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On a recent flight trip from Wisconsin to Texas last midweek Thursday my mind was full of pleasant expectations. My expectations on this flight were two-fold. One centered on seeing my Baby Mom as I describe my sister in this link in San Antonio after not being able to see her in so many years. She needed me and unbeknown to her, I was on my way. The other was returning to where my life began literally.

This is a diary telling of my flight, one flown from a single spur of moment thought of me wanting to see my sister, without planning a trip. The title of this diary will be an example to old folks who travel alone. It is telling and mind bogging for me. But no amount of controversies or adversities the past week would keep me off this flight.

I confess that I felt this sense of deep frustration and embarrassed feeling after having been "Richly" beaten by our enemy Scott Walker days earlier during recall elections, despite so many prior victorious expectations from this community, who knew or expected a sounding victory for us Democrats.

I confess also, that I resolved upon boarding the plane that I would not wallow in sorrow or feel any other sense of regrets that my vote failed to topple Scott Walker on the recall election. This trip for me was of paramount importance in that I was returning to a location that molded me into the person I am today seventy-years ago. I was four or five years old when I taken there and I had not seen my late grandmother`s place in all these years. Now I am seventy-six and am going to re`wind my memory back into the past to examine the house where I grew up. I just had to go and see the place with my own eyes before I cash in my chips in this game of life.

Even though I had returned to San Antonio on a previous occasion to visit my Baby Mom, I had traveled to a different area of this beautiful city maybe about 10-15 years ago. This particular trip I hoped would take me to a very different location, a place with railroad tracks, El Puente Negro and the Alazan Creek that ran under the Puente Negro. These were my playgrounds then. I was going back to a different time in my life. A different time in History when a great Army General by the name of Douglas McArthur during World War II said these famous words: "I came through and I shall return"....

I do not know. I might even shed a tear as I recall how my late brother and I survived death by starvation as The Great Depression and World War II raged on at the same time. Around the time that this great General uttered to the world his famous words I believe it was in 1942. I had just arrived at my grandmother`s. Now I was returning.

I thought of General McArthur`s  words during my flight as I as imagined returning to my own personal war zone of so many years ago, but more importantly I thought of the Daily Kos community and hoped that readers to this diary considered these famous words: We came through -- and we shall return!

Flying above the clouds on this sunny day I had ample time to marshal ideas for this trip in my head and an excuse for not notifying my sister of my presence when she sees me. I had no plans, nada, as I could not rid my thoughts of those areas where I grew up and could just savor the smells and surroundings in my mind. I just hoped that the weekend I was to spend with my Baby Mom would be as rewarding as my expectations awaited. I was struggling to keep the passing of my late brother Joe out of my mind. MY personal philosophy in this area is that everyone dies, and no amount of crying will bring life back. I know it sounds gross to you but that`s reality. I will refuse to talk about him. However, for her sake I will let her read the diary about my brother passing that I wrote on May 1st.

My plane touched down and landed at Dallas-Fort Worth International in the late noon hour around 5:30 where I had a lay over for about an hour or so before boarding my connection that would take me back home to San Antonio. I have never been keen in keeping time so my only priority was to get to my destination. It was at this airport that my mind would unleash my dormant inner demons that were so eager to play tricks with my head. These demons would remain with me from hereon out. I felt mentally exhausted from sitting during the flight and thinking. I swore that I had been in this particular airport before and I even thought I knew some people around me. My inner demons came out to play early.

Déjà vu is the experience of being certain that you have experienced or seen a new situation previously – you feel as though the event has already happened or is repeating itself. The experience is usually accompanied by a strong sense of familiarity and a sense of eeriness, of  The “previous” experience is usually attributed to a dream, but sometimes there is a firm sense that it has truly occurred in the past.
My mind kept telling me that I had been in this airport previously, but this did not surprised me. Many times before I had these sensations and experiences. My daughter`s words rang loud in my head, "Dad, are you sure you can handle this alone, let me come with you". She had even rented a car for me to drive once I landed at the airport in San Antonio. As a registered Nurse she even warned me of the dangers of traveling alone at my age. Nothing could have kept me off this flight. A demon was laughing inside of my head.

People gave me strange looks and I became confused. I looked for a place to hide from the stares as I started feeling more insecure and found the terminal`s lounge and walked in and took a seat on a stool at the bar. I toyed with a brandy and coke until I could sense the bar tender looking very strangely at me, like hey!, want another? So I asked him to give me one more even though I am not into booze -- if not a beer once in a while. Soon I heard my flight was now ready for boarding and I meekly walked to the gate. I suddenly was very skeptical about having made this trip. I actually was beginning to freak out!

My exhaustion and confusion took over me as I fell asleep minutes into my second plane flight towards San Antonio. The loud churning plane engines elicited from my brain a sound of a dream.  I am a child on a high hill on some railroad tracks behind my grandmother`s house. My anticipation to reach my goal of seeing with my own eyes these railroad tracks was further evidence that my demons were having a ball with my head, it was now more evident with this dream. It was a slick oily monster laying on top of a hill. There is was!:

There it was!! Laying on top of the high slope I had seen earlier. The monster. It looked shiny black against the night. Sleek and oily looking it spewed black smoke from its forehead high into the hot night. I wanted to see it closely so I stepped out and crossed carefully into my aunt`s yard to walk to the fence near the grass gully that led up the slope and near the monster. When I got close to the fence I saw that the monster`s belly crackled and churned with fire. Frozen on my feet it suddenly spat a hot spray of misty smoke at me causing me to turn and  run away...Onto the arms of my aunt Elvira. She had used the train`s noise to sneak up on me. She grabbed my hair and dragged me into her house
"Sir, your plane has landed in San Antonio," a voice and a pat on my shoulder woke me up. I was startled as I opened my eyes and felt very embarrassed to look in the eyes of the lovely flight attendant and realizing it was not the slick oily monster grabbing me. "Are you alright Sir?", she asked.  "I`m fine thank you. Just a little tired I guess," I said as I got to my feet and saw that most everyone had left the plane. It was now late in the evening and dark as I looked out through the window of the plane.

In the lobby of the terminal I looked for the luggage pick-up conveyor thinking I knew exactly where it was. I was surprised how different it was from the last time I was here. I knew, or thought I knew the layout of this airport and its terminal. I had been here several times previously. My earlier self-confidence of making this trip was more and more taking a toll. First I needed to find out exactly where I was  and second I needed to find out where the car rental location was. I just knew in my head where I was, or I thought so.

Jamais vu (never seen) describes a familiar situation which is not recognized. It is often considered to be the opposite of déjà vu and it involves a sense of eeriness. The observer does not recognize the situation despite knowing rationally that they have been there before. It is commonly explained as when a person momentarily doesn’t recognize a person, word, or place that they know.
With assistance from a lobby porter I found the luggage conveyor and my zipped over-the-shoulder carrying suits holder. I was traveling real light and had just packed enough clothes for two or three days vacation, so to speak. By no means was this a vacation for me. I found the car rental location and picked up my car. A small two-door compact Ford which I really liked. Asking for directions to downtown I learned, again, that it was some 11 miles away. On the freeway, I finally awoke and repeatedly pulled into gas stations asking for directions.

It was close to nine O`clock at night when I pulled in front of my Baby Mom`s house. Dogs ruled this alley since I was a kid. The alley was empty of people as stray dogs sniffed and barked. They were all around my car shewing on the tires and not letting me get off. Some kids, who turned out to be unknown nephews of mine came to my rescue and scared the dogs away. My sister came out running when she learned I was home. She could not stop crying and holding onto me. My sister is not a baby anymore mind you. I can see that she had many children of her own. Her own children now have children of their own and this family blossomed into a closely knitted tribe.

Our traditional culture and barrio customs brought most everyone in this family over to pay homage to me.  Older nephews and nieces sang and brought out beer and food to share with their lost uncle. In every sense of the word, I was glad to be home. Tomorrow my sister will be my chauffeur as we navigate the area I came to San Antonio to see. We will travel to where as a five or six years old I was abandoned and thrown away by my mother nearly naked into the bowels of a brutal and physical abuse environment that was a depraved and mentally deranged aunt. I could not wait to see that tall white fence with the gate that allowed me into that yard so many years ago.

Noticing my emotionally filled anticipation my sister warned me not to expect things to be the same. I knew that much. However, for me things there would never be different in my mind and conscious. That place had left a scar tattooed in my soul so to me nothing would be different. Unfortunately, I was disappointed and broken hearted with what I found.

I was shocked!

There was no longer a white fence with a large gate leading to what used to be my grandmother`s house. I was disappointed that the house where I was left as a child was no longer there either. Everything around what used to be the house was now brush and green trees, many trees all over what used to be the yard. My mind was racing at top speed as I realized that my entire childhood history had been erased by time. It was as if a Meteor had entered the atmosphere and crashed into my childhood with such force that it exterminated all evidence that I ever existed. I was aghast that I could actually visualize what once existed in front of my eyes, but yet was not there anymore. Here Déjá vu reared it ugly head with all its powerful and mean forces of eeriness, strangeness, and weirdness. I was numb in disbelief that nothing remained as evidence that I once roamed this place.

My whole body shook as I contemplated whether I would someday be labeled as a
deranged man if I could not prove that such a place or home ever existed. It was as if everything I knew as a child went into extinction, like the dinosaur. Everything and everyone I knew was no more, gone from this planet

The high mound that ran upward of a grassy slope to railroad tracks was actually not a slope anymore. I walked across what used to be my aunt Elvira`s yard to get close enough to see that the railroad tracks actually ran even with the Tampico Street that runs over the tracks. As a child I remember everything was so high, like the railroad tracks. In reality everything was flat but not in a child`s eyes. It was an amazing feeling to see all of this in a different light.

I plainly saw a deep gully just over the wire fence. I could see that from the bottom of the deep gully, a slope was formed upwards very high for me to see what was actually up there, or how high it went.
Comal Street was now paved all the way to where El Puente Negro originally was. Every street around me was now paved and sidewalks ran on both sides of the streets. At the end of Comal Street, a large concrete barricade was constructed just near the entrance to the underside of El Puente Negro where I had gone under many times as a child.

Even El Puente Negro is no more.

El Puente Negro, the Black Bridge, as it was historically known throughout this particular community was due to the black ties that run parallel as crossbeams to which the rails of a railroad track are fastened. The dark oily timber like posts, many to count as a child that rose up from the ground holding the bridge in its sturdy, unyielding and firm position, made for its creepy name as trains rumbled over and past the Alazan creek below
To my dismay and sadness I found that this bridge is now "white" and its oily black timber like posts are now encased and completely covered in white cement, making it shine and appearing more sturdy and secure as trains rumble over it.

Cars now lined the entire Comal street all the way to the cement barrier that now is protecting objects from falling down into the Alazan Creek. Only one family owned a car on Comal Street when I was running around in that neighborhood.

Now even rebuilt houses that used to be laminated are made of wood and  painted in lively colors. I saw children who appeared well fed and neatly dressed playing on the railroad tracks. I wanted to challenge them to a race on the tracks like my old friend Jesse had taught me when I first met him as my next door neighbor so many years ago.

So I paused before following Jesse up the dark asphalt sharp rocks slope to the top, where for the first time I saw railroad tracks. When I reached the top Jesse already was running barefooted on one of the iron track rails. I started laughing so hard I almost  choked up fighting off tears of joy. What better place for me to play? I was laughing trying to copy Jesse, but burned my foot as I tried to get on
What I found so mystifying and unbelieving was that the cemetery that so haunted me as I slept a few feet from it in the front room of my aunt Hortencia was still there. It had not been obliterated by the meteorite that erased my childhood history. My late aunt Hortencia`s house and all houses that were on the same side of the street are not there. Everything I once saw is gone. I have to conclude that those corpses in the cemetery were obliterated upon their deaths. Death and its destruction may have a connection as to why the cemetery is still there.

I returned to Milwaukee late Sunday night. My return flight was long and tiresome. I felt depressed and defeated. I made a promise to my Baby Mom to return soon. A nephew drove me to the airport to return the rented car, then he returned home in a cab.


I started writing this diary a few days ago. I now understand that we, as well as the DKos community actually scored a victory by clinching the majority of the state senate in Wisconsin. I have to think that this alone gives me pause and helps rid that embarrassment I wrote of feeling when I boarded my flight last Thursday. I am embarrassed no more.

Originally posted to Ole Texan on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 10:37 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans, Progressive Hippie, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Next time, try Google earth to locate (5+ / 0-)

    where your memories live.  If there's a street view, it can be very reassuring.

    "In the name of the nation, and of the dollar and of the rule of law, you and your children shall sacrifice for the good of all." Rmoney's prayer

    by hannah on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 11:06:41 AM PDT

  •  Thanks, as always, for sharing your story. I bet (7+ / 0-)

    nothing is quite the same after that long of a time, although I remember going back to the house we lived in as a child and I was most taken with how large the trees had grown. The house was still there then, but I don't know about now. It's been another thirty years.

    I'm sure it must have been a real shock to you to see so much gone. I'm glad you were able to meet the family.

  •  What a daunting and amazing journey (7+ / 0-)

    and thank you for sharing it with us. Having followed your emotional and geographic and time travels from the DailyKos armchair, i marvel that you set out alone, if only because modern travel is daunting at the best of times.

    Who among us would not have wanted to hold the hand of your inner child on this journey?

    Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

    by cassandracarolina on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:53:41 PM PDT

    •  Hello cassandracarolina, It (5+ / 0-)

      is always a pleasure to share with you and the community.
      I had waited too long for the trip. Writing about it had a very sad and frustrating feeling of having failed in my dreamed journey of seeing where it all started for me.

      On the other hand, I am glad I managed to endure it and
      be able to spend time, as least a short one, with my sister.

      I hope you are doing good, oh and yes, your hero also.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 03:48:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •   Hi there, glad you're back. (5+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the trip to Texas. I'm sorry it wasn't the same.

    •  Hey, rosarugosa how are (4+ / 0-)

      you doing? Yes I`m back. I just regret that I never got to the river walk and grab something to eat down there at those eateries some have down there, maybe hopped a ride on those things that float on water, you know, the comfortable looking boats that people ride down the river walk through downtown.

      Good to see you too rosarugosa.

      Oh, it wasn`t so bad once I got back home. I could not have expected any thing different after so many years.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 03:54:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One of my favourite authors, (3+ / 0-)

    Ursula K. LeGuin wrote:

    You can go home again.., so long as you understand that home is a place where you have never been.
    Texas is a place where this particularly resonates. I'm glad you saw your sister. The best things come down through time.

    "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

    by northsylvania on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 02:15:12 PM PDT

  •  Tipped, recced and republished to (3+ / 0-)

    Badger State Progressive.

    Well said, Tex.

    You pour yourself out in your writing.
    You jangle every bone in the closet and lift every cobble on the path,
    leaving no soul unturned.

    Well said, indeed.

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

    by ruleoflaw on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 07:29:26 PM PDT

  •  thanks for sharing your trip, Ole Texan. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I had a similar experience last year of seeing the trailer court we lived in when I was in 3rd grade.  I remembered a cleaner, neater place that was much bigger.  Mom assurred me it had not changed a whole lot since we lived there almost 50 years ago.  Things are so much different from an adult's eyes.  I still think of that place the way I remember it.  They are two totally different places to me.

    I am so happy for you that you were able to spend time with your sister and her family.

    A hundred years from now...Watering lawns will seem as crazy as throwing diamonds on our lawns; we're throwing the world's most important resource - clean drinking water - on the ground. - Univ. of TX Professor Michael Webber

    by politik on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:56:00 PM PDT

    •  It is my pleasure, as (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have written several times. I really enjoy sharing with this community so much of my personal life experiences. I agree with you about the differences in perspectives, or on how a child and an adult see things in general, in terms of sizes and locations.

      A very funny thing happened when I entered my sister`s home when I first got there. I almost bumped my head on the upper part of the door entrance. To me, it felt so low!

      Here where I live in Milwaukee the homes are so large, with ceilings that I cannot reach even by jumping ant trying. The door ways even though standards, are much more free of entering space. The rooms in my sister`s house were so small (in my mind, as I saw them) that I felt uncomfortable moving around inside.

      But I clearly remember that how I felt there never bothered me so many years ago. This is why I agree with you on how a child and an adult see things differently.

      Thank you politik for your comment

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 05:46:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Parallels (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    I too took a flight out of Milwaukee last week.  I was also on a pilgrimage to my past.  I have lived in San Antonio, but this trip didn't involve that burg.

    I was returning from Florida where I paid a (last?) visit to my folks.  Flying alone on borrowed money, I wasn't sure what I'd face.  Not nearly as scary as your trip, but nearly as heart wrenching.  Dad's 91 and has cancer, mom is in a race with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, she had no clue I was there and never responded to me.

    Can't say I really got to enjoy your airport there, My plane arrived 20+ min late, leaving me less than 20 min to find my next plane.  I bolted out of jet way 22 only to find that my next plane was at jet way 21, mere feet away.  Small relief on a stress loaded journey.

    As a young adult, late 20's, I lived on the northwest side of San Antonio, deep in the suburbs.  Sounds like I was a universe away from your part of town.

    Keep writing, you're making one corner of the universe a better place.

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:11:07 AM PDT

    •  Hi markdd. It is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a real pleasure to read this message you bring me. First let me assure you that I am very sorry for what you found in Florida regarding your parents. Old age will do that for us every time. It is such a shame we have to go that way, but we live with it...I am sorry markdd, I really am.

      I just hope you are doing alright now that you have returned from your painful trip. And that your parents get well if that is possible at all.

      It would have been so right and nice to have met you some where during our flights. For a young person in your late 20`s you seem to have handled your painful situation rather well.

      Indeed where you lived in San Antonio and where my sister lived (and where I grew up), it is far. I did not go out on my own while there however. I would have gotten lost I am sure. It is so changed, everything seemed so strange to me, even the people I saw on the street. I just don`t know what I should have expected I guess, but all in all I enjoyed the company of that part of my only family I have, other than my own here in Milwaukee.

      Markdd it was nice to know you and thank you for reading my diary.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 01:15:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry Tex, (0+ / 0-)

        last time I was in my 20's, Raygun was President.

        My parents never shared much with me about their health.  I knew mom was in serious decline, if not for the home-care nurses, she might well already be dead.  With my dad it was a surprise to find out he's had prostate cancer for 3 years or so.  There's a new cancer now that could take him in another month or 6 months.  

        I'll muddle thru, I usually do, but it is taking a toll on my sister who lives only a mile away.  Since I finished college, I don't think I've ever lived less than 500 miles away from my folks.

        Was it Thomas Wolfe who said "You can't go home again"?

        I don't think I've ever felt the need to go home again to close old wounds.  Either I haven't had the pain or I'm too thick to notice.  In my 58 years, I've lived in 18 different cities and 10 different states.  Haven't felt a strong need to return to any of them.  I do drop in on Google from time to time to see how they look.  A few of the empty fields are now subdivisions.

        Take care.

        “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

        by markdd on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 03:55:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ole Texan, you, too, need to read this: (0+ / 0-)

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