The Departed

One by one, nearly all my people (including me) have left my hometown. Is it still my hometown?
The Departed
AGE OF INNOCENCE: The author playing in his front yard in 1967.

If you happen to be from a place like Brownsville—meaning not from a city like Houston or Dallas or Austin or San Antonio—and you tell someone you are from this place, the first question that person will most likely ask is whether you still have family back home. The next question, assuming there is a next question, will be about how often you go home to visit. They ask because they are nice and friendly and because this is what nice and friendly people do. They ask because they know it takes some effort to get to this place that you are from and because they understand that no one goes there to see anything new but only to see who and what they left behind, which, in most cases, happens to be a piece of themselves.

From Austin, where I have now lived for most of the past 25 years, a visit to Brownsville is 724 miles round-trip (the distance somehow becomes even longer when you attempt the journey with two small children sitting in your backseat). And as rushed as it is to go down there for less than 48 hours, staying for more than 48 hours only tends to remind me why I left. Which is to say that going for a long weekend does not necessarily mean going for a more relaxing weekend, because—as hard as this is to admit—there

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...