My mom was a smart girl who could’ve gone to Rice University, but she fell in love with a boy at the grocery store where she worked. They both had stories to tell from their childhoods, and they were both hard-working, God-fearing, good people. They ended up having six children, and lived life together until he died unexpectedly at the young age of 63 from cancer.
My parents did not have much money in their early years of marriage, but they were happy together. Their first three children were close in age. She was young, but she loved being a mother. They lived in a garage apartment. They moved to Lake Jackson for a short time where I was born.
Shortly afterwards they moved to Sharpstown in Houston, which was a nice neighborhood in those days. I have fond memories of playing at the local park, eating at Shipley Donuts and the Purple Cow and trick or treating at houses decorated to the hilt with scary music and black lights. My dad worked as a salesman then for S&H Green Stamps and he was transferred to Lufkin. We lived there for about 4 years. It was a great little town and I still remember it well.
Then we moved back to Houston to the new suburb of Alief in 1973. As you can see we lived in all the cool places, or at least I thought so. My parents lived in that house until my dad passed away and my mom sold the house.
Having five brothers, my mom grew up doing adventurous things. They all lived in a very tiny garage apartment, so they mostly stayed outside unless they were eating or sleeping. They would walk and ride bikes to the movies and all over East Houston while their dad was at work. She wasn’t scared of anything. Her grandparents loved to travel around the country with their camper trailer. My mom inherited this wanderlust from them. My sisters and I also have the travel bug.
No matter where we lived, my parents took us to church and my mom was active involved in our school, little league and boy and Girl Scouts.. We always had friends in the neighborhood and had a lot of fun. They took us to the zoo, Disney world, Astroworld, Six Flags, the beach, camping, fishing, and to visit relatives around Texas. My mom didn’t work outside the home during those years but she did do some babysitting. She did have an assembly line job at Texas Instruments which she enjoyed, but she had to quit because my dad said he needed her at home with the kids. Even after she eventually started working, my mom always put her family first.
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Once my youngest sister was old enough for preschool, my mom was ready to go to work. She has always been an energetic person who enjoys staying busy. Sometime in 1975 she applied for a job at a local office supply company where she worked part-time until my sister went to kindergarten. From there she moved into outside sales where she very successfully handled some large business accounts . But she had bigger plans.
My parents had gone on some trips as part of his company bonus program and my mom really enjoyed seeing new places, staying in nice hotels and having fun adventures. After discovering the joy of travel, she decided that she wanted to be a travel agent and began to work on making that happen.
In 1981, when she was 40 years old, she began the second half of her life. My dad had given her his blessing to go to travel school at International Travel in Houston. It was here that she put her hands on a computer keyboard for the very first time. Learning the computer travel language was difficult and she struggled at first. Her instructor reassured her that she would get it. And one day it clicked and she grinned as she realized what had just happened. From then on she excelled at her new skill and became one of the best travel agents in the world based on customer approval and job reviews.
Since becoming a travel agent my mom has happily traveled to Europe, gone helicopter-hiking in the Canadian Rockies, cruised through Alaska and other islands, visited Israel, and toured many states and countries as part of tour groups, with other travel agents as part of company promotions and just for fun with my dad and us kids. She got her first job right out of school working for the owners of the travel institute and later got a job working with a friend who owned her own travel and tour agency.
Eventually she began her long career with American Express Travel Services where she handled the commercial travel for many employees and executives from big accounts such as Sysco and Dresser-Rand. She tried to retire once, but went back the next day!
When Covid hit the travel industry in 2020, she kept working as they cut back on everyone’s hours. When the pandemic dragged on and almost no one was going anywhere, they offered her a severance package and she decided it would be wise to take it. Then, when businesses started traveling again, she was one of the few agents that they called back!
My mom will be 81 years old this month and is still working hard at arranging complex international travel plans for CEOs and managers from several companies including J&J. She has been witness to many changes in the travel industry since the 80s. But she has never lost her love for the business or her cheerful attitude and amazing ability to find solutions to the most complex and hopeless problems. When Beverly finally retires for good, I think she deserves to have a building named after her or her own holiday or maybe a ship. I’m proud and blessed to be her daughter.