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devonhart

The Politically Incorrect Westbury Rebelettes

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Mine was, and still is,.. Lamar Redskins. Would be hard to convert to Lamar Native Americans.

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Makes you miss the good old days before political correctness.

Today I heard a reporter refer to "fag" as "The F-word." I'm not saying that use of "fag" is appropriate in the context he was reporting on, but we already have an F-word, and it's not such a horrible word that it rises to the level of "he whose name must not be spoken."

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Today I heard a reporter refer to "fag" as "The F-word." I'm not saying that use of "fag" is appropriate in the context he was reporting on, but we already have an F-word, and it's not such a horrible word that it rises to the level of "he whose name must not be spoken."

That just "S-word".

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I went to Westbury (Class of 66) and I have that yearbook, plus the 64 and 66. I still have a little rebel doll (packed away) and a silver rebel charm.

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Hi,

I am a new member of HAIF and am looking forward to being a part of your forums. I was a Westbury Rebelette from the summer of 1961 through the spring of 1963. I want to respond to this post because I feel very strongly that we who got to choose our mascot, our colors and our fight song as new students at a new school in the very early sixties had absolutely no intention of being racists. We were rebels because we were underdogs. I certainly never ever thought of the Rebel Flag in the way that it is denigrated today, although I do now have some understanding of why it is. I was never a racist. The fact that we were a white school was simply a fact, not a statement against other races. The fact that we were rebels was a matter of pride in our school. It was meant in a pure sense -- a rebellion against the other schools who would be clearly "out to get us."

We embodied the spirit of the rebel, the rebel of almost any kind, but that was certainly symbolized by the South in the times of the Confederacy. We were told that we HAD to attend Westbury and many of us had already expected to graduate from the school where we had spent our sophomore year -- Bellaire High School. Thus, there was an instant and built-in rivalry between Westbury and Bellaire. We felt very strongly that we had to stand up for ourselves as the students of a new school in HISD. In 1961, no one thought anything about the Confederacy as a bastion of racism. It was a bastion of individuals who had a philosophical difference with the North, primarily because of the economy of the South. Of course, later the Confederate flag came to mean something else entirely and I venture to say that not one of us who started Westbury High School would want to choose the Confederate flag as part of our daily lives today.

We were indeed a bunch of white kids because no black kids lived in our area. And I had one Hispanic classmate who was a good friend. He was the only Hispanic that attended Westbury at that time.

So my point is that one should consider the times before being critical of the whole situation. We did not hate black people. We hardly knew any black people. I never had a class with a black student until I was in college. We were not racists. We just wanted to be rebels.

Tana

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A Rebel was way better than my schools ours was a fish, the Marlins. Is Westbury still the Rebels? Or has PC made the school change it.

btw that flag that had the X of bars and stars was never the flag that flew over the Confederate States, that was a battle flag that was only flown going into battle. Another fact is 70% of the solders that fought on the south's side never owned a slave, They fought because they felt the North infringing on states rights, was steeling the south's natural resources, and was over taxing the south.

I hate political correctness.

So if your called a rebel today does that mean your a racist or the caller is a racist?

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Westbury is still the Rebels but without the Confederate iconography. I saw Madison being built in 1965 when I was 10, I lived across the bayou in Pamela Heights. I could also see the Astrodome being built if I stood on top of the man-made hill at Hobby Elementary. I also remember the Civil War Centennial 1961-65, especially the bubblegum cards depicting battles and other scenes,

I also remember the adults in the neighborhood used the N-word. My parents taught us not to use the word, but their neighborhood friends were the same people who used racial slurs. I remember the white and colored restrooms at my doctor's office in the medical center. Later in the Willow Meadows neighborhood we moved to, my best friend's dad was a Mississippian who would tear out pictures of black celebrities out of his TV Guide and other magazines before he would read them, and when "All in the Family" came out Archie Bunker was his hero. Some of my school friend's at Bellaire used racial slurs, some of who later became law enforcement. I don't like to think of myself as racist, but if I'm honest, I carry prejudices from my past that I try to identify and put aside.

Tana, I'm sorry if I offended you, and I believe you when you say the Rebels didn't carry hate in their heart, and you are right about considering the times, that's why I said "almost seems like a bad joke now."

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It's not the fact that it's "rebel" per se, but that its specifically based on the Confederated States of America. The CSA stuff is not popular among large segments of society today.

AFAIK "Rebels" are still the mascot for Westbury, but they've removed all of the CSA-related stuff

A Rebel was way better than my schools ours was a fish, the Marlins. Is Westbury still the Rebels? Or has PC made the school change it. btw that flag that had the X of bars and stars was never the flag that flew over the Confederate States, that was a battle flag that was only flown going into battle. Another fact is 70% of the solders that fought on the south's side never owned a slave, They fought because they felt the North infringing on states rights, was steeling the south's natural resources, and was over taxing the south. I hate political correctness. So if your called a rebel today does that mean your a racist or the caller is a racist?

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We moved into Pamela Heights when it was newly built. The first three streets were Knotty Oaks, Trail Lake and Ebbtide and they were only one block long. That was 1957. No nearby schools at all. I rode a bus to Fondren Elementary in Missouri City.

For junior high in 7th, we (2 or 3 of us in the 'hood) were bussed in to Cullen Junior. Then they built Albert S. Johnston and we went there in 8th.

San Jacinto High was made into a 4 year school so for 9th grade, we were bussed into town. Finallly, Westbury was built and we had a high school home!

I graduated in spring of '64 from Westbury. We moved shortly afterward.

Yes, we picked the mascot and colors, named the newspaper, yearbook and drill team. And yes, the #9 post sums it up real well. We never considered ourselves racist, we were just "rebels", for whatever reasons.

There is a very good website started by an early Westbury graduate that has an essay about the (now) controversy over the mascot and flag.

www.westburyhshouston.com

Edited by little frau
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This Fondren Elementary, right? http://schools.houstonisd.orondrenES

It's now in the City of Houston, but at the time it may have been in an unincorporated area

We moved into Pamela Heights when it was newly built. The first three streets were Knotty Oaks, Trail Lake and Ebbtide and they were only one block long. That was 1957. No nearby schools at all. I rode a bus to Fondren Elementary in Missouri City.

For junior high in 7th, we (2 or 3 of us in the 'hood) were bussed in to Cullen Junior. Then they built Albert S. Johnston and we went there in 8th.

San Jacinto High was made into a 4 year school so for 9th grade, we were bussed into town. Finallly, Westbury was built and we had a high school home!

I graduated in spring of '64 from Westbury. We moved shortly afterward.

Yes, we picked the mascot and colors, named the newspaper, yearbook and drill team. And yes, the #9 post sums it up real well. We never considered ourselves racist, we were just "rebels", for whatever reasons.

There is a very good website started by an early Westbury graduate that has an essay about the (now) controversy over the mascot and flag.

www.westburyhshouston.com

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That is probably the same school. I was a "mid-term" student so I probably only went there for one semester. I know we had to catch the school bus very early in the morning and it seemed a very long ride.

Interesting that the school was only used for 11 years before being replaced. As to being in Houston or not, I'm going by what my folks would say in later years when the subject came up. Looking at a map now, and if the address of the school now is the same as it was in the 50s, it really was not that far from where we lived. Of course, many of the streets/roads did not go through then as they do now. Orem was one of them.

In the late 50s, Hiram Clarke and that area was very isolated. There were no grocery stores anywhere near. Shortly after we moved in a convenience store went in up on Hiram Clarke at the entrance to Pamela Heights. That corner is where we caught the school bus.

We were given a choice in junior high schools, Jane Long or Cullen. I'm not sure why. Guess we were in between boundaries. I went to Cullen because I had a cousin already there and thought it would give me an edge. It didn't.

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A Rebel was way better than my schools ours was a fish, the Marlins. Is Westbury still the Rebels? Or has PC made the school change it.

btw that flag that had the X of bars and stars was never the flag that flew over the Confederate States, that was a battle flag that was only flown going into battle. Another fact is 70% of the solders that fought on the south's side never owned a slave, They fought because they felt the North infringing on states rights, was steeling the south's natural resources, and was over taxing the south.

I hate political correctness.

So if your called a rebel today does that mean your a racist or the caller is a racist?

Forgive my ignorance and political correctness. I had based my reasoning on the beginnings of the Civil War on the Declaration of Causes of Secession voted by South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and other southern states. Strangely, the reasons given all pertain to slavery. Perhaps 70% of the Confederate soldiers did not know what they were fighting for?

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devonhart,

I am not the least bit offended. I enjoy discussions such as these. And, of course, we all carry prejudices from our pasts. I, like you, was taught not to use racial slurs while some around us were doing so. I was offended if I heard these things being said even way back then.

Thank you for responding.

Tana

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Forgive my ignorance and political correctness. I had based my reasoning on the beginnings of the Civil War on the Declaration of Causes of Secession voted by South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and other southern states. Strangely, the reasons given all pertain to slavery. Perhaps 70% of the Confederate soldiers did not know what they were fighting for?

I wouldn't know I wasn't alive at the time. It is a fact that there were no such things as cell phones in fact there was not even telephones. In those days it took several weeks to get one message across like 3 states. What I was taught in my 8th grade history class by my 92 year old teacher who's father fought in the Civil War were the facts that I listed. In 1860 people weren't informed like we are today. Not to mention how the political correct police is out to change our history, and our history books.

It's funny that there's people out there that believe it's only the blacks that came to America that were slaves. Ask the Christians in the Roman era about that or the Jews.

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Forgive my ignorance and political correctness. I had based my reasoning on the beginnings of the Civil War on the Declaration of Causes of Secession voted by South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and other southern states. Strangely, the reasons given all pertain to slavery. Perhaps 70% of the Confederate soldiers did not know what they were fighting for?

The myriad of events that led to the Civil War (aka the "War of Northern Aggression") are exceedingly complex, largely forgotten. While it is true that some were in it for the white supremacy, racism existed everywhere, and to a large extent still does. (Remember those race maps that came out about a year ago? Compare Houston to any northern or east coast city; southern and western attitudes are very different, in some ways more liberal IMO.) I think that most were simply concerned for the direct or indirect impact of abolition to the economic viability of their regional economy. This was an issue that had vexed generations of otherwise thoughtful southerners, going back to George Washington.

There was at the time a legitimate legal question regarding the extent of states' rights; and rural southerners had never been completely comfortable with federalism as provided by the Constitution. It also bares consideration that about 70% of Confederate soldiers were not slaveholders and that in fact there were a wide variety of subcultures within the south, all of them differently motivated.

Then consider that propaganda on both sides was either written or spread by word of mouth (and always credibly embellished to influence the local subculture), yet that the literacy rate was abysmal; it doesn't mean that they were stupid, just differently informed. Also consider that the ultimate victor got to write the history books, comforted by the catharsis of his nationalism. I'd argue that northern stereotypes of southerners from the mid-19th century remained largely intact for a century...and even today persist in a blue state vs. red state political discourse and in some pop culture...such as anything produced by Seth McFarland.

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I take it you haven't read the Declarations of Causes of Secession, either. Why is it that none of the defenders of the States Rights version of the Civil War seem to have read the ACTUAL declarations outlining the states' reasons for seceding? They all claim it was over slavery. Further, they all complained that the federal government was not forcing the free states to return runaway slaves like the US Constitution required.

States Rights, indeed.

When it comes to the Civil War, the political correctness is being used by the confederate sympathizers. War of Northern Aggression, States Rights, the aggrarian economy. All of that is political correctspeak to cover up and wipe away the fact that the Southern states were mad that the free states wouldn't give back their property when they ran away, and the federal government wouldn't make them.

The South has made great strides in improving its economy and living conditions, despite the best efforts of some of its citizens to drag us back into the days of kerosene lamps and outhouses.

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I take it you haven't read the Declarations of Causes of Secession, either. Why is it that none of the defenders of the States Rights version of the Civil War seem to have read the ACTUAL declarations outlining the states' reasons for seceding? They all claim it was over slavery. Further, they all complained that the federal government was not forcing the free states to return runaway slaves like the US Constitution required.

States Rights, indeed.

When it comes to the Civil War, the political correctness is being used by the confederate sympathizers. War of Northern Aggression, States Rights, the aggrarian economy. All of that is political correctspeak to cover up and wipe away the fact that the Southern states were mad that the free states wouldn't give back their property when they ran away, and the federal government wouldn't make them.

The South has made great strides in improving its economy and living conditions, despite the best efforts of some of its citizens to drag us back into the days of kerosene lamps and outhouses.

The politicians had their reasons for drafting documents as such; citizens from various southern subcultures had other reasons for electing and backing the politicians; the soldiers had other reasons for fighting the war. Some things change, other things not so much.

In my opinion, it is no more accurate to characterize today's Democrats as primarily motivated by socialism as it is to characterize yesterday's southerners as primarily motivated by racism.

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The politicians had their reasons for drafting documents as such; citizens from various southern subcultures had other reasons for electing and backing the politicians; the soldiers had other reasons for fighting the war. Some things change, other things not so much.

In my opinion, it is no more accurate to characterize today's Democrats as primarily motivated by socialism as it is to characterize yesterday's southerners as primarily motivated by racism.

They weren't motivated by racism. They were motivated by their anger at the free states for not returning their slaves, property that they had paid good money for. They also feared that slavery would be outlawed, and felt secession would allow them to continue the institution. Racism may have fueled the belief that Africans were property to be bought and sold, but money fueled secession. They wanted to keep their slaves. The free states threatened that. To suggest otherwise is to attempt to rewrite history. Yes, the politicians had their reasons for drafting those documents...to put in writing why they were seceding. And the documents clearly state that the reasons were slavery, and the refusal of the free states and the federal government to force the return of runaway slaves. As for the 70% illiterate soldiers, it has been shown throughout history that the populace can be convinced to go to war. One need only look back to Germany to see how effectively the populace can be brainwashed. The confederate soldiers fought because they were convinced they were under attack.

The secession documents are readily available on the internet. My response comes straight from those documents. The political correctness comes from the confederate apologists.

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They weren't motivated by racism. They were motivated by their anger at the free states for not returning their slaves, property that they had paid good money for. They also feared that slavery would be outlawed, and felt secession would allow them to continue the institution. Racism may have fueled the belief that Africans were property to be bought and sold, but money fueled secession. They wanted to keep their slaves. The free states threatened that. To suggest otherwise is to attempt to rewrite history. Yes, the politicians had their reasons for drafting those documents...to put in writing why they were seceding. And the documents clearly state that the reasons were slavery, and the refusal of the free states and the federal government to force the return of runaway slaves. As for the 70% illiterate soldiers, it has been shown throughout history that the populace can be convinced to go to war. One need only look back to Germany to see how effectively the populace can be brainwashed. The confederate soldiers fought because they were convinced they were under attack.

The secession documents are readily available on the internet. My response comes straight from those documents. The political correctness comes from the confederate apologists.

I don't think that I disagree with anything you just said (even if you did put a rhetorical spin on what I've said). However you are still zeroing in on the single most prominent issue even though there are a myriad of other factors that fueled the discord.

But if we can agree that the Southerners believed (rightly or wrongly) that the North was usurping states' rights, property rights, the lawful administration of interstate commerce, and was acting punitively toward them in a variety of unrelated matters, and that they were materially harmed by that relationship...then that rationale does not strike me as inherently offensive. It's more like a jilted business partner that wants to spin off and form a new company; and it's easy to see how he'd have thought that he had a right to do just that. When their right of secession was also usurped, the Southerners came to view themselves as rebels proudly fighting for a noble cause.

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The creation of Westbury High School mirrors the creation of Robert E. Lee High School. Westbury students were mostly former Bellaire students, while Lee students were mostly former Lamar pupils. The schools were built at the same time from money supplied by the same bond election, same architect, same floor plan, right down to similar mascots, Rebels vs Generals. Lee had the same conferate flags at pep rallies and adorned on similar uniforms. How creeepy is that?

I also remember when the two schools played each other at fooball games, Westbury patrons would travel up Post Oak to Delmar stadium, waving conferdeate flags along the way, while Lee patrons would be doing the same back at them. Nobody thought anything about this being racist. However, I cringe now when I see some redneck displaying that flag today. It was just different back then.

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Thanks for the Rebelette picture as I dated a Rebelette all through my time at Westbury. Remember in uniform they must sit on the right hand side of the rear view mirror.

I concur with Tana about the view most of us had when attending Johnston (named for Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston) and Westbury, though by my time (graduated in 1968) integration of HISD had begun and I think most of us realized that the school mascot was probably not a good thing.

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Quick question . . what is the "mascot" of the Westbury Rebels now?

I completely understand the revulsion to confederate flags now days, mostly because of how more modern day racists have used them, than how they were used at Westbury High School.

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I can't illuminate you on Westbury (for which there is a striking amount of nostalgia!) but as a graduate of its less-fondly-recalled twin cousin, what is now, jauntily, just "Lee," your query made me wonder about its current mascot and muse about Lees the school might for all I know be honoring: Bruce Lee, but I think Chuck Norris would get the nod ahead of him; or Brenda Lee, in which case the school song could be, appropriately, "I'm Sorry"; or Harper Lee, with mascot the Mockingbird - but I think she's getting static now for her candid condescending portrayal of white trash. I googled the Lee homepage and discovered that the football team (or soccer? not sure) is still the Generals, with a silhouette of a vaguely Confederate-looking soldier. Our school newspaper was the Traveler, Lee's much-revered horse, and the drill team was the Lieutenants, which showed a certain wit (Rebelettes?). I don't think the Generals were very good; we did however produce a UT quarterback, Peter Gardere. I think he was QB during the McWilliams years (oh God, that I even know this - I have been outnumbered in my house by men for a long time), which were a low period for UT; but Gardere himself is given props for having beaten OU all 4 years.

I just want to say here in this public forum that we had a wonderful oceanography teacher at Robert E. Lee, Mrs.Counteé. She was ancient and not paricularly mobile but she took us to Galveston to gather crabs and anemones for our tanks, and to visit the A&M research vessel and the sea turtle breeding place. I was not able to appreciate then the degree to which she was exercising her own initiative in all that. She was kind enough to allow students who were, I don't know, a little antisocial or misfit or whatever to eat lunch in the lab; all I had to do - or, I mean, that person had to do - in return was heat up her lunch on a Bunsen burner. She told me I was her "right-hand man," which I enjoyed; and in general favored me because my older brother when he was in her class used to bring her deer meat and ducks. She said my other brother decorated his tank with beer cans and killed his creatures. I was sorry when she retired; she often mentioned that she had saved up 2 years' worth of vacation, which made her chuckle. We never discussed the name of the school. So many things in the South are named for Robert E. Lee and he was once understood to be the very pattern of an honorable soldier but I can't say what Mrs.Countee and the other black teachers felt about it.

As to the causes of the Civil War, and who thought what when, I can only plead total ignorance (on this and all subjects except oceanography) on the part of my fellow students and myself. The American history course began with Columbus and ran through, I think, a chapter on the robber barons and the Gay Nineties and, uh, antitrust ... stuff. The Spanish-American War was splendid but forgotten, as also the assassination of McKinley by that Russian/Prussian/Polish/Hungarian anarchist, a curious omission given how the century played out. Anyway, as the year progressed we got farther and farther behind, which didn't particularly trouble anyone, and I can assure you, in the eighties in HISD, we never got as far as the Civil War in that textbook. We didn't even get as far as the Mexican War (which you might have thought, if you are not a product of HISD, that we would have hit in the 7th grade, in Texas history - but we were busy prepping for the end-of-year exam: printing out from memory the names of all 254 Texas counties).

Speaking of that, maybe they could reinstate the "Robert E." in the name of the school if it was understood they did so not in remembrance of his being the architect of Southern military strategy, but instead in honor of his distinguished service in the Mexican War...

I've got a little of the devil in me today.

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I take it you haven't read the Declarations of Causes of Secession, either. Why is it that none of the defenders of the States Rights version of the Civil War seem to have read the ACTUAL declarations outlining the states' reasons for seceding? They all claim it was over slavery. Further, they all complained that the federal government was not forcing the free states to return runaway slaves like the US Constitution required.

States Rights, indeed.

When it comes to the Civil War, the political correctness is being used by the confederate sympathizers. War of Northern Aggression, States Rights, the aggrarian economy. All of that is political correctspeak to cover up and wipe away the fact that the Southern states were mad that the free states wouldn't give back their property when they ran away, and the federal government wouldn't make them.

The South has made great strides in improving its economy and living conditions, despite the best efforts of some of its citizens to drag us back into the days of kerosene lamps and outhouses.

1. those Rebelettes in post 1 are pretty dang hot

2. in 64,65,66 Bellaire HS stole the Rebel mascot once and the Lamar Redskin mascot 2 yrs in a row - we may have discussed nullification, states' rights, and secession on the way to break into the campuses, but if we did I don't remember. can't remember why we didn't ever try to steal Gen Lee too, but I'm almost certain it wasn't b/c we had been indoctrinated in the myths of the Cult of RE Lee that had been the South's project in the postwar decades.

3. we never discussed in class, nor were we ever quizzed on the fact, that Brown v. Board had been decided 12 years earlier, or what could be the cause of the continued segregation of HISD and every other school district in all of the former secession states one full K-12 generation after the decision

4. the combined birthdays of RE Lee and Jefferson Davis was an official state and HISD holiday in January (might have been February), no days off for Lincoln or Washington bdays

4. when we wanted to play real basketball we would drive over to the 3rd or 5th Wards and find a game. the rest of the time our HS coaches made us run the weave, make 8+ passes per possession, and take set shots outside of 10'. had our parents known we were in the wards we would have been grounded.

to summarize, we were neither indoctrinated in Southern myth nor very well-educated in historical fact. we were high school kids with much more serious things like cars and members of the opposite sex on our minds.

black folks lived on the other side of town (even though that could be any of several directions from southwest Houston/Bellaire). our most common interactions with blacks was in service jobs - maids, grocery sackers, busboys, yardmen, etc, or riding on the bus.

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Should anyone else recall Mrs.Counteé, I am working out that she taught biology, of which oceanography was one unit, because I flashed on writing out the Krebs cycle circle on a test in her class and dredged up a memory of her getting a vet she knew to come in and spay/neuter some cats for our edification, teasing us about our city-kid squeamishness about animals; taking us to the observation gallery at Methodist Hospital to watch Dr.DeBakey perform heart surgery, and checking out a corpse and holding a brain that same day. It's all very murky, except for field trips, which were bright spots; so it makes me sorry when kids tell me they don't take many field trips anymore.

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I was thinking how we used to be styled Houston Lee to distinguish us from Baytown Lee and San Antonio Lee and all the other Lees; and that it was an interesting locution given Sam Houston's and Robert E. Lee's differing allegiances during the war.

I was searching for more about their relationship when I found this, from the Washington and Lee website:

http://leearchive.wl.../rister/10.html

I had not realized Lee was still stuck in Texas, feeling his career stagnate there, at the time of secession. He was stationed at Mason, which he described as a "desert of dullness." (I wonder if he ever checked out the bat cave on the little James River.) He was very conflicted, when he was recalled to Washington, convinced his future lay with Virginia, though the dissolution of the Union was what he had feared most. Evidently when he got to San Antonio, in his federal officer's uniform, the secession-mad Texans gave him a hard time and demanded he take a stand right then and there, which, according to the above, he considered a "great impropriety." Nevertheless he changed into civilian garb to appease them. I had not heard this story.

He had been reading the Life of Washington that year and had written to his wife:

“I will not permit myself to believe,” he declared, “till all ground for hope is gone, that the work of his noble deeds will be destroyed, and that his precious advice and virtuous example will soon be forgotten by his countrymen.”

There can have been fewer military men more reluctant, initially anyway, about the wisdom of their cause.

They can lose the battle flag - surely they already have, I don't care about that - but I am embarrassed the school district took the strange half-measure of removing the "Robert E". from the name of my benighted school. I would just as soon they had stuck with "Yes! Academy."

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Here's the latest Westbury website...they are still the rebels,,,,,http://hisd.schoolwires.net/Page/33467

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