In the spring of 1969, my dad had a trailer truck that he would send down below San Antonio to pickup carpet grass and deliver around up in the Marble Falls area. There was a man and his wife that built a new house just down the road from Joan Ramsey’s place off of Haynie Flat Road on the other side of Spicewood.
The house was right on top of a big bluff overlooking the Pedernales River. It was a very nice, ultra-fancy place for those days. We had the job of hauling a bunch of good topsoil in, to go over the rocks.
I got several of my buddies from school to work to help unload the grass and help lay it out to make an instant lawn. Joan was a classmate, so it allowed me to offer her rides home on the days I went there after school to work.
I know that it is common nowadays to solid sod yards. Back then that was so over the top extravagant, thinking a yard needed to be complete immediately. All other places we put grass down, we did it in the checker board fashion.
Socks Jackson was working for my dad in those days. He was there the first time that I went to that house. The lady was there and we were standing talking to her. She was beautiful, with olive skin that made her look exotic. I started to stare into her eyes. I was 16 years old. She had the prettiest green eyes that I’d ever seen. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. I don’t think I ever blinked. I was mesmerized.
Finally I felt Socks tugging on my arm telling me to come on. (Can’t you just imagine, the dumb country boy that I was) When we got in the pickup he said “boy, that woman sure does have pretty eyes doesn’t she”? I’m not sure I could even talk at the point.
We finished putting the yard in to their satisfaction. They hired me to come back to do odd’s and ends around the house as they finished up and moved in. I think they didn’t know it, but I would have worked for free if only she would have let me stare at those pretty eyes.
I’m not sure, but now I think she had to have been wearing some of the first colored contact lenses. Eyes just didn’t normally come in that color of green.
A few years later I would hear her husband’s name regularly on the news. He was one of the ones that got caught up in the Sharpstown Bank scandal in Houston in the early 70’s, that brought many Texas politicians down. He was John Osorio, the Insurance Commissioner of Texas back in those days.
In about 1973 or 1974 I had a project on West 5th street in Austin. The Osorio’s had a son that was Down’s Syndrome. They would drop him off to work, doing sweeping and cleaning around Pag’s Carburetor Shop. I got reacquainted with them and the son for a short time during that period.
I was never able to look at those green eyes then. She always wore big sunglasses. I think to protect her from the sun but also to not be recognized due to the scandal.
I always wondered if they lost that house and what happened to them after he went to prison.
I guess Mr. Osorio landed on his feet many years later – without the green eyed beauty.
This is the Wikipedia story about the Sharpstown Scandal, for those that weren’t around or don’t remember it.