Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Del Valle Chronicles Part 1: You Can Never Go Home Again

Apparently there's a reunion of sorts coming up for my old High School, which reminded me of this old piece of an unfinished project:

YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME AGAIN
2/20/2002

Last week I was flying out of the new Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, which was built on top of my old neighborhood the closed-due-to-military-budget-cuts Bergstrom Air Force Base. That fact in itself is still hard to get used to. I mean, it is a fairly common experience to have a house torn down to make way for new development; it is quite unusual to have an entire community removed to make way for an airport. Anyway, I had some time to kill so I decided to turn the corner over to Del Valle High School (ah, the sweet memories) because I heard it has been renovated.

Driving there from the new airport, while still trying to figure out exactly what stretch of runway used to be my house, the first thing I noticed was a large fence surrounding the school grounds, behind the fence was a recently demolished vacant lot full of construction vehicles removing the remaining debris. Del Valle High, at least the one I spent four years of my life skipping classes from, no longer exists. Actually the only remaining structures were the dilapidated football field and the entrance sign, which now read “East Highland HS.” Apparently Del Valle High as an entity was gone even before the building was leveled.

I'm no nostalgia buff, and I definitely don't look back on my time at Del Valle with any degree of fondness, actually it was quite horrible, but this was just weird; totally unexpected. For those of us who spent our formative years on Bergstrom and attended Del Valle, all remnants of our entire community have been wiped clean. Too bad the same can’t be said of our memories.