Behind the Celebration

By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Yes We Can

Thank you to everyone who has sent me feedback about the “Celebrating Corsicana’s Milestone Anniversaries” pieces. Let me tell you: That’s been a series I’m been compiling over the summer, and it’s good to finally release it into the wild and let people “own” it.

It was a lot of work: Consulting with local historians, coordinating with over a dozen businesses and their representatives. That Battletoads image in Part 2 came with me working with folks from Microsoft and Rare, going as far to speak with people in the United Kingdom, so I was definitely reaching out there to make all of these elements fall into place.

Why did I choose to put this series together? Because it needed to be done. When I started the research, I had no idea if any other outlet would actually sit down and acknowledge the sheer amount how many “big” things were hitting this level of anniversary. Sure, there would be smaller celebrations, but I started looking at how many celebrations are 100 years and up, with so many places that make Corsicana what it is.

A lot of our local churches have been here for ages. Collin Street Bakery has kept our small town as “The Fruitcake Capital of the World.” Old Mexican Inn is one of the last of the “old-school” restaurants of that “Bill’s/Humbert’s era.” Navarro College, Salvation Army, our local art venues, even something as quirky as a amphibian-based video game… that’s our personality. These are all the elements that actually make us… us.

Exploring all of this was actually good for me as well. I grew up here. I also moved away for 20 years and came back. It puts a lot of things in perspective. Several of the places that were “mine” growing up are no longer here. While I’ve settled in, there has been a “stranger in a familiar land” feeling at times. I’ve sometimes wondered if my version of “home” still existed. With all of this, it does. More than I realized.

When I moved back, it was partly due to the book I’ve been working on (almost done – It’s been a process in itself). I’ve collected a variety of stories there as well, things that aren’t acknowledged in our local historical overview. But it’s still important. I came back because I knew there was more work to be done. After coordinating the 125th anniversary for the Corsicana Daily Sun last year, and discovering the sheer amount of milestones this year, we need to have these elements acknowledged. People need to know the histories about the places we drive by every day, and how long they’ve been here.

They need to be celebrated. They’ve earned that acknowledgement.

But I largely wrote these pieces because I hope to inspire. I understand the day-to-day in Corsicana can have its ups and downs. That’s the same as any place. But there’s a lot of good here to acknowledge here as well. I hope some of the places I didn’t cover will finally step to say “We’re here too,” so they can get their due as well. We need to celebrate what people bring to the table here.

I still have plans to help highlight the larger personality of Corsicana, and the more I find, the more I realize it’s our local people and places who make Corsicana what it is, and who will inspire that next wave of change this town needs to grow. The elements are there. But now we have to decide how to best make use of all of that.

I’m all for growing out our personal story.

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Categories: Opinion