Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Small Towns, Big Families with Jolene Navarro

Jolene Navarro here. Did you know we only have twelve Fridays until Christmas! But we are not here to talk about that. Even though I do have a Christmas story that is out and about in book form, with the eBook being released Thursday.  Another story set in the fictional small Texas Hill Country of Clear Water. But I'm here to talk about small towns.
Frio Canyon - Home of my fictional town, Clear Water, Texas
 I love life in a small town.  People know people. They know your grandmother, your cousins and your children. You belong. You have a history. You’re part of a story.  You know why the locals call the intersection at HWY 46 and Herff Rd. Sheep Dip Crossing.
On a sad note the newbies in town give you a blank stare if your direction include Sheep Dip Crossing or “where Poorboys use to be.” I’m guessing in the next couple of generations the terms will be gone for our local vocabulary.

The thing that can drive you cray in a small town? People know people. They know your grandmother, your cousins… well, you get the picture.  People remember you as a teenager, and all the stupid senseless stuff you want to forget. They really know your family members. There is no glossing over or hiding the crazy. 

 Remember the time when…..can cause you to break out in a cold sweat and glancing around to see if your kids are near. Half the stories aren't  even true. And sometimes they say that and you really can’t recall what they are talking about, so do you fake it and laugh or start an argument when you respond with ‘NO that never happened’?  Memories are long and live on every corner.
My father was born in the"old" house. It was moved to the back of the property when a new house was built - with a pool and game room! Loved our summers here!

There are different levels of small towns. Places like Leakey, Texas with less than 400 people. It is also the kind of town I love writing about, generations of ranchers, business owners and dreamers.  One street light.  Kindergartners to twelfth graders are on the same school campus. Community is strong.  A church on every corner. Not a great deal has changed there over the years, expect the path of the river with each flood and they can now sell beer. (Which some of the churches are not happy about.)

This is one of my hometowns. My great-great grandparents settled there and my parents met and married there. It’s also the place I met my love and married him. We moved back and lived there during the birth of one of our four children. I love this little valley in the Texas Hill Country. My husband’s family has been there for three generations now. It will always be home.  Go Eagles!
My four kids on the football field were my dad played and their dad played and coached.
Four generations of Navarros in Leakey. The tiny little lady in the middle is the mother, grandmother and great grand of the picture

Then you have small towns like Boerne, Texas. My other hometown. When I started school here in 1979, there was one high school, one middle school and an elementary or two. No chain restaurant or fast food. The grocery store and pharmacy were owned by local families.  The owner of the restaurant greeted you by name.
We rode our horses to the General Store where you could still hear people speaking German.  Today Boerne is going through growing pains. Being north of San Antonio,  people are moving in to find the love of having the Main Street USA feel of small town with the convenience of one of the biggest cities in the United States of America.
Boerne Main Street Plaza

The Dienger Trading Co. It was the Library for a while.

Now-a-days you don’t see as many family owned businesses when you drive down Main Street.  For the sake of convenience the big box stores have staked a claim along the highway, forcing the mom and pop shops to close or redefine themselves.

I write small town stories because it is what I know and love.  A Texas Christmas Wish is the third book that takes place in a small fictional town of Clear Water, Texas on the Frio River.  
Frio River at Seven Bluff Crossing
 In my story the hero takes the heroine to the local lumber yard. A place where generations have counted on the Bergmann family to provide high quality building materials as they construct their own homes and business.

Bergmann Lumber Store Front in Boerne Texas
In real life Bergmann Lumber is a two story limestone building on Main Street in Boerne. It is a historical site and owned by the same family for three generations. Randy Bergmann and his daughters have managed to reinvent their store front and focus on customer service with a mix of daily lumber and hardware needs along with gifts and one of a kind home decor.
Visiting at the Book signing at Bergmann Lumber - Love Small town life.

Children left unattended in Bergmann Lumber will find lots of ways to entertain themselves.

In honor of my  favorite Texas small towns and the families that live there (real and fictional) I have had each off my book signing at Bergmann Lumber. Yes, I have book signings at a hardware store. They also carry my books year round. (How cool is that?) They are one of the few family owned businesses that have found a way to survive the shift in Boerne’s population and demographics. 

So if you want to buy a story about small town, family and faith go by Bergmann Lumber on Main Street in Boerne, Texas. (they are also in Walmart and Amazon..shhhh I didn't tell you that) You can also support small businesses by doing some early Christmas shopping and visit you locally owned businesses. 

Do you have a small town you love. If so what do you love about it? Do you make a point to shop at locally owned stores or do you find the big guys easier and less expensive? 



  1. Oh oh, you made me miss my growing up town in Nebraska. I'm in the big city of Greater Phoenix. I think we're the third largest after New York City and LA. I need to check that. No small town feeling here. I can get to one, not five, no seven Walmarts and not use a quarter tank of gas.

  2. What a great post, Jolene! I loved the photos!! And you reminded me how important all the small details are in our stories.

    I'm in a somewhat small town in Georgia, but it's nowhere near as small as the fictional towns I write about. :)

  3. I can so relate, Jolene. We can hardly wait to get out of the big city (less than two years now) and move just outside the small town of Columbus, Texas. Some of your pictures made me feel like I was on the square.

  4. This is such a wonderful post, Jolene!

    I've never lived in a small town, but I've always wanted to for just the reasons you describe!

    Congratulations on hitting the Publisher's Weekly list with A Texas Christmas Wish.

  5. Tracy I know It is 1. NY 2 LA 3 Chicago 4 Houston Can't remember 5 6 and 7 are Phoenix than San Antonio. San Diego and Dallas are up there too. There is so much cultural sports and shopping in the big cities you can get in the small towns. We stop and stay in Phoenix when we drive to Calf.

  6. Thank you Missy - any excuse to post photos I'll do it. Small is relative isn't it?

  7. Mindy Hola! I spent some time as a child in Flower Mound - when it was just a gas station - we had to go to school in Lewisville - Some friends of my father started developing the area and sold acre plots to other pilots. I love small tow squares.

  8. Cate - Thank you Thank you - it is a bit surreal - not sure how that happens. The greatest thing about being a writer is we get to create the worlds we want to live in. :D


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