It was great news that my dad got the job managing his own hotel, but I didn’t like the idea of moving very much, especially to Texas. It seemed just so…far away! I hated the thought of starting over someplace else, having to make new friends, going to a new school, all of it. (I still, to this day, resist change. Ugh, I hate it. But once the change process is over? I’m totally fine.)
My dad’s new hotel was the Holiday Inn in Hurst, Texas, just outside of Fort Worth. We moved there in the summer before I started sixth grade. Because my parents weren’t exactly sure where we were going to settle, house-wise, we moved into the hotel for a while.
We spent the rest of the summer swimming in the outdoor pool, and getting used to eating all meals in the hotel restaurant. When it was time for school to begin, my mom took my sister back to Chicago for a few weeks, because according to the age requirements for school in Texas, she would’ve been placed in kindergarten that year due to her October birthday, and she had already completed kindergarten the year before! By moving in with my Grandpa and going to the first few weeks of first grade in Chicago, she was able to start the school year with kids her own age and then transfer into first grade in the Texas school.
Living at the hotel was very fun. One of the things I really liked about it was meeting kids from all over the place when their families would pass through. Julesie and I would hang out in the pool and talk to just about every kid we came across. We always felt like we hit the jackpot when we met kids who were staying for more than a day or two. We had amazing tans, too!
One of the disadvantages of our living on the property was that Dad worked really long hours. The big advantage, though, was that we saw him all the time. Whether he was walking around the property or in his office, he always took time for us when we crossed paths. We ate many meals together too, and even when Dad was eating with other members of the management staff, we could eat at the same time because it was a restaurant and we could just plant ourselves a table or two away.
Dad’s Food and Beverage Manager and his wife, a young couple, lived on the property too, just a couple of doors down from our poolside group of rooms. We spent lots of time with them, and in fact they kept an eye on us in their room occasionally when our parents went out at night. It was in their room one night when I saw this SNL skit for the first time; I remember it like it was yesterday. We were all laughing our heads off at Dan Aykroyd and his plumber butt:
It was also at this hotel where Julesie and I became hard-core addicted to Shirley Temples, often having more than one at dinner.
Speaking of drinks, we became friendly with the female bartender at the hotel bar: she started work in the afternoon and we used to talk to her a lot. I believe her name was Corky, and she had a daughter who was approximately the same age as Julesie. (Oddly enough, I don’t remember the little girl’s name, though I do remember that she called deoderant “Doh-der”. Go figure.) We used to spend time with Corky and her daughter when Corky wasn’t working. Corky eventually got fired; as I recall, she was handing out her phone number to male customers.
This hotel was also the setting for the would-never-happen-now workday birthday party for my dad that included the belly dancer, a cake with a scantily-clad figurine on top, the paddle, and the champagne. (Yes, I wrote about it, and yes, there’s a picture–not of the belly dancer though.)
Something a little tragic happened while we lived at the Hurst Holiday Inn: our dachshund, Dapple, chewed up a copy of the book “Black Beauty” we had borrowed from somebody (Hey Mom, Dad, since you’re reading and commenting, was it Corky’s?) To make matters more horrifying and embarrassing, the book was an old copy, from the lender’s childhood. Oops. I vividly remember how upset my mom was about it.
Unrelated to the hotel in a literal sense but noteworthy just the same, we lived here when the “Who Shot J.R.?” phenomenon was going on. Crazy times.
I don’t remember exactly how long we lived in the hotel, but we eventually moved into a house, and stayed only until I finished seventh grade, when it was time to move again…this time, to Knoxville, Tennessee!
©2010 Suburban Scrawl