In college, Texas history class was a stressful experience for me. Even though the events of our past fascinate me I could not, for the life of me, pass the instructors test without hours of studying. As much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t get it. Even with all the studying I barely passed the course. It seemed like the instructor had made his own changes to history because none of his questions that were on the test came out of the book I was reading. Was this true? Well, probably not, but that’s how I felt at the time.
Years have passed since my college days but the history of the places I visit always make me wonder about the people that have touched the ground I now walk on. I want to know who passed through my town, the cities around me, and throughout the great State of Texas. I want to go somewhere where nobody knows and I want to know somewhere where nobody goes. My way to explore this and understand Texas history is to travel around Texas collecting Historical Markers (not literally) and writing about my experiences. Each marker tells a story. After reading them, I take a moment to picture children running to the school that had been at that now empty lot, or the many heroes that fought in wars and are now buried in the cemetery I am standing in, or even a town that was once heavily populated and now only has a population of 30. Someone wanted the history of that area or a heroic person to be kept alive and so I am doing that. I have always taken interest in historical markers. My collection now includes 40 visited historical markers with about 15000 to go and that’s just Texas. I personally visit each marker and then do some research on it and write about it. Sometimes I can find tons of information and other times not so much.
Some friends and family ask me what the big deal is with historical markers. Well in my opinion, there is a story we all want to tell. We all have interest and dreams of being somewhere else and maybe even living in another time. Writing takes me away from the stresses of my everyday life. I have spent many hours driving Texas roads since I work in Houston and stay in Conroe but live in San Antonio. History is all around us and besides, I pass Historical markers everywhere I go. But, Historical markers are not just along the highway. Many are hidden in small towns and even on private property. Locating some of them is more challenging than you think but its well worth it when I can go online and no one has a picture of the marker I have. I can say I was there. I was right there where history happened so many years ago. I think my history instructor would be proud.
So why do you write what you write?