Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Occupation: Database programmer
Describe Fort Worth in three words: Quintessentially Texas, y’all
My return to Fort Worth comes 30 years after I was last there. I lived in Fort Worth for about three years in the early 80s – just long enough to attend middle school. Looking back on my childhood, it was not the brightest time of my life, but that didn’t stop me from showing my wife, Stephanie, some sights and telling tales of a younger, less sure-footed me.
We started at the Fort Worth Stockyards. I figure if there’s one sight in Fort Worth not to miss, this is it. Historically, this district is where cattle and other livestock were bought and sold, earning Fort Worth the nickname “Cowtown.” Now it’s a touristy stretch of bars, western-wear and souvenir shops. We found some unique, and undeniably Texan items to bring back to the gang in Philadelphia. We also found a spot where instead of a mechanical bull, you can ride remote controlled mechanical animals including a saddled bass, a TCU horned frog, and a “reinsteer” (a longhorn with horns and reindeer antlers).
Next up were the Fort Worth Water Gardens. I remember this place (a) from when I was a kid, and (b) from the final scene of the movie “Logan’s Run.” The Water Gardens feature three different pools of water. The most famous is the “active pool” where you can walk down stepping stones and watch the water cascade all around you. It is hard to describe the feeling of being surrounded by water falling all around you at different levels, while you stay dry, beneath the street level in the middle of a city. There’s also a “Quiet Pool”, which is again below street level, lined by perfect rows of trees, and designed to make you feel very small in the large space around you. Finally, there’s the Aerated Pool, where sprinkler-like apparatuses spray huge water droplets into the air before they fall back down into the pool.
After this we drove to my old neighborhood, where we saw the house where I lived, the synagogue I attended as a kid, and even the rectory where my Boy Scout troop met. At the rectory, there is a short drainage culvert that I was afraid to walk through when I was 12, but was able to successfully – and probably illegally – navigate with Stephanie’s help.
We also paid a visit to the Hulen mall where in the early 80s I discovered the joys of video games. The mall is now a crowded behemoth, especially since we were there two weeks before Christmas, but the cool clock is still hanging inside, so yay.
Every city in Texas seems to have its own personality, but Fort Worth screams “Texas” more than any others. If you really want to sample a slice of the Lone Star State, start here.
Follow me and Stephanie, the Mile High Duo, as we travel around the world!