The Campus was our Country Club

By Don T. Whitaker

I did not realize it at the time, but my childhood was made special by the place my family lived: University Oaks, a small neighborhood separated from the University of Houston campus by Wheeler Street. The houses were well-seasoned, some a bit run down, a few luxurious, the majority comfortably middle class. Families, like mine, chose to live there because the University was a stroll away.


My father was a tenured engineering professor and my mother was a Class of 1944 alumna and a former editor of the Daily Cougar. Her mother lived in the second house from Wheeler on Rockwood Drive, where she made her living renting rooms to students. Our house was several doors farther down, a big frame house with iffy architecture, too few window unit air conditioners, and spotty heating. Its location made up for whatever disadvantages it had. Dad could walk to the office, there were cultural and artistic opportunities nearby, a world-class library, and, most important to me, the neighborhood kids had a world of entertainment and wide open spaces on our doorstep.

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