In 1968, I was born in a quiet South Texas town. When anyone asks me where I was from, I quickly respond, “Uvalde, Texas.”
I am proud to call Uvalde my home.
Uvalde is now front-and-center because of the senseless school shooting that took the lives of so many children and some of the wonderful teachers who tried to protect them. It all happened at Robb Elementary, a school that was only a couple of blocks from our house on Evans Street.
Robb is also where I attended school.
The Beauty of Uvalde
I would like to switch gears a bit here and share with you some of my beautiful memories of Uvalde. In fact, there are so many of them that when my family gets together, we spend hours sharing them.
- My grandfather lived just a couple blocks away from our house. Every morning, without fail, I would walk to his house to sit with him for a few minutes before I headed to Robb Elementary. On the weekends, I would often spend the whole day with him, just hanging out. He didn’t have a radio or a TV, so we just chatted and did stuff around the house. Thinking about this story today, I am reminded of how beautiful life can be when we make it simple.
- As a 10-year-old, I’m unsure who signed me up to perform the Mexican folk dance, El Jarabe Tapatío, at our local park. It has been decades since that time, but I still remember how nervous I was on this day. I was dressed in a mariachi outfit, which meant I had layers of clothing despite the hot Texas weather. My grandmother and my aunts were in attendance, and I remember they were very proud of my performance, even though I think it was probably lackluster.
- My grandmother, who raised me and was essentially my mother, stayed in Uvalde until the Lord called her home. I would often make the drive from San Antonio to visit her and enjoyed taking her food. We would sometimes laugh about how many Flores’ there were in Uvalde. During the time of phonebooks, we commanded at least 10 pages of it!
- For most Thanksgivings, we visit my brother Joe who still lives in Uvalde. We have turkey on the menu, but Uvalde is a BBQ town, and his brisket is superb! After our meal, we go to the local park, and we play a competitive game of flag football. We are a driven group, so winning matters!
For the people learning about Uvalde for the first time, the massacre is all they will know about our town.
However, for those of us who call it our home, there are so many beautiful and touching memories that can never be erased. Texas history is filled with the strong politicians that came from Uvalde. It is also where Matthew McConaughey was born.
I will travel to Uvalde soon for the first time since the shooting took place. I will take flowers to my grandmother’s gravesite. My father, grandfather, and many aunts and uncles are also buried in the same cemetery, so there is no doubt I am coming home.
Unfortunately, during this visit to pay my respects to loved ones, many fresh graves will abound at the City of Uvalde Cemetery.
Even though I will not know any of them personally, they are all part of my family, as the Uvaldian bond will never be broken.