
Does it work?
With lots of focus on those few TEKS and having students understand the plan, it can succeed.

Midway Drive-In

Years ago, darkness filled the space between city limit signs, a void of life and light. These lonely stretches of blacktop created ideal spots for drive-in theaters.

In the middle of the last century, “Midway” drive-ins popped up along those segments of highway. Strategically placed midway between towns, the Drive-ins would benefit from both populations’ patronage. Mid-century summer nights would come to life in these otherwise desolate areas midway between towns.

One such “Midway” Drive-in existed along what was once known as the Bankhead Highway in Sweetwater, Texas.

The Midway.

Sweetwater’s Midway Drive-In opened on May 20, 1948, with a screening of “The Time, the Place and the Girl,” starring Dennis Morgan. Warner Bros’. most successful film during 1946 and 1947, earning $3,461,000 domestically and $1,370,000 foreign. Might this success be the reason the Midway opened with it two years later?

Owned by Jack Wallace. He, Dorothy, his wife, and son J.D. ran the theater. The projectionist was Billy Faught.

Many other outdoor cinemas share the Midway’s demise. Victims of changing culture and fluctuating populations. Today the screen still stands, a mammoth white cement wall, waiting to continue to perform its duty, frozen in time, just off West Broadway, Sweetwater, Texas.

Those we lost.

She tore through me-

She tore through my world.

With aggression that was as –

Expressive as,

The culmination of all emotions.

She tore through me.

Lost in imagination.

Lost in the expression of perfect words.

Satisfied in the realization of being lost.

Content to be damned.

She tore through the world –

Of perfect chords,

Rhymes and rhythms.

Existence in her world of right.

The right look,

In the right eye,

At the right time.

She tore through me.

She tore through my world.

Truer than God.

More brilliant than the sum of all the stars.

She tore through me

She tore through the world

Too bright to shine.

Too real to belong.

Too bright to last.

Will Evangelicals change Science Curriculum in Texas Public Schools?

The following is taken from an article published by The Texas Independent. The following ideas and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Tab Across Texas.

A shift is occurring, and it has nothing to do with the continental plates or any other pseudo science that has interfered with the story of creation. In fact, this change is a return to the static story of biblical teaching, steering our children away from the dynamic and questioning agendas of the current curriculum to the largely accepted and time-tested stories from Biblical text.

“We know what is right and what is best for our kids” an undisclosed individual stated while attending a planning session with members of, For the Absolute Truth or (FAT). This group of teachers, clergy, community, and business leaders representing a wide range of social and economic communities has one mission, to “Let the Bible Tell the Truth”.

Dedicated to the reversal of misleading progressive dynamic thought, this group is making headway. FAT is creating arguments built on fundamental teachings of hundreds of years of written and oral history.

“How can something that has been around for 2000 years be incorrect?”, a question I was presented with will attending a FAT meeting. I find the question engaging and I ponder.

FAT is working closely with educational leadership in Texas. While the seas have not yet parted for FAT the tide seems to be turning.

A popular argument with FAT concerns the Independent School Districts (ISDs). FAT believes that a community should have more input in the content and curriculum in the local public schools.

“We pay for the school with our taxes and our local folks lead the schools, they are ours, we should teach like we want, we call our own plays in football.” Heartfelt and logical arguments such as these are common among FAT member, and one must admit can be argued with merit.

“We have the curriculum written.” a chorus of FAT members exclaim. “It is packaged up and ready to go.”

FAT is not just talking, FAT is doing.

Unlike other curriculums that require re-adoption and purchase as new editions are released with updated information, FAT’s adoption never changes and the school districts are taking notice.

“A school only has to buy it (the materials) one time and only replace when worn out.”, is the sales pitch for the FAT content.

“The information starts at the beginning.”

FAT’s curriculum is divided into seven units. Each unit will encompass the acts of God on the corresponding day of creation, aligning the seven units with the book of Genesis. Building on the previous units, the curriculum spirals and scaffolds throughout, a balance of geology, biology, and love.

While the group is confident in their convictions they know many will resist the backslide to creation curriculum.

“We have some powerful and influential people on our side.” proudly states one of the leading members of FAT.

Still the group understands that it will take more than power and influence to bring about acceptance of the traditional scientific thought.