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Growing Up in Bandera

April 05, 2023 - 00:00
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Editor’s Note: Growing Up in Bandera is available in book form! Visit the Bulletin’s office or call 830796-3718 for more info.

Oldtimers like myself who are native to Bandera sometimes just have to sit back and smile when folks start preaching and arguing about how to preserve our small town. Keep it from changing? Exactly what does that mean? Unless you grew up here you can’t imagine how much change has taken place.

When I was a kid most of the streets were gravel and street lights weren’t on every street corner in town. House numbers and street names were a mystery to most of us. By 8 pm most weeknights there were usually only a few cars to be seen on Main Street in front of the OST. Those vehicles belonged to the county sheriff and his deputy who were having their nightly cup of coffee with constable Warren Hyde. DPS officers were extremely rare back in the day around here. Even the teens who earlier had been dragging main were back at home doing homework by that late hour.

The town of Bandera was just a bit over one square mile in area so when something changed it was noticeable to say the least. Today there are small businesses opening and closing all the time while going unnoticed by many of us. Short term rentals are now taking over many of the homes where I used to go visit my friends. Motorcycles and golf carts are more plentiful than horses on the streets of The Cowboy of the World most days.

There is nothing wrong with that and don’t try to tell me I am responsible for destroying an image you have created for our town because I myself acquired a golf cart. I needed to carry my great grandkids along the trails I once traveled as a barefooted kid and after 75 years I’m feeling entitled. I am trying to preserve the true history of Bandera.

If we are being honest about Bandera’s history we need to consider the cypress mill, trailrace and Polish immigrants who were shingle makers. Without that there wouldn’t have been a Bandera as a gathering spot for the great cattle drives heading north. The vast majority of people moving into the area have no knowledge of that part of our history. That is the sad reality of being a one trick pony.

Part of my current Growing Up In Bandera life involves learning how to dodge road apples with my electric golf cart while showing my grandkids all the places connected to my family’s history in this town. It reminds me of my Granddaddy Kindla’s life that ranged from riding mules as a young man up to later when he bought a brand new Ford truck with a flathead V-8 motor. That was just about 20 years before man walked on the moon. Can you imagine that journey? Talk about change!!!