Life is What Happens

The title of my blog "Life is what happens" was inspired by a song which John Lennon wrote for his son. The lyrics of "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" contain the famous Lennon quote, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Life on Hancock Hill

Hancock Hill is a 100 acre piece of land two miles outside of a small town in Central Texas.  It is not marked on a map.  There is no sign which designates it.  Not many people have even heard of it.  Yet it is not fantasy land, and it still exists in the memories of the four remaining people who once lived there. 


Big Daddy bought the land in the 1930's and raised his four sons and daughter on it.  When his oldest son married, Big Daddy gave him 20 acres with a house on it.  Later, he did the same for my mother and father as well as another brother and his bride.  The two older brothers were given trucks because they wanted to leave the county and did not want land. 


With four Hancock families living within the 100+ acres, the area was dubbed Hancock Hill.  After Big Daddy died in 1947, my grandmother continued to live there alone until her death in 1962.  My parents as well as my uncle & aunt also lived their entire married life on their piece of land on Hancock Hill.


The memories of the land, trees, ponds (we called them tanks) and backyard gardens on Hancock Hill are some of my strongest childhood pleasures.  In the pastures surrounded by live oak and mesquite trees, I rode my bicycle on paths which I carved out with my daily rides.  Pretending I was a cowgirl on a horse or a dare devil in the circus, my rides were exciting for an only child living in the country. 


With my cousin Sherry who also lived on Hancock Hill, we played countless hours in this pasture of pretense.  We used a large rock sticking out of the ground at an angle as our "mirror" where we applied invisible makeup.  We sneaked pillows from our houses, saddled up a favorite tree which had grown parallel to the ground, and rode our tree horses.  We found a wounded rabbit and tried to nurse it back to health by applying the insides of raw birds' eggs to its body.  Once Sherry and I found and picked some lovely red flowers from a prickly pear cactus.  To our surprise we found our little hands full of pricklies which made us scream and cry.  Sherry's mother, my patient Aunt Louise spent the next hour carefully pulling the prickly pear stickers out of our hands. 


In 1955 my father and his business partner built a large chicken farm on part of the land.  There were enormous barns for baby chicks and pullets then lengthy row after row of caged hens for laying.  I recall hearing my father say that at one time he had 100,000 chickens on the property.  The Egg House was a cinder block building at the entrance of the chicken farm and was used for the purpose of cold storage of the thousands of eggs produced each day. 



As an adult, I inherited the acres which had belonged to my parents and built a log house where I lived for twenty years.  Those were special times when we created beautiful antique rose gardens from roses purchased from The Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas.  In 2000 I sold my acres to a couple who have since turned my once beautiful property into a Horse Motel with cement instead of green pastures.  Sherry & her sister Nancy inherited their parents' home, and Sherry still lives there.  She is the only Hancock remaining on Hancock Hill.ildhod pleasures.  In the pastures surrounded by live oak and mesquite trees, I rode my bicycle on paths which I carved out with my daily rides.  Pretending I was a cowgirl on a horse or a dare devil in the circus, my rides were exciting for an only child living in the country. 


With my cousin Sherry who also lived on Hancock Hill, we played ext hour c my father say that at one time 0 chickens on the The Egg House was a cinder block building at the entrance ofwho ave since turned my once beautiful property into a Horse Motel with cement instead of green pastures.  Sherry & her sister Nancy inherited their parents' home, 

The Beginning

Helen  and Kenneth met at a party at a house on a country road just outside of a small Texas town.  She was 14, and he was 16.  It was love at first sight.  

Helen was a talented athlete mainly because she grew up in the country with four active brothers.  Although Helen was considered a "tomboy", when she put on a pretty dress she was very feminine and beautiful. Kenneth was a striking dark-haired man with a perfect movie star face.  

Both of them dropped out of high school to get married. They rented a room from a lady in town, and Kenneth supported them by working at a grocery store. 

Helen's father objected to the marriage at first, not because he disliked Kenneth, but because the two were distant cousins.  At that time people believed that marriage between relatives could result in a baby with mental or health problems. 


Nine years later Helen gave birth to their first and only child. 

That's when I enter the picture.  I did not learn that my parents were cousins until I was a young adult, and an elderly aunt spilled the beans.  Sitting with my parents in the living room that day, I will never forget the stunned look on my mother's face when Aunt Cordia mentioned that they were cousins and gave the name of the common ancestor.  

It was one of the few times my mother was caught off guard since she was always on top of everything.  Then Mother repeated the direct quote which her father stated when Kenneth asked him for his blessing.   

"You cannot marry Kenneth because you might have a little idiot."  

After hearing that, it was always satisfying to be able to say to my parents when I did something that didn't meet their approval, "Well, what do you expect?  BigDaddy must have been right, and you didn't listen to him."