One morning we were eating our pancakes in the shade of the honeysuckle and my father said sadly, “We are leaving Texas. We shall live in Pennsylvania.”

He said it in his gentle but inexorable voice, which gave to the word “Texas” an air of desolation, in which the chanting of the Negroes rose from the aisles of hanging moss and the fields full of bluebonnets shone with a huge, savage innocence.

My fear of Texas and of Texans had turned into a wild leaping love. Every day after school I’d run down to the creek and watch the tadpoles wriggling in the coiling red water. The glory of the butterflies with their wings of red and silver hinted at a bright, bloodthirsty grandeur in the airs of Texas. The smells of Texas held the scent of rocks and horses and salamanders. I felt a cold stab of grief at the thought of leaving Texas. But then the word “Pennsylvania” took on a dark,...


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