Hemisfair 68

  It has been 52 years since my visit to Hemisfair in 1968. I stil remember the excitement because it was right close to where I live now.

 My family and I were in Kaiserslautern, Germany with the 3rd Armored Calvary. One day we got the word that the unit was moving back to the states. There was a task force that was selected to return early to prepare the movement to Ft. Lewis, Washington. I was selected to be part of it.

We packed all of our belonging and shipped it to Ft. Lewis. I had some time before we had to arrive to our post so I decided to visit our parents in San Antonio.

  What I didn’t know is that we were fortunate that the Hemisfair had just recently opened. It was in 1966 that the city decided to clear some land close by the family home and we were worried that it would include our house. We found that St. Michael Catholic church had been demolished and a new church was built right next to my house. There had been other incidents where an owner of a house had to be physically evacuated when he refused to walk out on his own.

   There were many polish residents attending that church ending up attending in other Polish churches outside the San Antonio area. Some of them stayed loyal to St. Michael and even though they had moved farther away, kept on attending the new St. Michael.

  We only had my son, Martin who was almost five and we wanted for him not to miss this historical date in history. Because we lived nearby, we decided to walk from our house down Durango street (now Cesar Chavez street) across the railroad tracks. (that was before the bridge)

  Arriving there, the first thing we saw was the tower and the monorail above our heads. Then there was a concrete walkway that took us to the center and from there we were able to traverse the entire complex without causing pedestrian traffic. There were many things to see. We were bombarded with entertainment throughout the day. Marching bands, Mariachis, ski boats in the pond. (yes there was a large pond that we could see skiers performing.) There were also a famous Mexican Indians who would climb a large pole and came down flying with ropes attached to them. Meanwhile there was an Aztec sacrificial ceremony where an Indian girl would bare her breast and lay on the altar and supposedly cut her heart out. (her baring of her breast was later taken out, too late, we saw t already. We shielded Martin’s eyes but he kept one eye open). Then there were exhibit from all over the southern hemisphere meant to expose us to their culture.

  The tower itself had a restaurant at the top. Initially it had problems before when visiting dignitaries were stranded for a while when the elevator experience electrical problems. We went up one time while we were there but only to the viewing deck. We heard years later that some fellows parachuted down from that deck.

   I remember that Ms Julia Helen Shireman lived in that area and I had seen the house before. Now I saw it used as a curios shop. There were other houses that were saved from demolition and left there to be used as entertaining venues.

  When we were hungry, we went to the big mall covered by a large roof and a large open space for performers to entertain us when we sat down.  There were all kinds of food (the birth place for future fast food ideas).

  Finally, there was a place where we could ride the Ferris wheel and other kinds of rides for adults and children. We partook of everything including the ride on a monorail which we thought would be the ride of the future in San Antonio. (clearly to the end of the Hemisfair, one of the monorail cars derailed and fell down into the pavement below) The incident cause the city to not look into the possible use of the monorail) However, late in the 70s, we had freeways that traverse the city north, south, East and west.

  When we left San Antonio to our new post, we didn’t realize that this event would place San Antonio as one of the cities most visited as a tourist attraction.  After I retired we visited the site a lot but, gone were the attractions. However, the city continues to upgrade the Hemisfair area for the better use of tourism which now brings tourist from all over the world not only to see the Alamo but visit Hemisfair along with the tower where once stood St. Michael Catholic church.

At Wits End

  I’m sitting here contemplating buying a new computer and also a 50” TV. I am also at wits end trying to figure out what I want in both the computer and the TV.

  It used to be so easy having a television (TV) back then. We bought a black and white TV and it came as a portable which meant that we could take it with you when you move or move it to another room. The only problem was that you had to get an antenna paced on the roof of your house and have somebody turn it to get the proper signal.  Also it came with three channels.

  It was easy to set up. It had an “on and off” switch and a round tuner to the channel you wanted. You had to get up and turn on the TV on and off and if you wanted to change the channel, you had to get up and change it or have one of your children, if you had any, change it for you. They were the remotes.

  You had to wait a while to get the picture but when it came on it was a little hazy. It always started with the morning news and later on with the novelas. Oh, I forgot to tell you that there was another channel but it was a VHF channel that the Spanish station was on. You see it was a UFH signal that were the English speaking signals from CBS, ABC and NBC. The VHS has KCOR and had the novelas in it. All the Hispanics would tune in to all the novelas all day long. Anyway, we didn’t have the TV with that signal so we watched the English channels.

  The only problem was that all the statins ended with late news and afterwards, the Star Spangled Banner with the American flag waving and right afterwards a signal bar that ended the transmission at exactly 10 pm. It started again with same signal the next day minus the star spangled banner.

  So now in my old age, I have a 50-inch flat TV cable free with a fire stick and Roku stick attached to it. I am able to watch all my shows with the sticks. Now I want a smart TV with all the apps attached to it plus I am looking for a TV which I can plug in my headphone so I can listen to it in silence so not to disturb others with loud noise.

  When looking for a smart TV I’m finding out that first I have to download the Netflix and Roku apps and any other app that I want to see plus they don’t make it with a headphone jack. I have to buy a blue tooth headphone and make sure that the TV I’m contemplating buying has blue tooth. Plus, they have a multitudes of TVs with 3D, Curved and LED and HD. They have Samsung, LG, TLC and others. How am I going to figure out which one I should buy?

Let’s talk computers. Right now I have a desktop tower  and monitor and a printer attached. I can go into the internet using my modem and the tower has a jack to plug in my microphone and speaker. I have a camera attached to the monitor because my computer doesn’t have a camera. I can stream movies from Netflix and amazon prime. I also have YouTube. Let’s say I’m able to communicate. However, it is slow and old from more than ten years ago from Gateway. I think they went out of business.

I have a choice on buying a tower, getting a complete set or getting a 3 in 1 which has everything. Maybe. The towers don’t have a DVD or CD drive. I have to buy a separate DVD player in order to see my movies. I haven’t found a jack to plug in my microphone if it has any. The 3 in 1 computer has the tower capability, internet and I don’t know what else. I think I still need a modem. I still have several questions on that model. The other major thing is memory. On my old computer I have 4 gigabytes (GB). People recommend 8 to 16 GB and 500 RAM plus a SD card. I have no idea what they’re talking about.

When I go to a store, the sellers shows me a TV and tells me that what I need. He also tells me to look at the picture which is pretty clear. Then he tells me that I need to get other accessories. No other info because they don’t know. It’s the same thing with the computer. They tell me the price and says that’s their best one in the store and that’s it.

Now, with that in mind, I decided to go online where I could see several merchandise. When I looked at the reviews, some were good others bad. These were for both TVs and computers. The info they provided on the product was gobbledygook to me. It’s another language which didn’t make sense to me.

So, in final analysis, I decided to wait until my computer goes out of whack and my TV goes awry or my firestick doesn’t work anymore. Maybe then, I’ll ask my grandchildren to go to the store for me and get me a new TV or a computer whichever goes first. My grandchildren including my 5-year-old granddaughter are more techno savvy than I.