When I was down in Texas, I took a sidetrip over to my hometown of Port Neches, Tx. "Sidetrip" is a misnomer--I ended up staying there 4 days cleaning out my mother's house, rummaging through old memories, reliving a slice of my childhood days.
Some of the photos dated back to the late 1940s when my father met my mother in the nearby refinery town of Port Arthur. They were like oil and water--he, confident, athletic, handsome; she, intelligent, quiet and shy. But they hit it off and got married in 1950, and started into what looked like a great life, at least for a high school educated refinery worker. He went to work for Gulf Oil, one of the famed "Seven Sisters," and rose to become a "pipefitter" in the sprawling refinery on the Gulf Coast. In 1963 he even made it onto the cover of the Gulf Oil annual report, as part of a group photo (he's the seventh one in line, behind the secretary and the welder). People around town began calling him Mr. Gulf.
But a year later in 1964 he suddenly died of cancer, shocking everyone. He was only 38.