Texas Mud and Racism in The King and I

When I was in grade school at Brownell Elementary, our music teacher was married to a University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music professor named Roger L. Stephens.  Roger died in February of this year, and his death propelled me back to the fourth grade and his direction of The King and I at UNL’s Kimball Recital Hall.

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I Opened a Living Time Capsule

by Evan Stair

Lincoln, Nebraska in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s was a place of beauty in the eyes of a child living in a middle class city of a 100,000 folks, but my neighborhood was more. The Bethany neighborhood was a grand playground that filled the mind, body, and soul with wholesome goodness.

Lincoln had a glorious collection of restaurants. There was a time before the “golden arches” (McDonald’s was there at the time, by the way) became the most popular restaurant in Lincoln and you would want to eat at a local favorite: King’s Restaurant, where you could get a scrumptious hamburger, or a Little Frenchie (a fried cheese sandwich); The Runza Hut where you could get of all things… a Runza (baked bread stuffed with cabbage and hamburger) or a foot long hot-dog that was actually a over foot long and made of real beef; Valentino’s (gourmet pizza — best in the country by some accounts.)

Living The Wonder Years
Some of the experiences of childhood might seem trivial now, but to me, they are a part of an age of inexperience: Innocent as an episode of “The Wonder Years.” I lived the “Wonder Years” along with several hundred other kids in Lincoln.

Behold: A child soaking up every minute of life by watching Captain Kangaroo followed by a walk next door to a school fit for kings. This was the weekday morning routine. Saturdays were spent riding a bike down a smooth sidewalk breathing in the fresh, clean, air of a new morning. Watching countless hours of cartoons ranging from uncensored Looney Tunes to Scooby Doo followed.

Continue reading → I Opened a Living Time Capsule