I grew up in Preston Hollow and currently live in Uptown. I love both areas, but never really took the time to venture “elsewhere.” I was, until lately, a “bubble” kid, if you will.
I suppose my interest in the area east of I-75 began to develop when I discovered Pearl Cup while being trained by Barbara, the paper’s former managing editor. Like clockwork, I hit up the little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop just about every other day, and before long found myself venturing to more and more restaurants “across the border.” But honestly, I still never really came to truly appreciate East Dallas until recently.
I adore State-Thomas, my current neighborhood. It’s a sort of mecca for professional twenty-somethings and is filled with trendy restaurants and happening bars. But it lacks something, and until this past month, I realized what it is – nature, and a real sense of community.
As I was sitting in Nancy’s house making final edits for the paper one evening in mid-May, my ear picked up a noise I hadn’t heard since before moving to Uptown.
“Did I just hear what I think I heard?” I asked Nancy. She looked confused. Whurr-a-whurr-a-whurr buzzzz. “Oh my gosh, are those cicadas!?” I gasped. “Uh… yes… yeah?” replied Nancy, obviously puzzled by my over-the-top reaction to such a non-monumental event, that being, the ordinary sound of cicadas buzzing in a tree outside her window.
The truth is, I’ve lived in Uptown for more than a year, and until a couple of days ago I’d never once heard a cicada outside my window. Growing up, I always knew that summer was officially here once I heard them buzzing in the trees. Their noise was always a source of great joy for me, and still is to this day – but I’ve been unable to hear them where I live. That night in Nancy’s home, the trees came alive with their whurrs and buzzes, and I turned off the classical music Nancy usually plays during our editing nights so I could soak in every second of their little tree orchestra.
Speaking of trees, I wish my neighborhood had some that grew naturally. Don’t get me wrong – my neighborhood is beautiful, with smaller trees dotted all along the side of each street and elegant brick town homes tucked behind them. My boss Allison at my other job, Griffin Strategies (a boutique public relations firm), says State-Thomas reminds her of where she lived in Washington D.C. But it lacks the giants that grow in East Dallas.
About a month ago, I needed to pick up company t-shirts from Allison’s house in Lake Highlands. I woke up early that morning, made my required Starbucks coffee run, and ventured east. The grid pattern of streets I was leaving began to mold into windy, hilly roads covered by the shade of vast cottonwoods and enormous oak trees.
“Wow,” I thought. “Why haven’t I spent more time out here? It’s gorgeous.”
After arriving at Allison’s rental home, collecting the shirts, and determining I had extra time to kill, Allison decided to give me a tour of the neighborhood. Her new house is being renovated just a few blocks from her rental home. I hopped in my car and followed her through the maze of streets to her new home perched on the corner. This house was the perfect home. Although still rather gutted on the inside, as it still had a ways to go until completion, it was everything anyone could or should need. The homes in Highland Park and Preston Hollow are beautiful, but there was something about the house and the community in which it belonged that stood out to me. It wasn’t manicured like the Park Cities or State-Thomas. It was a raw, natural beauty.
With still more time to spare, we hopped in our cars, and I followed her to her old house, about a block away from her new house.
On the way, we passed quite a few people – some on their lawns, some walking the dog, others on their morning jog – and they all waved to Allison.
“They all know her?” I thought. This doesn’t happen in my neighborhood. In fact, in my year in State-Thomas, I’ve sadly still never met a single neighbor. But East Dallas is clearly different. During my time at the paper, I’ve noticed just how tight-knit the neighborhoods of East Dallas really are. I receive numerous community e-mails each week. Whether it’s a report of a missing or found pet, a neighborhood crime occurrence, or a community event, I can honestly say that the residents of East Dallas have more ways of keeping in touch than most communities in Dallas, and I’m sure every resident reading this right now would agree. After driving away from Allison’s neighborhood that morning, I thought, “Yup. I could definitely call this area home some day.”
This week marks my one-year anniversary at White Rock Lake Weekly, and it has been a truly rewarding experience. I have read about so many interesting people in Lucy’s “Meet Your Neighbors” and Shari’s “Where Are They Now?” pieces, worked with an incredible staff, and truly come to appreciate and value the beauty of East Dallas. It is a remarkable community, and I look forward to continuing my work within it and with its wonderful residents! Thank you all for a great first year!
In the article “Husband cycles toward cure for wife's disease” (Vol. 3, No. 50) WRLW incorrectly stated the number of miles ridden by cyclist Bob Kennedy. This year’s ride was more than 150 miles. Also, in Vol. 3, No 49, an article titled “Resident seeks new definition for ̔American̓” by Seaon Ducote should have been clearly labeled as an opinion piece. The views expressed in the column do not reflect the views of WRLW, its staff or advertisers.