Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Friendswood was a Quaker community located about 20 miles south of Houston. At the time that I moved there I was working on the Houston Post and wanted to move to a quiet neighborhood. Cecil Brown, who was the leading citizen of the community, agreed to sell me 15 acres along Coward's Creek. This creek was named for early settlers named Coward who had since moved on. And so I moved there and enrolled my daughters in the local school. It took me about an hour to get to the office but it was worth it. Friendswood was dry, alcoholically speaking, and was a law abiding community. After I lived there a while I noticed that most of the families had about three children which led me to believe that sex was not banned. No one, including me, had any suspicion that the future of Friendswood was tied to the outside world. Marie and I formed an Episcopal Church in competititon with the Friends Church but we visited back and forth and their was no animosity. One day the world changed with the establishment of NASA, the space agency dedicated to landing a man on the moon. The space headquarters was to be located at nearby Clear Lake City. All of a sudden NASA employees began showing up in Friendswood, anxious to move that far away from the Space City headquarters. Mr. Brown realized that he needed to accomodate them and he established a 200 acre subdivision on Clear Creek on the west side of the city. One Sunday at our struggling Episcopal Church I had to stand up at the rear of the sanctuary because so many new members arrived. It turned out that many of the NASA personnel, who came from up East, were Episcopalians. Friendswood changed a great deal after that but one thing remained a constant factor. No alcohol was sold in the city.