I'll pick it up with the last sentence of yesterday's story:
. . . I didn't know that our summer vacation would turn out to be a life-changer.
My sister was happy to have a daddy at last. I, on the other hand, was convinced my life was ruined. I cried for days. It turned out that Judy was right and I was wrong. School started in late August, we made friends, and by the time 1958 rolled around, we had all adjusted remarkably well. In the spring of 1960 Mammaw and Packy sold their Springfield home to Southwest Missouri State University, which was expanding its campus. They followed us to Texas and bought a small house a few blocks away from ours. Judy and I, along with our new stepsister, Donna (Tommy's daughter, a year older than Judy), and our new baby brother, Joe (born in the summer of 1958), grew up, got married, had children of our own, and survived our joint and separate struggles with as much grace and dignity as we could muster.
Judy and I are now best friends. The events that followed that trip to Beaumont set us on different geographical paths, but the bond between us is strong. Twice we've traveled together back to Springfield. Twice we've stood side by side, remembering, on the university tennis court that now covers the ground where our childhood home once stood. Judy still lives in Texas; I've been in Louisiana for the past thirty-six years. Each of us is surrounded by children and grandchildren; both of us are happy where we are.
Yet both of us, after all these years, still call Missouri home.
UPDATE: Feb 23, 2013, 6:53 PM:
Having once again realized at the last minute that it's time for a Saturday Song Selection, I checked to see what was the number-one song at the time of our 1957 vacation to Beaumont. I learned that the most-played, most-sold song from before our trip until after Mother and Tommy's wedding was Elvis Presley's "Teddy Bear." I had it on a 45 rpm record back then, but it wasn't one of my favorites. I much preferred the flip side of the record, which also happens to be more suitable for a post about one romance beginning (Mother's) and one ending (mine).
Thanks to mountain824 for posting the video and lyrics.