Notes and Documents
A Countryside Remembrance
CARL C. WRIGHT*
FAMILIES IN THE SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS COMMUNITY KNOWN AS
Adalia, where I grew up before and after the 192os, raised mainly
cotton for a livelihood. And with few exceptions they dreamed of the
day when they might escape a hard prairie life in brand new automo-
biles. Failure to practice crop rotation and other scientific methods of
farming drained the soil's fertility. Growing poorer with each harvest,
disheartened tenant farmers in secondhand cars abandoned the coun-
try for town or city. Landowners, too, moved away and rented their
farms to destitute peasants from Mexico. Before the Great Depression,
Adalia's school, once the neighborhood center, disappeared through
consolidation. Johnson grass and broomweed invaded the land, which
was finally converted for cattle raising.
Today when I revisit those low rolling hills, their brows slit by a
highway where cars whiz day and night, I inhale the bittersweet aroma
of broomweed, and reminisce. I remember the classmate with whom
I sat in a double desk, his election in early manhood to the Texas
legislature; the prankster, who stole our lunches from the anteroom,
now serving a life sentence in prison; my first teacher, an artist who
taught me to draw; a little black boy, who sang in the fields, "I ain't
got nobody, nobody got me."
In sharper memory, however, are evenings spent with my family on
the long front porch of our L-shaped farmhouse. Here, chores done
and supper over, we welcomed the coolest part of the day. And we
talked and talked. Ironically, the world coming to an end was a popu-
lar subject, but the idea of Adalia ending never entered our minds.
Whenever speculations about old Earth's being consumed like a
blazing corn shuck grew tedious, we switched to ghost stories, a fitting
replacement since we lived only a mile from ghost-ridden Laro's Hill.
*Carl C. Wright is professor emeritus of English at Pan American University. He has
written articles for a number of publications.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101208/. Accessed August 29, 2015.