Mike Matthews Remembers… What I am famous for is giving parties, such as the 3 TYCA breakfasts that I chaired at CCCC and the TYCA Gala with the ice sculpture of the letters “TYCA.” At the gala, I read a new version of Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice” to explain the politics of the ice sculpture. It was a hit and got laughs, so I read it again when I received the Nell Ann Picket award, and it even got more laughs. People will get it if you read it slow enough and emphasize CCCC and NCTE.
I am still thrilled, honored, and humbled by receiving the Robert Wylie Service Award and the Nell Ann Pickett Service Award.
What TYCA adventures I have had! In my twenties, I attended my first SRCE conference in Waco, Texas, and I was hooked with speakers like Lynn Troyka, Donald Hall, and X. J. Kennedy. Later, Lynn asked me to chair the TYCA Gala with her publisher’s budget and I even co-presented with her at CCCC. I went from the audience to the tables of national leaders.
My TYCA adventure has been a great ride! In retiring, I have reread my letters from the chair in TYCA newsletters, where you can really see my passion for TYCA.
Tahita Fulkerson Remembers… Southwest Regional Conference of Teachers of English, now known as TYCA, impressed me with the first conference I attended. People were friendly, genuinely interested in sharing good ideas, very willing to have great fun. The happiest memories relate to those people and to special conferences, such as those held in Laredo, Galveston, Fort Worth, Waco. I can still see faces but names are escaping. One event at my very first conference still makes me laugh–and I’ll not mention names to protect the innocent. However, I can tell you that Dale Adams was in the group–and he probably can clarify any glitches in my memory. We were with a group in a hotel bar, enjoying great food, a good dance floor, and silly stories. A man in the bar walked over and asked if one of the women in our party might dance with his friend, another man across the room. His friend, we learned, was just out of jail. A particularly handsome and gallant male English teacher said politely, “No” and then added without cracking a smile that the women at the table were his, not to be shared.
Joan Mathis Remembers… My fondest memory of being president is the dedication of the officers. I will not call names because I could not live peacefully with myself if I even thought I had offended anyone whom I consider my intellectual family. The emails reminding me of an upcoming deadline and the eagerness with which everyone on the various committees fulfilled their obligations was absolutely amazing.
Beth Bell Shelton Remembers… I attended my first SRCE ( the TYCA predecessor) in 1972 at the Green Oaks Inn in Fort Worth, TX, and have been attending ever since. My presentation that first year was based on my experience as an HEW Intern teaching at College of the Mainland. In the years since, my presentations have been as diverse as my classroom teaching experiences have been. I have always enjoyed attending the TYCA-SW conferences and introducing my PJC colleagues to the TYCA family. My years on the Executive Committee have provided me with sound friendships and increased organizational skills. I look forward to learning yet more this year as we gather at Clear Lake.
–Beth Bell Shelton
Terry Stewart Mouchayleh Remembers… I was honored to serve during a great time and with great people. Mike Matthews and Gwen Gresham were always at my side. I may be confusing my years, but I think that our conference was held in New Orleans. And we were introduced to a fellow who is now quite a famous historian: Douglas Brinkley. I learned important leadership skills from gifted professionals during that time, and those skills have been invaluable to me over the years.
–Terry Stewart Mouchayleh
Michael Berberich Remembers… What has meant the most to me in my involvement with TYCA-SW has been the incredible commitment of the members of this organization to the profession. The excellence they bring and share at the conference each year inspires me.
I remember my fear of flying after September 11th 2001, wondering to myself how many people we would lose due to that same fear. Checking in at the conference I found there had not been a single cancellation due to the horrible events of that fall. So I realized that in TYCA I am with kindred spirits, i.e., with people who believe that in helping students improve their writing skills, their sensitivity to the uses of language, and their capacity to connect and to let others connect with them, we actually do make a real difference in the lives of our students. And that means we make a difference in the world.
Memories of Bob Wylie (by Terry Stewart Mouchayleh)
I have wonderful memories of the fellow that folks at AC used to call “Bow-Legged Bob.” I remember well his fondness for starting all of our English department meetings with rhetorical questions. They usually ran along the lines of, “And what is our role here? What must we accomplish? How do we do it?” Because I was a mere 24 years old when I started at AC, I had tendency to try to answer those questions, but was met with his tolerant, wise look followed by a chuckle. And I owe Bob a great debt: he also had a tendency to assign me a myriad of new projects, I assume because I was the youngest in the dept. And, I assume no one else would do them! But, because of Bob, I got the opportunity to design AC’s first ever American literature classes, teach a new concept in what was then called ITV, design an English placement exam long before there was Accuplacer or Compass, develop a Continuing Education Lit course, and launch our yearly English Department Symposium. Bob never held me back and always let me tackle just about any project I wanted to. He was also the person who urged me to join what was then called SRCE. So because of Bob I had the honor of not only serving as an EC chair but also of making lifelong friends!
Jill Coe Gos Remembers… When I registered online for the 2014 TYCA-SW conference in Frisco, I hesitated a bit on the field that asked the number of conferences I had attended. After a few seconds, my answer was, “Too many to count!” And it’s true. My first encounter with this organization was in Bossier City in 1992 when it was still called SRCE. Other conferences well worth remembering are far too many to list in this short space. But what I really want to emphasize is not what I remember but why I remember. It’s the people.
Serving as archivist allows me the privilege of taking frequent trips down the memory lane of TYCA-SW, a professional organization that I not only respect but also love since it has allowed me to form close friendships with people from a six-state region. When I pour through those files, I can’t help but think about and appreciate those who have paved the way for this organization to become what it is today.
The first person who comes to mind is Dale Adams. I see correspondence to, from, and about him that proves he was truly a TYCA-SW pioneer, especially as far as the newsletter goes. Because of the Robert W. Wylie Service Award and Susan Faulkner Excellence in Teaching Award, those names are certainly on my mind. I read documents by and about people I don’t see often: Dennis Kriewald, Terry Stewart (now Mouchayleh), Mike Matthews, Beth Shelton, and others. Then I see the work of people I do not know, yet the files contain evidence that they, too, helped form our modern-day TYCA-SW organization: Bill Shaw, Mike Cooper, Tahita Fulkerson, and several others.
And now we have a plethora of members who have hosted, attended, and presented at marvelous conferences in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Where would TYCA-SW be without their knowledge, expertise, and vigor for our discipline? It takes us all to make an organization like this succeed year after year. Seasoned members are retiring and turning over their duties to the next generation, who will form new TYCA-SW memories of their own. Someday another archivist will go through these records and reminisce the way I do now. But the nucleus of this organization always has been and will remain being the people.