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Growing Up in Bandera

April 26, 2023 - 00:00
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Imagine a time around Bandera when having a flat along the highway and people were constantly stopping to see if you needed a hand. Now consider that one or two might stop and discover that you really didn’t need help but they stayed and visited anyway until you were ready to get back on the road.

Imagine you were at the old Bandera Icehouse shooting pool or playing dominos and a beer distributor comes in and buys a round for the house. Didn’t matter if it was his brand you were drinking, he bought anyway. He would even buy a sodie pop for those few who didn’t imbibe. Imagine going to high school in Bandera where you knew everyone’s name. Not just those in your class. Everyone! There was a pretty good chance that you knew their parents and all their siblings as well. If you planned to go stay overnight at a friends house there were no questions of who and where because your folks were already fully aware of your friend’s family. Imagine getting stopped by the local law enforcement for some reason and when you reached home your mom had already received three phone calls as the news was spreading like a wildfire. Most often a teen would get a lecture from the officer involved followed with a threat to call your folks the next time. There might have been more calls made before your arrival at home but the party lines stayed pretty tied up back in the day. Imagine a time when the teacher who was a nun made you stay after class to finish work even though your mom was waiting outside in the car or expecting you home. If that nun whacked you on the knuckles or thumped the back of your ear you didn’t dare complain at home for fear of getting it again. Believe me when I say the nuns were ready to give hugs to a kid too when needed. Imagine a river around Bandera that was free to roam and enjoy at any time and any season. Fishing, swimming, squirrel hunting or parking with your sweetheart. You were even allowed to drive your car into the shallows to give it a wash. Swimming was best when all your friends were gathered at “The Swing” and the radio in someone’s car was playing a favorite local San Antonio station’s music.

I often try to imagine what the area was like before my time here in the town of Bandera. I have a million questions I wish that I would have asked before losing my parents and grandparents. I cherish some of the stories they shared with me and a lot are not so much different than my own. Imagine a lifetime shared with your high school sweetheart who became your spouse and spent 56+ years of making a family life together. If you can imagine these things then you know what my life has been like Growing Up In Bandera.