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I've lived in Houston for all of my life, with the minor exception of 3 years in the Navy. I grew up in the West University area, then -- when 10 -- moved out to the Memorial area. It took years, but I finally saved up enough to buy a house in the same neighborhood I grew up in. That adds a lot of continuity to my life, something that many of my friends are quite jealous of.
At various times, I've lived in Memorial, Spring Branch, Montrose, and West University areas. I'm intimately familiar with the west, northwest and southwest portions of the city, and worked downtown for several years.
My brother and I were the very first students of the Awty school... Jack and Kay Awty were close friends of my parents (I have some 8mm movies of us at the beach... or should I say, my family... I hadn't been born yet when the movie was shot). My mother was the first teacher there. The Awty International School is now world famous, very elite, and I can't even afford to send my own kids there! Oh well!
I went to West University Elementary, then Rummel Creek Elementary, then Memorial Jr. High, then Spring Forest Jr. High, Westchester Sr. High School, then the University of Houston. Overall, the schools in Houston are fairly good. There does, however, seem to be a tendency of urban flight, thus, teacher flight, too, to the outer suburbs. The Spring Branch school district used to be the best around, but the newer school districts tend to attract the better teachers and have the growing tax base. Now, Spring Branch isn't nearly as highly rated overall, but still has some good schools.
I hear from a lot of out-of-town people that there are only two things to do in Houston: eat and drive. So, yes, I'll admit that Houston is a LARGE city, spread out all over the place, and very little public transportation. And, yes, there seem to be four resturants on every corner, and most of them are quite good. So those two comments are true.
But there is more to Houston than just driving and eating. To get to most of the attractions, you'll need a car and you need to be well-fed as it will take some time to get there (that's a joke, okay?), but from the historic -- San Jacinto Monument -- to the arts -- Jones Hall -- to family entertainment -- Six Flags/Astroworld, Houston has many, many things to do. Here is a reference to the Best of Houston, 1997.
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