Willie in his own words:
Second grade journal
“My parents are special because they play with me and tickle me and play computer with me.”
“Perfect weather is about 70 degrees, sunny and clear, and my mom and brother will play with me.”
“Christmas is my favorite holiday. You get lots of presents if you are a kid you get the most. But grownups get some too. Sometimes your parents will make you write thank you notes. Christmas is not about presents it’s about giving.”
From “Collected Wisdom of the Fourth Grade Class of Armstrong Elementary May 1996”
“I learned that school can be fun and it isn’t always a torture chamber.”
Sixth grade papers
Opening paragraph of 6th grade DARE essay:
“Jail where you go if you do something wrong. Let’s talk about jail. There is very little freedom, and one has cramped quarters. The food? It is utterly disgusting, but let’s not go into any detail. The purpose of this essay is to give ways to stay out of trouble and to tell about the DARE program.”
Ninth grade journal
“Well, so far the first week has been pretty good, even though it is school, and school is never really a good thing entirely.
“Always take time to give a crap because if you don’t you’ll ruin someone’s day.”
“Well hmmm. I’m not liking my parents so much right now.”
"If you want to pretend this never happened, then I'll pretend that I'm not burning down your house"
" You saw another side of me, was it what you wanted it to be? Or did I shock and alarm you by finally letting my strong side show through?"
"With all of my strength I will defend what's right and what’s real, so take me back to where I belong"
Gap Year, March 2005 Juarez mission trip
“This morning was beautiful. My group volunteered to cook breakfast, so we were up at 6:15. The tiny sliver of a crescent moon still hung in the air backed by an orange and purple sunrise. I’m excited by the possibility of spiritual growth, and I’ve grown so much as a Christian and a person recently.”
At UT, spring 2006
From Plan II Literature class studying John Fowles:
Subject: Insert clever title here
As I read the various articles in our course packet as well as our class responses to them, I'm almost embarrassed to say that I agree with the intelligent design idea that "bits of arganisms are so complex that only an intelligent being could have designed them," (66) which Asher Price describes as "water[ed] down" Darwinism. Unfortunately, I just don't have any better way to explain things. As Ben alluded to earlier, to take a strong stance at either end of this debate (as with many other debates) requires a great deal of ignorance. There is so much that we can not explain, and it seems that any time we answer a question regarding the "beginning of time" five more arise. I'm reminded of the song "For the Best" by the band Straylight Run:
"And now faith is replaced with a logic so cold,
I'm disregarding what I was now that I'm older.
And I know much more than I did back then,
But the more I learn, the more I can't understand."
All this said, I don't think evolution and a spiritual approach to nature are incompatible, rather I think they are intrinsically linked and that one must understand both to come closer to realizing how our world came to be.
Willie and Lisa were sent out to the store to buy some All Bran cereal for his beloved great grandmother, Ma (she was the one that used to offer to pay him a nickel if he could be quiet for one minute. He never earned a cent). When they found the box, Willie looked at it and said, “ This is the only food I know of that looks the same going in as it does coming out.”
Prayer Willie wrote and read at the party for Ma on her 100th birthday, Oct 2002
She grew up in Sonora
and grew wise at the ranch
and one day in the country
by some fortunate chance
she met old Sid Evans.
It was his lucky day.
He asked for her hand,
and she said "OK".
A story book life
It's one for the ages
and some day,
it should be put on the pages
From chipper Bernice
chased by an old fox with rabies,
to sagely old Ma,
taking care of the babies.
Oh Lord hear our prayers
and forgive us our flaws,
so that we may live lives
as great as our Ma's.
When the boys were in middle school, there was an excellent impressionist art exhibit at the Kimball in Ft. Worth. Taylor had already developed a love of the art from that period and Lisa thought it was time Willie had some exposure to it. The three of them headed over to Ft. Worth one afternoon to see it. When they got close to the Kimball, Willie took the phone and made a call. “Hi Gramps!” “Wookus! How’s my favorite grandson?” “Well, I’m at the Kimball would you come pick me up?” So Gramps came to pick up Willie, and Taylor and Lisa saw the exhibit. They all got to do exactly what they wanted to do.
The reality in our house was that Taylor never got in trouble and Willie always did. However, one afternoon after school Taylor did something (that Lisa can’t remember) that caused her to speak out to him sharply. She yelled, “Willie stop it!” Taylor started laughing but his brother was enormously offended.
One Christmas holiday when Willie was a young teenager our family went on a snowmobile outing in Jackson Hole. The group had a leader and 4-5 more people that we didn’t know. Taylor and Lisa were close to the front of the line. Willie was last, with Mac in front of him. Along the way we would stop for instruction or to look at the scenery. Every time we stopped Willie would make little snowballs and throw them at Mac. Nobody else in the group knew what was happening. After lunch at one of the stops Mac finally had enough, got off his machine, tackled Willie and started pelting him snow and sticking it down his shirt. They were laughing, Taylor and Lisa were cheering, but the rest of the group sat in stunned silence looking at what that man was doing to his young son!
One day after school in first grade, Willie was sent to a time out upstairs in his room for a bit. Lisa told him he had to stay in there and he couldn’t yell out from his room asking how much time. All of a sudden she heard something crashing down the stairs. When she ran to look, she found a beach ball with a note taped on it that said, “How meny mor menits?”
Lisa often took the boys to visit Ma and Pa, their great-grandparents, at the ranch in west Texas (between Abilene and San Angelo). Five-year-old Willie disappeared into the bedroom for a long time, so she went to look for him. He had taken off all his clothes and put on a Pull-Up diaper he found there, and was standing in front of the mirror. “Willie, what are you doing?” “I just wanted to see what I look like when I pee in my pants.”
When the Tichenors moved into their house in 1990, Willie had just turned 4. Mac was out of town and Taylor was with his grandparents. Nobody would take care of Willie, so he "helped" Lisa move. At the end of a long exhausting day they walked into the new house with a box of his toys. The bottom fell out of the box and the contents spilled out everywhere on the floor. Lisa said, "Oh,Willie, what are we going to do?" He very quietly and thoughtfully replied, "How about if we say damnit?"
Preschool at UP United Methodist Church was great fun for Willie. At two he would wear a white button down shirt (he called it his business shirt) and carry a folder under his arm into class because he wanted to look just like his dad. At three he dressed up as a rattlesnake for Halloween at school, but he wanted to be a witch to go trick-or-treating. At four he told his teacher he “figgered out” that three fours were twelve and she ran over to give him a big hug. He pulled back, looked at her with mean eyes, and said, “You’re not my mom.”
Lisa had a pair of stretchy navy blue gloves that Willie loved to use in his super hero costumes. In kindergarten, he wanted to take them to school because they were playing Batman at recess. For the longest time she wouldn’t let him, but she finally relented. After school he informed her that he was very sorry but he lost one of the gloves. He thought for a minute and said, “Yeah, I really don’t know why you let me take them anyway.”
Willie often visited Meh and Gramps when they lived in Mason. The first day he was there Willie stopped up the toilet, so he and Meh were working on getting it fixed. They heard Gramps walk in from work and Willie called out, “Come on in Gramps we’re having a family plumbing activity!”
Taylor came home from his first day of 4-year-old preschool. He was excitedly telling us that they were learning letter sounds and were going to learn how to read. Willie said, “I want to learn to read!” So he grabbed the book out of Taylor’s hands, sat down at the table with the book open, then looked up at us and said, “How?”