Texas A&M University-Kingsville (1994-1999)
One day when my friend Jimmy C. Salazar came to visit me from St. Mary's in San Antonio, he took notice to my usage of a particular word. When I was describing one of my adventures in Kingsville I made reference to "The University." He laughed, saying that he had never head anyone call where they went to college "The University." He told me that in San Antonio there were so many. This stayed in my mind for many years. Living in South Texas, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, or TAMUK, was the greatest center of learning in over 150 miles. More than that, to me it was the only "UNIVERSITY."
I had originally tried to write about my University life as part of the Cascabel Era, but my run in college was too different from my life in Mariachi Cascabel. This seems to be the case even though they occurred at the same time. 1994 was the year I entered Mariachi Cascabel, but it was also the year I began my term at TAMUK where I first pursued a degree in electrical engineering and then a teacher/historian, what I would become later in life.
The University would be a very special chapter of my life. Unlike high school, which is just the ultimate expression of kindergarten; it would be my time at the University that would give me almost all the character building I need. These were, at least at the start, lonely days. Texas A&M-Kingsville, which was Texas A&I University when I enrolled, has a freshmen orientation known as "Hoggie Days." Hoggie Days is named after the schools mascot, the "Javalinas." A "Javalina" is a small pig-like animal that inhabits South Texas, less that a boar and more than a pig. Anyhow, two girls accompanied me to this orientation from my hometown, Annette Garcia and Cindy Perez. We had a good time and got all our paperwork done. After that, I rarely saw them again. I once helped Annette with a chemistry assignment and saw Cindy years later as a mother, but for the most part my first two years were dismal.
Adding to this was the fact that I was "Internet illiterate." Days were spent drawing or sleeping in the library between classing. I visited most of the eating establishments in Kingsville as an individual. I had no dates. I rarely saw anyone from Mariachi Cascabel at the University. I, as you might guess, fell into depression.
This all changed when my cousin, Joe David Soliz, began his course at the University. He approached me some time in 1997 about commuting with me to Kingsville. At fist I thought it wouldn't work out. After all, my musical activities sometimes kept me in Kingsville quite late and I was sure that one of us would find a woman (girl) and the whole process would go to pot. I agreed to give it a try. Thus began a grand adventure that continues, in many ways, to this day.
One of the first things we tried was the Internet. I had been somewhat afraid of going into the computer labs for anything other than typing papers. I thought you needed some code to log on to the Internet there at the college. When I had registered they told me I had free Computer Lab service, despite the 5-dollar computer fee on the bill. This fear was with me until Victor and Julian Amado, high school friends of mine, sat across from me as I typed a history paper for Dr. Andres Tijerina's Texas History Survey Class. They showed me how to start Netscape Navigator, how to "surf" the web with "Yahoo" and "WebCrawler" and even showed me some nasty sites I would rather not mention. Thus, I slowly became an "on-line" person.
"Edge lines" Publications
More and more, I became more academic. I began taking my class writing more seriously. This was for one reason and one reason only; a website named http://www.edgelines.com. We had found much to our glee, a place that would publish any and all of our works. Instantly we fancied ourselves published writers. Sadly, "Edgelines" no longer exists, but we saved a sample some of my writings from that period that had been saved on "Edgelines."
Publications surviving from "Edgelines.com"
"Characteristics of a Good Friend" by J.E. Carrales- Circa 1994
"The Light and Darkness of the English Moors" by J.E. Carrales- Circa 1997
"Cardinal Newman and Apologia Pro Vita Sua" by J.E. Carrales- Circa 1998
On the Edgelines-Circa 1997-1998
Three Chapters of a currently unfinished Story
"One the Edgeline-Chapter 1" by J.E. Carrales- Circa 1997-98
"One the Edgeline-Chapter 2" by J.E. Carrales- Circa 1997-98
"One the Edgeline-Chapter 3" by J.E. Carrales- Circa 1997-98
Also put on the Net at that time was Joe David Soliz "Battle of the Wild"
"Battle of the Wild" by J.D. Soliz-Circa 1995
I continued my studies and played with Mariachi Cascabel as a means of making money to finance my commute to the University. And what a commute is was, 28 miles from Premont to Kingsville, Texas everyday from August 1994 until my graduation from the University in 1999. While the University taught me about how to be a good teacher and historian, Mariachi Cascabel is where I learned the tricks to making a mariachi band function. I also polished my musicianship.