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My Home Town by Dorothy Hansen

My Home Town

For thirty years this California town
has been the place where I have slept at night,
and shopped, and worked, and driven about.

But home is where my childhood feet
ran bare on Texas clay …
on streets that were like arteries
to all the lives I loved and shared.

Now, as storm clouds gather in November
and leaves are on the ground,
these asphalt streets and stranger’s cars
seem even more remote.

I long to live where I am known,
and my grandparents, too …
where all the folks I meet each day
know just where I belong.

They’ve known my folks and relatives.
They’ve seen me go through school.

I have a place on Texas soil
in the town where I was born.

It is my home, belongs to me,
and I yearn for a hearth that’s gone.

From Dorothy Hansen's “Cedar Berries,” her collection of poems about Texas.

Dorothy Lee Hansen wrote this poem about my home town of Mineral Wells, Texas. She was born there in 1925 and is of my mother's generation. From what I have read about her she was full of life, laughter, determination, and grit. She was full of pride about her pioneer heritage and always interested in sharing it with others. She was a great-great niece of Charles Goodnight, who along with his partner, Oliver Loving, were famous cattle drivers from the Mineral Wells area. The book "Lonesome Dove" was based on them.

Mrs. Hansen kept a home in Mineral Wells that she called "Hill Cove" to which she returned often. She was a world-wide traveler and when she returned she would engage her friends and the social clubs with readings from her poetry.

She died in February of this year at the age of 84, an Emmy award winner and poet laureate. She also had many accomplishments in theater, radio, and teaching. She was also very active in civil rights.

Cedar berries: poems of pioneer Texas and American Indian heritage
Goodnight Descendant Dorothy Hansen Dies by Libby Cluett, Mineral Wells Index

Although Dorothy Hansen was not my ancestor, I am a descendant of Mineral Wells, and because of this association, I offer her poem which speaks to my soul for your enjoyment.

Bill West's 2nd Great American Local Poem and Song Genealogy Challenge at West in New England.


Greta Koehl said…
Thank you for posting this poem. That's sort of the way I felt about California when we moved to Texas, but now it's how I feel about Texas!
I guess home is where the heart is, and the heart can hold more than one place for our home, right?
Thanks, Greta!
Bill West said…
Thank you for introducing me to this poet. Great choice!

And thank you for participating in the Challenge!
Vickie Everhart said…
I so agree with you, Judith . . . she does speak to my soul . . . and straight from my heart . . . like Bill said . . . thank you for the introduction . . . I plan to get to know Dorothy a little better . . . V. . . .
Thanks Bill and Vickie,
I hope everyone will go to the link in my sources and read about her life. She really had a fascinating journey! Thanks for this challenge, Bill. It was a lot of fun. And thanks for leaving your comments ~ all of you.
Judy, I love this poem. I can certainly relate to it, as I have felt the same way when I lived outside Texas. Great post.
Thanks, Debbie! Be sure to go to the link and read about Dorothy in the local newspaper. It is a great account of her very fulfilling life.
What a wonderful poem - and poet. The beauty is that though she writes of her longing for Mineral Wells, she speaks for all of us longing for our roots. Another poet to add to my list to read. Thank you, Judy, for the introduction.
So glad you liked the poem and the poet, Nolichucky! She does speak to us all, doesn't she?
Nancy said…
I'm not from Texas but that poem speaks to anyone with hometown roots that run deep in the soul. It's a great poem. Thanks for sharing it and the information about the poet.
Thanks, Nancy. I love this poem, too. Thanks for stopping by.

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