pretend people had TV sets in the 1800s, and they watched a show
called See It Now and Then, hosted by Edward R. Tomorrow.
Tune in now:
Mr. Tomorrow, smoking, begins his interview with Emily West -- a.k.a.
Emily Morgan a.k.a. the Yellow Rose of Texas.
Ed: Good evening. Welcome to See It Now and Then.
Weíre at Morganís
Point in Texas, where San Jacinto River meets Galveston Bay
and where we are honored to have a very special guest -- the famous
Yellow Rose of Texas. Welcome, Miss West. We are delighted to meet
you at last.
Em: Thank you. Iím glad to be here. And you can call me Em.
Ed: (Lighting another cigarette) And you can call me Ed.
Thank you for coming all the way from New York for our show. How
does it feel to be back at Morganís
Em: (Peeling an orange) Oh, I loved it here before the war
Ed: I see you like oranges.
Em: Healthier than cigarettes. Col. Morgan planted orange
trees here, you know.
Ed: Col. Morgan Ö you worked for him Ö James Morgan of Morganís
Em: Actually, he called it New Washington but the name never
caught on. Itís better known as Morganís
Point is just east of the San
Jacinto battleground, isnít it? Just a few miles?
Em: Yes. (Extending an orange to the talk show host) Have
Ed: (Half-smiling) No, thank you. Too risky for my health.
First, tell us what youíre doing now since you went back to New
York in 1837.
Em: Iím working in a restaurant but when I save up enough
money I plan to start my own business, a health food store. I think
Iíll call it The Big Orange.
Ed: (Squinting, forcing a smile) Tell us how you got from
New York to Texas in the first place. And then back to New York.
Em: Well, itís a long story but suffice to say, I heard Col.
Morgan needed a housekeeper at his hotel in Morganís
Point. I wanted to see Texas -- sounded like the Promised Land
-- so I hired on as an indentured servant for Col. Morgan.
Ed: You were a free black and you chose to be an indentured
Em: Itís not as bad as it sounds. I signed a contract to
work a year for $100, free room and board. And until Santa Annaís
Army arrived, the working conditions were fine.
Ed: Those must have been frightening times, before Ė and
during -- the battle
at San Jacinto.
Em: Horrible. Santaís Annaís soldiers ransacked Col. Morganís
warehouse and then set the buildings on fire before marching on
Ed: And took you with them.
Em: Not just me. Several people who worked at Morganís
Ed: Please, tell us. The entire world is waiting to hear
it from you. Were you really in Santa Annaís tent on April 21, 1836,
when the battle started at San Jacinto?
Em: (Irritated) No comment.
Ed: After the battle, what?
Em: Judge Moreland, who fought at the battle Ė he manned
the Twin Sisters
cannon -- felt sorry for me, took me into his home for a while.
He helped me get a new passport to go back to New York because I
had lost all my papers and personal belongings in the battle.
Ed: Did you look in Santa Annaís tent?
Em: (Irritated.) I was afraid it would be like this. The
biased media -- youíre all the same. Just interested in scandal.
Ed: Iím trying to get at the truth, Em.
Em: Call me Miss West.
Ed: Uh .. Miss West. Please, weíre run out of time now, but
you would be willing to come back on another show?
Em: I might if you wonít bring up the subject of Santa Annaís
tent. I didnít ask to be in the big middle of the Texas Revolution,
Ed: Thank you for joining us. (Camera zeroes in for an Edward
R. Tomorrow close-up.) Good night and good luck.
(ďYellow Rose of TexasĒ music fades in background.)
As Mr. Tomorrow is leaving, heís stopped by a reporter with the
Associated Pony Express. ďDo you think she really was in the tent
with Santa Anna? Whatís your opinion? Truth or fiction?Ē
Squinting his eyes and trying not to smile, Edward R. Tomorrow says:
ďOnly the Yellow Rose knows.Ē
© Wanda Orton
June 2, 2015 columns