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November 2010
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chris/CO149 [userpic]
Journey to the Heart of Darkness

aka Crawford, Texas 76638

Background: For years, when someone asked me where my mother was from, I replied "McLennan County, Texas." The original reason for this was that for years no one had ever heard of Crawford. The current reason for this is that everyone has heard of Crawford and if I claimed Mom was from there I'd either face derisive disbelief or (worse) derisive belief.

As may be, Mom's from Crawford, and I'm certain I have kin in the area, but I didn't really have time to track them down. I did stop in at the St Paul Memorial Park, however, where two great-grandparents, a great aunt and a great uncle are buried. It's a nice little cemetery, in the canonical small-town cemetery place (just outside the city limits). Oddly, after over 50 years the cemetery is hardly more than 25% full.

(I'm not posting pix of headstones here. If you're really that interested catch me later. But not here.)

Following that, I went back into town, and had lunch (chicken fried chicken), then had a walk around.

I was last in Crawford in 1975, the only time I got to meet my great-grandmother. At this time Crawford was a struggling little farmtown, just like millions others. Eventually it died, again like millions others. Then the governor of Texas bought some land, and that was like the lightning bolt that raised Dr. Frankenstein's creation. Later the governor was elected president and that was zap number two. And now we have modern Crawford. An undead town. The Co-op is boarded up. The grocery store I remember is now a tourist shop. There's a completely new tourist shop.

I stopped in at the Yellow Rose store and got a couple of random tschotschkes.

Following this, I hopped back into the car and drove out to the old Prairie Chapel School, a largish one-room schoolhouse built in the late 1880's and decommissioned in 1939. My grandmother went to school here. In 1975, the building was in slight disrepair, and you could just walk in. No one seemed to be using it for anything. Today it's spruced up and someone is using it as a community hall. New doors (and new locks) have been installed. No one was in, but I could see that the hall is all ready for Christmas with a tree and wreaths.

On the way back, I noticed a couple of low buildings hat had a number of antennas sticking up. I'm a ham operator, and I'm sensitized to antennas. There was a heavy gate across the drive and signs reading "US PROPERTY NO TRESPASSING". Then I saw the ROAD CLOSED sign at the head of the next side road. I could see a gatehouse and barricade about 300 feet farther down.

Now let's get this straight. I can go my whole life without knowing where a sitting president's private home is. There's more trouble there than that's worth. And I'd like to look into the eyes of a scowling Secret Service agent and say that I didn't even know I was close. Well, I was close. I decided that discretion is indeed the better part of valor, and I zoomed out of there at top safe speed. No, no pix. Don't ask. No, I'm not giving you directions, either; figure it out yourself. (Hint: all I had was Mapquest and the knowledge that the building I was looking for is called "Prairie Chapel". Well, and the fact that I was there when I was 11, which helped more than I thought it would, but less than it could have. I didn't even ask for directions!)

Current Mood: relievedrelieved
Current Music: Jarre, Equinoxe

someday i might scan them, but i have some pictures from my 3 day stint in Bliss, Idaho. Population 185. phear.

much more sense, now. :) Thank you for sharing!