Once upon a time in Texas, there was a girl with an appetite and a dream...

1.28.2006

The smells of my happy childhood



Today as I walked out of my mom and dad's house, I was hit by a wave of olfactory nostalgia. In my small East Texas hometown (where I have passed most of my visit) we have a mile-long stretch of refineries affectionately called "Chemical Row." This large landscape of steel and smokestacks is just about a mile south of my parents' house. Normally, one must be much closer to pick up the chemically delicious odor, but today, the wind was blowing in from the south. That wind carried with it memories of many barbecues as a child spent down at the Dupont Employees Recreation Association. Here you could find the makings of any great family cookout. There were barbecue pits, a playground, a swimming pool, and a softball field all flanked on one side by the swamp (known to us as Cow Bayou) and on the other side by DuPont, Chevron, Texaco, etc. We didn't mind the smell because to us it meant that we were with family and friends spinning on the merry-go-round, eatin' hot links, watching dads play softball, or just sitting on the dock with our feet dangling in that brown bayou water. Those were happy days, though! You see, we didn't know that there were clean, clear, unpolluted streams running through a protected national park somewhere, or that our own environment was hopelessly flawed. There would be time for knowing later. On those hot summer days as we laughed and ran around sucking in lungs-full of that air, we wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Misti said...

Ahh, the smell of chemicals and don't forget the paper mill that was on the other side of town! Any time the wind blew we got a good whiff of one of them! Love this, keep it up!

1/28/2006 11:27 PM

 
Blogger Bill said...

Growing up in Pasadena, I can identify with your childhood. The Champion Paper Mill alerted us to a northerly wind shift, but I was too busy playing ball to realize it. When I visit my homeland on occasion, SH 225 reeks, and my Dad lives with asbestosis from his few years of service to the Houston Ship Channel. Nonetheless, I had some great times in "Stink-a-dena."

1/30/2006 12:08 AM

 
Blogger adfjkaj said...

Hi there... Saw you on one of my Blog Buddies (melulsina's blog)...

Cheers...

1/30/2006 1:22 AM

 
Anonymous Mayo said...

Tracy I love the site! It's much better than waiting for someone to copy me on your Italian emails!

1/31/2006 3:02 PM

 
Blogger Tracie B. said...

thanks mayo! get my address from gretchen--i want yours...good to hear from you!

1/31/2006 5:20 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and to think...I read this a year later...almost. I'll make the magic happen, if she doesn't already have the address.

otherwise, yes the chemicals smell bad, but the sunsets are gorgeous! ...ooh. How sad is that? Silkwood-sad?

1/22/2007 11:14 PM

 

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