The Bleak Playground

I think my dad’s family moved to Mobeetie in the early 1930s; the bank my grandfather had in Branson, Colorado, didn’t survive the Depression so they came to Texas to make a new start. My dad lived there until he and eleven other students made up the graduating class of 1940. He was 16 when he graduated, and he headed off to what was then known as Texas Technological College. (He went from a town of 400 people to a college with an enrollment of just under 3,800. No wonder he flunked out.*)

I don’t really think this playground equipment was there when he was, but I did get a bit of a weird vibe from it. Of course, that might also have been from the cold wind that day…

Old Mobeetie, Texas
photographed 12.27.2019

*Not to worry, though. He retuned to college and made straight As in his chosen field of civil engineering. The most frequently told story of my whole life was How I Was Too Young When I Went To College.

Picnic Grounds

There are only about 100 people who live in Mobeetie, which makes this kind of weird:

  1. One of our neighbors told me that our dads grew up together in Mobeetie, and that his dad remembers my dad. (Sadly, by the time I heard this story, my dad had passed away.)
  2. My across-the-hall work neighbor’s mother grew up in Mobeetie.
  3. My friend Dianne says her husband’s family used to have family reunions at the very picnic grounds where I found this old sink.

That’s a lot of connections for such a tiny place, isn’t it?

Old Mobeetie, Texas
photographed 12.27.2019

Sink

The whole reason for our recent trip to the northern panhandle was so I could look around Mobeetie, the town where my dad grew up. Of course all of you Mobeetie historians know that it’s actually two towns, Old Mobeetie and Mobeetie.  And you also surely know that the town’s original name was Sweetwater, but when the town applied for a post office in 1879, the name “Sweetwater” was already in use. The town took the new name of “Mobeetie,” believed to be a Native American word for “Sweetwater.”

Old Mobeetie has a few old buildings intended to depict the Olden Days, a large picnic grounds, a stage, the old jail, and a lot of trees. This is one of the old buildings, which has been tricked out to look like a barber shop.

Old Mobeetie, Texas
photographed 12.27.2019

Diamonds in the rough

Do yourself a favor if you’re ever in the northeastern part of the Texas panhandle and stop in at the town of Canadian. I was there recently, for just a short time, and now I think I’ve developed a bit of crush on the whole town. The topography is different from what I am used to in Lubbock – which is to say they HAVE topography. There’s a vibrant downtown, a sign on the edge of town that lists the local festivals and the list is too long to read when you drive by, a designated cultural district, and a world-class art museum. And the artist Doug Ricketts is nearby; I am fortunate to own several pieces of his fabulous furniture.

I am already trying to figure out when I can get back up there for a couple of days…

But all that aside, it was a foggy, drippy day when I visited, which meant that I got see the little diamond-like drops of mist hanging on the chain-link fence around the town’s swimming pool. And here’s the thing – I go to a lot of little towns around this part of Texas and most of the town swimming pools are permanently closed down. So, kudos to Canadian: their pool is still open in the summer!

Canadian, Texas
photographed 12.27.2019

Instructions

It’s weird how both nothing and a lot is going on here…

Clarendon, Texas
photographed 12.27.2019

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