A place of childhood memories

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Going back home is not what one traditionally thinks of traveling, but for me, after being away from my rural East Texas home for more than 40 years, with just the occasional 2 – 3 day to see my elderly mother, or attend funerals. After my mother died in 2002, I’d only been back twice–once when we left my assignment as a diplomat in residence at the University of Houston (190 miles south of my home town) and once for my youngest brother’s funeral. Each of those visits had been a day or less, and had been very limited in scope. In 2010, while we were in Zimbabwe, I was notified that another of my younger brother’s had died, and I was granted leave so that my wife and I could return to the US for his funeral.You’re probably sensing a pattern here; after so many years, I was beginning to associate my hometown with grief and sadness. During the flight to Washington, where we retrieved one of our cars for the drive to Texas, I determined that, notwithstanding the sad occasion of this trip, I was going to take the time to try and rekindle some of the fonder memories of home. My wife, who’d never seen much of my hometown, other than main street and the neighborhoods where my mother and sister lived, agreed.When I was a kid, I loved to pack a lunch into my scout bag and roam the woods and swamps that surrounded us. I was especially fascinated with Lake Murval, a natural lake 17 miles north of us, and one of the few recreational areas where black people were welcomed in the 1960s–even though we  had to use a separate part of the lake. So, we decided that there is where I’d go to tap into those almost forgotten memories of years gone by.We took a few pictures, had sandwiches sitting on a bench on the shore, and then went on home for my brother’s funeral, and somehow, it wasn’t as sad an occasion as I remembered past such visits being. Our youngest daughter, Denise, accompanied Myung and me. Here they are, posing in the parking lot. Lake Murval is in the background. In the 1950s and 60s, there were segregated parking lots. Not so in 2010. This was an impressive sight to me when I was a kid. The largest body of water I’d ever seen until I joined the army. I remember there being more water reeds (complete with snakes) when I was young. A mallard enjoying the solitude.

Source: A place of childhood memories


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