This is my hometown, written about in a recent issue of Texas Highways, “The Travel Magazine of Texas.” The article is entitled, “Finding Fort Stockton: Old West, wine and fast cars intersect at this crossroads.” What is missing from this story? For my family, and many more who lived here and in the nearby towns of Marathon and Alpine, onward to Marfa and Presidio, life did not begin with the fort. And yet, note: there is no name for the town prior to the U.S. military decision to keep away the Indians. This is how history gets written to erase…history. And how identity gets limited to that which can find its place in the narrative provided.
I love the earth and the sky and the wind and rain of this place, the smells of greasewood and the taste of mesquite, the memory of dirt roads from my childhood, when we were still oh-so-slightly connected to a history that would vanish as quickly as the pronunciation of our names and the stories of struggle to have a right to live, study, and work with dignity in the home of our ancestors.
Do not learn your history from tourist magazines.
But still, I celebrate the thrill of seeing photos that take me home, as complicated as that is for me. Having left there after high school never succeeded in removing the awareness of what it meant to be able to stay there. But what does it mean to stay when the public history erases you?