I believe that San Antonians love their city for different reasons. It could be the history, culture and the ethnicity. I love it far better than those reasons.
I was born and raised here in the west side which in my estimation started from Laredo Street all the way to 24th street. I say that because I was hunting rabbits beyond 24th St.
I lived on Laredo Street where we had our own little community. Our convenience store, Don Chencho and Guerra’s drug store for our medication and emergency doctor, El chino, who dispenses prescriptions to the in-house pharmacy where I worked as a teenager. I was the delivery boy on a bicycle.
So, we didn’t go too far for our meat, corn tortillas, haircut, pan dulce, groceries or shoe repair. The school, Navarro elementary was nearby and Lanier Jr Hi and High School was walking distance if you didn’t mind the walk all the way on Guadalupe Street.
The Alazan housing where we moved to in my 14th year was a great experience. We had grass in front and back. I didn’t mind going to the main office and signed up for a lawn mower. We had to keep the grass trimmed. Also, we had our own bedrooms with a door for privacy. The courts was where we met our new friends, local teens going to the same school and living in the same neighborhood. Even today, as senior citizens, we can talk about where everybody lived and worked and had their first love and their first heartbreak.
When I left to go on active duty with the US Army, I found myself in strange surroundings. Not only with the soldiers who came from different parts of the country but the towns and villages that were next to our base camps. Plenty of bars, tattoos shops and pawn shops. All of which was news to me.
It was only when my family were with me that I encountered more stable living. We mostly lived in government quarters which had a homely touch. It was ok but it lacked an atmosphere of home.
So everywhere we went we lived in areas which were mostly cement fronts. No grass or trees growing in the front lawn or back. Staying in apartment complexes was no fun either. The only post that we enjoyed was Ft. Bliss, Texas in El Paso. That is if you didn’t mind the dust storms and the desert which surrounded us. Ft. Lewis, Washington came in second with its’ constant rain and severe cold.
So, why do I love San Antonio? I could say the folks here are friendlier than any place I went. We live in a multi ethnicity area where Mexicans, Salvadorians, Polish, African americans and other central American’s citizens exist in a friendly atmosphere.
I love the hum of the city with its’ tourist and great restaurants. There is food for every taste bud from Greek to Thailand or Italian. Don’t mentioned the overwhelming taquerias which dot the city.
When the city celebrates Fiesta in the Spring and parades galore is when we really go all out and participate. When we can enjoy the many activities that Fiesta brings. The comradery that brings the people together to celebrate a common cause. Don’t forget the annual Fiesta in Blue by the Air force Band of the West.
The ongoing growth of the city where new schools are being built to accommodate the growing student population. Where there is no discrimination in the school districts. Every student is equal and has the same opportunities for a good education.
How about my house? It’s a wooden turn of the century home with a built-in fireplace and a metal roof where we can hear the rain or hail pelting the roof. Our front year has grass, and our backyard has grass also along with weeds. There was a time where I could mow the lawn. We had a small building in the back that was probably built for animals and now converted to a garage and later to a storage room. My son and I use to shoot BB guns to a large metal tub we had use for washing. That ended when my wife saw all the holes and dents from the BB pellets.
Now you can understand that we have a lot of memories stored up in San Antonio. My extended family lives here also. It’s great to visit them even if we must use the freeway.
And that’s why we love San Antonio.