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Growing Up in Bandera

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I often mention some familiar names in my tales who were connected to my early life experiences in Bandera. Names like some of the Wright family members; Smith, Clay and Gene to name a few from around the area.

Sometimes it takes someone from an older generation to have that light of remembrance come on at the mention of some forgotten names. Bozo Pue, Ross Essary, Tinker Stevens or maybe Allie Allsup from up Medina way.

Allie was the auctioneer back in the day when I was involved with FFA and showing animals at the annual stock show

Howard Denson had the first plumbing shop that I can recall in Bandera. Frank Mansfield had an appliance store next to the Phillips 66 service station that was owned by Dick Brown, where I worked while in high school.

Dan Callaghan ran a plumbing shop out back of Frank’s store. J.W. Jennings was just getting started in the plumbing business around here at that time, as I recall.

Ramon Ybarra, who was our close neighbor, was also a plumber.

In July of 1965, right after high school graduation, I began my plumbing apprenticeship training with Local Union 142 in San Antonio. I said goodbye to Irving Billings at the Free State Oil Company, where I was employed at the time, and hello to the big city with its demanding style.

My uncle, Tommy Kindla, along with my two brothers and I followed my dad into the plumbing trade. Now I’m a 55-year retired member who refuses to do his own plumbing.

Slim Kalka was an electrician who lived on the corner of Cedar and 9th Street a couple blocks from my granddaddy Kindla’s house.

There was a rock wall in front of his house which provided a nice shaded rest spot when I would be heading over to granddaddy’s after a day of learning at St. Joseph’s Catholic School.

Grunty and Johnny Richards used to hold classes at that location on how to speak Carny, Pig Latin and Double Dutch. I found out later when speaking a word in Pig Latin that wasn’t acceptable for a young boy to be using that my dad was well versed in the language.

When I think of the old timers, I can recall their trades almost as well as their names. There were plenty of carpenters among the earlier residents of Bandera; Henry Adamietz and Vincent Anderwald, just to name a couple. Often that job was in addition to their farm or ranch life.

Looking back through my Growing Up In Bandera memories, I can recall lots of ranchers who truly were real cowboys. They grew up doing their work from horseback as they watched the changes in their way of life taking place.

It was a time when work being done from saddlebags was slowly being replaced by working out of a pickup truck. Another example of things getting easier and old traditions fading away. Bitter sweet progress is a fact of life around these parts.