Don’t Drive Like Hell, Welcome to Hondo

Growing up in a small town can limit the perspective of ones mind especially on what is beyond the borders of ones town. For me growing up in Hondo, Texas has truly shaped me into the person I am today. I grew up in a farming community with family being my neighbors and friends that have been in my life since kindergarten. Hondo has had a significant impact on my life; it gave me the opportunity to make friends for a lifetime and brought me closer to my family. There are pros and cons of living in a small town; for instance, I attend high school where my uncle was one of the head coaches and my Government teacher, meaning my parents knew everything that I did wrong or right. My high school graduating class was 122; I spent 12 years of my life growing as a person with the same people around me every year. I made friends for a lifetime during the course of growing up. My town’s community is one of my favorite reasons for growing up in a small town. The past month, there was a young boy who went to my high school who died in a fatal car accident. Seeing the community form as one and show their love and support to the family involved, it made me proud to be apart of something that even in hard times can be caring and compassionate for each other. Growing up in a farming community made me appreciate the true beauty of nature and for the only traffic jams consisting of three cars pilled up behind a tractor on the highway. It took me moving to a bigger city like San Marcos to appreciate the small town atmosphere. I always wanted to experience living in a big city, especially after I got my acceptance letter to Texas State University. It made me impatient to see what else was outside of my small town border. My family is my biggest supporters and I couldn’t be more appreciative to have their love and support. One of my best memories growing up is going to my family’s ranch at Medina Lake, 30 minutes outside of Hondo. Spending holidays or just relaxing weekends at my home away from home. After spending all day on the water made the crawfish boils that much more enjoyable, especially with s’mores for desert. To this day it is still one of my favorites places to go and just unwind with family and friends. There isn’t a greater feeling than returning to my small town and having my family, friends and dogs around me.

Hondo Texas sign in 1930, picture of Lavarian Schrandt while stationed at the Army Air Field (Texas Monthly). This sign is what makes Hondo so irreplaceable, the intentions for this sign were to slow down those speeding while traveling through town. The sign in 1940 was changed to “This is Gods Country Please Don’t Drive through it like Hell”, this was to satisfy those who were displeased with the tone it presented.

Now in the year 2016 the sign still stands even after the controversy of separation of church and state. Hondo is well known for this sign and locals fought to have it still standing today. This small town is approximately 40 miles west of San Antonio and is populated of 8,803 people as of 2016 (Suburban Stats). Hondo in Spanish means deep, its located deep in Medina County. An interesting fact about Hondo is the Army Air field was used during World War II, there is also a museum with all of Hondo’s History.

Beautiful Barry Field is where I spent 4 years making some of the best memories. This simple picture shows a gate closed, this symbols how I closed that chapter in my life and opened a new one by attending to further my education. High school taught me a great amount about myself. According to Bruce Barker “The size of the school does not inhibit personal interaction; it encourages it”(Ericdigests). I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Barker, many people believe attending a small school will limit their interaction with other students since the classes would me smaller. For myself attending a small school made teachers more than educators. I built personal connection with them and they become someone I look up to and call my friend. Since small schools means less students, it gives teachers the chance to get to know all their students, they truly care about you and your grades. When you are with the same students practically everyday you start to make friendships and grow a strong bond with each other. Attending High School in Hondo was a major part in my life and helped shaped me to the person I am today.

Family is something that is very important to me and still continues to play a big role in my life. This picture was taken at my High School graduation and is very special to me. The love and support I had from my family and friends in Hondo was something I will never forget. The lifestyle my parents have taught me has helped me appreciate the simplicity and rhythm of a small town life. In this photo I see how happy my family and I look. I started a new chapter in my life the day I graduated from Hondo and this picture shows our happiness. Family is significant in my life, they continue to encourage me to strive for my goals and be the best person I can be.

Growing up in a small town brought me 9 people that I now consider family. We grew up together from kindergarten to now attending separate Colleges. My friends were a huge part in my life while growing up; it was nice to have people who were always there for me. I truly believe I got the chance to become almost like family to them from growing up in Hondo. Living in a small town being so close to everyone brought us together and made us closer. I know for a fact the friends I made in Hondo will be people I can always count on.

My family has a unique obsession with dachshunds or what we call them Weiner dogs. Including my family and my dads side of the family, all my aunts, uncles and cousins all have Weiner dogs. At family holidays we have Weiner dog races, its a tradition my family does when we all get together. We literally race our Weiner dogs and see who can win. This picture was taken on Thanksgiving with my dog and 3 of my family member Weiner dogs. Its fascinating because this tradition I have with my family is only possible since we are all located in the same small town. Living in a small town with all my family made it possible to spend holidays with each other and make memories for a lifetime with our dogs.

This view of Turks Head is from my families cabin at Medina Lake. It is 18 miles long and 3 miles wide. From The Edwards Aquifer Website, “It was constructed between 1911–1912 as an irrigation reservoir, its a extensive canal system delivers water to 34,000 acres of blackland prairie farmlands (near Hondo)” (Gregg Eckhardt). It’s captivating because this lake provides water to local famers in Hondo also. I spend a lot of my free time or weekends here either with family or friends. The ranch is beyond beautiful and there are many activities to keep you busy for example, hiking, swimming, kayaking or my favorite boating. The time I have spent here with friends and family are some of my favorite memories.

Crawfish boils are a fun bonding time with my family and friends. I’ve grown up attending crawfish boils, we even have them for holidays. I took this picture during Thanksgiving break, when one evening my whole family got together. No matter what tradition different families have its always special to be around people you love and who love you. For myself I remember this day because it was special for me to see all the people I care about and just the feeling of being home in my small town.

Overall growing up in a small town has taught me a lot about myself. It made me the person I am today, I’m proud to be a apart of a strong community. I appreciate the little things in life because being in a big city makes me miss the little things small towns have to offer. I now attend a University that has over 38,000 students, quiet a change from attending high school of 122 people. There are many misconceptions of living in a small town and everyone has their own experience of growing up. With this photo essay I hope people who do live in small town can feel the same treasures I do and for the ones who don’t, I hope this gives them a taste of what it can be like. I am beyond grateful for all the love and support I get from my family and friends in my town.

Work Cited

Eckhardt, Greg. “Medina Lake and Canal System.” The Edwards Aquifer Website. N.p., n.d. Web.Barker, Bruce O. “The Advantages of Small Schools. ERIC Digests.”

Ericdigests. Http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-923/small.htm, 01 Feb. 1986. Web.

“Current Hondo, Texas Population, Demographics and Stats in 2015/2016.” Suburban Stats. US Census Bureau, n.d. Web.

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