I’m a person with a flight of ideas, who was born and in raised in a small town in Texas called Port Arthur, a part of the Golden Triangle. It’s surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico; this city is known as the city that oils the world. Port Arthur has more than fifteen major oil refineries. Folks were sure this town would blow up one day; some called it Lil Chicago. Whenever there was a bad accident at one of the major oil refineries they would set off this alarm; the sound of the alarm was so loud you could hear it all over the city. People knew something bad had happened, and we might have to evacuate.
In junior high school, I could watch the ships pass through the gulf canal out of my classroom window. There was an older man who would swim in the gulf canal; the students always thought one of the ships would take him under and drown him, but it never did. Instead, he just died of old age.
Growing up, there were so many floods. We would wait until the rain stopped and go outside and play in the water, like we were in a swimming pool. Yes, the water was dirty, but not so dirty you couldn’t play in—not to us anyway. Just a lot of rainwater from the ditches and overflowing canals, and things of that nature. A lot of the families went to the large schools for shelter. Most of the people I knew and grew up with are gone; some have yet to leave. I have two beautiful sons. My oldest son was born on my father’s birthday, and my youngest son on the day after my mother’s birthday. Just can’t beat that.
My mother and father died in the early part of my life, never to meet their beautiful grandchildren. My father was killed in a bad traffic accident; one of my brothers was on the back of the motorcycle when it happened, and my mother was driving the car behind them with my other brother with her. They saw everything, and, to top that off, it was on Mother’s Day.
Four years later my mother passed from a broken heart; she was so lonely. She didn’t want another husband; she wanted to be with her husband, the man that won her heart years ago. There have been many tragedies in the Brisco family. Maybe one day I’ll write about it, but for the most part I loved growing up with my sisters and brothers; we lost our younger brother in 2002. We miss him so.
Growing up we had a vacation every summer, and my mother would plan everything. My father would show off in front of us, telling us he had been all over the world, and narrating the entire trip. I was always told growing up that I look like my father.
As a young girl I was a dreamer; my parents said I was born with a veil over my face. That meant you could see things, before it happened. Sometimes when I had dreams my mother would take me over to my Aunt Minnie’s house, and she would always tell us what the dream meant, but that’s another story.
I have always wanted to step out and do something different—become a movie star, a singer, a dancer; anything that had to do with bright lights and cameras, that was me. Our mother was a very good dresser, and so was my older sister. She taught me everything about makeup and dressing up, and I thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen. Daddy used to tell me, “Girl, you act like you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth.” When my parents would take us school shopping, I would always ask for the highest-priced clothes in the store. I didn’t get them, but I tried anyway.
My youngest sister was born on my older sister’s birthday. She was so chubby and pretty; her hair was long and curly. The neighbors would ask my mom to brush my baby sister’s hair, sometimes she would. You see, my life growing up wasn’t always happy times, but I must say that until I lost my parents, life was good as I knew it.