We’re wrapping up a month in Austin Texas, my father’s hometown. He was born here and spent much of the first half of his life within 25 miles of his home. I still have a few cousins in the area, and Austin has always held a special draw for me. My family was well-known for a long time, with connections to Austin politics for over 60 years. I used to brag a bit in grade school about “my” airport, now closed and being turned into a housing development.
I spent one afternoon driving the kids around Austin, visiting my parents’ graves and pointing out where things used to be. “That park right there is where Grand-dad’s house used to be.”
“That’s where the airport used to be.”
“There used to be a smaller building there that our family used to own.” The kids held up pretty well, and seemed interested in the history.
We spent half an hour near the old intersection of 16th and Red River. Centennial Park pretty much covers the site of the old Mueller and Bock houses, but I could still get a sense of my father’s childhood.
I took another day to visit the Texas State Archives to make a copy of the Kreisle Family History that my father wrote in 1983. I’m sure there’s a paper copy somewhere in my childhood home, or elsewhere in my dad’s papers, but I wanted a digital copy. I learned the Archives had an overhead scanner that was free to use. Parking was free for the first two hours as well, so I scored a digital copy of the family history for free.
Earlier that day, I visited Oakwood Cemetery, where several generations of the Muellers, Mayers, and Kreisles are buried. It took me quite a while to locate the graves, since I wasn’t paying attention to the sections on the cemetery map. Turns out there are four sections to the main part of the cemetery, and all three families are basically right next to the main road of the cemetery.
I’ve always been intrigued by tombstones and monuments, and the artwork on the family stones stoked that interest. I was able to take photographs of all of the stones, and I’ll be matching those up to some of the family members on my genealogy site in the next few weeks.
Next stop: Pittsburgh. I’ll be attending the Pennwriters 2011 Conference to learn more about the writing craft, and maybe meet an agent or two. The flooding along the Mississippi River valley is forcing us to change our route at the last minute, canceling some reservations and trying to make others on a Saturday afternoon. I think we’re set though. See you in a few days.