Townes Van Zandt once called it home
In Heartworn Highways Townes Van Zandt is shown living in a trailer on Charlotte St. in the 1970's with his girlfriend Cindy, two chickens (Smith and Wesson) and several dogs. That street is in Clarksville, still very rural nearly forty years ago. All that remains that even hints at it's past are a few older oak trees nestled between very simple, tiny, wood framed homes, sadly, many ripe for razing. Newer houses and duplexes are rapidly populating the area. Sometimes it is odd spotting these brand new structures because they seem worlds away from the shy talent who did battle with his inner demons on that street.
On Saturday morning I drove around Clarksville keeping an eye out for ghostly places and tall, ancient oak trees. It is one of the oldest places in town. Around this time of year I find myself drawn to it. I feel the same way about East Austin in May.
Austin had modest beginnings and took awhile to get going. I caught the tail end of one growth spurt gone bust back in 1989. This evening I started to count all the people I know who left town only a year ago and those who are about to leave town. I stopped counting at 23 because it was becoming a sort of mass exodus. Everyone is off to greener pastures, Colorado and Oregon being the destinations du jour. Austin continues to morph and some go searching for the Austin they once new somewhere else, others feel only too stagnant here. Those that left town in the past returned a short time later. I really don't see that happening again. For now, it's home. It's hard to think of leaving Texas, though the thought has crossed my mind (many times). My Grandmother's people have been here since the 1850's, true Natives in every sense of the word. Before Texas they had been calling another place, near mountains, home for over 300 years. It's sort of in my genes to not move around much.