SPRING, Texas — It doesn’t take much time to realize where "Big Bang Theory's" Sheldon Cooper is from.
“The prairie sky is wide and high," Sheldon says. "Deep in the heart of Texas.”
But it’s Jim Parsons, the Klein alumnus disguised behind those crazy science T-shirts.
For Parsons, a childhood in Klein was much like you’d expect: a quiet neighborhood with elementary and middle schools around the corner.
Decades have passed, but for Mrs. Lang, it’s as if time stood still.
“Sometimes when he turns or makes an expression, I remember the Jim from 7th grade," said Leigh Langlinais, Parson's 7th grade teacher at Strack Intermediate.
That calm, quiet kid no longer her student, but instead a piece of her past, and she, part of his.
“He couldn’t have graduated if he didn’t pass 7th grade math, so I did something," Mrs. Lang said.
Parsons left the lockers behind and headed off to high school where he remains printed in black and white on the pages of old yearbooks.
The yearbook tells a different tale of Parsons wanting to be a weatherman.
“You’ll see me on television or hear me on the radio doing the news," one senior read aloud.
“He always wanted to be on television, but he didn’t have any aspirations, I don’t think, for being on stage," said Margaret Valenta, Parsons' high school drama teacher.
Parsons eventually found his footing after stumbling on stage at Klein Oak where he stole the show.
“Jim had something that’s just innate, that you have to be born with. It’s just the 'it' thing. And Jim had 'it,'" Valenta said.
And "it" became even more clear when Jim became a University of Houston Cougar.
“I know exactly when I met him," said Carolyn Houston Boone, UH Assistant Professor of Acting and Directing. "There was never any question of whether this young man could do it or not."
But the future is the one thing a teacher can never know.
“I had no idea. I don’t think he had any idea," Boone said.
“But I always felt like Jim had a leg up on everybody else," Valenta said.
But even with the fame and the new name, it’s Parsons they see when they watch Sheldon on TV.
“He is not that person. He developed Sheldon to fit that role, and did it so successfully everybody thinks that’s who he is," Boone said.
"I feel like I have an attachment there. I feel like he belongs to me," Mrs. Lang said.
“Regardless of how old he gets, he’s always going to be just one of my kids," Valenta said.
It’s been 279 episodes of lines and laughs, bloopers and bazingas. Twelve unforgettable years.
But it all began back in Klein on the little wooden stage where Parsons got his first big bang.
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