Snyder, Texas became one of the many highlights of my family's walk across America. It's a city with character and friendly folks. On January 16, 1987, after spending the night at Royal RV Park in Snyder, we found two to three inch icicles hanging from the canvas on our tent trailer. Dad remarked that our little electric heater worked full tilt all night long to keep us warm. Dad and Mom decided to get us a motel room for the remainder of our time in Snyder because the ice storm was bitterly cold.
Art and Helen Feinsod owned the Purple Sage Motel at the east end of town. The rooms were comfortable, and their hospitality would make the town of Snyder proud. Mr. Feinsod had small collection of vintage cars that included a 1929 Ford Model A and a gorgeous 1939 Buick convertible. I wrote in my journal that he let me drive both cars on a Sunday afternoon out on a dirt country road. I was in heaven as a 14 year old. We had attended church with them and their 2 children Virgil and Celia.
We also had dinner with another innkeeper in town named Jack Pointeau. His family gained national notoriety back in 1989 because they were almost deported back to their native France. It had something to do with red tape and our broken immigration policies. They owned a business, employed other American workers, paid taxes, and they were embraced by the Snyder community. Their story had a good ending because they were eventually allowed to stay, and I believe they became U.S. citizens.
Snyder had an old drugstore on its town square with an old fashioned soda fountain. My Mom especially missed getting a soda from the town drugstore as a kid. She had fond memories of getting old fashioned soda growing up in the late '40s and early 50's. So Snyder, TX also provided us with a much appreciated first soda fountain experience. Across the street from the old drugstore, there is a statue of a rare albino buffalo that sits on the county courthouse lawn. Mom, Aaron, and I posed for a picture in front the buffalo.
So on Saturday, Cathleen and I raced to find as many things from my original account that still remained in Snyder. I remembered right where the soda fountain had been, but there didn't seem to be a drugstore anymore. We stepped into Pam Robertson's Mason Jar Mercantile Gifts & Antiques. It was a charming little store, and the owner was just as sweet. She was talking to a young woman named Baylee Lewis. We explained why I was looking for the soda fountain and about my family's "Walk." They both opened their mouths in surprise. I quickly shared about my family's adventure. Both women were amazed and shared a nice conversation with us before directing us to the other end of the block where she thought we could get some information on what happened to the drugstore. The original soda fountain now sits in a theater across the square and is only open during shows and plays. We also learned Helen Feinsod's home number and we gave her a call.
A few minutes later, we were happily reunited with Helen and her daughter Celia, sharing old memories. Helen no longer owns the Purple Sage, but she and her daughter own a laundromat called "Wash Happening" and a party room known as "The Gathering Spot." Helen was very interested in reconnecting with my Mom who still runs a laundromat on Ventura Ave back home. I'm glad they will be talking after so many years of losing contact.
Cathleen and I were soon driving towards the "Walk's" half way point of Denton, TX. We stopped in the historic town of Albany where there is still a working soda fountain, and I had a chocolate soda. It was delicious. We stopped to take some pictures of a Hickory BBQ restaurant my family had eaten at when we walked through. It was closed until 6 PM and we had to press on.
|After the ice storm|
|White buffalo 1987|
|Remembering the fallen in Snyder, TX for Memorial Day|
|Chatting with Pam and Baylee|
|Where the old soda fountain used to be.|
|Reconnecting with Helen and Celia Feinsod|
|1929 Model A. Look who's driving!|