Spring break

Rix Quinn ’71 takes a break to remember Spring Break.

Spring break

Rix Quinn ’71 takes a break to remember Spring Break.

Somewhere between your first ride down University Drive and your last meal in Brown-Lupton came a magical time called “Spring Break.”

The week, as you know, was the special holiday created to honor the writers of “Beach Blanket Bingo.” Earnest students (and, students not named Earnest) left the classroom, packed a bookbag with jean cutoffs and outrageous T-shirts, then headed for points unknown.

Years later, some remember it because 1) away from home and college concerns, they met the “love of their lives,” or 2) it’s the first time they went to jail.

What are your special memories? Do they include the following?

Deep sea fishing.

This marked a great opportunity for those with adventurous spirits and high-limit credit cards, but the activity bore no resemblance to any passive freshwater event, like “Hook Your Own Catfish Night” at Lulu’s Grill.

You climbed aboard a big boat and headed out to rough sea. Once there, you “set anchor” (whatever that means) and received a fishing rod you could pole-vault with.

Next, a sailor loaded your hook with bait that looked like a small goat. He did this because you were trying to land a fish roughly the size of a politician’s tour bus.

Do not believe this giant fish came passively. He fought, you sweated, and if you won the struggle, you of course wanted to have him stuffed and mounted, which the fish objected to.

Today, you would not want to carry him home yourself, since fish-related hernias might not qualify under your HMO.


This required little more than a tent, matches for a fire, plus a guitar to accompany friends while they warbled songs from the “Freddie Fleet and His Band with a Beat” album.

Friends tell me co-ed camping parties were the best. I doubt this, because after a couple days without showers, toothpaste, or deodorant, nearly everyone smells like anchovy-and-tuna pizza.

I do remember that hungry beasts prowled the woods, so we had to watch for mountain lions, bears, and crazed campers who forgot can openers. I also remember an article that said a snake’s head can still bite you one hour after it’s been cut off.

No kiddin’ … this actually saved my life one time. I remembered to stay back from the snake’s skull. And I reasoned that the body–without a head–would never remember which way I went.

European tour.

That trip made you realize that lots of important stuff happened before you were born and that folks you studied about in seventh grade really lived. You went from country to country and heard many foreign words.

We memorized three phrases in each language:

— “Ever date an American, honey?”

— “Please give me money, and I will go back to my own country.”

— “I am sorry. I did not know the crossbow was loaded.”

We also visited a castle, where we found a massive banquet hall with elaborate wall and ceiling frescos. This experience left me thinking that the owners could have saved big bucks if they just wallpapered and that a giant-screen TV would look good next to the sword collection.

Beach party.

Who could resist a week of sun, sand, and sea, plus a chance to see where they would someday film Baywatch? Students fled to both coasts, or to the picturesque Texas Gulf. Once there, they learned important human relations skills like: how fast you must swim to keep the shark from grabbing the OTHER foot; how to write a phone number in the sand with your big toe; and how to convince a person you just kissed you would give them your name and address (but you couldn’t remember either one because you’d been awake 83 hours).

Those were great days.

I wish I could go back.

I wish the Parkaire Driven-In was still around.

I wish Frankie and Annette would make another movie.

And I wish they made sunscreen with wrinkle-remover.

Rix Quinn went to school a long time ago. He fondly remembers Spring Break on Padre Island, but doesn’t remember why his friends left him there.