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Revisiting Channelview and other oddities

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Channelview, Texas

Channelview is one of those places that, when you're born there, you do everything you can to get out as soon as possible.  Obviously it hasn't always been that way.  My great-grandparents moved there in the 30's, my grandparents built a house on their property right next door to their house in the 50's and my grandmother's brother built a house just beyond my grandparents' in the 60's.  Although my great-grandparents sold their place in the 70's, the other two houses are still in the family.  My grandmother still lives in the home she and my grandfather moved into in 1953 when my mother was just three years old, my uncle was still a baby and my youngest aunt wasn't even considered.  Some of my cousins now live in the house built by my great-uncle for his family.

I love my grandmother's house.  It is the home of my youth - my mother and I lived there with them until I was just a little younger than Trystan is now.  I also love the Channelview I remember.  

It's very odd how the world changes in just one generation.  I never traveled any farther than the opposite side of Houston until I was twelve years old and yet Trystan has been to San Francisco and Washington DC and many places in between and he's not quite eleven.  Channelview was my whole world - Trystan's world is so much larger and seems to take up the country if not the entire planet.  I remember standing on the crosswalk that connected my neighborhood to the neighborhood across IH 10 and looking down on all the cars that drove by beneath me, wondering where they were going and about the adventures they would have once they crossed out of Channelview - Trystan's in one of those cars and can tell you stories about the things he's seen and the places he's been.

Although my memory of Channelview is a gilded Norman Rockwell image, I did notice the cracks in the veneer when I was a teenager.  My best friend from high school and I began calling it Cattle-ville at that time and spoke of escape.  The not so nice parts of town seemed far seedier than they had when I was younger.  Graffitti began springing up on all the surfaces flat and otherwise.  And then of course, there's the "Texas Cheerlearder Murdering Mom" also called "the Pompom Mom."  Yep, that's my hometown - football and cheerleaders and FFA.

A few years back there was also a bank robbery.  I can't remember if Brett used a gun but I do remember he tried to rob a bank at which many people worked who were able to not only recognize him on sight but also knew where his mother still lived.  This is a small town, what kind of a moron would try to rob a small town bank at which one of his old high school buddies is branch manager?  When he demanded the cash, the teller called him by name...  He never even made it out to his car, the branch manager folowed him and convinced him to return the money.

My yearbook from my freshman year is nearly a copy of my mother's high school yearbooks - same sir names, different clothing styles.  I used to be able to walk into the grocery store and know almost every person I saw - heavens, with my grandfather's nine siblings and their families still in close proximity, I was related to nearly every other person there in some way or another.

It was with this history that I took my mother and son back to Channelview for a week-long visit with my grandmother.  On our first night there (literally less than an hour after our arrival), some idiot tried to burgularize my car.  Luckily, I never keep anything of value in the car so they managed to get away with about five cents that I had dumped into a loose change collector earlier that day.  It upset my grandmother but didn't bother me so much since nothing of value was taken.  After that, granma insisted I park in her garage since the driver's door on my car locks only sometimes.

The next day, to escape the house for a bit, the three of us went for a drive while my aunt and grandmother went off to finish Christmas shopping.  I gave Trystan the grand tour of this place I used to ride my bicycle all over while my son's head was burried in his game boy.  I pointed out where his Oma and I lived after we moved out of his Nana's house, the homes of several of my old friends and places I used to work and go to school.  As we were passing by one house, the one I pointed out as having been the home of my best friend from pre-school until high school, Mama noticed that one of the women standing in front of it looked a good deal like that old friend.  

Later that afternoon, Tryst and I drove back to the house I had pointed out to him earlier as my old friend's and I was pleasantly pleased to find that Joanna was there after all.  It turns out that her brother passed away two months ago and then her father passed on just two weeks ago.  She and her mother, along with some family friends, were in the process of having an estate sale to clear away the things that were no longer needed.  Tryst played with her boys (aged 13 and 11) and her eldest was amused to learn that he and Trystan got along better than his mother and I did when we were their age, he was also shocked to learn that his mother and I had known each other ever since we were three and four years old.

I also managed to get away for an evening to visit Weldon, an old high school friend I haven't seen in 17 years.  We chatted and caught up over coffee at the Alabama Book Stop and three hours later I headed home.

Now, I have to finish packing up the house so that we can get moved next week...
Current Location:
in bed like the lazy thing I am
calm calm
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[User Picture]
On December 29th, 2007 06:54 pm (UTC), aurora_lamour commented:
I'll bet that was a fascinating trip. We kind of did a little of the same yesterday after the funeral with Dan showing me the house he lived in, the school he went to, where his father's store had been. He had not lived there his whole life since he was a military brat but that is where his mom and dad had settled once his dad retired so if any town is his home town I guess it would be Altus, OK.
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