Gene Watters Uzzle

“We are the sum of our experiences.”BioGeneWatters

This will be a bio, but not in the typical genre of bios.

After graduation from S F Austin H S my career in the office work world took me to Gulf Oil Corp for one year as clerk in credit card division. One day after work I took a city bus down S. Main to the Shamrock Hotel where in the basement meeting room there was an open audition for Vegas showgirls which was sponsored by the Chronicle. I was selected that night along with Judy Johnson from Bellaire by Charlie Evans, the entertainer columnist for the Chronicle. We boarded a plane two weeks later with Kathy Martin, who had been
selected from her photo entry. We all won a six weeks contract including a round-trip airfare to perform on main stage at The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas.

During the next six months I performed in full GeneShowgirlcostume several dance routines at opening of each show. Some of the headliner stars such as Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Judy Garland, Sammie Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole would be booked for two or four week performances. This was in 1958-59 before the famous “Rat Pack” formed. That name suited them, because while each of those men were great singers (except for Joey Bishop) they were rats to their women. When people ask me about these days I must admit as glamorous as it might sound, just like all jobs, it was truly hard and very unstable. You were always critique by hotel board members, bosses, and choreographers. Pink slips were handed out often and show routines changed every six weeks, when you couldn’t keep up you were out. If I had not been training in dance from the age of five, it would not have been so easy for me. As it was I managed to fool the male element in charge that I was a good girl underage and needed protection, which actually was true. I was so naive at the time.

GeneSubmarineUpon returning home exhausted I took six months to find my footing doing model
training and modeling jobs all around Houston. I worked free lance numerous
positions while entering several beauty contests, which exploited my picture in newspaper. One of these brought me the title of Miss Sea, I think the Judges had a little fun with names and words on that one. It brought me the opportunity to have my picture on front page of The Houston Post. When a U S submarine Cabrilla docked at City Dock of Houston I got a personal tour from Naval Master Seaman Lt. R H. Campbell who loaned me his hat for the picture taken and published on Saturday May 19, 1962 to promote the National Maritime Day celebration.

I also did a photo shoot directed by the Reba twins, Jane and Joan whom I met while in Vegas. Joan and I roomed together for about four months and just happen to run into each other in Houston later. They were working with the Houston Oilers AFL football team at that time. They asked me to do a publicity shoot with a couple of the team members. My picture appeared in newspaper with Hugh Pitts and Don Floyd for announcing the contest of “Miss Houston Oiler of 1960” to get applicants from the area. For years after that picture appeared I had people asking me about it thinking that I had received the title. It was just a modeling shoot never intended to enter myself, beside doing the publicity made me ineligible.

GeneAirplaneThen I was in the “Miss Mermaid” contest for Houston National Boat Show and “Miss Ellington” for local airforce base. Got my picture in paper and even was Miss June in a monthly magazine for the Air Force dressed in shorts cowgirl hat and fitted to my shape flight jacket on a F-17 ladder leading to the cockpit. I
never got a ride in the jet like I got in the submarine.

Met a man who hired me to be the Receptionist for family owned company Texas Construction Materials where I worked for around six years. He didn’t mind my part-time modeling and publicity in fact he enjoyed the comments that were made to him about our friendship. He never asked me out, although I think he had desires to know me better. After years of encountering this attitude from men who are reluctant to approach an attractive female, I think they miss the chance to meet a woman who also has for one reason or another reluctances. So many missed futures with interesting honest kind hearted men and women

After dating numerous men in the early sixties airforce GeneCowboyHatjet fighter pilots, restaurant owners, professional football players, lawyers, actors, policemen to truck
drivers I got a call from my first true love who had been busy himself preparing for a dream career. Yep, that’s right our fellow classmate Donald Clayton Uzzle. I have often said that Uzzle men have been in my life one way or another most of my life, so I guess that it was part of my destiny. Don had been drafted into the Army, but he made the best of it for himself and maneuvered into training to fly helicopters as a Warrant Officer and was 30 days away from serving 13 months in Korea. We renewed our romance before he left, but really made no commitments until our letters got really serious before his return. We married in December 1964 and had two beautiful boys that were twenty-two months apart. We lived in Miami, Florida where Don realized his desired career as commercial pilot for Eastern Airlines. But, I guess a tour in Korea and one in Vietnam left him with doubts of his position to be a family man. Some how our goals were so different that raising kids just didn’t fit into his future. I never let a man treat me disrespectful and I wasn’t going to at that time.

My years of living with and watching my boys grow were the best of my life. I went to kids baseball, football games school functions and took them fishing and boating and enjoyed every minute. We went to Disney World as often as we could afford and even took a three week car trip to Colorado to let them experience playing in snow on Pike’s Peak. They finally grew into pre-teens, which scared me to think they might easily be affect by drugs. So we moved to Texas around an Aunt and cousins on my Dad’s side. Stayed in Longview until they were college age. I went to Irving near Dallas to put myself in a better career opportunity area. Learned computers and computer software which enabled me to market myself for a better position. Around 1991 I moved to Houston and my oldest son graduated from Austin (Nacogdoches) moving to Houston area also. Our second son passed away in 1989 when he was barely twenty years old. It was that same year Eastern Airlines folded, Don lost his income. I, also had financial problems trying to live on my salary alone for the last two years working mostly with the temporary agencies. That 1987-89 era was divesting for lots of people and especially when you lose a child that was struggling with the questions of life. I didn’t think I would ever recover, but with time and lots of forgiveness in my soul, I managed after seven years, to pull myself out and get a better
paying job and survive all the negative black clouds.

Then in 1996 my son married a beautiful Houston woman whose family welcomed him as one of their own. They now have two daughters Amber 6 and Ashley 20 mo. They live 23 miles from me so I don’t get to sit with them as much as I would like. I found a well paying position with a corporation near my home, which I kept until retiring in 2002. I do part-time childcare for several families in The Woodlands area for families with new babies. I still love kids and working with children, watching them grow and develop. I guess I didn’t have enough children, but I know that I did what I was supposed to do with my life.

We each have a lesson to learn while on earth. Sometimes it is as simple as how to give of yourself before you can expect to receive love. My faith of God and all is right in his world helps me get by each day. I have learned that you can’t make another person do what you think is the right thing. They have to come to know what is right for them. Each of us has a destiny, which will help to teach us about the whole universe.

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