I often receive comments about how my tales of growing up in the Texas Hill Country reminds folks of their young life in places far to the north. My old Army buddy Clayton Arnold who lives in Rochester, New York recently spoke of picking pumpkins to sell after reading my story about watermelon adventures with my Granddaddy Clark in Bandera and the surrounding area. I loaded an old Dodge truck with melons while up there he was loading a stake bed Ford with pumpkins to take to the factory.
During the summer as we were stacking and hauling hay for four cents a bale, he was picking apples for ten cents a bushel and weighing cherry crates. He is envious of the fact that I have had access to pecan trees throughout my lifetime. It is something that we just take for granted down here in the south. Even with the squirrel problem I face each season I still manage to salvage a few nuts most of the time. Back in the day we gathered pecans along the river and sold them to support our penny candy habit.
As I have mentioned in previous stories my brother and I had a back porch converted into a bedroom due to the size of our family consisting of three girls and three boys. He had a converted breezeway bedroom all to himself because he had four sisters and no brothers. That must have been a pretty tough life.
Like me he enjoyed baloney sandwiches almost every day for a school brown bag lunch and when he ate in the cafeteria it cost twenty-five cents. Sounds like the quarter priced school lunches were standard back then because that is what I remember too. The school cafeteria lunch always came with an apple which we only ate so we could throw the core at someone.
He never mentioned anything like shoveling snow off of sidewalks and driveways but I have to believe there was some of that going on at some point in his life. He sends me pictures of deep snow in his neighborhood sometimes and I respond with pictures of me in mid-December wearing shorts and t-shirt grilling on my bbq pit out in the yard.
Comparing your young life to mine is always welcome and I enjoy all the tales from far off places. If you were raised somewhere else but now live in our area you surely have a better feel for why I am so proud of my Growing Up In Bandera.
Editor’s Note: Don’t miss Mr. Clark next Thursday, April 14, at the Bandera Public Library at 2 p.m. He’ll be speaking about his stories and signing copies of his book.