December, 05, 2014

Endings

I hate ending things. The finality of goodbyes are too much for me.

If I could, I’d prefer to quietly slink out of a situation over having a big to-do about it.

There’s a part of me that thinks, “Well, if we don’t officially say goodbye, then it’s not really for real, so I don’t have to mourn the loss of ‘xyz.’”

I’d choose to remember memories as they were at their best, not how they ended.

This gets me in trouble.

I’m not good at being upfront because disappointing people kills me.

At my heart, I aim to please. I want everyone to be content. I ache when people hurt.

Because of this need to make people happy, I’ve made some dramatically unwise choices.

Continuing to date people when I knew it wasn’t right, keeping cool when I ought to have expressed my true feelings…these are things I knew, at the time, I should’ve voiced. But I didn’t.

I’ve since learned that being truthful to a person is more important (generally) than being kind to a person.

Confronting goodbyes is a necessary evil of embracing new hellos.

Forever goodbyes, though, those are paralyzing. Those are what I struggle to fathom, those are what I still don’t know how to withstand.

After my beloved Nama passed, going back to her home was torturous. I was fourteen and it was gut wrenching to face their tiny ranch-style house without her large, wonderful presence there.

After my Dampa, her husband, passed a few years later, I definitely couldn’t go back because I wanted my last memory to be of them, so vibrant, filling that space.

I didn’t want to remember that house absent of them.

I couldn’t endure it.

I’m chickenshit.

Yeah, overall, I’ve had this incredible luxury of avoiding reality.

I’ve faced few substantial losses in my life.

Yeah, I know this luxury won’t last for long.

I am endlessly terrified that the people who mean the most to me will disappear. Goodness, life is fragile.

But I know being a grown-up means facing losses head-on.

This is the part of adulthood I most fear, over failed relationships, disastrous finances, and unsatisfying jobs.

Beginnings are easy and fun and light. Middles are unequivocally satisfying

Shit gets real when things end.

The most respect you can give a relationship is acknowledging and being present for its ending.

Whether its conclusion is in good faith or not, you owe it to the person to be present.

I certainly have learned this the hard way.

Saying goodbye isn’t easy, no matter how necessary it may be.

But facing goodbye is the most brave.

 

November, 13, 2014

On Belonging

Over the past few years, I’ve realized that for me, a key to happiness is feeling like I belong.

I need to have a community of like-minded people surrounding me to be at peace.

In the absence of family, I need to have friends who are like family, who will have my back no matter the circumstance.

There’s this hard-to-verbalize thing that comes with belonging, when everything just fits and is good and right. Belonging comes when you have people who will hold you up when you fall. Belonging comes when you accept that things aren’t perfect, but it’s OK because you have your people at your side. You’re in a place where you feel the most you and make wiser and bolder decisions, accordingly.

I’ll never take belonging for granted. I’ve spent a lot of time in amazing places, among amazing people, yet feeling alone.

This is partially a symptom of running away.

I know that I’m incredibly lucky to have been able to go off and try different things and live in many cities and make a reality of my dreams. Were it not for all these experiences, I wouldn’t be content here, now.

Because of my tendency to run away, I’ve learned that a place can be everything you ever imagined, but once you’re there, it doesn’t quite fit.

You could be in the most perfect, picturesque, wonderful town in the entirety of the world, but you can still be unhappy.

Not being content in a place you expected to adore is tough to come to terms with. That the place you romanticized isn’t everything you anticipated really digs at you.

And when I say unhappy, I don’t necessarily mean depressed. You just have this pervasive nagging that things don’t fit. You feel kinda empty, despite the fullness around you.

So much of belonging comes from timing. A lot of my unhappiness was because I wasn’t in the right place at the right time. If I started at Bowdoin now, with the knowledge I have now, I think I’d be happy there. If I lived in DC now, with the friends I know there now, I’d be happy there. It would take a lot more for me to be happy in New York…but I could make it work there now, too.

So much of belonging comes from acceptance. Accepting who you are, accepting the place for what it is, and going all in to find what it can bring you. You have to put yourself out there to find your people. They don’t effortlessly appear in front of you.

Admittedly, when you walk into something unbiased and unfiltered, you end up with a lot of crap in the beginning. There’s confusion and discomfort. But as time passes and as you get to know the situation better, you realize who is and isn’t worth keeping around. You get stronger. You know more what you want and need in your life.

Boy, I hated Dallas growing up. But when I moved back here in 2011, my heart and mind were completely open. I had nothing to lose and no place to go back to, so I doubled down here. It wasn’t necessarily fun or pretty, but I eventually found myself surrounded by a veritable army of friends in this town.

Really, most of belonging comes from knowing who you are and knowing what you want in others. You have to slog through loneliness and shitty people to get there. It’s from these experiences, though, that you discover what you need to be happy. Through all of that mess, you’ll figure out what kind of support system is right for you.

Someone recently asked me if I could live anywhere, where would I choose? I answered: “Where my people are” and they told me that was a very loyal answer. Well, no. That’s a very selfish response.

I’ve lived in some incredible places, alone. Ain’t worth it.

The people make the place.

Good people aren’t easy to come by.

It takes growth and work and hurt to find them.

Once you do, hold on to them, tight.

 

 

October, 08, 2014

The Places You Ruined

I penned this almost 2 years ago. Though I’ve moved on from these specific feelings, the sentiment remains.

 

You ruined that bar where we met for the first time. You goaded me into joining you there, even though it was 10pm on a weekday. We had a couple beers, we laughed; it was fun and easy and lighthearted. My first impression was that you were too short, but you were clever and smart, so I decided not to write you off. (Why didn’t I write you off?) You walked me back to my car, but didn’t kiss me. I texted and made fun of you for that when we both got home.

You ruined that martini bar where we met the next time. You joined the group of us, after we’d been there a while. I was drinking (of course) a martini…one of the many I’d had that night. When I excused myself to the bathroom, you followed. You met me in the hallway after I exited and pushed me against the wall and kissed me, hard. You more than made up for that missing kiss the time before.

You ruined that hole-in-the-wall bar, after you texted out of the blue, so many weeks later, asking me to meet you there. You were drunk; I knew that going in. We first sat out on the patio where I nursed my beer. It was July, deep in the midst of a hot Texas summer. That dumb song “Party Rock” came on and I mentioned I thought it was so catchy. We went inside and played shuffleboard. I lost, because I’m awful at recreational games. You walked me to my car and kissed me. But that was it, for a while.

You ruined that taco place…after months. The one inside the gas station. We ate our cheap tacos and elotes in your car. It was nearly winter then. I drank a warm beer you grabbed from the backseat. You called me out for texting a dude, who happened to be one of my good friends, that’s it. I didn’t know you were texting someone else the whole time we were together, someone who I wouldn’t consider just a friend.

You ruined that couch – my couch. I finally built up the courage to ask what we were doingyou and me. You exhaled a tortured exhale when I asked, like you were thinking: “Oh shit. She finally wants to know.” And then you kept saying: “I can’t. I’m sorry. I can’t. I can’t,” over and over. We sat there for a long time in that miserable stillness. But I didn’t cry. Somehow I didn’t.

Even though I told myself it needed to be done, that I needed to say “no more,” I didn’t learn. This limbo went on and on. So…

You managed to ruin another taco place, too, one in that kinda iffy part of town, where we ordered $2 tacos and sat on the curb shoulder to shoulder and laughed and ate. That night was so good and effortless and at the time I kept thinking: “Yes. Yes, this is how it should be, always. Please?”

You ruined that dive bar – my favorite bar – where we drank beer after beer outside one Sunday afternoon. It was the only time you could fit me into your “busy” weekend schedule. I wore a dress that was more than a little bit too short and you told me how great I looked. You made fun of my knockoff Ray Bans. We sat across from each other and at one point you grabbed my hand and then leaned across the table and kissed me. I usually hate PDA, but then, on that long afternoon, I didn’t give one shit.

You ruined that restaurant I’ve never even been to. We made plans to get dinner there, but you canceled at the last minute. I knew I shouldn’t have let myself get excited about it, but I did. When I got your stupid, nonchalant text saying you couldn’t make it that night, my stomach dropped. I knew I brought the disappointment on myself, though. I should’ve known better.

You ruined the pool where we took a late night swim that one time, one of the last times, much too late on a school night. You didn’t have a bathing suit, so you wore your black boxer briefs, which the chlorine stained burgundy. It was on the roof of my building downtown; we treaded water and dipped and dove amongst the brightly lit Dallas skyline. You asked if I was waiting for you. I scoffed and said “Hell no. I don’t wait for anyone.” But I know you knew better. I don’t typically call things magical, because that’s cheesy and trite, but if pressed, yeah I’ll admit…that night kinda was.

You even managed to ruin a place in this new city I moved to, a town you’ve never even visited…

You ruined that entire night. It had been months. I was sipping a vodka soda, so indifferent, so unattached, when you texted me out of the blue. Feelings. Shit I’d been waiting to hear for a year and a half. That you missed me. That you cared about me.

And, because I never learned – never learned – I held on to those words for way too long.

I stupidly let you ruin places here, too.

…that’s really on me, though. It was my fault. My own damn fault.

It didn’t change.

It never changed.

You’d think I’d learn.

Why did it take me so long to learn?

Thank god I’ve learned.

I’m still learning.

 

September, 23, 2014

On Life, Now (And Accepting It)

This is the first time in my adult life I’ve been content where I am and it’s pretty terrifying.

This is the first time I don’t want to move; this is the first time I’ve wanted to stay.

I’m in a completely different place than I was 3-5 years ago. Then, the future was so foggy and vast. And it is now, too, in ways. But things are slowly focusing and those gaping what-ifs are taking shape. As I grow up and things shift together, the spaces between the unknowns shrink.

This scares me.

I now have a pretty good idea of what I want…in a career, in a partner, in life. I know who I am more than I ever did.

And part of me hates it.

For someone who has lived their life jumping from one unknown to another with relish, this whole “being pretty satisfied” thing is bizarre. I’m at an awkward in-between moment when things aren’t totally vague, but they aren’t defined, either.

I’m in this weird limbo of time.

That reckless, bull-in-the-China-shop girl I was a few years ago…that has passed. I’ve found peace with myself. I’m going forward with consideration and forethought.

But it’s also so much scarier that I can pinpoint what I want in life (mostly), though not know exactly how to achieve it.

Now more than ever, I feel like I’m standing on the edge of really “getting it,” whatever that means. I feel like I’m so close my toes are gripping the precipice.

I’m not naïve enough to think that I’ll get to a point where I can concisely plan out my life to a tee and wipe my brow in contented exhaustion and declare “Ok, done! Finally figured it out, phewf!” There will always be sharp turns in the road. Thank heavens for that…I hate being bored. There will always be curveballs. And I’ll figure out how to deal with them. I always have.

This is just a strange, new place in my life.

Having an idea of what you want, but not knowing how to get it is entirely frustrating.

I have to hang in and keep moving on. I have to keep making choices that are right for me, now.

I have to believe I’ll connect with what brings the most meaning to my life. I’ll find what makes my heart sing.

I have to believe my life will coincide with someone whose game plan matches mine. Our trajectories will meet at some point.

As quiet as it is, I’ve come to realize there is grace in this time in my life.

I’m endlessly thankful for who I am now, though it may be scary and different. I can appreciate how far I’ve come and what I’ve learned. I can remember that being at this point has its advantages.

This hushed, thoughtful time is important. As boring as I sometimes find it.

I know I will look back on it someday and miss where I am now.

So, in the meantime, I’ll try to embrace this awkward period of limbo. I’ll continually march forward, with faith that things will fall together.

And I know this won’t last forever because I am determined always to grow and move on.

No, this won’t be forever.

For better or worse.

 

July, 31, 2014

100 Things to Do in Dallas – #21 Go to a Texas Rangers Game

Baseball games are my jam.

I will never pretend to be an actual fan of the sport, no. But give me the opportunity to drink beer, eat greasy food, and scream for the home team in the presence of tens of thousands of others? Sign me up!

Rangers Game

I recruited 3 friends to come along with me on the night in question, namely choosing this game because there were fireworks afterwards. NB: There are fireworks shows at Rangers games once a month in the summer. Though the delay of my DART train put us 30 minutes behind schedule, we arrived in high spirits, doled out $15 to park, and trooped to the stadium.

IMG_0536

We sat pretty far up (not quite nosebleeds high up) above third base because Allie informed us the sun sets over third first. Good tip in the Texas summers! We nabbed our seats from Stubhub for about $8 off face value…no doubt due to the fact that the Rangers are pretty awful this season.

Hotdog Rangers Game

Things I did at the Rangers vs. Angels game:

1)   Eat a hotdog

2)   Drink beers

3)   Watch the crowd

4)   Rag on the stupid Dot Race in the middle of the 6th inning (I’m partial to the Presidents Race at Nats games in DC)

5)   Make fun of the girls in the row in front of us for taking approximately one million selfies

6)   Scream-sing “Deep in the Heart of Texas”

7)   Provide colorful commentary on the Kiss Cam participants

8)   Take photos on my phone because I forgot my DSLR’s memory card (curses!)

9)   Participate in group selfie-taking (shhh…pot kettle, I know)

10) Oh, and yeah. Watch the game

Rangers Game Selfie

The Rangers lost.

But! The thing I was most excited about happened after the game…FIREWORKS. About 30 minutes elapsed between the end of the game and the start of the fireworks, but in the pause was a Taekwondo exhibition showcasing local children that kept us all rapt.

Rangers Game Fireworks

As a budding fireworks aficionado, I was wholly pleased with the show. Shooting off from behind the scoreboard, they lasted 20 minutes and incorporated music (highly important) and the stadium lights. I, of course, squealed and ogled my way through them. We all commented how very impressed we were.

I do miss Nationals games, but for $17 a pop on fireworks night, a Rangers game is a worthy substitute.

 Do:

Texas Rangers  1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington, TX 76011

 

July, 29, 2014

On Learning From What Was

I had everything I ever wanted.

But it was before I knew I wanted it.

There’s something so cruel about getting your forever after before you knew what it was.

I had everything I wanted but I didn’t know any better…though why would I have? I was 24 and had never dated anyone else.

We were both too little, too young to commit to forever.

I never regret moving forward. Never.

I wouldn’t have the perspective I do now had we not moved on. I (we) needed to learn how to be ourselves on our own.

But.

The sting of “what if…?” doesn’t leave.

They say timing’s a bitch and I don’t disagree.

I thought what we had was the norm because I knew nothing else. I thought having a partner who is your absolute best friend and who makes you want to be a better person…I thought that’s how all relationships are.

I didn’t appreciate the things we had; I took them for granted.

Lazy Sunday mornings, the sun streaming diagonally into the kitchen, me frying up bacon and eggs. Him with coffee cup in hand, watching the news, going on about current events that I would pretend to understand only because he cared so much about them.

Him throwing his ID lanyard over his neck, grabbing his messenger bag, and rushing determinedly out the door to work – but never (never ever) before giving me a quick kiss goodbye.

Drinking Diet Coke and bourbons (probably too many) before Nats games, taking the Metro to the stadium, laughing, eating hot dogs. Him paying attention to the game, me watching the crowd. Getting caught on the Kiss Cam.

Him gently nudging me to go out for a run with him, to train for that race (even though I resented him for it at the time).

Sitting on the couch face-to-face, him grasping my hands as I cried. His face contorting in empathetic pain.

I didn’t appreciate the things we had; I took them for granted.

Give me that now…well it’d be game over. Forever and ever, amen. No question.

If nothing else, though, our relationship taught me so very much. I had the benefit (and disadvantage) of being in a committed, long-term situation when I was so little. I learned an incredible amount at a young age, most of which I, unfortunately, didn’t realize until a few years later.

Hell, we were practically married in our early 20s. It’s thanks to our relationship then that I know what to look for in people now.

Are you smart as shit? Confident as hell? Are you kind (so much kinder than me)? Are you endlessly motivated? Are you funny; do you challenge me; are you passionate?  K, then we’ll talk.

I haven’t found a single other person who that fits that bill.

The burn of what could’ve been is constant.

Most days it’s a quiet undercurrent; I can live with that.

But others, it overwhelms me and I almost can’t breathe.

To realize you had it all once and now you don’t, well it’s really shitty. Horribly terrible and shitty. Debilitating and shitty.

But.

All I can do is keep what I learned from him close to my heart. Keep what made him him ever-present in my mind. Pray I discover those qualities in someone else.

Never settle until I find that again.

Be hopeful that I will.

 

 

July, 24, 2014

100 Things to Do in Dallas – #97 Go to Kaboom Town for the 4th of July Fireworks

I love fireworks so very much. I get embarrassingly giddy watching them, laughing and shrieking like a child. So though I was excited to go to Kaboom Town for 4th of July fireworks, I knew that I need to go all-in or else I’d be wildly disappointed. It’s a Top 10 (or Top 5 or Top 3, depending on whom you talk to) Fireworks Show in the country and I’ve heard horror stories of people stuck in traffic for two hours trying to get out of Addison after it ends.

Many hotels in Addison have special rates the night of Kaboom Town and I got a room at the Intercontinental for a steal. My logic: this way we could imbibe safely and not have to battle traffic after the show. Our room didn’t overlook the fireworks, which drastically reduced the price.

Kaboom Town Addison

I drove to the hotel straight after my 3pm early dismissal from work and was already overwhelmed by the hullabaloo happening in Addison. Traffic on Beltline was crawling and most restaurants along the road had fenced up their parking lots and set up picnic tables and stages. Thankfully I arrived to the hotel early enough (4pm) to get an easy parking spot with no issue, though many lots I passed were already full, even in the late afternoon.

My friend Will met me at the hotel (he took a Lyft from Oak Cliff, an advisable move) and we walked to a restaurant in Addison, not wanting to lose my parking spot. After miraculously snagging bar seats at Cantina Laredo for appetizers and margaritas, we tromped back to Addison Circle to view the show.

Kaboom Town Addison

We arrived only about 15 minutes before it started, but we had no issues finding a perfect spot. This was the first year you needed a ticket to enter Addison Circle and though they were free, they ran out about a week before July 3. It was crowded in Addison Circle, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly so. It’s certainly worth thinking ahead and getting tickets beforehand; we had a gorgeous view of the show.

Kaboom Town lives up to the hype. My only other experience with grand 4th of July fireworks shows has been in DC, and then, I never had a prime spot. We watched from the Iwo Jima Memorial, on a random corner in Chinatown, or from the roof of a condo a couple miles away. Being in the thick of it, hearing the music, and feeling the boom and rumble of the fireworks in your chest is incomparable.

Kaboom Town Addison

I spent a quarter of the show trying (mostly in vain) to get good photographs of the fireworks and the other three-fourths ooh-ing and ahh-ing and exclaiming to Will how happy I was. The show was set to music, a nice mix of modern stuff and oldies. It lasted almost 30 minutes. It was your classic fireworks show; no smiley faces or hearts made of fire…just beautiful bursts of colorful light.

I left absolutely elated. I may or may not have skipped back to the hotel I was so happy. If you love fireworks, have time to plan ahead, and don’t mind dealing with crowds, make Kaboom Town a must-do next year. I’ll certainly be back.

Kaboom Town Will Paige

Do: 

Kaboom Town Addison Circle Park, 4970 Addison Circle Drive

July, 22, 2014

To My Momma on Her Birthday

Dear Momma,

You are endlessly stylish. Beautiful. Chic. You are singularly the classiest woman I know.

Growing up, you ingrained in me that doing my best is what really counts. I may not be the most athletic or the most smart, but if I put all my effort in and if and I’m personally satisfied with my performance…well, that’s all that really matters. As long as I give it all, as long as I do the most I can, that’s the most important.

Dear Momma

You instilled in me a love for words. Before I could even talk, you read to me. I remember those hard back picture books, me pointing excitedly to a fluffy bunny, me imitating animal noises. Some of my favorite memories include you reading the Boxcar Children, Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, to me before bed (I will always identify with Beezus).

When we weren’t reading, we listened to books on cassette tape on the way to school. I will forever argue that Stockard Channing is the best audiobook narrator, ever. I’ll never forget when we got into that accident on the way to Greenhill, when we were listening to The Witches and the narrative lurched in this awful, scary way at the impact, which was all too fitting for the subject of the book. It made the collision that much more upsetting. (Thankfully everyone was just fine!)

Dear Momma

But my most cherished memory, to this day, is you perched on the side of my bed, quietly singing “Tender Shepard” and “Edelweiss” to me as a child every night before I went to sleep. It was such a soothing and reassuring routine. 

You never pressured me. You were, and continue to be, my greatest supporter, no matter what the situation. You are my endless advocate, Momma.

To this day, when I’m upset, I think in the back of my head, “I want my mommy.”

Dear Momma

There’s no one as comforting as you. I can’t thank you enough for that day, barely six months ago, when we spent the morning at a family friend’s house and you listened to me cry and fret and worry about my future. Your wise and measured words calmed me more than anything else ever could have at that moment.

You taught me never to give up on people (for better or worse). You have the biggest heart of anyone I know.

Above all, you showed me how to love, which is the single most important lesson there is in life.

You always remind me that family is the most essential thing we have; you treasure your family above all else. I hope you know I treasure you in kind.

Dear Momma

When I have kids (God willing), I hope you’ll be a big part of their lives. You will be the best grandmother; you’ll be their Nama, I have no doubt of that in my mind.

I am, unquestionably, who I am today because of you. There aren’t enough words to thank you.

Happy happy birthday to my best friend and greatest role model.

I love you, Momma.

xo,

Paige

July, 16, 2014

100 Things to Do in Dallas – #94 Try the Custard at Wild About Harry’s

I admit, I added Wild About Harry’s to my Dallas 100 list selfishly. Yes, I’ll endlessly argue that it’s a Dallas icon, but it also holds a big place in my heart. (We’ll look past the somewhat creepy, life-size anthropomorphic hot dog outside the joint.)

Wild About Harry's

When my family moved to Dallas from Indiana in 1998, we initially relocated to a place off McKinney. Though we had to share a room, my sister and I had the best time in that 2 bedroom apartment because we could easily go to so many places in the Knox-Henderson area. To us, in middle school, that made Dallas a very walkable city (little did we know). Along with the Highland Park Pharmacy (which is also on this list) and Froggy’s, Wild About Harry’s was one of our favorite places in the area.

Before Wild About Harry’s, I’d never had frozen custard before. I thought it would be like ice cream. And it is…but so much better. It’s much denser and creamier. I am an self-proclaimed Häagen-Dazs addict, but Wild About Harry’s beats even my Häagen-Dazs.

Wild About Harry's

Wild About Harry’s doesn’t just have frozen custard, oh no. It also serves some damn good hot dogs. When I was little I would (inexplicably) get the vegetarian dog with ketchup only. But this time around, thanks to the encouragement of my friend Sheri, I decided to be adventurous and order a Chicago dog. Any hotdog that involves hot peppers and a pickle is my kind of meal!

Wild About Harry's

It was spot on; the pickle, hot peppers, and relish provided the perfect salty and sour contrast to the rich, all-beef dog.

As for their frozen custard, my favorite flavors have remained the same over 14 years: coconut, peppermint, coffee, and German chocolate cake.

Wild About Harry's

I initially ordered a sundae with coconut custard, German chocolate custard, peanuts, and chocolate sauce, but my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I abandoned it after not even finishing half.

Wild About Harry's

…but I came back later to get my old go-to, my beloved peppermint custard in a “flat cone,” as I call them. Just as I remembered. Perfectly velvety, with a slight bite from the peppermint. For a self-appointed ice cream connoisseur, Wild About Harry’s is some of the best you can find in Dallas, hand’s down.

 Do:

Wild About Harry’s  3113 Knox St, Dallas, TX 75205

June, 30, 2014

100 Things to Do in Dallas – #29 Visit the Graves of Bonnie and Clyde

I chose my first Dallas 100 activity to do on a whim, at brunch, on Father’s Day. It was a lovely (if not hot) day and that Bloody Mary I had with my meal incited me to get out and do something a bit different.

To be honest, I knew little about Bonnie and Clyde’s history upon venturing to their graves. I knew they were iconic gangsters, I knew they died young, and I knew there were buried somewhere in Dallas.

Cursory Googling led me first to Clyde’s grave, in Western Heights Cemetery. Off Fort Worth Avenue, it’s not far from the Belmont Hotel. I parked on a side street and was disappointed when I saw that the entrance gate was locked. Undeterred, I decided to hop the fence. I didn’t see any “No Trespassing” signs, so I assumed the cemetery was closed because it was a Sunday.

Clyde Barrow Cemetery Grave

Brief pause in the narrative to describe the difference between a “cemetery” and “graveyard”: A graveyard is attached to a church, while a cemetery is completely independent. Thanks for that bit of knowledge, carriage rides in Charleston!

Western Heights Cemetery reminds me of a Dallas version of an old Charleston cemetery. Meaning: it’s quiet, overgrown, and charmingly timeworn. There are graves from the mid-1800s, which, for this town, is positively ancient. Though it’s surrounded by a somewhat transitional neighborhood in a big city, standing in the middle of the grounds, it’s really quite tranquil.

Clyde Barrow Cemetery Grave

That is, it was tranquil until a man in a tan pickup truck pulled up to the curb and slowed to a stop. I was in the middle of the cemetery at this point, so I couldn’t hear what he was yelling, but I could see him gesturing to me. I assumed he was telling me to get out of there because the cemetery was closed on Sundays. I tried to play it cool, pretend I didn’t notice him, and kept towards the center of the cemetery. However, he kept slowly circling the perimeter of the grounds for a good ten minutes. It was disconcerting, to say the least. He finally gave up and drove off.

Clyde Barrow Grave

The next day, as I relayed my adventures to coworkers, I learned the man in the pickup truck may have had some unsavory intentions. “The cemetery off Fort Worth Avenue?” my coworker questioned. “You know that it’s locked because prostitutes used to conduct business there, right?”

Clyde Barrow Cemetery Grave

After that unpleasantness, I found Clyde’s grave. It’s near the edge of cemetery; in a privileged place…under a billboard. It is a simple, unassuming grave, shared with his brother. I spent another 15 minutes looking for Bonnie, before realizing she’s buried separately from Clyde. Lesson learned: do your research more than 15 minutes before setting out, Paige.

Clyde Barrow Cemetery Grave

Bonnie is buried in a newer cemetery, Crown Hill Memorial Park, off Webb Chapel. Driving in, I realized participating in this activity on Father’s Day was a poor choice. Unlike Clyde’s burial grounds, which were deserted and peaceful, Bonnie’s resting place was full of people honoring their fathers. The cemetery was thick with large groups and couples and individuals paying their respects. It was a sobering experience and made me all the more grateful for my Daddy.

Bonnie Parker Cemetery Grave

Thanks to some Google sleuthing, it didn’t take me too long to find Bonnie’s grave. Hers has many more mementos than Clyde’s; the toy pistol, lip gloss, and handwritten note stood out to me.

Bonnie Parker Cemetery Grave

All in all, I’d consider this a successful first “100 Things to Do in Dallas” activity, being mistaken for a prostitute notwithstanding. Here’s to 99 more Dallas adventures!

Bonnie Parker Cemetery Grave

Do:

Western Heights Cemetery 1617 Fort Worth Ave, Dallas, TX 

Crown Hill Memorial Park 9700 Webb Chapel Rd, Dallas, TX 75220