I’ve just about caught up with sorting through photos and notes on scraps of paper and in my little spiral at this point on my second research trip for my work-in-progress, the nonfiction book West Texas Interlude. I spent most of last week at my grandparents’ place in Boonsville, before my aunt and I headed out on a two day trip to West Texas.
As happened on my first research trip in November 2011, many of my best recordings and notes were made while driving to doctor appointments for my grandfather or hovering behind my grandmother while she stirred something on the stove. I’ve done quite a bit of driving in the counties near where they live, as well as riding around on the Polaris Ranger or walking on their place. I haven’t seen as many deer as I did last fall, but a few are still hanging around. One morning I saw the largest jackrabbit I’ve ever seen, bouncing out of the brush near where I’d pulled over my truck on the gravel road. My grandmother and I spotted the red-tailed hawk that we’d seen a couple of times in November, and I couldn’t begin to count the cardinals that have flitted back and forth in front of me on the road or in the front yard, their vibrant feathers brightening up the dull browns of a January landscape in Texas.
Over the weekend, my aunt and I found ourselves in Stamford, Aspermont, Snyder, and Sweetwater. We were on a quest to find rent houses, an apartment, a motel, a couple of churches, an elementary school, and a roadside park where my grandfather played baseball on the Conoco team in 1950. We took photos all along the way, less for me to post online, more to show my grandparents (who would have come along for the ride if they could).
My favorite house that we found was this one in Aspermont (pop. 1021). A couple of ladies we talked to at the Pony Espresso cafe near the square in Aspermont surmised that this is the one where my grandparents rented an upstairs apartment as their first home after their wedding in 1950. Wouldn’t it make a perfect haunted house in a movie?
I love the dormers and the quirky diamond-shaped windows.
Alas, my grandmother took one look at the photos and announced that this was not the house where they lived. Our new friends at the Pony Espresso knew of no other house in town that was large enough to be divided into apartments that fit the bill, so we’re left to assume the house is gone.
Back to organizing photos and transcribing interviews…