March 30, 2005 Valeria Flores fought Lucy Conterras at the New Braunfels Civic Center becoming the first professional female boxing match to occur in the town of New Braunfels Texas. The fight has a whale of a back story the story of the community and yes even my part in the community. It was a snap shot of change that brought mixed feelings. To understand them all we have to explore the oddity of the town.
The most glaring and obvious aspect of the small Texas town was its resistance to an archetype of Texas. That archetype is well based in Texas art from Larry McMurtry's Novel the Last Picture Show which spawned a movie. The movie that starred Cybil Shepard. The archetype continued into the sequel Texasville. That archetype is also in Texas music Robert Earl Keen's "Front Porch Song" with its verse: "This old porch is just a palace walking on the main street of Texas it ain't even seen or heard a day of GnR inexciss with 62 poster that's almost faded down and a screen without a picture since Giant came to town. The movie Texasville was released pretty close to the No Kinda Dancer album which had REK's Front Porch song. The archetype largely true is of the movie palace in small town Texas that sprouted in the 20s and 30s dying in the time span between 1950-63. Many a small town Texas movie theatre ceased operations between 1950-1965, when TV took hold. They sprouted in the late 20s and 30s because they offered air conditioning entertainment at a reasonable price. When houses got Central Air and Television they faded. An old PE teacher spoke about how a quarter could buy a movie soda and candy at one of these old Texas institutions. The simple fact of the matter the last picture show in the last surviving down town movie theatre in New Braunfels occurred…well somewhat later than the fictional closing of Thalia's movie theatre Larry McMurtry's fictional Texas town. It occurred later than even REK's reference…by a couple decades in 1998. White Nights, War Games, Spies Like Us, 2010 The Year We Make Contact, and Spies like us were all shown at the Brauntex. McMurty could not imagine a Latina talking about her Latvian in laws to her children besides one of these movie Palaces after White Nights explaining to them their paternal grand parents relationship with a home land behind the iron curtain. Naturally they were parked close to recently closed down train depot along the Mopac line. While the bed hopping in both McMurtry novels rings true to the New Braunfels class of 1994 parents and well some teachers and students New Braunfels well had by that time had established an odd relationship with the city of San Antonio Texas that had a key sub plot the large German American community within New Braunfels.
The sub plot involves two distinct aspects of the military industrial complex that fought World War II and the cold war. Students at Seele elementary who read the book Sodoko (I may be wrong on the title) and the Thousand Paper Cranes are unaware of the loaded irony. Paul Tibbets who was pilot of the Enola Gay got his military flight training at Randolph Field. A fair portion of electricity used by Cadet Tibbets at Randolph came from the red brick building within view of Seele elementary! In fact the Landa Power Plant was one of the reasons why Randolph was established where it was built. When the Landa Power Plant was completed it was the largest non-hydroelectric facilities west of the Mississippi River. An abundance of cheap electric power made the area around San Antonio more attractive for establishing another air corps base. New Braunfels was well on the way of becoming a suburb of San Antonio well there was a problem in World War II….
In Stephen Frater's Book Hell above the earth there is some rather shocking information. One aircraft commander of B-17 had a co-pilot who had standing orders to kill him if the B-17 they were in would wind up down over enemy territory(with a last name like Goering it seemed like a good idea at the time)…..a squadron commander routinely got interrogated by Sodium Pentothal because of his German heritage. Joe Baulch when he was a history professor at Schreiner remarked that many Germans in Texas wound up choosing to speak German out of spite. If you are going to doubt my loyalty to the United States well I am going to give you something to talk about. The clannish nature of the German Texas Community was enhanced by the hostility shown them by outsiders. Local humor in San Antonio centered on the German heritage of New Braunfels Texas. Jokes were made about the New Braunfels Unicorns. In the final 5 years of the Soviet Union those jokes would actually have more than a little truth but the actual punch line would be truly twisted. Then again a runner from Ryder High School Wichita Falls Texas in his defeat in the 3200 district meet Lewisville Texas 1994 is probably the last person to lose to nephew of WWII combat vet who for 2 cross-country seasons was the punch line of this joke.
Question: What do you call the Niece and Nephew of an SS man who were Unicorn Athletes? (Unicorn as in New Braunfels Unicorn)
If you are interested in the joke continue reading if you are interested in how this affected the Valeria Flores bout skip down to the next paragraph. In the book Army of Evil it is pointed out at the end of World War II more than half of those on SS member roles were non German. The Latvian Legion has been exonerated by the Brits and the US since it was a combat unit whose members were as much victims of Nazi atrocities I know of one member who a couple years before he joined was made to walk past a pile of dead bodies in the snow as an object lesson to the school children in that Polish community to what happens when you rebel against the Nazis. While he was shooting at Soviet Tanks rolling into Riga his own Uncle was a Nazi political prisoner. His baby half-brother (young enough be his son fell in love with a Latina who was a student at TWU in Denton Texas. The couple met when baby half-brother was learning to fly helicopters in Mineral Wells for the US Army during the Vietnam War. They had two children. My sister was a Unicorn Tennis player 3 out of her 4 years in high school. She was an exchange student 1 year.
Valeria Flores (at the time a teachers aid Northside Independent School District San Antonio on a middle school campus)did not consider New Braunfels Texas home turf when she fought Lucy Conterras. Truth be told locals considered almost all the boxers on the card to be Aushlanders! (Outsiders). A local got his face pounded by a boxer from San Antonio Texas in the heavyweight division. This is partially because of the distrust shown locals during WWII. When tourism replaced textiles and farming a great deal of hostility of was generated against those from San Antonio visiting Landa Park and the Comal River. It's a dirty secret among locals the joke "If its tourist season why can't we shoot them" the can ban was manifestation of the provincialism. I grew up as Valeria Flores did with a clear distinction between New Braunfels and San Antonio. Even though 25 minutes from leaving the driveway we could find ourselves in places where we shopped in San Antonio it was a journey. She fought in a strange small town that WAS NOT her home turf. A tourist making a miss step in the 1980s could find themselves on the business end of trilingual insults with a mixture of German, Spanish with a smidgen of English mixed in. The trade languages of New Braunfels in the 40s and 50s were Spanish and German for a time period in the 40s and 50s English was the third language many New Braunfels residents spoke. If you were a Zamora, Mesa you learned Spanish first if you were Hoffman, Koepp, Landa, Kenuper, you learned German first. On the subject of boxing New Braunfels residents have been involved in boxing. High school classmates of my fifth grade teacher Ott participated in San Antonio Golden Gloves. My fifth grade year was when we saw the heritage exhibit located at the New Braunfels Civic Center where the bout the between Lucy Conterras and Valeria Flores took place. When the civic center was constructed in the early 1960s I doubt the builder could imagine that a female professional boxer would have to weigh in naked in one of the rooms there. Lucy did.
Strangely enough the clannishness of the German community was useful during the Cold War. At least one former Nazi rocket scientist commuted from Security Hill Kelly AFB to a house in New Braunfels during the Cold War. They probably were others as well I-35 was the spook high way and well the details of the private or professional lives of former Nazi rocket scientists looking at Soviet missiles were very very private and nobody wondered too loudly about the 10 foot high cyclone fence and gate over the driveway with an odd shaped mail box besides. We knew to keep our traps shut except when talking to others who knew the secret. It was not a pleasant surprise for the Latvians who moved in across the street in the early 1970s! That couple went out with a couple bangs in 1998. With true precision German engineering the ballistics on the shotgun blast were done in advance and the mattress where they died was selected since it would absorb most of the blood and brain splatter (according to the summary of suicide note found in the New Braunfels Herald) swastikas were on china and silverware sold at that estate sale. Strangely enough that double suicide occurred about the time the Brauntex showed its last picture show. Naturally this would occur when two Unicorns who graduated before 1995 were putting the town on the map and revealing its etherial nature befitting the Unicorn as mascot. The Band Six PEnce None the Richer and the song Kiss me copy and paste video link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N-qO3sPMjc
The bout itself represented a shift that many in New Braunfels dread the end of New Braunfels the small town. Those ghosts where there that night. Yet simply put the New Braunfels Civic Center was another venue in the greater San Antonio metro area to hold professional boxing. The night was interesting. Lucy came out early stunning the teachers aid Valeria. Had the bout been scheduled for six the last or the next to last round would have found Lucy on pink trunked butt. Valeria in the red trunks would have been a far clearer winner that is my story and I am sticking to it.
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