In 1971, the City of Austin, Texas, began a desegregation project designed to give equal education opportunities to the black and hispanic kids of the city. Like many cities, there was an “other side of the tracks” mentality that kept all three races separated not by law but by choice.
When the city decided by law to begin busing black children to white schools for a better education, violence broke out on both sides. Kids of both races were being beaten in the bathrooms and fights happened everyday after school and sometimes during. It was a dismal failure. Because of the violence, my parents decided to send me to a private school on the outskirts of the city. I lived there. I was in 8th grade. I was very homesick.
I slowly began to make friends but seemed drawn to the unhappy kids. Misery loves company. Some of those kids had been sent there because they were causing trouble at home and I guess their parents thought that the discipline of a boarding school would straighten them out.
Sports and music became my security blankets. I made my friends through sports and licked my mental wounds listening to music.
Dan Fogelberg recorded his first album in 1972. Somehow his songs met my ears and I was hooked on his soulful lyrics and easy melody. The first album, Home Free, has a song, To the Morning. It helped me to realise that although I didn’t like where I was, it was just how it was going to be. …”yes it’s going to be a day, there is really nothing left to say but come on morning.”
I eventually got over my loneliness and made many wonderful friends, that thanks to the internet, I have been able to reconnect with. Looking back, I am glad I got the top notch education and also realise that the times were turbulent. The Vietnam War was going on, people were just doing their best.
I became a real music lover and just recently got ahold of a turntable so I can listen to those old records again.
I will always have a special place in my heart for those early Dan Fogelberg songs, though. The Vietnam Era produced some of the best lyrics and music I have heard. They were very passionate times.