Culture, History, Passion…The West Side

During our time in class this week, our professor took us on a detour from our regular class discussions. Meeting in a place 15 minutes from the University and yet the feeling of the neighborhood completely changed. From the colorful buildings and beautifully painted murals, you could tell this place was special to someone. We began this journey in a small home in the middle of the west side. It was not big but not as tiny as the others I had seen on the way over. It did not look like your usual organization building and at one point I almost drove right past it. The building was small and was flanked by other homes, but it definitely felt like your family home. Walking in I had a very moving and surprising feeling, it felt as if I was walking into my great grandmothers home. The home exactly resembled her home, from the way the bedrooms are placed to the railings on the porch.  A woman who made her life in San Antonio on the west side and created memories with my grandmother and great-aunt by her side. It had been over 8 years since I set foot in her house and yet it felt as if it was yesterday that I saw her waving goodbye on the front porch.

I had learned a great deal that night in this ghost of a house. It reminded me of San Antonio’s rich history and in turn mine as well. We walked the streets of the west side listening to its rich history and remembering part of my own history intertwined with these streets. Walking towards the Virgin Mary candle that is raised off the wall and remember taking my graduation pictures in the same building.  Feeling such a strong draw towards this area and the projects that The Esperanza organization has, I would like to dig deeper into this history and create a project of my own.

My Great Grandfather was a full-time Mariachi and my great-grandmother a stay at home mom. My Grandmother and her sister were moved from city to city for years until finally settling down in San Antonio. They were poor and so settled in the San Antonio West side where they have lived for over the past 50 years. My grandmother and grandfather have told me stories of their lives before marriage and after. these are stories and a legacy that I think is worth saving personally and generally to give to the San Antonio Westside.

After my Great-grandmother’s passing her home on the west side has stayed in the family. If I was able to reach my true goal I would like to create an exhibit of a family legacy and I would like to incorporate other families that are not only my own. Creating this interlocking relationship of the community on the west side. To show the importance of the San Antonio west side not only to the north, south, and east side but to the west siders themselves. A community full of loving grandmothers, independent aunts, strong mothers, and inspired children.

3 Replies to “Culture, History, Passion…The West Side”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story Danielle! I think creating an oral history of your grandparents would be a fantastic project for you to take on. I completely agree when you say the legacy is worth saving. To me, the everyday stories of peoples lives are one of the most interesting aspects of history, and definitely worth preserving. So many things change throughout the generations and the little things are easy to lose when recounting historical events. I look forward to seeing what kind of project you choose to do!

  2. I loved reading your story. It is nice to hear about the connections that others have to the past. I also enjoyed hearing your point of view. You have a deeper connection to the neighborhood and its history than myself. I can understand the importance of preserving the history contained in those buildings, but I can not feel it like you do. Always keep the special places and moments close to your heart.

  3. so much of what you talked about is so reminiscent of the stories of so many. For my family, while they spent most of their time on the Southside, it was the west side where it all began for them. From time to time my mom will still bring me back and show me this place or that. And now they even do a bike (bicycle tour) have you been? It’s a really cool thing.

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