I am a freelance author, writer, critic, artist, and entrepreneur living in the Heart of the Texas Hill Country.
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Boerne, Texas is changing; dramatically. There are mixed feelings regarding our infrastructure, the exponential growth, and a new developing identity, here in the community. As a member of a private Facebook group, Boerne Area Informed Citizens, I am updated constantly, and not necessarily about the value of the changes themselves, and how the dynamic of the city, of the community, might benefit, but rather about the feelings of the people that live here.
When I first moved to Boerne I was 9. This was back in 93’, I started school at Curington Elementary, and I was in the 3rd grade. It was interesting because on my first day I walked in to class about five minutes after another new student, David. Of course we became friends, and as we [all] grew up, it was fascinating watching things change—but it was a normal change, nothing spectacular. I spent two years at Curington before being transferred to the brand new elementary school that was closer to my home, Fair Oaks Ranch Elementary. I started the 5th grade there, the very first 5th grade class every at Fair Oaks Ranch Elementary School. After our 6th grade graduation we all went to Boerne Middle School. Now, in Boerne, there are two Middle Schools—Boerne Middle School North, and Boerne Middle School South—the original Middle School is ‘North.’ The school that I attended (and, in point of fact, Boerne Middle School (North) was once Boerne High School). After three years at Boerne Middle School we went to Boerne High School, at the time it was the only one; now, there are two: Boerne High School and Samuel V. Champion High School. Sam Champion was my freshman and sophomore high school principle. After I graduated high school I attended university at The University of Texas at San Antonio, for a few years. I majored in Psychology. I got fed up with the immediate truths of practicing Psychology: of medications, withdrawals, dependencies, and the fact that people were more interested in being medicated then dedicating time to understanding themselves, and learning how to deal with, or even solve their issues. And I got fed up with the education system in-, and of itself. I packed up my car, and I drove far-far away.
Though I wasn’t born here (in Boerne), and though I moved here in 93’, my family has had a presence in Boerne since the early 70’s, and we’ve been a prominent, and fairly important contemporary Boerne family ever sense. My grandfather, Thomas Bonner. Many people would remember him as the city inspector for many years in the 80’s, while he, and my grandmother, his wife: Mildred Bonner, would remain active members of the community. My grandmother was one of the founding members, along with the late Marie Hicks—the founder, and owner of The Hill Country Weekly, a newspaper that I wrote for-for a time—of Boerne’s Hill Country Women in Business. My father, Tom and Mildred’s youngest, went to UT, where he and my mother met, and later joined the Air Force, hence the likely reason I wasn’t born in San Antonio, or even in Texas. I was born on a military base in Sacramento, California. And we moved around considerably. My dad retired from the Air Force, and we moved to Boerne to help care for my grandmother who was now suffering from ALS.
The ten years that I was away I experienced, and learned a great deal.
I came back to a Boerne that was nearly unrecognizable. A few years prior the country caught wind of the fact that Boerne not only had one of the best, and continuously up-, and coming education departments in the country, but it was beautiful as well, and being in the heart of Texas, a state that maintains one of the best economy’s in The United States, I suppose you would, and maybe have, made the same choice. 3,000 families are moving to Boerne every year. Kendall County—of which Boerne is the largest city—is the 2nd fastest growing county in The United States.
So, as you can imagine, 'old timers', and long-time Boerne families have had an issue with the changes that Boerne has experienced, as a result of growth. Bumper stickers reading “Boerne Texas Gone Forever” have been spotted on cars in, and around town. Bumper stickers, and the shadowing attitude inspired me to write an article for The Hill Country Weekly that I titled, “Boerne, Texas Gone Forever.” In which I suggest that our town is, and always has been a rare gem, and Boerne can only change, for the better, if we allow it to happen without our involvement. Change, and development are inevitable, but if we guide the changes, then our beloved Boerne can only be better.
When I first made it public that I was opening CommuniTea Books I got a lot of support and praise and excitement, and a little opposition. The entirety of the opposition came from members of the Friend of the Boerne Public Library. And that threw me, at first. Why would anyone who supports a library, and community, and reading, and education, be fearful of a bookstore? It didn’t make sense to me, especially considering how proud the people of Texas are of Freedom, Capitalism, and the Free Market Economy.
But, people fear change.
I’m writing this blog, for the people of Boerne. Those of you whom might be uncertain, or skeptical about the development of a bookstore in our community. The trope that CommuniTea Books, or any new business only exemplifies change, a change that you might not want. We have to welcome change, and we have to be ahead of it, and we have to guide it, it is our responsibility as members of our community.
…also there’s that idea that a used bookstore is a waste of space, or a “terrible idea this day in age.” It’s not, and I know that a lot of you will simply dismiss that, without understanding why, or paying attention to the changes, and the increase of print sales, and books in the market. The spread of used bookstores throughout The United States over the most recent five years, and the continual growth of said bookstores.
I want to ease your mind that I am a member of this community, my family is active in the community: my mother is an active member of Sunrise Rotary, she has been the president, at least once. I am from Boerne, I was educated here, I understand business, marketing, people, literature—the industry—I know how to bring Boerne the bookstore that it has always wanted, and deserved. I too have been to, and have been disappointed in, Boerne's original bookstore: Read All About It, and wasn’t at all surprised when it closed—though, of course I wish it hadn’t.
Our communities need to rally around themselves, the people: your neighbors, this an unusual time in our countries history, and I think, in part, it's because we are separating ourselves from community. Social Media and access to anybody, to everybody all over the world has made the world smaller, while our communities continue to get bigger (in the figurative sense, and the literal, I suppose, in Boerne's case), let's bring back community: sitting across from one another with a cup of tea, a book, an unopened book on the table while we discuss any number of things that had been on our minds, we are different, every one of us, and we can celebrate that in places like CommuniTea Books.