Tara Paige Morton
April 6, 2012
1301 North Magnolia Rockport, Texas
Every year, every summer, there was one thing that all four of us kids looked forward to. We’d pack our bags for a week, or two, long trip. Bathing suits, towels, sandals, and other beach apparel would be stuffed into the backpacks and suitcases. For the ride we would take books, colors, music, and different games that would keep us interested. Games that only seem fun when you are at such a young age, and almost seem ridiculous as an adult. As we waved goodbye to our mom we would prepare for the three hour long trip that consisted of two to three stops; one for food and snacks; mountain dew was always on the list, one for restroom breaks, and every once in a while a special stop by the side of the road to pick ourselves some cotton. I remember the smell and feel of the fluffy, cloud like, freshly picked and deseeded cotton. The first thing that we would do when we entered that always special town was roll down the windows and smell the salt air. Even though every year that I can remember we would go down to that same small town and take the same windy and curvy road the salt air never smells as good as it did when we were young. It had always seemed as though the house got more beautiful and scary at the same time.
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The house to our left and the ocean to our right, we’d take a detour and head towards his favorite pier. Walk out as far as we could, to the very end at times and just bask in the steady moist breeze from the gulf. After we’d reminisce in the salt air we’d beg and plead our dad to let us walk back to the house, even though he was timid about us walking two blocks at such a young age he would allow it only on the first night because we were so excited.
Thinking of these memories makes me want to drive that long drive and go to relive those days. I think of the exact spots we would stop and make sure to drop in. As I enter the store I look around and remember it being so much bigger and more exciting. I look around at all the choices that surround me and know exactly what I want. I can still remember the layout of the store. Where every little thing is placed and how we used to pace up and down the aisles looking for the perfect snack for the rest of the short drive. Then I remember touching the same ice cream cooler and looking out at the same silly squirrel statue sitting across the street holding that giant clover, and I can almost see my dad’s old beat up, gray suburban with the trailer, with those two baby blue two seat jet skis, hitched to the back. I snap back into reality as the cashier asks me if there is anything else I need and recites me my total.
As I drive into Sinton, the only town we would pass through on the way to the house, I realize at that moment I’m getting closer and closer to the memory I hold dearest to me. I’m excited to reach the shore but more and more scared that everything will be different. As I reach the “Welcome to Rockport” sign I automatically roll down the windows and head to the shore. I park at the same pier that made me so excited years ago and jump out of the car with the same enthusiasm. I remember how my siblings look as they run down the pier towards the waves crashing against the discolored, and almost angry looking, rocks and for a second forget all about the time that has passed. The pier has the same concrete, the same barnacles, and the same mist as when I was young. I stand at the end with my head tilted towards the clear blue sky and visualize how it was all those years ago, how I just wanted to stand there forever and never go back to the house.
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As I renter my car I remember the one big change; the house, that special place that holds so many memories. The one place that I know has no more meaning in my life, due to the experience that our family had to endure. As if it was calling me I had to go by the abandoned mansion. I sit out front of the vacant boarded house and look towards the once used to be H.E.B, less than ten feet from the house but seemed like such a walk as a young one. I can hear our dad yelling “Don’t waste any of that money on candy” and going back to the house with at least two bags of candy for the four of us to share.
Almost every morning we would make a trip to the oddly close store and make sure we had snacks and what was our treat for the trip, Mountain Dew. That would be at the crack of dawn and we would load up the ice chests and fill the picnic baskets as the boys made sure the jet skis were ready to run. Then all four of us would load up into the rustic suburban and head towards the gas station as we did almost every day on those vacations “Gas tanks are filled and we’re ready to go” dad would yell from the pump.
As the night falls and I continue to sit, the memories change from happy and candy filled, to screams and terror. It sounds horrible but I can remember being in the attic and hearing noises, feeling things that didn’t feel human, and remembering the trembling of my small body. The reasons for the screams were being in the scariest place in the house surrounded by all the people who are bigger than me and love to pick on me. Although they were frightening times they are the memories that I know I’ll never forget.
As I continue on my journey down memory lane I think of what else there is that I can retrace my steps, then realize that nothing is the same without the people and without the place that housed all the good times. I sit at the end of the pier and weep that the memories can never be relived. No matter how many times we can go back to the same spots and even do the same things with the loss of that house came the loss of an era that should have never had to end. We all had big plans to bring our own children down to 1301 North Magnolia and have their own memories of the house and hopefully be able to relive it out through our offspring, but that was all taken away at the very sound of the gavel banging and the verdict being read. They took the house for the reasons of personal gain to the court appointed employees. It will now house the memories of judges being able to over look the gulf instead of children running up and down the stairs and being able to experience what was so well known to us.
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