My sister closed on her new house this week. She and her family have moved to a different suburb of Dallas, cutting the final “big” tie I had with my hometown of Duncanville.
My family left the Oak Cliff section of Dallas and moved to a brand new house in Duncanville in June of 1973. The first thing the movers did was unload our TV in the den so everyone could watch Secretariat win the Belmont and the Triple Crown.
I got to start 1st grade that August at a brand new school, Smith Elementary. Five years later I got to start 6th grade at a brand new middle school building, Byrd Junior High.
I left for Austin the summer of 1985 but always had a reason to go back home. My parents sold the house where I grew up in the mid 90s, but my sister had moved back to Duncanville in the early 90s, so I always felt a strong connection.
Duncanville was a great place to be for a long, long time. Great friends, great families, great teachers and great schools. But it’s not the same place where I grew up.
The empty fields off of Big Stone Gap Road, where I road my bike in the 70s have been gone for years. All houses now. The football field where I played for Byrd Junior High was replaced in the late 80s. One of the first grocery stores we used, the one where my Mom won money when they had a “Bingo game” promotion… yeah, it’s a Dollar Tree now. And the gas station where I got gas when I first started driving is now a pharmacy.
Some things are still around, just a little different. The field where I won my first Punt, Pass and Kick trophy is still there, it’s just that half the stands have been torn down to make room for another school. And my high school is still there. But what used to be something like ten buildings is now one, with a big, big roof.
But Duncanville will always be around. Different than it was when I first moved there in 1973, but it will always hold a special place in my heart. Even with no family there, Duncanville is home.