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Correspondence

A Long Time Gone

        “How shall we sing the Lord’s songin a strange land?”
—Psalm 137:4

       “[Man] has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.  The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things.  It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past.  The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him
endure and prevail.”
—William Faulkner

Where to begin? At the beginning, or very near it.

Two young people, one a 16-year-old schoolgirl, the other a 21-year-old carpenter, married in my mother’s home church in Houston’s West End on Valentine’s Day, 1953.  The neighborhood was filled with wooden houses resting on cinder blocks, my great-grandparents’ house standing on Malone Street, just north of Washington Avenue.  A little further north of Washington was the old Katy road; across it, the Heights and Cottage Grove.  The neighborhood stretched west from Shepard Drive to Memorial Park.  The people were mostly from rural backgrounds, from all over Texas and the Southwest. ...

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