Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.
– Dr. Seuss
I stopped in Millersview, situated in Concho County at the intersection of FMs 765 and 2134 (that’s Farm to Market, for those of you unfamiliar with Texas road numbering schemes), to track down Mission San Clemente, which I was told by a roadside marker was nearby. As it turns out, it was not as nearby as I was led to believe, and I never actually found it. What I did find was this lovely ruin: the Millersview School.
The school closed in 1989, and the students began busing to Eden, about half an hour to the southwest.
The gymnasium, built in 1939, is yet another of the many Works Progress Administration projects that provided Depression-era Americans with much needed employment. It has been restored by the community and is still used as a venue for town events, including an annual Veteran’s Day barbecue (which, coincidentally, is today).
It may not look like much now, and you may wonder why I bothered taking these shots. There’s something about an abandoned building that moves the writer in me. So many stories, so much history. Pain, laughter, fear, sadness–a melange of human emotion oozing from every ruined surface, every sagging door frame, every shattered windowpane. If this is what they mean when they ask whether I believe in ghosts, then yes, most definitely I do. Buildings like this are full of them, wispy memories floating suspended, eternal, waiting for someone to reanimate them, give them new life, pass them on to a new generation. History is the great incubator of humanity, and with each new telling our collective story grows.
* * * * *
Then, Dusty and I were off again, headed down US-67 toward Fort Stockton, straight through the heart of oil country. The smell of petroleum saturated the atmosphere, burrowing its way into every pore of my being; pumpjacks lined the highway, crazy perpetual motion machines sapping the earth of its essence–up, down, back, forth, and again. Queues of tanker trucks stretched to infinity, barreling past amidst clouds of dust and showers of gravel, each new onslaught causing the car to start in alarm and hug the shoulder like a security blanket. By some miracle, the windshield survived intact.
Innumerable fields of cotton speed by outside the car window, tiny balls of fabric snow clinging to emerald bolls with prickly tenacity. Where do they go from here? A honeymoon suite overlooking a tropical beach somewhere; an operating room in a refugee camp on the other side of the world; a crib in which the next Beethoven lies sleeping? Past, present, future–all accounted for in the blink of a passerby.
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
To be continued…