This interview was conducted by Maria Serna on March 15, 2009 at South Memorial Christian Church as part of Palo Alto College’s History 1302 – Spring 2009 class.
J Paul Tisdel was born in September 2, 1945. He born and grew up in San Antonio, Texas. He has living in San Antonio all his life. His parents were Paul Tisdel and Phillips Tisdel. Paul graduate from Tomas Jefferson High School. He got married Carolyn Bowen in November 1967. They have three children Mark, Jeffrey and Wendy. Paul have one brother his name is Fillips Tisdel he still alive. Mr. Tisdel senior died in May 12, 1980 and Mrs. Tisdel passed away in September 29, 2006. J Paul has his bachelor in History and Mathematics. As his 63 years old he continued working as teacher and consult. He learns for his father how to preach, his hobby is to collect stamps and he loves to read. He has a great number of books in his house. He loves what the Bible teaches us to do. He still remembered a great deal of good memories of growing up in San Antonio.
What is your name and where were you born?
My name is J. Paul Tisdel jr. I was born in September 2, 1945 in San Antonio, Texas.
Were you born in a hospital or house?
I born at Nix hospital. The Nix hospital is a downtown hospital that is still here, back then was the hospital
How was your life back then, were you a happy kid?
Sure, we didn’t have a lot of money. One pair of shoes a year, we have a handy down cloth, Second hand…..because my dad wasn’t a rich man but allwas have plenty food to eat.
What was your favorite toy?
I liked to play with guns, toy guns.
Did you used to watch TV.
We did haven’t TV until I was 14, and that will it been in 1959. And so after we watched TV some, but really wasn’t a lot of channels to watch it was maybe only one channel. And that if you didn’t like the program you could change and find the channel that you want or go out side and play.
Did you remember the name of the supermarket were your parents used to buy the groceries?
They used to shop primarily at Handy Andy, near Frederick Burg and the West Woodland.
What school did you go to as a child?
Elementary school I went first Pecan Hill, then the Woodland Elementary. Then I went to Horace Mann Junior school, then I graduated from Tomas Jefferson High School. Did you go to College? Yes, I did. I obtained first a social degree in San Antonio College that was in 1965. A bachelor degree from South West Texas State University in 1967. And then in 1972 I earned the master of education degree at South Texas University. There’s now called Texas State at San Marcos,Texas.
How was the time in school, compared with your school time. When you were a student. Now how is been teaching young people?
It is the same spirit right now? In a lot of the kids yes, is the same. The problem is this. When I was in school in the 50s,60s children were under the discipline of the school. If you got in trouble in school you get in trouble in home. Your parents will discipline you again if you get in trouble in school. Now when the kids go to school. Now in school there isn’t much discipline. In those days if you didn’t behave, you can be assign to pick up trash in the school field or you could be assign to paint, something need to be painted. Or you could be assigning to work at the cafeteria wash the dishes or clean up the tables. If you didn’t behave. And if you really miss behaved them give you a wiped, what it’s called “licks” Paddle. And then in those days, the discipline at school was tied. People didn’t miss around in school. May they miss behave in a places but if they got cut they knew that they will be in trouble. Now, day nothing happen to the kids. They send it to a time out, In fact that we send them to a time out. Where kids going to a place in school were they seat there where opposed to supposed to seat and do their school work, Also they seat and play. Nothing happens. You know! We suspend them, A that’s good they don’t miss school. And miss behave the teacher taught so and the vise-principal taught so nothing happens. The kids don’t have any respect in school for school rules. They think they are in charge of the school. A lot of teachers don’t know how to handle discipline in away, which enable them to be in charge of the student. And get the student to work for them. Because, most of them. Most of the teachers don’t know how to work with the student. They really need to learn how to do that. So, that is the biggest difference. In school, when I was in school was a lot of discipline at school. We don’t have discipline in school. Hard! Very hard.
What was your favorite subject? Why?
History is my favorite subject. I don’t know why. I like to read the stories about what happen in nation’s times. Maybe because I liked the stories in the Bible so in the nation time in the Bible. So, I just wanted to know what happened in other places in time pass. And also because, when I was a boy we do a lot of war. World War II was over when I was born. And so I wanted to know what the rifles like in the army. Gave me a love for Military history and all that.
Did you have a hobby?
I like to read a lot and collect stamps. I don’t really play with the stamps much anymore because it took a lot of time. But I still read a lot. At what year did you start collecting stamps? I think what I got a Christmas present. One year when I was 8 or 9 maybe 10. Somebody gave me and I started collecting Christmas. And that was a really a big gift in those days. In the late 50s, I get a stamps collector kit. And kids were trying see, if they can find stamps to putt in the pictures, and they started collecting it and try to cover all the pictures in the book and that was it. Like me I try to collect a stamps from every country, to keep track lease one stamp from every country. Did you know how much stamps do you have? Well, over ten thousand. I not even know if I have more, but I know in terms that I have over ten thousand. Any special character that you like any special stamp? I still collect stamps form the British colonies. You see in that time before 1960. British have colonies all over the world, the stamps almost always very similar to each other they will have pictures of the Monarch the queen or king of England. Then will be the colony where the stamps were from and so the stamps looked kind of the same from all the colonies. So I was try to get, I was try to collect those from every colonies: Hong Kong, Brunei, Britannia, Nigeria, all those countries in the South area all of those where all the ..Australia, Canada any of those colonies.
What part of San Antonio did you used to live?
Now will called Near North side, back then were called the North side. Is very close to down town area. But the city is growing way far around about 15 to 16 miles farther out Than when I saw it . Places that used to be in the country , when I drove out in the country there are now part of the city.
Did you still remember your first house?
No, not really. I remember that is was one bedroom house. In my bedroom was in the living room, but that all I remembered about it. And then we moved from there to a house on Blanco Rd, and that the house still there. But I don’t really remember much about the house. The first house that really remembers everything about was the house that I grew up in, which is 1710 West Magnolia; is now a daycare. But I remember the house a lot. I move there when I was in second grade.
Who was your dad?
My dad was James Paul Tisdel. He was a preacher gospel preacher in the Christian Church. And he also he sold a power tools to make a living.
Is he still alive?
No, he died 1980.
And your mother?
My mother died about two years ago. Her name was Philliys Tisdel.
Did you have other siblings? Are they still alive?
I do. I have a brother his was named is Phillip Henry Fog. No excuse me, Phillip Henry Tisdel. My mother middle name was Fog that why I said that . Phil’s Henry Tisdel. He was named after looks in the Bible, and then his middle name Henry was my great father name from my mother’s side. He lives here in San Antonio? He did for a while, now he lives in Grad Perry Texas, by Dallas.
Who was your best friend? Do you still have contact with him?
In elementary and junior school, my best friend was a fellow named Mike Day, and he still alive. He lives down in Dallas, Texas. He is a counter. And then my best friend probably in High school is a fellow named Michael Perry. And he were going in to the Navy, And serve in Vietnam. But I didn’t see him. We were in the 40s, I really don’t know what happened with any of them So, Did you haven’t any contact with any of them? I see them in the high school graduations. It was I see them.
In your time how was the reaction against blacks? Well, we really did see many blacks in our neighborhood. Because most of them, the blacks leaved in the Eastside. When I was in Elementary, junior, and high school it was a black family that moved into our neighborhood, but they were from Honduras. And so they spoke Spanish. And I show you how ignorance I was .I thought that all blacks spoke Spanish, until one day that the blacks who come to our school from other parts from the city. In San Antonio at that time, you could go to any school you want it to. You don’t have to state just in one school back then in high school. But that time before I have several primarily blacks friends like Daniel Cook. He became teacher also but he is retired also.
At what age did you have your first vehicle? First, vehicle was.. My own, own was about in 1965. It was a 58 Ford. It was hard for a teen age to get the Driver License at that time.? No, actually was easier, because if you went throughout the driver in class that everybody took the 9 graters. Then when you got to be 16 you just need to take your driving test, and then you have a driver license. There cost you anything because the class was part of the regular course that everybody took. So all the 9 graders driving in. Was the same problem like now, because many of teens, many young people drink and drive. Same problem! “Same problem”. Not change. The rack the cars just as fast that they do now.
What was your first job and at what age? My first real job as a ..for been worker at as preacher was I started doing when I was 18. Was.. I count that one as a real job. When I was about 20, I was a grass cutter at the Fort Sam Houston in the summertime. What was the first thing that you buy with the first check? Yes, I bought a stereo; we didn’t have stereos like we have today Boom boxes. What we have back then was a record player that has the stereo capabilities and then buy the records in some places.
What is your favorite music?
I like what is called Negro spirituals. Very wonderful songs. I like Old Western songs; I like what we called Pop music. Back then and I like some classic music not all.
Did you remember where does your family used to take you on a holiday?
Yes, you see, we went down to the valley to Amber, Texas to visit my mother’s mother- my grantmother. And while we were there, we used to go fishing. there was the canal across the street and we used to go fishing in the canal. The other thing that my parents did they like to go on the camp out to fishing. We go to a place called Perdonales Lake which was northwest in Austin. There was a fishing camp called Nauman Camp . I don’t know if still there any more is a long time. Sometimes we go down to the coast to go fishing in the coast that is what my dad like to fishing, so we go fishing.
Comparing with your parents, where did you used to take your children in a holiday?
We go through a lot of things. We go take like two trips to the coast. We take them to the park called Woodland Lake to fishing there. We go see things like in Kerville and Blanco State Park we used to go places like that. We take two family trips, one when we went, I 10 other way to Florida and the other one; when we went across to Washington D.C. and so all the famous names in Washington, D.C. Then we went to one time to Arizona in New Mexico, we went to met creator the grand canyon.Then we went to Terrified Forest the Pinturado dessert … then we went to the Caverns in Arizona from there we came back to San Antonio.
When and where did you meet your wife?
Met my wife in 1967 April the first. “April fool day”.. Met her, April first and at Saint Ray ban Middle School. She was one of the school secretaries there. I have been just hired to become there a full time substitute teacher in mathematics in that school. It where I met her.
I think I forgot to ask you, your wife name?
My wife is Carolyn Ann Tisdel, the main name is Boomer. She was Carolyn Ann Boomer. She was born in San Antonio also. What was interesting is what I was a senior at high school. She was a sophomore in the same high school and we didn’t even really know each other. I didn’t know her but she knew me. She knew how I was look like. Because I was a kid with a fanny jeans that were hanging dawn, and so I the only one wearing big calf like this and she remembers. But I didn’t really know her. I then her family moved right after sophomore year and went to John Marshall high school. And so she went to John Marshall High School her junior and senior years. I really even know of her again until we met in my first teaching job.
What is your occupation right now?
Right now, I am a minister and a professional consultant for educators.
Did you reach your goal?
Yea!. I think so, in terms that went I was working as a regular classroom teacher, I got to do a lot of things that many teachers not need to do. Interesting, that I really enjoy that considered very successful at my work. Actually I be come to work at the administration as the work as a trainer of teachers. So , I really enjoy that. And that is what I am doing right now. So, I really enjoy it. I will say that I reach my goals.
What is your opinion about the development and the environment, with the safety right now compared with the old time?
The biggest difference for difficulties now in terms with the environment back them, was that we have more gangs on the streets. what we have back then we always have gangs in San Antonio, but the gangs were not the gangs of violence, with large number of murder, and kill drive by shooting. There were have fights but there were not like today.The gangs today the young people, they have any moral; they don’t know right or wrong. Where the gangs on those days, the kids were fight, but they knew don’t do murder nobody .But generally they knew what was right from wrong. But know is totally different the kids don’t have any spiritual sense. they don’t have respect for God. So, they do whatever they want to do. They don’t think in about. That for me is the biggest thing. Is not the issue that the fact that …where there you a white gang, black gang, Hispanic gang or mix gang. Many people in the gang, they didn’t know right from wrong. They think in power.
Is something that you want to add to this interview?
I think that is really important and the history class that the young people in the class know what make America, America. Too many of the classes, I don’t say your teacher because you are collected information. I am very proud of that. But too many of the young people that go in the history. They thought that the entire things are wrong in our country. Stated the all the things that are good in our country. What is it that makes America, America? Why we became a strong nation. Why we became a nation where people can became free. Did we have problems in the beginning, yes? We were people who black people to kept them slaves, yes. We have to have a war, for 50 thousand people died in order to black people be free. So we paid the price from freedom. And now were we ready to pay the price again. But we keep learning, we keep growing. That’s why make us, who we are. Who were thought that we go to have an African- American president? We do! That is wonderful, I voted, but I am glad he is elected. What is good for America? In Texas for example in the 1830s in Texas if you were Mexican -American you did have much chance to be elected. But now you can be the Mayor, you can be the governor; you can be the president at the school board. You can be the super intended you may be able to be the governor. We glad that what we became. Our Nation is like that we can taken people give them a chance to prove who they can be, not regardless where they come from. And what we have trouble with some people in the pass. In America we believe that all men are created equal. And keep working.
I made this interview in one the offices at South Memorial Christian Church. Where ,Mr, Tisdel preacher. I want to mention that this is my second time, that I make this interview. The first interview were a lot of noise, wasn’t good for my presentation. So I do it again. Believe it or not in the middle of the interview, somebody interrupted my interview. “again” I tried my best. On the other hand the results weren’t good. I try my best but it was possible. I thought that at that time the place will be a lone and quit. But wasn’t like that. People from nowhere just came to the office. I try to correct the interruption and continued with my interview. I apologize myself, I am sorry.
I learned how was life back then. I also learned more about history such as, how was school in that time, how the groups call gangs has been developed through the years, about the stamps with the characters of the British through the different colonies and how San Antonio had changed during the time. I have collect very important information. I glad that Mr. Myers did this project in his class.
For me one of the most inportant questions was , how was the actitude of the young people in school and how was the enviroment in San Antonio in that time. It is important for me to know this information and compared with today. I always was wondering things such as how has been change the laws especially for the young people. In this time many young peopol get hurt by drinking and driving. This is important for me, because in Nuevo laredo, from where I came from you don’t see such things. I am not saying that the young people don’t drink. What I say is that the young people don’t died by driving under the influence of the alcohol. This is not a fact this is a issue, and this is important for me to know. The difference between times.
I learned important information such as a what age you could get your driver license and how laws have been changed.
I think that he was happy. First because most of the time only important people are the ones to been interviewing. I think that he was so excited like me. For me, this intervew help me to know more about this country.
The benefits of doing oral history are a lot. Once again it is important for me because through this formation, I can learn and compared information about the development of this country. This is important because now it this is my country too.
It is important to get testimonies from people that had passed through that specific time and to know their opinions and experiences through their lives. I know that there are many books base in history. On the other hand, hear a vivid voice testimoni, the feelings and memories is the best thing ever. I could see his face, his expressions and opinions and you can feel it in your skin. This is wonderful, what you can’t feel the same sensations with the books. It is not the same.But this is my personal opinion.
- J Paul Tisdel Jr. born September 2, 1945.
- Attended Woodland Elementary.
- Graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School 196.
- Graduated from Texas State University.
- He first job was at UTSA University.
- He is an school teacher and educational consult.
- Married Carolyn Bowen Tisdel in November 10 1967
- He has lived in San Antonio, Texas all his life.
- First child, John Mark was born 1969 her in San Antonio, Texas.
- His only brother, Fillips Tisdel still alive.
- Second child, Jeffrey Lee was born in 1971.
- Third child, Wendy Ann was born in 1973.
- His father, Paul Tisdel died May 12, 1980.
- Paul is married for 42 years.
- He continued working as teach.
- He as his father is a evangelist. He loves what the Bible teaches us to do.
- As his 63 years of age, he continued working as a teacher.
- He collects stamps for a long time, he likes basketball and he loves to read a lot.
- He preaches at South Memorial Christian Church.
- The Handbook of Texas Online is a multidisciplinary encyclopedia of Texas history, geography, and culture sponsored by the Texas State Historical Association and the General Libraries at UT-Austin. It was produced in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts and the General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin. Copyright © The Texas State Historical Association.
- Texas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History has an extensive collection of annotated photographs of twentieth century Texas. Included in the collection are historical images of courthouses, churches, schoolhouses, banks, jails, cemeteries, gas stations, and water towers. Website Content Copyright ©1998-2008. Texas Escapes – Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
- Cost-of-Living Calculator The calculator uses the Consumer Price Index to do the conversions between 1913 and the present. The source for the data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Consumer Price Index reflects the cost of items relative to a specific year. The American Institute for Economic Research. P.O. Box 1000. Great Barrington, Massachusetts. 01230.
- Photographs and/or documents on this website were provided by J Paul Tisdel growing up in San Antonio.