You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Remembering the Castro house at Seventh and B
Popó with sons Henry, Reynaldo, Eligio, and Arturo — circa 1955
Apple Pie and SalsaAugust 21, 2013 3,057 views Post a comment
The house on the corner of B and Seventh streets no longer belongs to a member of the Castro family. Henry and I live further up across the street. It seems so different now. Everything is quiet. You hardly see any activity. Not so during the years that Frank and Elisa Castro lived there.
I will call them Popó and Momó as most of the family called them. For several years after they got married they lived out on the same farm as Grandpa Castro. Most of their children were born while living there. To the best of our calculations, Popó moved the family, except Henry, to town around 1938. As I have said before, Henry chose to stay on the farm with Grandpa, Mila, and his uncles.
In town the family lived in a large weather-beaten frame house, which they rented for several years. The last two children, Frank Louis and Norma, were born during that time. In May of 1947 Popó bought the house along with the surrounding property, a quarter of an acre of land for the sum of $1,500 cash.
Bertha shared some of her earliest memories of living in that house. She says that once Eligio and Arturo, who were about 6 and 5, respectively, were chasing each other around the house. At one point Arturo stopped at a corner of the house and turned around waiting for Eligio. When Eligio turned the corner, Arturo let out a scream. Eligio stopped in his tracks and fainted! Bertha laughs as she recalls the incident. Also, Bertha says that almost all of their neighbors were Anglos. Back then they were called bolillos or gringos.
In 1949, the family moved to the house owned by Grandpa while the new house was being built. That house stood where our mobile home now sits.
Many events happened after that. The children grew up. The boys married first. Popó “sold” a lot to the eldest son Rudy, next to them facing B Street. A few years later he sold another one to Eligio behind them, facing Seventh Street. Reynaldo bought property and built a house close by, also on Seventh Street but on the opposite side of the street. You could say it became the Castro neighborhood.
Bertha says that not long after they moved into the new house, she, Momó, and Alice were sitting at the kitchen table when they heard one of the front doors open and heard footsteps. When nobody came into the kitchen, they got up to see and no one was there. She says there were a couple of more incidents like that. They had never experienced any paranormal activity in the old house.
The new house had a living room, dining room, kitchen, one bathroom, and three bedrooms. Momó and Popó had the front bedroom, the girls shared the middle bedroom, and the boys, while they were still at home, had the bedroom off the kitchen. In front of that bedroom Popó had a cement patio built. There was a pillar on its outer corner and Momó used it to keep a planter on it.
While Henry was gone to the Army, either Bertha or Alice would pick me up at my parents’ home every Sunday after church so I could have lunch with them. Then it was Letty and me. After Henry got back we continued to gather there every Sunday. Not only us, but the rest of the married boys and their families. Norma says it was always fried chicken and potato salad. I’m sure there was another vegetable dish. This went on for several years until our family got bigger and we knew we had to start our own tradition.
There was always a lot of activity at the Castro house. Popó ran three businesses at one time -- Castro’s Place, a taxi business, and delivering the San Antonio Light. He delivered the paper for 33 years! At one point, after an illness, Norma and Oscar did it for about two years. Then Popó resumed the duties. At first his sons helped him, and later the grandsons, including our boys. He ran that business from home. The papers would get delivered to the house and they would roll them up on the front porch.
By 1969, Popó’s cognitive skills were beginning to slow down. The family got together at the house to decide what needed to be done. It was decided by almost unanimous consent that the property should be deeded to the youngest offspring, Norma, with the understanding that Popó and Momó would continue to live there for as long as they were able to, without worrying about taxes or the upkeep of the house.
By then they had lost Frank Louis, whom we called Junior, and Arturo. If those walls could talk they would groan with the pain endured by those living there. And perhaps also shake from the voices of many an animated conversation!
The years went by and in 1986 Popó was admitted to a local nursing home. He showed signs of dementia and would take off walking. People who knew him would pick him up and bring him home. Momó could not look after him. In 1989 he suffered a stroke and passed away in a hospital in San Antonio at the age of 85.
Momó remained at the house and Alice spent time with her every day. About a year later she fell and broke her wrist, and after that Alice took her to live with her and her family. She passed away at the age of 92 after falling and breaking a hip. Momó loved plants and flowers and especially loved planting verbena on both sides of the sidewalk at her beloved home.
The house remained vacant for a while, and then was rented to several different families. A grandson and his family lived there for about 2-1/2 years. The last family member to live there was Norma’s youngest daughter. Renovations were done to the inside, and the cement patio was removed -- something I still don’t understand.
The property was sold in 2011 after being in the family for more than 64 years. But the memories remain for those of us who lived during those years, for as long as the Lord allows.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Behind the lens: Cover photo (August 26, 2015)
Cody Johnson to rock Nixon Feather Fest (August 26, 2015)
Dance in Geronimo (August 26, 2015)
Enjoy Fall Feast in Garfield (August 26, 2015)
Franklin Mint (August 26, 2015)
Got prayer? ‘War Room’ does (August 26, 2015)
He’s lived a sweet, gentle life (August 26, 2015)
Kerrville Fall Music Fest Sept. 4-6 (August 26, 2015)
LV prepares for Hammerfest (August 26, 2015)
Memories soar during Honor Flight (August 26, 2015)
St. Hedwig Legion plans Warrior Cry fund-raiser (August 26, 2015)
Whit’s Initiative donates to children’s home (August 26, 2015)
A window to their world (August 19, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (August 19, 2015)
Gillespie County Fair, horse racing meet (August 19, 2015)
LBJ autograph (August 19, 2015)
Lutheran youth plan donation fund-raiser (August 19, 2015)
Purchase tickets for veteran fund-raiser (August 19, 2015)
Receive blessing, sundaes (August 19, 2015)
Remembering Coach Henry Tomerlin (August 19, 2015)
The importance of vaccinating your pets (August 19, 2015)
Tickets on sale for Wild Game Dinner (August 19, 2015)
AgapeFest is Aug. 22 (August 12, 2015)
Age Well, Live Well event (August 12, 2015)
Back-to-school carnival (August 12, 2015)
Barbecue benefit for Logan Saenz Aug. 16 (August 12, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (August 12, 2015)
Bible study in Verdi (August 12, 2015)
Falls City alumni celebrate Beaver Roundup (August 12, 2015)
Free family recycling event (August 12, 2015)
H-E-B invites Texans to shed pounds, gain dollars (August 12, 2015)
Hear country tunes in New Braunfels (August 12, 2015)
Labor Day campout (August 12, 2015)
Play bunco in La Vernia (August 12, 2015)
Prescription-free healing pleasures of summer (August 12, 2015)
Remembering the Farmer’s Daughter Dance Hall (August 12, 2015)
Sunday Country Dance set for Aug. 16 (August 12, 2015)
Tabletop radio (August 12, 2015)
Three Oaks Ice Cream Social (August 12, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (August 5, 2015)
Classic cookbook (August 5, 2015)
Farmers Market in Loire (August 5, 2015)
Floresville Leo Club Back to School event (August 5, 2015)
Get set to get wet at Splash-O-Lympics (August 5, 2015)
Hear Chris Rybak at Czech Gala (August 5, 2015)
Pilgrim Opry is Aug. 8 (August 5, 2015)
Prom date grows into enduring love — 15 years later (August 5, 2015)
Rey Feo group to award scholarships (August 5, 2015)
Savor: Lemon Pesto Mason Jar Pasta Salad (August 5, 2015)
St. Gerard Rummage Sale Aug. 8 (August 5, 2015)
Stockdale Leo Club fund-raisers (August 5, 2015)
The Floresville, Wilson County story from days gone by (August 5, 2015)
‘The’ rock wall: Searching for answers (August 5, 2015)