Hello from back home in East Texas!
I wasn’t going to blog tonight. I figured 3 days in a row was a bit overkill. But, I had a nice dose of “back home” to ease my homesickness that I went into detail about a few days ago, and I legitimately have something I want to share. I hope that it doesn’t bore you 🙂
Kilgore, Texas. Population of less than 13000 (that’s what google makes me think). It’s not even really my hometown. I grew up in New London for the most part. Moved to Liberty City and graduated from Sabine High School. Kilgore was just the “closest town with a wal-mart.” That’s exactly how I describe it to people at Texas A&M. Home of the World Famous Kilgore College Rangerettes. **takes moment to idolize**
I was assigned an essay in my BUSN101 class fall semester that asked the writer to” use their persuasive skill and write about a vacation destination.” I let my imagination run wild as I described Kilgore, Texas like it was the new “Panama Beach”. Everything I said was true. World’s Richest Acre, the Oil Museum, beautiful downtown RICH in history. Little did I know that all I needed to do was turn to my relatives to get the real story on this “rich history” that I was describing. Tonight I realized how deeply rooted in Kilgore, Texas I am.
After reuniting with the boyfriend after two weeks, we found ourselves heading out to some “local entertainment” under the oil derricks in downtown Kilgore. Granted, Goodday Coffee and Books is our absolute FAVORITE place to go, so after some caramel lattes, we were ready to settle down and hear the band. Immediately it was obvious that we were some of the only teenagers out to enjoy the music, but this came as no surprise. We don’t really go on normal teenager-type dates. This was perfect for us!
Also, it didn’t come as a surprise that I immediately spotted out my Aunt Pat (great aunt on my dad’s side), and Granny (dad’s mother) among the audience. After settling down beside them to enjoy music, we were soon joined by my Aunt LaVerne and Uncle Jerry. A nice ol’ family reunion right there!
As the night wore on, my crazy aunts began to tell stories of when they were growing up in Kilgore (mostly my aunt pat). When the “boys stood outside the pawn shop and the girls drove by to wave and catch a glimpse of the cuties.” When my Aunt Pat RUSHED to the local radio station to catch a glimpse of Elvis Presley after she heard him on an interview. (For all of you out there familiar with downtown Kilgore, this radio station was housed over what is now Mary’s Makin’s!) When “the only thing to do in town was to go to the rootbeer stand.” Some of the very same buildings that hold the shops and stores that I love today were the same ones that they made memories in! Listening to all of these stories literally took me back to all of the old pictures you see of the dirty oil derricks, old ford trucks, and workboot-clad roughnecks. And to see my family relive those tales is truly something… I missed my era, I do believe.
My papa passed away last March. A few weeks ago actually marked the year anniversary. I think back to his visitation service and the pictures of him and my granny back in those days… a lot of the pictures right in front of some of the same oil derricks that are replicated in downtown Kilgore now. I remember telling Aunt ‘Verne that he looked like James Dean… and he did. And tonight I reminded Granny that he looked just like James Dean… I’m sure that she didn’t need to be reminded.
I’m old enough now to appreciate those stories. To really take interest in where I came from and what made me, “me.” I came from a long line of really hard working men All oilfield. My dad was brave and branched out, and seeing as I’m the only child and I’m a girl that’s not majoring in petroleum engineering, I have a feeling I’ll be further branching out from the oilfield, too. But that doesn’t mean I won’t remember how much it affected my life. Later tonight after talking to Michael’s parents about the good time that we had, Michael’s mom laughed and said something to the effect of, “You’re rooted right here in Kilgore!” And I realize now how true that is. No matter how much I want to go somewhere big, do something new, and be someone different, nothing will change where I got started. Walk down the path of bricks at the World’s Richest Acre and take note of every “Barton” and “Whitworth” brick laid in that pathway.
Those are my roots.