The following was inspired by looking through my writer’s notebook, this is from my page of Memories Inside Me.
“What happened to the dirt?” we wondered as we drove from Washington, D. C. to Houston, Texas.
The year was 1966, a major change was happening in our life. All my life I had lived in Chicago, but due to a job change our family (5 kids, 2 parents) was making a move away from everything we had known to an unknown world.
First, we moved to Washington, D. C. for a summer while my dad received training for his new job. His first assignment (after training) was to be in Houston, Texas. What an adventure this was to be for us! The only world we had known was Chicago and Baldwin, Wisconsin. Chicago was home, Baldwin was vacation, this was where we spent time visiting grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a multitude of cousins.
The most shocking change to us was the ground we walked upon. Dirt is black, moist, rich soil. Dirt is not red, dry, powdery clay. What happened to the dirt? How do you grow plants in this stuff? This ground was so different from anything we’d ever seen. My mother scooped up a baggie of this red dirt and mailed it to my grandmother in Wisconsin. I can imagine my grandmother’s surprise when she opened up the small package of red dirt.
I think of this everytime we drive across New Mexico and Arizona. I marvel at the color of the land around me as I know this is much redder than the ground in Texas.
I suppose black dirt would be a novelty to those who were raised on red dirt.